As Andy Ruiz Jr. shocked the boxing world this past weekend beating Anthony Joshua becoming the first Mexican heavyweight boxing champion, a group of top-level Hispanic fighters look to make some notable news of their own this weekend in the mixed martial arts world.
This Saturday night live from the United Center in Chicago, Ill, the UFC returns to the Windy City for UFC 238: Cejudo vs Moraes and brings some of its best Mexican fighters for some of the biggest match ups of the year so far.
In the main event of the evening, current flyweight champion, Henry Cejudo (14-2) looks to add his name to the short list of “champ-champs” in the organization as he takes on heavy hitter, or more specifically, heavy kicker, Marlon Moraes (22-5-1) for the vacant bantamweight title. The title was held by TJ Dillashaw, but was given up by him last March when USADA found something adverse in his testing.
The co-main event of the night seems to be getting more traction and attention, even being dubbed, “The People’s Main Event, as Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (24-3) takes on Donald Cerrone (36-11, 1NC) in a lightweight match up that if history repeats itself with these guys, will sure to leave some of the night’s biggest highlights. Ferguson is coming off a nine-month layoff after his win over Anthony Pettis last October in a fight that was Fight of the Night and pretty much Fight of the Year. Cerrone on the other hand has only had four weeks since his last fight where he beat Al Iaquinta after five grueling rounds. Cerrone has won his last three fights since becoming a Dad and attributes fighting for his son to his new winning ways and has made some comments that if he beats Ferguson this weekend, he is coming for the lightweight title next.
Tatiana Suarez (7-0) has already made quite the name for herself in the UFC in the three short years she has been in the organization. Winning TUF 23 in 2016, she has chipped away at the top ten of her division putting herself in the number two spot as she faces Nina Ansaroff (10-5) this weekend. With Rose Namajunas losing the title a few weeks ago thus shaking up the division, a win over Ansaroff could set up a title fight for her against current champion, Jessica Andrade this fall.
The preliminary card also hosts a couple fighters who are looking to get back to consistent winning ways in the organization. Alexa Grasso (10-2), has gone 2-2 since making her move from Invicta FC to the UFC strawweight division in 2016 and will face Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-4) this weekend. Grasso will look to get back to her bully-like fighting style that she was known for in Invicta and as KK has never been known to be a brawler type of fighter, this may be the fight that Grasso needs to get back to the top ten in her division. KK is coming off two losses, so a win for her is a must this weekend as well. And a Chicago card wouldn’t be complete without having Chicago-native, Ricardo Lamas (19-7) on the card as he faces Calvin Kattar (19-3) in the featherweight division. Lamas had a quiet 2018, going 1-1 for the year.
With the UFC announcing last month that they would be returning to Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City for a fifth time on September 21st for UFC on ESPN+, seeing some of these names again would not be a surprise at all as they are some of the biggest Latin stars in the organization right now and this weekend’s action may be just a taste of what we will see later this year in Mexico.
UFC 238: Cejudo vs Moraes is Saturday, June 8th, live from the United Center in Chicago, Ill. Prelims: 7pm on ESPN. Main card: 9pm on PPV.
Photo credit: UFC