During my first year of university, I would pop home every couple weekends to do some laundry, have a few home-cooked meals, see friends, and go to bed at a reasonable hour on a couple consecutive evenings in order to recharge before disappearing for another month.
Saturday’s event at the UFC APEX reminds me of those weekends spent in Hamilton.
After stops in London, Salt Lake City, and Nashville, and with trips to Boston, Singapore, Paris, and Sydney on deck, the Octagon returns to the familiar comforts of home for a weekend at the APEX headlined by Brazilian welterweights Vicente Luque and Rafael Dos Anjos.
One thing I should note about those “quiet weekends in Steeltown” during my university days: they never ended up being all that quiet, and I fully anticipate this weekend’s event to an action-packed, thoroughly entertaining affair.
Welcome home…see you next month!
Main Event: Vicente Luque vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
Location: UFC APEX — Las Vegas, NV
Where to Watch: ESPN / ESPN+
Other Main Card Matches:
- Cub Swanson vs. Hakeem Dawodu
- Khalil Rountree Jr. vs. Chris Daukaus
- Polyana Viana vs. Iasmin Lucindo
- AJ Dobson vs. Tafon Nchukwi
- Josh Fremd vs. Jamie Pickett
- JB Buys vs. Marcus McGhee
- Terrance McKinney vs Mike Breeden
- Francis Marshall vs. Isaac Dulgarian
- Josh Parisian vs. Martin Buday
- Jaqueline Amorim vs. Montserrat Conejo
- Juliana Miller vs. Luana Santos
Main Event: Vicente Luque vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
Top 15 welterweights meet in Saturday night’s main event as Vicente Luque faces off with fellow Brazilian Rafael Dos Anjos.
Fighting for the first time in just over a year, Luque returns to action looking to snap a two-fight skid after dropping contests against Belal Muhammad and Geoff Neal in 2022. The 31-year-old had won four straight prior to last year and still sports a 14-5 record inside the Octagon as he crosses the threshold into the UFC Octagon for the first time this year.
Dos Anjos made the move back to the 170-pound ranks at the end of last year, registering a second-round submission win over Bryan Barberena. The former lightweight champ and interim welterweight title challenger has fought one of the toughest strengths of schedule of any competitor in UFC history, having shared the cage with seven former champions and a non-stop barrage of Top 15 opponents across two divisions over for the last decade.
This is exquisite matchmaking, as Saturday’s headliner should provide a great deal of clarity on where each man currently stands in the welterweight division. Can Luque get back into the win column and topple his ultra-competitive compatriot or will Dos Anjos pick up his biggest victory in a number of years and catapult himself back into the Top 10?
Other Main Card Fights
Cub Swanson vs. Hakeem Dawodu
Veteran Cub Swanson returns to featherweight following a one-fight departure, landing opposite dangerous Canadian Hakeem Dawodu in this weekend’s co-main event.
After 33 consecutive fights in the 145-pound weight class, Swanson dropped down to bantamweight last time out, landing on the business end of a barrage of leg kicks from Jonathan Martinez that resulted in a second-round stoppage loss. The 39-year-old is 3-1 over his last four featherweight appearances and, like Dos Anjos, has fought an incredible slate of opposition over the course of his career.
Dawodu returns for the first time since UFC 279 last September. The Calgary native missed weight for his fight with Julian Erosa by a considerable amount, and then dropped a unanimous decision to the Las Vegas resident, getting out-hustled at every turn, leaving many wondering what to expect from “Mean Hakeem” this weekend.
On paper, this has the potential to be a competitive, technical kickboxing match where each man is hungry to get back in the win column and prove they still have plenty to offer going forward. Hopefully that’s how things play out.
Khalil Rountree Jr. vs. Chris Daukaus
Originally scheduled for UFC 289 in Vancouver, Khalil Rountree Jr. will now welcome Chris Daukaus to the light heavyweight division this weekend in Las Vegas.
