Las Vegas – UFC returns to UFC APEX with a thrilling light heavyweight contenders’ battle that will see former champion and current No. 1 ranked Jan Blachowicz take on surging No. 3 Aleksandar Rakic. In the co-main event, No. 13 ranked light heavyweight Ryan Spann battles dangerous striker Ion Cutelaba.
This event will take place Saturday, May 14 at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The main card will be available on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, as well as simulcast in English and Spanish on ESPN+, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. The prelims will kick off on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT.
Blachowicz (28-9) fighting out of Warsaw, Poland aims to kick off his 2022 campaign with another spectacular KO victory. During his UFC run, he has delivered memorable wins against Israel Adesanya, Dominick Reyes, and Luke Rockhold. Blachowicz now looks to stop Rakic’s momentum with a show-stealing performance and set himself up for another crack at the championship.
Rakic (14-2) fighting out of Vienna, Austria hopes to keep his momentum going following victories over former title challengers Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith. A well-rounded competitor with KO power, he has also secured notable stoppage victories over Jimi Manuwa and Devin Clark. Rakic now hopes to take out a former champion and stake his claim for his first UFC title shot.
Spann (19-7) fighting out of Beaumont, Texas plans to turn heads with another highlight-reel victory. A Dana White’s Contender Series veteran, he has earned exciting finishes against Misha Cirkunov, Devin Clark, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Spann now intends to defend his spot in the Top 15 by stopping Cutelaba in an emphatic fashion.
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Heavy-handed Cutelaba (16-6-1 1NC) fighting out of Chisinau, Republic of Moldova is gunning for the biggest victory of his career. An aggressive striker, he has delivered thrilling knockouts over Khalil Rountree Jr., Gadzhimurad Antigulov, and Henrique da Silva. Cutelaba now has his sights set on finishing Spann to crack the light heavyweight Top 15.
Davey Grant (13-6) fighting out of Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England battles Louis Smolka (17-8) fighting out of Kapolei, Hawaii in an exciting bantamweight matchup. No. 2 ranked women’s flyweight contender Katlyn Chookagian (17-4) fighting out of Amity Harbor, N.Y. by way of Quakertown, Penn. looks to spoil the 125-pound return of No. 8 strawweight Amanda Ribas (11-2) fighting out of Varginha, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Frank Camacho (22-9) fighting out of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands faces debuting Dana White’s Contender Series signee Manuel Torres (12-2) fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico. Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Jake Hadley (8-0) fighting out of Oldbury, Sandwell, England) debuts against Allan Nascimento (17-6) fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil in a flyweight bout.
No. 8 ranked women’s flyweight contender Viviane Araujo (10-3) fighting out of Brasília, Federal District, Brazil takes on Andrea Lee (13-5) fighting out of Shreveport, La. Fan favorite Michael Johnson (20-17) fighting out of St. Louis, Mo. returns to action against Alan Patrick (15-3 1NC) fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at lightweight.
No. 11 ranked strawweight contender Virna Jandiroba (17-3) fighting out of Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil collides with No. 12 Angela Hill (13-11) fighting out of San Diego, Calif. Undefeated flyweight Tatsuro Taira (10-0) fighting out of Naha, Okinawa, Japan debuts against Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Carlos Candelario (8-1) fighting out of Hartford, Conn. Undefeated Nick Maximov (8-0) fighting out of Stockton, Calif. squares off with The Ultimate Fighter season 28 veteran Andre Petroski (7-2) fighting out of Philadelphia, Penn.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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