Getting prepared for UFC On ESPN+ 40 this coming Saturday? Here is everything you need to know about the event with our Guide to UFC On ESPN+ 40.
UFC On ESPN+ 40
Date: November 14, 2020
Location: UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada
Start Time: 7 PM eastern time, 4 PM pacific time
Where To Watch: ESPN+
Lightweights: Paul Felder vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
Overall Records: Felder 17-5, Dos Anjos 29-13
UFC Records: Felder 9-5, Dos Anjos 18-11
Last Fight: Hooker def. Felder, SDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 26 (2/22/20), Chiesa def. Dos Anjos, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 24 (1/25/20)
Last Five Fights: Felder 3-2, Dos Anjos 1-4
Rankings: Felder #7, Dos Anjos #12 (welterweight)
Preview: This wasn’t supposed to be the main event since Dos Anjos was originally scheduled to fight Islam Makhachev in the headlining bout. Makhachev was forced out of the fight on Sunday due to staph infection, and in the mad scramble to get an opponent for Dos Anjos, in stepped Felder.
Felder takes the fight on five days’ notice, and it will remain at 155 pounds and a five-round fight, which shows the testament and will of Felder, who was training for a triathlon. He was scheduled to do color commentary for this show, so he has been studying Dos Anjos for his prep work for that job.
This is a very interesting fight as both men are looking to find some footing at 155 pounds and the winner could find themselves right in the mix as the contenders line up to try and make claim to fighting for what could be a vacant title at lightweight.
Welterweights: Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Khaos Williams
Overall Records: Alhassan 10-2, Williams 10-1
UFC Records: Alhassan 4-2, Williams 1-0
Last Fight: Lazzez def. Alhassan, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 13 (7/15/20), Williams def. Morono, R1 KO, UFC 247 (2/8/20)
Last Five Fights: Alhassan 3-2, Williams 5-0
Betting Odds: Alhassan -235, Williams +195
Preview: This might not be the strongest second from the top fight there’s been, but it has plenty of potential for fireworks as both Alhassan and Williams are violent punchers with penchants for finishing fights. All ten of Alhassan’s wins have come by knockout, while five of the ten wins in Williams’ career have come by knockout. Alhassan had a disappointing return to the Octagon after a long layoff in July and is eager to get back into the win column and show the potential he has. Williams is making just his second appearance with the UFC, but is looking to extend his seven-fight win streak. This has potentional to bea very violent fight.
Middleweights: Julian Marquez vs. Saparbeg Safarov
Overall Records: Marquez 7-2, Safarov 9-3
UFC Records: Marquez 1-1, Safarov 1-3
Last Fight: Di Chirico def. Marquez, SDEC, TUF 27 Finale (7/6/18), Vieira def. Safarov, R1 SUB, UFC 248 (3/7/20)
Last Five Fights: Marquez 4-1, Safarov 2-3
Betting Odds: Marquez -275, Safarov +235
Preview: Marquez is returning from being out of action for over two years due to various injuries as he looks to get back into the win column against Safarov, who has dropped three of his last four after starting his career 8-0. All seven of Marquez’ wins ended with finishes, including six wins via knockout, plus he’s had plenty of time to work on improving since he is based in Las Vegas.
Safarov either wins or loses big, as eight of his nine wins have been finish, but he himself has also been finished in all three of his losses. I favor Marquez in this fight, but Safarov isn’t to be taken lightly.
Women’s Strawweights: Kay Hansen vs. Cory McKenna
Overall Records: Hansen 7-3, McKenna 5-1
UFC Records: Hansen 1-0, McKenna UFC Debut
Last Fight: Hansen def. Frey, R3 SUB, UFC On ESPN 12 (6/27/20), McKenna def. Demopoulos, UDEC, Dana White’s Contender Series 28 (8/11/20)
Last Five Fights: Hansen 4-1, McKenna 4-1
Betting Odds: Hansen -225, McKenna +185
Preview: A pair of 21-year-old strawweights get the main card featured spot as Hansen and McKenna look to establish themselves as future contenders at 115 pounds. This will be Hansen’s second Octagon appearance as she submitted Jinh Yu Frey in her debut in June. It is McKenna’s UFC debut as she was signed following an impressive win during the Contender Series in August. Hansen is an excellent ground fighter with four of her seven wins coming by submission. McKenna should be no slouch on the ground as she comes from the Team Alpha Male camp, but, despite being a little over a month older than Hansen, it is Hansen with the experience edge. These two should be strawweight staples for the next ten-to-fifteen years and this might not be the first time these two fight.
