UFC 255 Preview And Betting Tips
The UFC’s first pay-per-view event in Las Vegas since returning from Fight Island takes place Saturday night with UFC 255 at the Apex facility. There are two belts on the line, as Brazilian Deiveson Figueiredo defends his flyweight strap against American Alex Perez in the headliner. Valentina Shevchenko defends her women’s flyweight crown against Jennifer Maia in the co-main event. MMA Viking take a closer look at all the fights with their betting preview and tips for UFC 255.
UFC 255 Prelim Card
Welterweights kick-off the card as Louis Cosce takes on Sasha Palatnikov. Cosce is undefeated with a 7-0 record with all his wins coming by way of a finish. He is understandably a big favorite for this matchup.
Kyle Daukaus meets Dustin Stoltzfus in middleweight action. Both fighters have just one defeat and despite Stoltzfus being the more experienced fighter, oddsmakers like the chances of Daukaus.
Longtime UFC welterweight Alan Jouban returns to action when he collides with Jared Gooden. Jouban has won just one of his last three coming way back in February 2018. However, he remains a slight favorite over the UFC newcomer in Gooden.
More welterweights are in action as Daniel Rodriguez meets Denmark’s Nicolas Dalby. Rodriguez, a late replacement, hasn't lost since 2017 and is coming off a knockout win over Dwight Grant in August. In total, he is 3-0 in the UFC and is a big favorite going up against the vet Dalby who recently suffered a submission defeat to Jesse Ronson in July.
Antonina Shevchenko takes on Ariane Lipski in an intriguing women’s flyweight bout. Shevchenko is coming off a unanimous decision defeat to Katlyn Chookagian and has lost two of her last three. Lipski, on the other hand, has won two straight including an impressive kneebar victory over Luana Carolina in July. Despite that, the money appears to be on Shevchenko who is a slight favorite. This will also be the first time that two sisters have fought on a UFC card, as Antonina’s sister Valentina is in the co-main event.
Joaquin Buckley looks to dazzle again when he faces the undefeated Jordan Wright in middleweight action. Buckley enjoyed notoriety after his impressive spinning kick knockout over Impa Kasanganay last month. And while Wright is undefeated with an 11-0 record, Buckley is the more experienced fighter and is expected to get the victory.
In what could be a Fight of the Night, Brandon Moreno clashes with Brandon Royval. Moreno has been on a tear since returning to the UFC and has won two straight. Royval, meanwhile, enjoyed an impressive submission win over Kai Kara France in September and hasn’t lost in four fights.
UFC 255 Main Card
Mauricio Rua (27-11-1) vs. Paul Craig (13-4-1)
Light heavyweights Mauricio Rua and Paul Craig will run things back when they open the main card of UFC 255. The pair first competed in November last year as they fought all three rounds to a majority decision draw. Since then, Rua would outpoint Antonio Rogeria Nogueira while Craig submitted Gadzhimurad Antigulov with both those fights taking place in July.
Given that Craig is the younger and less battle-worn fighter, he is understandably a slight favorite heading into the matchup. However, “Shogun” isn’t to be counted out by any means as he looks to recapture his legend status with another win..
Katlyn Chookagian (14-4) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (9-1-1)
Katlyn Chookagian looks to bounce back against surging contender Cynthia Calvillo when they face each other in women’s flyweight action. Chookagian only competed last month when she suffered a first-round TKO defeat to former women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade. In total, she is 1-2 in 2020 after also getting TKO’d by Valentina Shevchenko in their title fight back in February.
Chookagian will undoubtedly look to end 2020 on a high but will face no easy test against Calvillo. The 33-year-old enjoyed a successful flyweight debut against former title challenger Jessica Eye in June and has only lost once in her professional career back in 2017. Unsurprisingly, she is a comfortable favorite over Chookagian.
Mike Perry (14-6) vs. Tim Means (30-12-1, 1NC)
Mike Perry collides with Tim Means in a welterweight bout that could very well produce fireworks. Perry returned to the win column with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Mickey Gall in June. Perry was then booked to face former champion Robbie Lawler only for the latter to pull out. Instead, he will now face another welterweight veteran in Means where a win could see “Platinum” enter a winning streak for the first time since 2017.
Means, meanwhile, recently enjoyed a unanimous decision win over Laureano Staropoli in August. Like Perry, he also has an opportunity to embark on a winning streak for the first time since 2016. However, oddsmakers are leaning towards Perry getting the victory with him being only a slight favorite.
Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) vs. Jennifer Maia (18-6-1) - women’s flyweight title fight
Valentina Shevchenko will be looking to make it a fourth successive title defense when she defends her crown against Jennifer Maia. Shevchenko is coming off a dominant third-round TKO win over Katlyn Chookagian in February and has been a level above the competition at 125 pounds in general as she remains undefeated in the weight class.
Maia recently enjoyed a submission win over Joanne Calderwood in August to earn her first title shot and has also won three of her last four outings. But despite her prowess on the ground, the Brazilian is unlikely to cause a huge upset over the well-rounded and more experienced Shevchenko. Expect another dominant and convincing victory for the “Bullet” who is a massive favorite heading into the fight.
Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1) vs. Alex Perez (24-5) - flyweight title fight
Deiveson Figueiredo will look for his first title defense in his first pay-per-view headliner against Alex Perez. Figueiredo won the vacant strap after a first-round submission win in his rematch against longtime contender Joseph Benavidez, showing that he was way too much for the American grappler.
In what was one of the most dominant and brutal title fights in recent memory, the Brazilian knocked Benavidez down three times in route to winning the flyweight strap. It was the second straight fight that he had finished Benavidez and also put him at 8-1 in the UFC.
Perez, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive first-round TKO win over Jussier Formiga -- who coincidentally is the only fighter to inflict defeat on Figueiredo. Perez is also on a three-fight winning streak and winner of six of his last seven fights since signing with the UFC in 2017.
Despite those impressive figures, however, Perez still faces an uphill task against arguably the hardest-hitting flyweight in the UFC and is naturally a big underdog going into the contest. Expect a successful first title defense for Figueiredo.
About Ryan O’Leary
Ryan O’Leary is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist and commentator. The Swedish-based writer is the founder and editor at MMAViking.com, which is the premier source for Nordic mixed martial arts news since 2008.