Fresh off of one of the most exciting pay-per-views in some time, the UFC returns to the APEX for another great night of fights. There may not be a ton of big names, but this card has plenty of talent and fighters who are really looking to make a name for themselves.
In a main event with future championship implications, two of the best women’s flyweights in the world will face off in what should be a showdown to remember. Plus, two hard-hitting light heavyweights will look to put on a show and two heavyweights will try to burst onto the scene.
Heavyweight bout: Josh Parisian vs. Jamal Pogues
These aren’t exactly household names, but this matchup should be interesting. Parisian comes into the fight with a 15-5 record and 11 knockouts. He is also coming off of a big TKO victory in June and will look to build on that momentum to put together his first UFC winning streak in his fifth fight. Parisian can put anyone away quickly as long as he can lets his hands go.
That could be quite a challenge against newcomer Jamal Pogues, who makes his UFC debut with a pro record of 9-3. While four of his nine wins have come by knockout, another four have come by decision, which is a fairly high rate for the heavyweight division. Pogues has good hands and a solid mixed striking game. Coming into this fight as the favorite, I would expect Pogues to keep the pressure on Parisian and move forward with a variety of strikes.
Light Heavyweight bout: Jordan Wright vs. Zac Pauga
Every now and then, we get a fight where one of the two guys absolutely has his back up against the wall. That is the case here for Wright, who is trying to stop a three-fight losing streak and improve on his 2-4 UFC record. Overall, Wright has a 12-4 record with seven knockouts and five submissions, so the talent is certainly there. For some reason, he just hasn’t been able to put it all together in the octagon and this may be his last chance.
It’s a similar situation to a lesser degree for Pauga, who lost his UFC debut back in August. He now sports a 5-1 record with just one knockout, so he tends to go the distance. Gameplans will be interesting in this one, with both fighters desperate for a win. Will these guys try and play it safe to grind out a victory or will they be willing ot take chances and do whatever they need to for the win?
Women’s Flyweight bout: Jessica Andrade vs. Erin Blanchfield
There are few divisions in the UFC that seem to be kep on lock these days. The women’s flyweight class is one of them, with dominant champion Valentina Shevchenko sitting on her throne for for more than four years. Now though, it’s starting to look like there might be some competition on the horizon for the champ.
A true UFC veteran, Andrade will be entering the octagon for the 23rd time tonight. However, ever since her loss to Shevchenko in 2021, she has looked like a different fighter, winning three in a row in dominant fashion. Her submission over Amanda Lemos last year was the submission of the year, a standing arm triangle that made her look like one of the toughest fighters in the sport. A win here would be huge for Andrade who wants to get back to the top of the mountain.
It’s a very different story for Blanchfield, who is one of the fastest rising young stars in the sport. The 23-year-old will be stepping into the octagon for the fifth time and will look to stay perfect in the UFC. with a 10-1 record, two knockouts and three submissions, Blanchfield has proven she can take a fight wherever it goes. She’s probably not going to want to grapple with Andrade though so it will be interesting to see if she can stay on the outside and score points.
UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs. Blanchfield will be held Saturday, February 18 at 7 PM ET. Fight fans can watch live on ESPN+.
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