On Saturday the UFC will celebrate its 25th anniversary in Denver, the same city where the first ever UFC event took place on November 12, 1993. The main event was set to be Frankie Edgar vs. Chan Sung Jung “The Korean Zombie.” Edgar was pulled from the fight when according to his camp he tore his left bicep. Yair Rodriguez, “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” winner was called in on short notice to replace Edgar. The co-main event will be Donald Cerrone squaring off with former teammate Mike Perry in a welterweight battle which involves a lot of in the gym drama.
“Korean Zombie” vs. Rodriguez
The Korean Zombie came back from a three and a half month layoff, which included a two year mandatory stint in the South Korean military and defeated a top ten featherweight in Dennis Bermudez via first round TKO. His opponent has not fought since May of 2017 and in that fight, Rodriguez was dominated by Frankie Edgar who won via doctor stoppage after the second round. Following that fight, Rodriguez was reportedly released after he declined two fights. Three weeks later, Rodriguez announced that he and the UFC had settled their issues and was allowed to remain on the roster. This fight will be a stand up brawl. These are two amazing strikers with Rodriguez utilizing more kicks than The Korean Zombie but I think The Korean Zombie holds the power advantage. I expect Chan Sung Jung to earn his nickname in this fight as he will walk through Rodriguez’s shots and find a way to connect with one of those powerful right hands and end this fight.
Cerrone vs. Perry
Donald Cerrone vs. Mike Perry should be fireworks. This beef started when the two gyms of Mike Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson merged together to form the gym of Jackson Wink MMA Academy. Cerrone had been a long time fighter for the Jackson gym and when this merger happened, it brought with it a lot of new fighters into the gym including Mike Perry. After this merger, Cerrone was called and asked if he’d like to fight Mike Perry on short notice. Cerrone called Perry and the two agreed to do it. Cerrone pulled out of the fight after not being able to be cleared but a fight at a later date was agreed upon. Jackson Wink called Cerrone to inform him that they would be cornering Mike Perry for the fight and Cerrone was not welcome at the gym. This led to Cerrone going on Joe Rogan’s podcast and blasting the gym. Saying that Winkeljohn was corrupting Greg Jackson’s gym and turning it into a “puppy mill” and only being concerned with making money. The next day, Mike Perry lit into Donald Cerrone. On twitter he wrote, “I’m glad Cerrone didn’t die in that diving accident so that now I am given the chance to kill you in the cage.” Perry was citing a near death experience that Cerrone talked about on the podcast. This fight should be brutal but I think Donald Cerrone’s experience will win out and earn him the victory.
The rest of the card
Other fights on the card include Raquel Pennington taking on Germaine de Randemie. This will be Pennington’s first fight since losing to Amanda Nunes in a Women’s Bantamweight title fight. Germaine de Randemie is coming back after nearly a two year layoff from when she last fought against Holly Holm. A fight in which de Randemie won and became the inaugural UFC Women’s Featherweight champion. She was later stripped of that title for refusing to fight Cris Cyborg. In this fight, I think the size and striking of de Randemie will be too much and she will get the victory in her comeback fight. In the much talked about Flyweight divison, Joseph Benavidez, who owns a victory of the now champion Henry Cejudo will take on Ray Borg. The two fighters are both coming of losses as Benavidez lost a split decision to Sergio Pettis and Borg was famously caught by Demetrious Johnson in an arm bar and forced to submit. I think Benavidez’s wrestling leads him to victory and get his first win in nearly two years.
Some prospects to keep your eyes on during this card include Maycee “The Future” Barber. She’s a 20 year old fighter coming into this event with a 5-0 record making her UFC debut. Barber likes to utilize her size and strength and get fights up against the cage or down to the ground where she can dominate. She earned a UFC contract after defeating Jaime Colleen on Dana White’s contender series. She takes on Hannah Cifers who is also making her UFC debut and comes in with an impressive 8-2 record of her own. This card also features a fight between two up and coming prospects. Twenty six year old Michael Trizano who was The Ultimate Fighter season 27 winner will take on Twenty-five year old Luis Pena. Pena was on the same season of “The Ultimate Fighter” but was pulled from the tournament after winning his first fight but fracturing his foot. Pena is a part of the American Kickboxing Academy which includes fighters such as Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Luke Rockhold.
Ashley Yoder vs. Amanda Cooper Women’s Strawweight
Chas Skelly vs. Bobby Moffett Featherweight
Baneli Dariush vs. Thiago Moises Lightweight
Devonte Smith vs. Julian Erosa Lightweight
Davi Ramos vs. John Gunther Lightweight
Joseph Morales vs. Eric Shelton Flyweight
Mark de la Rosa vs. Joby Sanchez Flyweight