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Guide To UFC On ESPN 17: Santos vs. Teixeira

Getting prepared for UFC On ESPN 17 this coming Saturday? Here is everything you need to know about the event with our Guide to UFC on ESPN 17.

UFC On ESPN 17
Date: November 7, 2020
Location: UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

Main Card
Start Time: 10 PM eastern time, 7 PM pacific time
Where To Watch: ESPN and ESPN+

Light Heavyweights: Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira

Overall Records: Santos 21-7, Teixeira 31-7
UFC Records: Santos 13-6, Teixeira 14-5
Last Fight: Jones def. Santos (title fight), SDEC, UFC 239 (7/6/19), Teixeira def. Smith, R5 TKO, UFC On ESPN+ 29 (5/13/20)
Last Five Fights: Santos 4-1. Teixeira 4-1
Rankings: Santos #1, Teixeira #3
Betting Odds: Santos -225, Teixeira +185
Preview: After being pushed back twice due to both fighters contracting COVID, the long-awaited showdown between Santos and Teixeira headlines on Saturday. It is thought that this fight was going to be a title eliminator, but after Dana White recently announced that Jan Blachowicz would defend the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Israel Adesanya, what happens to the winner is up in the air. Santos is fighting for the first time since suffering major knee and leg injuries in his title shot against Jon Jones in July 2019, and a win for him may not mean he’s ready for another title shot. Teixeira comes into this fight having won four straight, and he should absolutely be in a title fight with a win here. This is a very interesting fight that has some explosive potential to be a barn burner.

Heavyweights: Andrei Arlovski vs. Tanner Boser

Overall Records: Arlovski 29-19 2 NC, Boser 19-6-1
UFC Records: Arlovski 18-13 1 NC, Boser 3-1
Last Fight: Arlovski def. Lins, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 29 (5/13/20), Boser def. Pessoa, R2 TKO, UFC On ESPN 14 (7/25/20)
Last Five Fights: Arlovski 2-2 1 NC, Boser 4-1
Betting Odds: Arlovski +220, Boser -260
Preview: The co-main event sees veteran against prospect as former UFC Heavyweight Champion Arlovski looks to halt the momentum of fast-rising prospect Boser, who got a fair amount of attention over the summer by taking fights on short notice and scoring two knockout wins over the span of 28 days, and for cutting some fun post-fight promos. Arlovski found himself back in the win column after his last outing, which was his best overall performance in quite some time. Arlovski needs to avoid being hit as Boser has power, so this is a real interesting test at this stage for both men.

Bantamweights: Raoni Barcelos vs. Khalid Taha

Overall Records: Barcelos 15-1, Taha 13-2 1 NC
UFC Records: Barcelos 4-0, Taha 1-1 1 NC
Last Fight: Barcelos def. Nurmagomedov, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 23 (12/21/19), Taha NC Silva, UFC 243 (9/7/19)
Last Five Fights: Barcelos 5-0, Taha 2-2 1 NC
Betting Odds: Barcelos -325, Taha +250
Preview: Barcelos accepts a short-notice assignment to take on Taha as he looks to break into the UFC rankings at 135 pounds. He took this fight on about ten days’ notice to make his first Octagon appearance of 2020. Taha is fighting for the first time in over a year after having to serve a one-year USADA suspension. Barcelos is on quite the streak as he’s won eight straight and 15 of his 16 career fights, with ten of his wins coming by finish. Taha has eleven wins by stoppage, but he’s only won two of his past five fights after winning his first eleven. Barcelos is a big favorite, and despite taking the fight on short notice, he looks to be the one who will have his hand raised on Saturday.

