UFC 275 key match-ups outside the main event including Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Glover Teixeira will be looking for hungry young contender Jiri Prochazka in the main event of UFC 275 this Saturday.
The light-heavyweights are at the top, but as always there are plenty of other interesting matchups for fans to sink their teeth into.
Valentina Shevchenko is out to defend her flyweight title against Talia Santos and if Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Zhang Weili can even come close to their first meeting, a treat awaits at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Here, sports post take a look at the best of the rest of the map…
UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Texeira (L) of Brazil and Jiri Prochazka fight in the main event, but there are plenty of other matchups for fans to enjoy
Valentina Shevchenko v Taila Santos
Women’s Flyweight Title Fight
The evening’s co-main event features one of the most impressive and dominant champions in the UFC.
Valentina Shevchenko’s attack is out of this world and has led her to eight straight wins since coming up short against Amanda Nunes.
As sharp as the hands and feet can be, the 34-year-old has rounded up her game to be exceptional everywhere and it would be a huge shock if Santos could disrupt the apple cart.
“The Bullet” is as comfortable a champion as the UFC is right now and is eager to re-test herself by moving up to bantamweight if she gets past Santos.
A trilogy with Amanda would be great, or a rematch against Julianna would be very interesting. I’m definitely open to one of those opportunities,” she said.
Valentina Shevchenko is a flyweight sensation and favorite to defend her title
‘Bullet’ is one of the most dominant feats in the UFC and so hard to beat
But she won’t take Saturday’s opponent lightly, saying, ‘I know how tough she is. Anything can happen and that’s why I put so much preparation into it.
“I have worked very hard with my team. I feel great, I feel strong and I am ready for the defense.”
Santos is not slow. She has only lost once in 20 fights and that was by split decision.
Her 205 significant strikes in the UFC are 74 more than she has absorbed, but that ratio will be tested to the limit on Saturday.
Santos could very well bring the best out of Shevchenko and that is definitely worth watching.
Taila Santos (top) knows she will enter the title race as a significant underdog
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Zhang Weili
Ladies straw weight
It can’t be as good as last time, right? The last time these two locked horns were just sensational, earning the Fight of the Year accolades for 2020.
Many believe that this is the greatest fight in female MMA history.
The statistics alone were staggering. Zhang and Jedrzejczyk combined for 351 significant strikes – the third most ever in a UFC fight (Max Holloway and Brian Ortega combined for 400 to top that list).
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (left) gears up for a rematch with Zhang Weili at UFC 275 this weekend
Zhang and Jedrzejczyk each scored 96 head strikes and 58 leg strikes; Jedrzejczyk shook the body 32 blows compared to Zhang’s 10.
The Polish star has already talked about the mistake of being sucked into a bloody war with her Chinese opponent.
So expect a more calculated approach this time. Vintage Jedrzejczyk is spotless and precise with her eye-catching.
She’ll try to hold and move, but there’s a chance the animal in her will take over and start another fight.
Either way, these two strawweights will hit 100mph from the first second and even if it can’t live up to the first fight, it should still be a cracker.
Weili from China and Jedrzejczyk from Poland can fight for centuries
Jack Della Maddalena vs Ramazan Emeev
There is a lot of hype surrounding the wonderfully named Australian Jack Della Maddalena.
He has won 11 in a row and has some nice tusks. Dana White rarely speaks of future prospects unless he is convinced of their potential.
But the UFC president described Della Maddalena as “special.” He looks every inch a fighter with a busted nose to show off his work so far.
Jack Della Maddalena is the latest exciting talent to come out of Australia
And with a background in boxing, it’s the feet where he feels most comfortable.
Emeev is a perfectly timed stepping stone in class for the man from Down Under.
He can kickbox well and time his takedowns well, so Maddalena will have to be wary of the range he plays with.
Patience will be the key for Maddalena. If he reaches too far and throws himself off balance, there’s a good chance he’ll end up on his back.
Victory would take the hype to another level and many eyes will be on the exciting 25 year old, who has a real platform to impress.
Ramazan Emeev (left) is a smart wrestler and will bring interesting problems
Andre Fialho vs Jake Matthews
Perhaps there will be another Australian to steal his compatriot’s thunder.
Matthews has a dominant top game and will try to get Fialho to the ground as often as possible.
Not much is known about Fialho’s ability to fight from unfavorable positions when the fight is horizontal, but that partly has to do with his ability to end the fight.
The Portuguese stunner has been extremely busy and this will be his third time competing in less than two months.
Andre Fialho (right) is a knockout artist from Portugal and has been busy this year
Bonus-winning KOs from Miguel Baeza and Cameron VanCamp came after he was split in a decision defeat by Michel Pereira.
And keeping that momentum going with another stoppage against Matthews would really put him on the radar.
Portugal is hardly a hotbed of MMA talent, so Fialho can profile himself as a pioneer for his home country.
This will be an intriguing battle, but don’t be surprised by an early finish
Rogerio Bontorin vs Manel Kape
Bontorin is number 8 at flyweight, but has lost his last four and desperately needs a win to hold on to a top 10 spot.
Kape is an exciting striker with 11 knockouts under his belt and he backs himself to have too much for the Brazilian.
“Bontorin, I can say that he is a strong fighter. He’s a strong flyweight fighter, but I see him as a turtle,” Kape told Cageside Press.
Manel Kape believes he is more powerful and better than his opponent everywhere
“This match-up is very good on my side. You can see the speed I bring in an octagon.
‘Even with the boys’ [that are fast], I still beat them because I am the fastest. I don’t believe Bontorin can show me anything else that I haven’t seen.
“Of course he has strength and good ground play, but I’m also a black belt in jiu-jitsu… I’m the better boxer. I’m the better kick boxer. I’m the better wrestler.’
Kape generally has to finish the fight within range to win and will hope to avoid a decision.
This will be a stern test of his credentials against a man who has fallen short against the top-level opposition in Kai Kara-France, Brandon Royval and Ray Borg.
Rogerio Bontorin (left) has failed to win in the last four and desperately needs a win