The UFC has done a fantastic job in 2019 with their fight cards.
With each fight card, the fights lived up to the high expectations that comes with being on ESPN. The main card fights are typically bigger names that generate more interest, but I am here to tell you that there is also a lot to look forward too earlier in the night.
What has been so special this year in the UFC is the prelims bouts, or the undercard. The early fights are often perceived to be consisting of lower quality fighters. I will quickly oppose that narrative and say that the early fights are the viewing grounds for undiscovered talent, re-surging veterans, and upcoming prospects.
You can go back to February of 2018 and watch current Middleweight Interim Champion, Israel Adesanya, fight on the prelims of UFC 221. Needless to say, tomorrow’s stars may be on the prelims today.
The Scrap’s Official Guide to the Prelims
Kyle Stewart vs Erik Koch (Welterweight)
Both fighters are coming off a loss and will aim to bounce back in a big way.
Stewart is ex-military and is tough as they come. He will probably look to utilize his reach advantage against Erik. Koch would appear to have an advantage, or at least more of a desire to bring the fight to the mat. Per usual, UFC 240 opens up with a bang.
Alexandre Pantoja (#3) vs Deiveson Figueiredo (#4) (Flyweight)
This is a battle between two flyweight contenders trying to earn their shot at a title bout in the near future.
There has been much discussion about the future of the flyweight division, but it is still here and there is now more excitement than there has been in years. Figuiredo just lost his first fight as a professional, and will look to bounce back against the surging Pantoja. This will be a battle of Brazil’s best.
Pantoja has been one of the most exciting fighters in the division with one finish after the other. Figuiredo has some of the best skills on the mat in the UFC, and has serious KO power as well. His striking was tested in his last fight and he found out that he can be out-pointed in fights.
The top of the division looks open with the current champion, Henry Cejudo, sidelined for an extended time while recovering from shoulder surgery. A win here would put either fighter in line for a potential shot at an interim championship fight.
Hakeem Dawodu vs Yoshinori Horie (Featherweight)
You never know what you will get when a fighter is making their UFC debut, which is the case with Horie.
The Japanese fighter has an 8-1 professional record and has shown the ability to finish fights, and fast. All of his finishes are by KO/TKO and 4 of his 5 have come in the 1st round. We have seen fighters come into the UFC from other promotions and not match up to the level of talent in the promotion, and we have also seen fighters shine and prove they do belong.
Dawodu is also a KO artist, and will look for his first finish in the UFC. This is a fight that fans should pay attention to as it will be a fans delight, two fighters who prefer to stand and throw leather. This could be a non-stop action fight, or it could be a single strike that ends the night early. Regardless, this could be a fight that earns a performance bonus.
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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).