This weekend, the UFC touches down in Dallas, Texas, for UFC 228– an astronomical card that highlights some of MMA’s toughest ladies. Check out a full breakdown of the action below.
3-round bantamweight bout
#12 Irene Aldana (8-4) vs #13 Lucie pudilova (8-2)
ufc fight pass prelims, 6 pm est
After a UFC 227 bout with Bethe Correia fell out, Mexico’s Irene Aldana finds her next opponent in Czech Republic’s Lucie Pudilova. Both fighters are crafty strikers who have engaged in FOTN-worthy brawls. Aldana is an orthodox boxer who possess solid power in her punches and great head movement while Pudilova is a rangy striker with a wide stance and a fantastic jab. This is a clash of striking styles that could propel one of these fighters into the bantamweight top ten.
Aldana will look to score a second consecutive Octagon victory. After a rough start to her UFC career with decision losses to Leslie Smith and Katlyn Chookagian, Aldana bounced back with a dominant victory over Talita Bernardo. Pudilova enters the bout riding a two-fight win streak– impressive decision wins over Ji Yeon Kim and Sarah Moras after losing her UFC debut versus Lina Lansberg.
3-round strawweight bout
#6 Carla Esparza (14-5) vs #9 Tatiana Suarez (7-0)
fs1 prelims, 8 pm est
The first-ever UFC strawweight champion returns to the Octagon to take on surging contender and TUF 23 winner, Tatiana Suarez. Esparza and Suarez are two of the very best wrestlers at 115-pounds. “Cookie Monster”, a TUF winner herself, ran through the competition using her wrestling pedigree but has since evolved her boxing and footwork to round out her skills. The undefeated Suarez is often compared to Khabib Nurmagomedov, for her relentless pressure and top control. This is somewhat of a crossroads bout and a great test for both competitors. Who will impose their will transitions and scrambles?
Esparza enters the bout coming off a controversial split-decision loss to Claudia Gadelha. The loss snapped a two-fight streak for her that saw her defeat Maryna Moroz and Cynthia Calvillo. After submitting Amanda Cooper to win TUF 23, Suarez was out of action for over a year due to injury. She returned in 2017 and racked up back-to-back– a dominant decision over Viviane Pereira and a first-round sub over Alexa Grasso.
3-round strawweight bout
#2 jessica andrade (18-6) vs #4 Karolina kowalkiewicz (13-2)
PPV main card, 10 pm est
This is a high-stakes bout that
will should no doubt determine the next title challenger for Rose Namajunas. Both fighters like to pressure and move forward. “Bate Estaca”, who once competed as a bantamweight, is a powerhouse at 115. She is a threat anywhere— a strong wrestler with devastating ground and pound and a slick guillotine, and also a wild brawler who likes to throw a barrage of winging hooks. Kowalkiewicz is a volume striker with great movement who overwhelms her opposition. She is fantastic in the clinch with knees and elbows and is deceptively strong. This will likely be a war as both know what’s on the line.
Andrade’s only defeat at strawweight comes to the former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She enters this fight off back-to-back wins over Claudia Gadelha and Tecia Torres. KK enters with a streak of her own, having beaten Jodie Esquibel in Gdańsk and Felice Herrig in Brooklyn.
5-round flyweight championship bout
(C) Nicco Montano (5-2) vs #1 Valentina Shevchenko (15-3)
PPV main card, co-main event, 10 pm est
The largest underdog on the entire card is the flyweight champion, Nicco Montano. Montano is no stranger to being the underdog though, as she showed during hear tear through the TUF House. Though she is young in her career, Montano is gritty fighter who can fight at any pace. The odds may not be as extreme if it weren’t Valentina across the cage from her. One can argue that Valentina should have won the bantamweight title at UFC 213 from Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko is best known for her Muay Thai prowess but has shown that she is a complete fighter with finishing abilities everywhere during her Octagon tenure. Will Valentina live up to the odds or will Montano shock the masses?
Montano hasn’t been in action since her title winning fight versus Roxane Modafferi last a year due to a plethora of unfortunate injuries keeping her sidelined. Shevchenko debuted in the flyweight division in February, devastating Priscila Cachoeira and staking her claim in the division.