UFC Louisville: 21 fun tidbits, facts and storylines


After a lackluster pay-per-view (PPV) show that ended with a fun lightweight title fight between Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier (watch highlights), the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stays on the road, traveling to KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. In the ESPN-streamed main event, former middleweight title challenger, Jared Cannonier, takes on 185-pound French upstart Nassourdine Imavov.

While UFC Louisville isn’t the strongest card, it has fun fights, and the atmosphere should be incredible because it is in front of a live crowd. So, before it all goes down later this evening (Sat., June 8, 2024) on ESPN/ESPN+, let’s checkout some random storylines, tidbits, and statistics ahead of showtime.

‘The Bluegrass State’

UFC returns to Kentucky for the first time in 11 years and Louisville for the first time in 13 years. The last time the promotion held an event inside KFC Yum! Center was UFC on Versus 3: “Sanchez vs. Kampmann,” in which Diego Sanchez defeated Martin Kampmann via unanimous decision.

Rankings

Both middleweights in the main event are in the Top 10 rankings. Cannonier is ranked No. 4, while Imavov is No. 7.

Cannonier is riding a two-fight win streak, including a win over Sean Strickland. Imavov got back into the win column after a loss to Strickland and a “No Contest” against Chris Curtis.

Stakes

The middleweight division is on fire, but it is also a mess.

Division champion, Dricus Du Plessis, will fight Israel Adesanya in August, and later this month, a No. 1 contender fight goes down between Khamzat Chimaev vs. Robert Whittaker.

The results of those two fights will decide how the division plays out because if Cannonier wins, he has a case to be made that he should fight for the title next. Strickland won last weekend at UFC 302, holds a win over Adesanya and fought Du Plessis to a split decision.

The most logical fight would probably be Strickland vs. Cannonier 2 … but their first fight was largely unwatchable.

UFC Fight Night: Vettori v Cannonier

Main Event(s)

UFC Louisville will be Cannonier’s third straight main event and fifth in total. Imavov, meanwhile, will compete in his third main event.

Reyes Returns

Former light heavyweight title challenger, Dominick Reyes, returns from an 18-month layoff in which he dealt with serious health issues. In fact, he was scared he was going to die because of blood clots.

He was originally supposed to fight surging contender, Carlos Ulberg, at UFC 297 earlier this year, and then the pair were re-booked at UFC Atlantic City two months later, but that bout was ultimately scrapped as well.

Reyes is riding a four-fight losing streak and takes on Dustin Jacoby.

Rebooked!

Teenage phenom, Raul Rosas Jr., and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner, Ricky Turcios, finally clash this weekend. The pair of bantamweights were supposed to fight at UFC Mexico City; however, minutes before Rosas Jr. walked to the Octagon, the fight was called off because he was dealing with an undisclosed illness.

Rosas Jr. and Turcios are both on one-fight win streaks.

UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs Royval 2 Ceremonial Weigh-in

Movin’ Down

Punahele Soriano moves down to welterweight after 12 fights at middleweight. Soriano revealed to MMAmania.com that he had been thinking about moving down to the 170-pound division for a couple of fights, but was worried about making the weight. It wasn’t until he went to UFC’s Performance Institute that he realized he could make the weight easily.

Soriano is riding a two-fight losing streak, being finished in both.

UFC Fighter Portraits

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Welcome Back, ‘Caramel Thunder’

The man facing Soriano this weekend, Miguel Baeza, is returning from a 25-month layoff. Baeza has been dealing with injuries and “sicknesses” while away from the cage.

The 31-year-old Puerto Rican was a hot commodity when he first entered UFC, especially when he stopped Matt Brown. However, a three-fight losing streak has somewhat derailed that hype. While there is no doubt he has the talent, it’s all about breaking that dreaded streak.

Contender Series Takes Over Kentucky

Sixteen fighters on UFC Louisville are Contender Series graduates.

They are: Jacoby, Rosas Jr., Turcios, Brunno Ferreira, Dustin Stoltzfus, Julian Marquez, Zach Reese, Baeza, Soriano, Thiago Moises, Carlos Prates, John Castaneda, Daniel Marcos, Eduarda Moura, Denise Gomes and Rayanne dos Santos.

UFC 297 Ceremonial Weigh-in

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

TUF

Three TUF alumni are fighting this weekend: Turcios, two-time winner Brad Katona and Montana De La Rosa.

Unnecessary Rematch

Speaking of Del La Rosa, who asked for a rematch between her and Andrea Lee? No one, yet here we are. The flyweights first fought at UFC Fight Night: “Moicano vs. The Korean Zombie” back in 2019, in which Lee won an unanimous decision.

Both women need a win really bad and could be fighting for their jobs. Lee is riding a four-fight losing streak, while De La Rosa is losing a three-fight losing streak.

UFC Fight Night: Lee v De La Rosa

UFC History

Puja Tomar — the first female Indian fighter in UFC history — will compete this weekend as she kicks off UFC Louisville against dos Santos. Tomar (8-4) holds a 75 percent finish rate with six knockouts and is riding a four-fight win steak.

“The Cyclone” is a ONE Championship veteran, going 1-3.

UFC Fighter Portraits

Welcome To UFC!

Only one fighter is making their UFC debut (Tomar).

If You Don’t Know, Now You Do

UFC CEO, Dana White, does a weekly segment spotlighting some underrated fights. And this week, he was spot on.

He chose Charles Radke vs. Carlos Prates, which is a fantastic Welterweight showdown. Prates is always much-watch television and was compared as young Anderson Silva by White.

The second fight is Julian Marquez vs. Zach Reese, which will more than likely end in a finish. Both fighters hold 100 percent finish rates with Reese never being out of the first round.

UFC Fight Night: Hermansson v Pyfer

UFC Louisville Fight Leader

The fighter with the most career fights competing at UFC Louisville is Cody Stamann (28).

UFC Louisville Fight Rookie

The fighter with the least amount of career fights competing at UFC Louisville is Reese (7).

UFC Louisville Knockout King

The fighter with the most amount of career knockouts competing at UFC Louisville is Prates (13).

UFC Louisville Submission Savant

Five fighters competing at UFC Louisville are tied for the most amount of career submissions (8): Jesse Butler, Thiago Moises, Ludovít Klein, Del La Rosa and dos Santos.

Winners And Losers

Thirteen fighters are coming off wins, 14 are coming off losses, and one is coming off a “No Contest” (Daniel Marcos).

Multi-Divisions

Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:

  • One Light Heavyweight fight
  • Three Middleweight fights
  • One Welterweight fight
  • One Lightweight fight
  • Four Bantamweight fights
  • Two women’s Strawweight fights
  • One women’s Flyweight fight

Beta Dog

According to DraftKings, the “biggest” underdog at UFC Louisville is Butler at +470.

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