At UFC 238 in Chicago - the lightest weight grand prix.
A big UFC 238 tournament will take place in Chicago on Sunday. Two title fights (including the first defense of Valentina Shevchenko), a fireworks lightweight champion Tony Ferguson - Cowboy Cerrone and many other things.
But the main intrigue will be in the lightest weight. In March, the division lost the champion - TJ Dillashow left the belt and admitted to the use of doping. After a couple of days, a brilliant idea came to Dana White’s head: to put three top fights in one card at once. For the vacant title, Dillashaw's possible rivals - champion of the flexing easiest division, Henry Sehudo and Marlon Moraes, will fight for the title, and four more men will challenge the candidate status. One of these four is the Russian Peter “No mercy” Yang.
Jan very quickly made his way to the top
For the Russian fighter, the fight in Chicago will be the fifth in the UFC in a year (he debuted on June 23 of last year). Four previous Yang won in a bright style and deservedly made it into the top 10 of the lightest weight.
Peter accepted the UFC rules. He destroys rivals in an interview and attacks them on Twitter. Mostly angular, but there is time to learn. After defeating former challenger John Dodson in Prague, Jan wanted to get a striking drummer (Lineker, Garbrandt) as a rival or a top-5 fighter. The Russian was actively working on Pedro Munoz, who a couple of months ago crushed the ex-champion Cody Garbrandt, but Pedrito did not respond to the challenge of the audacious avenue.
Jimmy River there was nowhere to run. He lost two of the last three fights and lost the privilege to miss opponents.
Yana's opponent is not very good
A 29-year-old American with Italian roots was recently in the top 3 and went on a series of 20 victories in a row. Rivera ideally began a career in the UFC, defeating five, but since last year, things have gone wrong. Difficulties began when Rivera was knocked out by high-kicked current challenger Moraes for 33 seconds. “It was a tough defeat, but I can't say that it broke me,” said Jimmy.
Rivera returned three months later, defeating old Dodson, and in the winter he lost again - on points to Aljamein Sterling. Now the UFC is driving Jimmy and Jan - and this is the right option for all parties:
• Jimmy lost two of the last three fights. The victory over the impudent upstart will keep him in the top - a big test for him;
• Jan needed a top rival with a good record to keep growing. Matchmakers favored Peter: almost all of his opponents (with the exception of Korean Son) were higher than the Russians in the ranking and helped him grow;
• The UFC received a classic match: a stumbled veteran against a prospect, for which the future.
It is likely that Rivera will try to dry the fight with Yang and try to pick up the victory with control - 6 out of 8 fights of the American in the UFC have gone the entire distance before the verdict of the judges. But Yang doesn’t care at all: “He can only dry on a crucian caught in his own river. The battle will take place on my terms: as I will lead him, so he will. ”
The victory over Rivera can become a springboard for Jan to the title battle this year. If this does not happen, then in the next battle Peter will definitely get someone from the top-6. And in 2020, the UFC will not get out - No Mercy will need to give the most important fight.
Already in Chicago, Ian gave several interviews in which he spoke to Dane White and UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby in broken English and confirmed his champion ambitions: “I would like to hold the next fight for the title. The fight with Rivera will be the fifth in a year, and the other guys from the division took more time to take the same place in the rating as mine. Some in their entire career in the UFC do not have as many fights as I have in a year. I'm ready for the title. No matter who it will be: Cehudo or Moraes. There is nothing special about them. It would be great to fight for the belt this year. Russia wants another champion. ”