Middleweights: Eryk Anders vs. Antonio Arroyo
Overall Records: Anders 13-5, Arroyo 9-3
UFC Records: Anders 5-5, Arroyo 0-1
Last Fight: Jotko def. Anders, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 8 (5/16/20), Muniz def. Arroyo, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 22 (11/16/19)
Last Five Fights: Anders 2-3, Arroyo 4-1
Betting Odds: Anders -155, Arroyo +135
Preview: Two middleweights looking to get back into the win column square off in this contest. Anders looked to be destined for big things when he entered the UFC as an 8–0 fighter, but after wins in three of his first four UFC fights, the former football player has lost four of his last six fights. Arroyo is looking to get his first UFC win in his second appearance after a loss a year ago in his debut. Both men like to look for a finish as Anders has nine wins by finish and Arroyo has eight wins by finish. This could be a fun fight, but at the same time, don’t be surprised if it ends up going the distance.
195-Pound Catchweights: Brendan Allen vs. Sean Strickland
Overall Records: Allen 15-3, Strickland 21-3
UFC Records: Allen 3-0, Strickland 8-3
Last Fight: Allen def. Daukaus, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 12 (6/27/20), Strickland def. Marshman, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 39 (10/31/20)
Last Five Fights: Allen 5-0, Strickland 3-2
Betting Odds: Allen -110, Strickland -110
Preview: A fight put together earlier in the week will open the main card when middleweight prospects Allen and Strickland square off. Allen was supposed to compete on last weekend’s card, but his fight against Ian Heinisch was cancelled the day of the show. Luckily, they kept him in Las Vegas and got him quickly re-booked for this show.
Strickland is making a quick turnaround after fighting just two weeks ago, when he scored a dominant win over Jack Marshman in his first fight in over two years. After missing so much time, he was eager to get back into the Octagon quickly, and he gets his wish.
This has potential to be a great fight on paper as both are really solid middleweights who won’t have to worry about cutting the extra weight. Allen is someone that many are very high on, but Strickland shouldn’t be overlooked. It may have been put together quickly, but this is one of the more interesting fights on the card.
Start Time: 4 PM eastern time, 1 PM pacific time
Where To Watch: ESPN+
Women’s Strawweights: Ashley Yoder vs. Miranda Granger
Overall Records: Yoder 7-6, Granger 7-1
UFC Records: Yoder 2-5, Granger 1-1
Last Fight: Souza def. Yoder, UDEC, UFC 252 (8/15/20), Lemos def. Granger, R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 23 (12/21/19)
Last Five Fights: Yoder 2-3, Granger 4-1
Betting Odds: Yoder -115, Granger -105
Preview: Yoder is fighting for the second time in three months while Granger fights for the first time in 2020 in this prelim bout between two strawweights looking to get back into the win column. Yoder had a close decision loss to Livinha Souza in August in a fight that many thought she had won. Granger is looking to rebound from her first career loss, which came to Amanda Lemos in December. Both women like to work on the mat and this could be an interesting grappling battle, but neither is likely to take many chances as both are trying to avoid a losing streak.
Welterweights: Alex Morono vs. Rhys McKee
Overall Records: Morono 17-6 1 NC, McKee 10-3-1
UFC Records: Morono 6-3 1 NC, McKee 0-1
Last Fight: Williams def. Morono, R1 KO, UFC 247 (2/8/20), Chimaev def. McKee, R1 TKO, UFC On ESPN 14 (7/25/20)
Last Five Fights: Morono 3-2, McKee 3-2
Betting Odds: Morono -200, McKee +170
Preview: McKee will be making his second Octagon appearance, this time coming on more than a week’s notice. The even better news for him is that he won’t be standing across from Khamzat Chimaev. That is not to say anything bad about Morono, who was putting together a nice little run of three straight wins before being knocked out by Khaos Williams in February. McKee is looking to show that he is better than Chimaev allowed him to be. Morono is trying to get back into the win column and show he is better than he gets credit for. This could be a nice little explosive fight with two men hungry to score a win.