Middleweights: Ian Heinisch vs. Brendan Allen

Overall Records: Heinisch 14-3, Allen 15-3
UFC Records: Heinisch 3-2, Allen 3-0
Last Fight: Heinisch def. Meerschaert, R1 TKO, UFC 250 (6/6/20), Allen def. Daukaus, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 12 (6/27/20)
Last Five Fights: Heinisch 3-2, Allen 5-0
Rankings: Heinisch #15
Betting Odds: Heinisch +115, Allen -135
Preview: One of the best fights on the card sees a middleweight fight between 15th-ranked Heinisch and rising prospect Allen. They were scheduled to fight in June, but Heinisch had to pull out due to injury, and Allen went on to score a win. First a hot prospect at 185 pounds, Heinisch lost two straight before getting back into the win column in his last bout. Allen may be in the spot that Heinisch used to occupy as the best rising contender in the middleweight division as he’s landed seven straight wins, including his last three as a member of the UFC roster. A win by Heinisch could score him a top-ten opponent, while a win for Allen would likely get a subsequent ranking attached to his name. This has the makings of a fun and pivotal battle.

Women’s Strawweights: Claudia Gadelha vs. Yan Xiaonan

Overall Records: Gadelha 18-4, Xiaonan 12-1 1 NC
UFC Records: Gadelha 7-4, Xiaonan 5-0
Last Fight: Gadelha def. Hill, SDEC, UFC On ESPN 8 (5/16/20), Xiaonan def. Kowalkiewicz, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 26 (2/22/20)
Last Five Fights: Gadelha 3-2, Xiaonan 5-0
Rankings: Gadelha #4, Xiaonan #8
Betting Odds: Gadelha +115, Xiaonan -135
Preview: Gadelha, a former title challenger at 115 pounds, is looking to get another crack at the title, but she gets an opponent who has yet to suffer defeat in the UFC in Xiaonan. Gadelha was lucky to escape with a win over Angela Hill in her last fight, but it still marked her second straight win, and she puts herself in the mix when it comes to who challenges Zhang Weili next with a win here. Xiaonan has won all five of her UFC bouts thus far, besting opponents including Hill and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. She has yet to score a finish in UFC, but she’s looking impressive so far, though Gadelha represents the toughest opponent to date for her. This might not be the most exciting fight on the card, but it is an interesting battle nonetheless.

Preliminary Card
Start Time: 7 PM eastern time, 4 PM pacific time
Where To Watch: ESPN+

Middleweights: Trevin Giles vs. Bevon Lewis

Overall Records: Giles 12-2, Lewis 7-2
UFC Records: Giles 3-2, Lewis 1-2
Last Fight: Giles def. Krause, SDEC, UFC 247 (2/8/20), Lewis def. Townsend, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 24 (1/25/20)
Last Five Fights: Giles 3-2, Lewis 3-2
Betting Odds: Giles +100, Lewis -120
Preview: Two middleweights looking to score their second straight wins battle in the featured prelim. Both men ended two-fight losing skids in the previous bout, as Giles scored a close win over James Krause in February, while Lewis scored a decision win over Dequan Townsend in January. This is a pretty close fight on paper, and as the odds show, is basically a pick ’em fight. Giles is a good wrestler but Lewis is better on the feet. This is a nice fight between some young and hungry fighters.

Featherweights: Giga Chikadze vs. Jamey Simmons

Overall Records: Chikadze 11-2, Simmons 6-2
UFC Records: Chikadze 4-0, Simmons UFC debut
Last Fight: Chikadze def. Morales, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 37 (10/10/20), Simmons def. Sickinger, R1 KO, Pure FC 16 (12/7/19)
Last Five Fights: Chikadze 5-0, Simmons 4-1
Betting Odds: Chikadze -485, Simmons +350
Preview: This fight was made on short notice and features Simmons making his UFC debut. Chikadze wasn’t scheduled for this card, but was offered a fight against Arnold Allen after Allen’s opponent, Jeremy Stephens, was forced out due to injury, but Allen declined the fight. They got Chikadze a fight, and he should be a huge favorite to win it. Chikadze is riding a six-fight win streak and is a perfect 4-0 in the UFC, and has been showing great improvement in each return visit to the Octagon. Simmons only has eight career fights on his record, and four of his six wins have come by stoppage, but Chikadze is by far the toughest opponent he has faced.

