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Guide To UFC 255: Figueiredo vs. Perez, Shevchenko vs. Maia

Getting prepared for UFC 255 this coming Saturday? Here is everything you need to know about the event with our Guide to UFC 255.

UFC 255
Date: November 21, 2020
Location: UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

Main Card
Start Time: 10:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. PT
Where To Watch: ESPN+

UFC Flyweight Championship: Deiveson Figueiredo(c) vs. Alex Perez

Overall Records: Figueiredo 19-1, Perez 24-5
UFC Records:
 Figueiredo 8-1, Perez 6-1
Last Fight: Figueiredo def. Benavidez (title fight), R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 30 (7/18/20), Perez def. Formiga, R1 TKO, UFC 250 (6/6/20)
Last Five Fights: Figueiredo 4-1, Perez 4-1
Rankings: Figueiredo C, Perez #4
Betting Odds: Figueiredo -300, Perez +250
Preview: The main event sees Figueiredo defend the UFC Flyweight Championship for the first time after knocking out Joseph Benavidez to win it on Fight Island in July. He was originally scheduled to defend against Cody Garbrandt, but Garbrandt was forced out due to torn biceps, so in steps the streaking Perez. Perez is mostly an unknown commodity, but he may very well be the toughest challenge that Figueiredo has to handle outside of Garbrandt.

Perez has true knockout power and is quick and explosive. Figueiredo has shown himself to be on another level than other 125-pounders, but he is not an unbeatable champion. He will need to use his reach to keep Perez at bay as if Perez can find openings, but he has the power to put Figueiredo away. This far from the most high-profile headliner, but it has the makings of what could be an explosive title fight.

UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship: Valentina Shevchenko(c) vs. Jennifer Maia

Overall Records: Shevchenko 19-3, Maia 18-6-1
UFC Records:
Shevchenko 8-2, Maia 3-2
Last Fight: Shevchenko def. Chookagian (title fight), R3 TKO, UFC 247 (2/8/20), Maia def. Calderwood, R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 31 (8/1/20)
Last Five Fights: Shevchenko 5-0, Maia 3-2
Rankings: Shevchenko C, Maia #3
Betting Odds: Shevchenko -1250, Maia +800
Preview: One of the best female fighters in the world defends her championship in the co-main event, with Shevchenko welcoming Maia’s challenge. Shevchenko has been putting away her opponents in dominant fashion lately, which has turned made her a massive favorite in this fight. Maia will get her title shot on the heels of a submission win over Joanne Calderwood in August, though she doesn’t feel like a true threat, and feels more like a lamb being led to a slaughter. Maia has had issues making weight, so that is something worth keeping an eye on. Shevchenko is a dangerous striker and a wizard on the mat, so Maia is going to have to get creative to even have a chance. We are in the midst of witnessing a dominant run by Shevchenko, and all signs point to that continuing here.

Welterweights: Mike Perry vs. Tim Means

Overall Records: Perry 14-6, Means 30-12-1 1 NC
UFC Records:
Perry 7-6, Means 12-9 1 NC
Last Fight: Perry def. Gall, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 12 (6/27/20), Means def. Staropoli, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 32 (8/8/20)
Last Five Fights: Perry 2-3, Means 3-2
Betting Odds: Perry -135, Means +115
Preview: Another main card bout is a welterweight showcase between two brawlers. Perry, who has been getting a lot of negative attention for a lot of stuff happening outside of the cage, was originally supposed to fight Robbie Lawler in this fight, but an injury makes for short-notice opportunity for Means here. Both men like to stand-and-trade, but Means is an underrated grappler, as well, plus Perry doesn’t have much of a ground game to speak of. Neither are likely to ever find themselves in the title picture, but we can count on both to give the fans an exciting fight, which this should be.

Women’s Flyweights: Katlyn Chookagian vs. Cynthia Calvillo

Overall Records: Chookagian 14-4, Calvillo 9-1-1
UFC Records:
Chookagian 7-4, Calvillo 6-1-1
Last Fight: Andrade def. Chookagian, R1 TKO, UFC On ESPN+ 38 (10/17/20), Calvillo def. Eye, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 10 (6/13/20)
Last Five Fights: Chookagian 3-2, Calvillo 3-1-1
Rankings: Chookagian #2, Calvillo #4
Betting Odds: Chookagian +180, Calvillo -220
Preview: This is a fight that could go a long way in making the women’s flyweight title a little bit clearer, which turned out as a surprise opportunity for both Chookagian and Calvillo here. Calvillo was supposed to fight at UFC 254 last month, but COVID knocked her out of a fight against Lauren Murphy. Chookagian is getting right back to action after a quick loss to Jessica Andrade last month. Calvillo was designated as the official backup in case anything happens on the scale or during the week to Jennifer Maia in the co-main, but she should be focused on Chookagian, who is a tough foe. If this fight happens as scheduled, a Calvillo win will put her in the mix with Andrade and Murphy for next title-challenger. A Chookagian win would kill Calvillo as a contender for now. This is a very important fight for both women.

