The UFC returns to Anaheim for the first pay-per-view of the year with UFC 270. Saturday’s card is headlined by a much-anticipated heavyweight title fight between former training partners Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane. The co-main event features the trilogy fight for the flyweight title between current champion Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo.
UFC 270 Prelim Card
While most prelims for big events are stacked, this one isn’t exactly the case minus a few prospects looking to take a step forward in the rankings.
Opening the event is a women's flyweight bout between Kay Hansen and Jasmine Jasudavicius. Expect a win for the American prospect Hansen who is a solid favorite. A lightweight contest between Matt Frevola and UFC debuting Mexican Genaro Valdez adds to the early prelims.
Women's strawweights are also in action as Silvana Gomez Juarez meets Vanessa Demopoulos. It’s a close contest, but American Demopoulos is a moderate favorite to come out on top.
Mexican Michael Morales is a favorite as he takes on Trevin Giles in welterweight action and is expected to remain undefeated. Tony Gravely collides with Salmon Oliveira in a bantamweight tilt. Gravely should return to the win column over the Brazilian in this encounter.
Welterweight prospect Jack Della Maddelena is a massive favorite as he takes on short notice opponent Pete Rodriguez. Maddelena was initially expected to face veteran Warlley Alves, but he will get the American with only 4 professional fights.
Featherweight prospects Ilia Topuria and Charles Jourdain meet in a fan-friendly battle. Topuria was initially expected to face Movsar Evloev, but will now be a heavy favorite against Jourdain who steps in on short notice. Spain’s Topuria is undefeated and one to watch!
Raoni Barcelos meets Victor Henry in a bantamweight bout. Barcelos lost in his last outing, but should return to the win column with a victory against Henry. Rodolfo Vieira takes on Wellington Turman in a middleweight bout. Vieira should make it four wins in five in the UFC in this Brazilian versus Brazilian affair.
UFC 270 Main Card
Former NFL Superstar Greg Hardy was set for a min card appearance, but a finger injury has forced the heavyweight to pull out of his planned bout with Serghei Spivac.
Cody Stamann (19-4-1) v Said Nurmagomedov (14-2)
An intriguing bantamweight battle opens up the UFC 270 main card as Cody Stamann takes on the rising Said Nurmagomedov. Stamann is currently experiencing the first losing skid of his career as he has lost his last two outings to Jimmie Rivera and Merab Dvalishvili.
The American won't face an easy task in Nurmagomedov who recently returned to the win column with a knockout victory over Mark Striegl. Overall, the Dagestan native is 3-1 with the UFC and it’s hard to see him not make it 4-1 as Nurmagomedov is favored to come out on top.
Michel Pereira (26-11, 2NC) v Andre Fialho (14-3, 1NC)
Michel Pereira battles Andre Fialho in a welterweight contest. Although initially known for just his antics and flashiness, Pereira has shown a more well-rounded and even approach to his game and that has translated into victories. The Brazilian has won his last three outings including wins over Zelim Imadaev, Khaos Williams and Niko Price.
One more win against Fialho could see him crack the top 15. Fialho will be looking to prevent that, but it won't be easy. Although undefeated in his last four outings, Fialho is making his UFC debut and given Pereira’s momentum, it’s unlikely he will emerge victorious. Pereira is a solid favorite and should get the victory.
Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) v Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1)
A trilogy between current flyweight champion Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo co-headlines the event. The pair first fought each other at UFC 256 in December 2020 where after a back-and-forth battle in one of the best flyweight fights of all time, it was declared a draw.
Figuiredo was notably deducted a point for a groin strike and many felt he would win the rematch. However, the underdog Moreno came in with a solid game plan and was never in any real trouble as he submitted Figueiredo in the third round of their UFC 263 title rematch to become the new 125-pound champion.
They will now settle the rivalry once and for all at UFC 270. Figueiredo had his excuses for why he didn’t win the first two times, but will always remain a threat with his fight-ending power and dangerous ground game.
However, Moreno seems to have leveled up as a fighter and given how definitively he won their second meeting, it’s no surprise to see oddsmakers have him as a slight favorite. Get your popcorn ready and enjoy this bout, which could see either fighter leave with the strap.
Francis Ngannou (16-3) v Cyril Gane (10-0)
The main event sees Francis Ngannou take on Ciryl Gane in a heavyweight title unification clash. Ngannou is on a five-fight winning streak that culminated in him becoming the heavyweight champion after knocking Stipe Miocic out in the second round of their title fight last year.
It was notably revenge for Ngannou who suffered a lopsided defeat to Miocic back in January 2020. However, this time, Ngannou showed a more well-rounded game as he defended Miocic’s takedown attempt, was more patient and displayed good boxing.
Gane, meanwhile, has been on a roll as he remains undefeated in the UFC, having gone 7-0 since making his promotional debut in 2019. With wins over Junior dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov.
Gane earned the chance to become an interim heavyweight champion against Derrick Lewis at UFC 265 in September. It was easy work for the French fighter who TKO’d Lewis in the third round to set up a meeting with his former training partner.
Gane is probably the most well-rounded and technical heavyweight in the division today and given how he’s performed so far, it’s not a surprise that he is a slight favorite over the heavy hitting Ngannou.
However, Ngannou’s right hand is still arguably the most powerful in MMA and will always give him a shot, especially if the fight gets into close quarters. Gane will have to be perfect and keep his distance for as long as the fight goes.
I like a play on NGannou to land a fight-ending punch within the 25-minute bout. Go with the underdog in this one.
About Ryan O’Leary
Ryan O’Leary is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist and commentator. The Swedish-based writer is the founder and editor at MMAViking.com, which is the premier source for Nordic mixed martial arts news since 2008.