Heavyweights: Alexandr Romanov vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima

Overall Records: Romanov 12-0, Rogerio de Lima 17-6-1
UFC Records: Romanov 1-0, Rogerio de Lima 6-4
Last Fight: Romanov def. Martinez, R2 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 35 (9/12/20), Rogerio de Lima def. Sosoli, R1 TKO, UFC On ESPN+ 26 (2/22/20)
Last Five Fights: Romanov 5-0, Rogerio de Lima 3-2
Betting Odds: Romanov -275, Rogerio de Lima +235
Preview: A heavyweight bout that was originally slated to take place in September gets rescheduled for this event as Romanov looks to remain undefeated. They were supposed to fight on the 9/5 card, but the fight was cancelled on fight day after Rogerio de Lima tested positive for the coronavirus. Romanov ended up making his UFC debut a week later, scoring a win and running his record to a perfect 12-0 with twelve finishes. Rogerio de Lima has traded wins and losses over his last nine UFC bouts, so history says this fight will go against him, and Romanov is a pretty solid favorite. I favor Romanov to get another finish in this one.

Featherweights: Darren Elkins vs. Eduardo Garagorri

Overall Records: Elkins 24-9, Garagorri 13-1
UFC Records: Elkins 14-8, Garagorri 1-1
Last Fight: Landwehr def. Elkins, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 8 (5/16/20), Ramos def. Garagorri, R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 22 (11/16/19)
Last Five Fights: Elkins 1-4, Garagorri 4-1
Betting Odds: Elkins -210, Garagorri +175
Preview: Elkins, a hard-nosed UFC veteran known for some exciting and bloody battles, looks to end a four-fight losing skid when he takes on the young Garagorri, who looks to rebound from his first career loss. There is a huge difference in experience between the two as Elkins has 22 Octagon appearances since 2010, and Garagorri didn’t even make his professional debut until exactly five years later. Elkins is a grinder who will take an opponent down and smother them from the top, and he isn’t afraid to bleed. Garagorri hasn’t fought in nearly a year and this is a tough match-up for him. This feels like a fight made to get Elkins back into the win column.

Welterweights: Max Griffin vs. Ramiz Brahimaj

Overall Records: Griffin 15-8, Brahimaj 8-2
UFC Records: Griffin 3-6, Brahimaj UFC debut
Last Fight: Oliveira def. Griffin, SDEC, UFC 248 (3/7/20), Brahimaj def. Martinez, R1 SUB, LFA 62 (3/22/19)
Last Five Fights: Griffin 1-4, Brahimaj 3-2
Betting Odds: Griffin -170, Brahimaj +150
Preview: Griffin will be looking to end his two-fight losing skid when he welcomes the UFC newcomer Brahimaj to the Octagon. Griffin has had some exciting and close fights, but he has lost four of his last five. His highest-profile win came over Mike Perry in February 2018, and despite eight losses on his mark, Griffin has only been finished once in his career. Brahimaj was originally scheduled to make his UFC debut in June, but was pulled from his fight after a cornerman tested positive for the coronavirus. Fighting out of the Fortis MMA camp in Dallas, Brahimaj hasn’t fought since March 2019, but all eight of his professional wins have come by submission.

Bantamweights: Gustavo Lopez vs. Anthony Birchak

Overall Records: Lopez 11-5, Birchak 15-6
UFC Records: Lopez 0-1, Birchak 2-2
Last Fight: Dvalishvili def. Lopez, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 10 (6/13/20), Birchak def. Montini de Lima, R1 SUB, LFA 72 (7/26/19)
Last Five Fights: Lopez 3-2, Birchak 2-3
Betting Odds: Lopez +105, Birchak -125
Preview: The opening fight of the card sees Birchak making his return to the UFC for a second stint on short notice. Lopez was originally scheduled to fight Felipe Colares, but Colares was forced out after testing positive for the coronavirus. Birchak stepped in early in the week to make his first Octagon appearance in over four years. Birchak went 2-2 during his first UFC stint and ended it with a win, but his contract wasn’t renewed. He spent his next five fights in other organizations, going 2-3, but has won two straight fights. He hasn’t fought in over a year while Lopez is looking to get into the UFC win column after a tough loss to Merab Dvalishvili in his debut in June. This has the potential to be a fireworks fight and is a very good opener to the card.

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