Light Heavyweights: Mauricio Rua vs. Paul Craig

Overall Records: Rua 27-11-1, Craig 13-4-1
UFC Records:
Rua 11-9-1, Craig 5-4-1
Last Fight: Rua def. Nogueira, SDEC, UFC On ESPN 14 (7/25/20), Craig def. Antigulov, R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN 14 (7/25/20)
Last Five Fights: Rua 3-1-1, Craig 3-1-1
Rankings: Rua #14, Craig #15
Betting Odds: Rua +155, Craig -175
Preview: A rematch opens the main card as Rua and Craig return for rounds four, five and six and try to find a clear winner. They fought a year ago in Brazil and had a back-and-forth fight that was declared a split draw after fifteen minutes. The majority of MMA media, myself included, thought Rua won the fight after Craig had a great first round, but Rua made a comeback over the last ten minutes. The timing feels right for a rematch as both have fought just once since, both scoring wins. Rua is a legend in the sport and has talked about nearing the end of his career, and a win would keep him going as he looks to make one more run at the title. A win for Craig would be the biggest win of his career and put him near the top ten in the rankings. Hopefully, we get a winner after this one is all said and done.

Preliminary Card
Start Time: 6:30 PM eastern time, 3:30 PM pacific time
Where To Watch: ESPN2 & ESPN+

Flyweights: Brandon Moreno vs. Brandon Royval

Overall Records: Moreno 17-5-1, Royval 12-4
UFC Records:
Moreno 5-2-1, Royval 2-0
Last Fight: Moreno def. Formiga, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 28 (3/14/20), Royval def. Kara-France, R2 SUB, UFC 253 (9/26/20)
Last Five Fights: Moreno 3-1-1, Royval 4-1
Rankings: Moreno #2, Royval #6
Betting Odds: Moreno -185, Royval +160
Preview: A flyweight title eliminator is in the featured prelim spot as Moreno and Royval look to stamp their claim as next in line to face the winner of the main event. An impressive win by either could lead to a discussion on whether Cody Garbrandt should get the title fight when he is healthy. Moreno is coming in off a big win over Jussier Formiga in March, while Royval is coming off a submission win over Kai Kara-France in September in one of the most exciting fights of the year. Both men should look to hit the 125-pound mark just in case something happens to either main event fighter. As a matchup, this has fireworks potential as Moreno always brings a lot of energy and is a brawler while Royval’s striking has been improving. Both are really good on the ground as well. If this happens as scheduled, it could be the best fight on the card.

Middleweights: Joaquin Buckley vs. Jordan Wright

Overall Records: Buckley 11-3, Wright 11-0 1 NC
UFC Records:
Buckley 1-1, Wright 1-0
Last Fight: Buckley def. Kasanganay, R2 KO, UFC On ESPN+ 37 (10/10/20), Wright def. Villanueva, R1 TKO, UFC On ESPN 15 (8/22/20)
Last Five Fights: Buckley 3-2, Wright 4-0 1 NC
Betting Odds: Buckley -260, Wright +220
Preview: Viral sensation Buckley is making a quick turnaround from his Knockout Of The Year of Impa Kasanganay in October to try and hand Wright the first loss of his career. Buckley notched his first UFC win with the spinkick knockout heard around the world and he was eager to get right back to work. Wright made his UFC debut in August on short notice, finishing Ike Villanueva despite being undersized against him at light heavyweight. He moves back to his natural weight class, 185 pounds. Wright is a good wrestler and a strong striker, as all eleven of his wins have come by finish, with ten in the first round. Buckley has eight wins by finish. Buckley may be the hot ticket right now due to the knockout, but Wright being a decent underdog has a lot of value there, and this fight is much closer than the betting odds suggest.

Women’s Flyweights: Antonina Shevchenko vs. Ariane Lipski

Overall Records: Shevchenko 8-2, Lipski 13-5
UFC Records:
Shevchenko 2-2, Lipski 2-2
Last Fight: Chookagian def. Shevchenko, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 9 (5/30/20), Lipski def. Carolina, R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 30 (7/18/20)
Last Five Fights: Shevchenko 3-2, Lipski 3-2
Rankings: Shevchenko #15
Betting Odds: Shevchenko -150, Lipski +130
Preview: A pair of women’s flyweights with 2–2 records square off as Shevchenko looks to get an early win for the family over Lipski in a prelim fight. Shevchenko is coming off a disappointing loss to Katlyn Chookagian, where she was dominated on the mat, in May. Lipski is coming off her first stoppage win in the UFC, submitting Luana Carolina in July. Despite being nine years younger, Lipski has the experience edge on Shevchenko and is much more dangerous both on the feet and on the ground, and there’s a reason she’s been called “The Queen Of Violence.” She hasn’t had a huge chance to show that off inside the Octagon, but the matchup with Shevchenko looks to favor her game. This should be an interesting fight setting the stage for the co-main event.

