UFC 238 is a must buy PPV card.
On June 8th, the United Center in Chicago will host this colossal event. The card has a main event featuring the current flyweight champion, Henry Cejudo, as he moves up to challenge Marlon Moraes (#1) for the vacant bantamweight championship. Another championship bout is scheduled for the co-main event, where flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko, defends her title against the revitalized, Jessica Eye (#1).
Two championship fights on the main card is great and we are looking forward to it, but the loaded card on the top end means the big fights trickle down into the prelims. The main card starts at 10:00pm ET on ESPN+ PPV, but that is not what this article is about. The early prelims are on UFC Fight Pass starting at 6:15pm ET and the prelims are set to start at 8:00pm ET on ESPN.
The Scrap’s Official Guide to the Prelims
Bevon Lewis vs Darren Stewart (Middleweight)
Stewart was given the nickname “The Dentist” either because he hits you in the mouth and you need to go see the dentist afterwards, or maybe because he can just knock out that tooth you’ve needed to get pulled and save you the trip. The point is that he hits people hard, and Stewart was on a nice run before suffering a decision loss to new UFC prospect/prodigy Edmen Shahbazyan. Lewis is coming off a loss in a very impressive UFC debut against Uriah Hall (#14). Lewis was winning that fight all the way into the third round, Hall landed one clean shot late in the round that ended the fight for Lewis.
Sometimes in this business, one shot is all it takes. Lewis is a talented striker, and has a strong wrestling base. His potential is high, and he has a long way to go before some serious comparisons can be made, but Lewis even looks like Jon Jones. We will have to wait and see what the DWTNCS product can bring to the table against the veteran, Stewart.
Look for this fight to have some fireworks early and often. Two fierce strikers will be ready to engage in a stilled stand up match, or will one fighter look to take advantage of other areas of the fight.
Aljamain Sterling (#3) vs Pedro Munhoz (#4) (Bantamweight)
Sterling is 5-2 in the UFC since 2017, only losing to Marlon Moraes and Raphael Assuncao (#2). Since his last loss, he has been on a mission, winning fights in dominant fashion to soar up the rankings. Sterling finds himself face-to-face with Munhoz, where a future title fight should be almost without question following a victory by either fighter.
Munhoz has a just as impressive run as of late. Three wins in a row with the last two coming from first round knockouts. It is almost getting old at this rate, but UFC 238 will give fight fans some clarity in the bantamweight division, there will be a champion, and this fight has the potential to determine the next fight for the champion if there is an impressive victory.
There are championship implications in this prelim, there is no need for extra motivation or hype. Sit back and watch two of the best in the division go at it.
Tatiana Suarez (#2) vs Nina Ansaroff (#3) (Strawweight)
Suarez seems to have unmatched size at strawweight, and she just controls the fight from bell-to-bell. She takes fighters down at-will, and will ground and pound her opponent until there is a submission available. Her striking differential is astronomical because she does not allow her opponent any space to land strikes, and they are usually trying to find a way back up to their feet. Suarez completed 18 takedowns on 22 attempts against Carla Esparza (#9).
Ansaroff is on a roll as well, her last fight, she got stronger as the fight went on. She will need to find a way to deal with the ground game of Suarez because the fight is sure to end up there at one point in the fight. She will need to work to take advantage in the striking exchanges. Ansaroff will be no pushover, but we have not seen fighters be able to handle Suarez on the mat.
With a new champion at the top of strawweight, there are plenty of challengers waiting for their opportunity. A loss in this fight would halt that process, considerably with Joanna Jedrzejczyk (#4) looking to make her return to the division she used to own. Also, Michelle Waterson (#7) and Weili Zhang (#6) are looming in contention for a title fight.
These fights are worthy of mentioning. Below are the few who did not quite make the cut for this article.
Katlyn Chookagian (#2) and Joanne Calderwood (#6) (Flyweight)
As the card stands on the UFC website right now, the opening bout in the early prelims is between Katlyn Chookagian and Joanne Calderwood. What a way to start the card if it stays the way it is currently.
Ricardo Lamas (#10) vs Calvin Kattar (#15) (Featherweight)
Two fight veterans take the cage to prove they belong with the elite of the featherweight division. This fight should be between two who love to slug it out and may the last man standing walk away with all the glory. Please keep hands and feet inside the ride at all times, fasten your seatbelts, and have fun.
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Connor “Rags” Rogowsky is a co-owner of The Scrap and its current President. Rogowsky played football and track collegiately, and holds a Masters of Science in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University. Make sure to follow Rags on Twitter (@rogowskyc).