Bantamweights: Jose Quinonez vs. Louis Smolka
Overall Records: Quinonez 8-4, Smolka 16-7
UFC Records: Quinonez 5-3, Smolka 7-7
Last Fight: O’Malley def. Quinonez, R1 TKO, UFC 248 (3/7/20), Kenney def. Smolka, R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN 9 (5/30/20)
Last Five Fights: Quinonez 3-2, Smolka 3-2
Betting Odds: Quinonez +120, Smolka -140
Preview: Generally a fight between two exciting 135-pound fighters on a lackluster card isn’t buried so deep on the prelims, but Quinonez and Smolka have an early opportunity to put on the best fight on the card. Quinonez is looking to get back to where he was prior to losing two of his last three when he was on a four-fight win streak. Smolka, in his second UFC stint, has yet to put together anything consistent, trading wins-and-losses in his four fights since returning. History would show that Smolka is due for a win. This feels like a must-win fight for both men, so that could bring some fireworks. This is definitely one of the more exciting match-ups on the card.
Women’s Strawweights: Randa Markos vs. Kanako Murata
Overall Records: Markos 10-9-1, Murata 11-1
UFC Records: Markos 6-8-1, Murata UFC Debut
Last Fight: Dern def. Markos, R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 36 (9/19/20), Murata def. Ducote, SDEC, Invicta FC 38 (11/1/19)
Last Five Fights: Markos 2-3, Murata 5-0
Betting Odds: Markos +155, Murata -175
Preview: Markos is taking this fight on just a week’s notice to face the debuting Murata in a prelim fight. Markos is looking to rebound from a disappointing submission loss to Mackenzie Dern in September. Murata is making her Octagon debut on the heels of seven straight wins, and she was the most-recent Invicta FC Women’s Strawweight Champion. Murata is a strong wrestler and a former Asian Wrestling Championships gold medalist. Markos finds herself in a must-win situation after losing three of her last four, but she has a tough task in Murata, and that’s without bringing up the short notice. Murata is the favorite in this one, and I expect her to look good in this one.
Bantamweights: Geraldo de Freitas vs. Tony Gravely
Overall Records: de Freitas 12-5, Gravely 19-6
UFC Records: de Freitas 1-1, Gravely 0-1
Last Fight: Gutierrez def. de Freitas, SDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 14 (8/10/19), Johns def. Gravely, R3 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 24 (1/25/20)
Last Five Fights: de Freitas 4-1, Gravely 4-1
Betting Odds: de Freitas +165, Gravely -190
Preview: Bantamweights looking to get back into the win column take up the second fight on the show. de Freitas had a successful UFC debut, but then dropped a decision to Chris Gutierrez in his last fight, which was 15 months ago. Gravely, who earned his UFC contract on the Contender Series, was submitted by Brett Johns in his UFC debut, a fight that he very well could’ve been on the way to get a win in. Gravely has faced some stiff competition over his career and I favor him in this fight, which could be an action-packed bout.
Heavyweights: Don’Tale Mayes vs. Roque Martinez
Overall Records: Mayes 7-4, Martinez 15-6-2
UFC Records: Mayes 0-2, Martinez 0-1
Last Fight: Nascimento def. Mayes, R2 SUB, UFC On ESPN 8 (5/16/20), Romanov def. Martinez, R2 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 35 (9/12/20)
Last Five Fights: Mayes 3-2, Martinez 3-2
Betting Odds: Mayes -200, Martinez +170
Preview: Two heavyweights who are winless in the UFC square off in the opening bout of the show. Mayes was an impressive heavyweight on the Contender Series, but is 0-for-2 during his UFC stint. He has a lot of power, as evidenced by his five knockout wins, but he has been finished in three of his four losses. I’m surprised that Martinez is getting a second UFC bout, as his loss to Alexandr Romanov in his debut in September wasn’t even a competitive fight, and he doesn’t fit the typical standards of what UFC fighters look like, and that’s saying something for a heavyweight. I expect this to be a fight that gets Mayes back in the win column, but Martinez is a tough out. This does have the potential to not be pretty, either.