Welterweights: Daniel Rodriguez vs. Nicolas Dalby

Overall Records: Rodriguez 13-1, Dalby 18-4-1 1 NC
UFC Records:
Rodriguez 3-0, Dalby 2-4-1
Last Fight: Rodriguez def. Grant, R1 KO, UFC On ESPN 15 (8/22/20), Ronson def. Dalby, R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN 14 (7/25/20)
Last Five Fights: Rodriguez 5-0, Dalby 3-1 1 NC
Betting Odds: Rodriguez -250, Dalby +210
Preview: Rodriguez is coming into this fight as a replacement for Orion Cosce, who was forced out due to injury. Rodriguez was scheduled to compete on last weekend’s card, so it isn’t a short-notice fight, but it is a much more dangerous fight for Dalby to take as Rodriguez is on a nine-fight win streak, and has looked impressive during his three UFC fights. Dalby is having to switch his focus from the newcomer Cosce to a vicious striker, but he has always been a fighter looking to put on exciting fights and give his all. Dalby is coming off a disappointing loss in July and wants to get back into the win column badly. This has the makings of a very exciting fight with two welterweights hungry to move up the ladder.

Welterweights: Alan Jouban vs. Jared Gooden

Overall Records: Jouban 16-7, Gooden 17-4
UFC Records:
Jouban 7-5, Gooden UFC Debut
Last Fight: Grant def. Jouban, SDEC, UFC 236 (4/13/19), Gooden def. McCown, R2 TKO, Titan FC 62 (7/23/20)
Last Five Fights: Jouban 2-3, Gooden 4-1
Betting Odds: Jouban -115, Gooden -105
Preview: Jouban returns after being out of action for over a year-and-a-half to welcome newcomer Gooden to the Octagon. After starting his UFC career with a 6–2 record, Jouban has lost three of his last four and has been hampered by a string of injuries and having to deal with COVID earlier in the year, which pushed his return back. He has only fought once in each of the last two years, so he hasn’t been very active. In that same time frame, Gooden has fought eleven times, but this is his UFC debut, so it is a step up in competition. He has 13 wins by finish, but has only fought one UFC veteran over his career. Jouban will be looking to lean on his experience to show that he still has some gas left in the tank.

Middleweights: Kyle Daukaus vs. Dustin Stoltzfus

Overall Records: Daukaus 9-1, Stoltzfus 13-1
UFC Records:
Daukaus 0-1, Stoltzfus UFC Debut
Last Fight: Allen def. Daukaus, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 12 (6/27/20), Stoltzfus def. Pyfer, R1 TKO, Dana White’s Contender Series 28 (8/11/20)
Last Five Fights: Daukaus 4-1, Stoltzfus 5-0
Betting Odds: Daukaus -230, Stoltzfus +190
Preview: Daukaus is looking to rebound from the first loss of his career as he welcome Contender Series alum Stoltzfus for his UFC debut. Daukuas had won the first nine fights of his career, but he made his UFC debut on short notice in June, dropping a decision to a tough Brendan Allen. Stoltzfus won on the Contender Series in August to earn his contract, and enters the UFC on a ten-fight win streak. This is an interesting fight, as Daukuas is a strong ground fighter, with eight of his nine wins coming by submission. Stoltzfus will have his work cut out for him in his debut, but this could be a sneakily good fight.

Welterweights: Louis Cosce vs. Sasha Palatnikov

Overall Records: Cosce 7-0, Palatnikov 5-2
UFC Records: Both making their UFC debuts
Last Fight: Cosce def. Reyna, R1 TKO, Dana White’s Contender Series 29 (8/18/20), Palatnikov def. Henrique, R1 TKO, UAE Warriors 13 (9/25/20)
Last Five Fights: Cosce 5-0, Palatnikov 4-1
Betting Odds: Cosce -350, Palatnikov +290
Preview: Cosce and Palatnikov are a pair of debuting welterweights who get the opening slot on the show. Cosce was going to compete alongside his brother on the card, but he’s going to have to go it alone on this one. He comes into this fight undefeated, with all seven of his wins coming by stoppage inside the first round. Palatnikov doesn’t have a shining record, as he is only 5–2, and isn’t currently on a win streak, but he did capture the attention of Dana White and others with a big knockout in September in Abu Dhabi, which netted him this UFC opportunity. This isn’t a flashy matchup, and neither man may be ready for the big UFC spotlight, but this is each man’s chance to score an impressive win.

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