Following several years of inconsistency, Rountree Jr. enters Saturday’s matchup with Daukaus on the first three-fight winning streak of his UFC career. After consecutive stoppage wins over Modestas Bukauskas and Karl Roberson, the former TUF finalist edged out Dustin Jacoby on the scorecards last time out, pushing his record to 11-5 with one no contest in the process.
Four straight stoppage wins at the outset of his UFC career rocketed Daukaus into the rankings in the heavyweight division, but three straight losses to Top 10 opponents prompted the Philadelphia native to re-examine things and drop down a division. All seven of his UFC appearances and all but one of his 18 career bouts have ended inside the distance, and it’ll be interesting to see what the former ranked heavyweight looks like in his new surroundings.
Light heavyweight is in a state of flux at the moment, and a big effort from either man could thrust him into the thick of the chase in the 205-pound weight class. There is a very real chance this fight ends in explosive fashion, so make sure you’re settled in when this one gets underway.
Polyana Viana vs. Iasmin Lucindo
The main event isn’t the only all-Brazilian battle on Saturday’s fight card, as Polyana Viana and Iasmin Lucindo lock up in an intriguing main card pairing, as well.
The 31-year-old Viana bounced back from her loss to Tabatha Ricci with a 47-second knockout win over Jinh Yu Frey in November, giving her three first-round stoppage wins in her last four fights. Each of her four UFC wins have come in the opening stanza, so it’s no surprise what she’ll be looking to do when she gets in there with Lucindo.
Arriving in the UFC with a 13-4 record, Lucindo gave a very good accounting of herself in a debut decision loss to Yazmin Jauregui before rebounding with a unanimous decision win over Brogan Walker in April. Just 21 years old, Lucindo is 8-2 in her last 10 fights and can establish herself as someone to keep close tabs on in the division with a second straight win on Saturday.
Will the veteran prove to be too much for her younger counterpart or can Lucindo topple Viana and take another step forward in the strawweight division?
AJ Dobson vs. Tafon Nchukwi
A member of the Class of ’21, Dobson pushed his record to 6-0 with his contract-winning first-round stoppage victory over Hashem Arkhagha, but has gone 0-2 since, dropping decisions to both Jacob Malkoun and Armen Petrosyan. After competing overseas last time out, it’ll be interesting to see if a return to the APEX brings a return to the win column for Dobson.
Nchukwi was a year ahead of Dobson on the annual talent-search series, and began his UFC run with victories in two of his first three outings. But stoppage losses to Azamat Murzakanov and Carlos Ulberg prompted the Cameroonian fighter to re-think his decision to compete at light heavyweight, resulting in his return to the 185-pound ranks here.
Each man showed promise in earning their way onto the UFC roster. Now they do battle, each hoping to rediscover that form and start their 2023 campaign with a victory.
Josh Fremd vs. Jamie Pickett
After dropping each of his first two appearances inside the Octagon, Fremd delivered a smart, patient effort last time out against Sedriques Dumas, outworking the inexperienced DWCS grad before catching him in a guillotine choke midway through the second round. Now established in the UFC, the 29-year-old former LFA standout looks to build on his March victory this weekend as he returns to Las Vegas.
You have to admire Pickett’s persistence. He made three appearances on the Contender Series before finally landing a contract in his third attempt, and continues to soldier forward despite a rough 2-5 start to his UFC career. The North Carolina native enters this contest on a three-fight slide, with each of those losses coming inside the distance.
Can Fremd turn his first UFC win into a winning streak or will Pickett break out of his funk and secure his third victory inside the Octagon?
JB Buys vs. Marcus McGhee
A bantamweight fight between JP Buys and Marcus McGhee closes out Saturday’s preliminary card.
Still just 27 years old, Buys has struggled to an 0-3 start in the UFC, splitting time between flyweight and bantamweight. McGhee, on the other hand, made the most of his short-notice debut earlier this year, waltzing in and registering a second-round stoppage win over Journey Newsom.
Terrance McKinney vs. Mike Breeden
McKinney burst onto the scene with a seven-second knockout win over Matt Frevola, but has gone just 1-3 over his last four fights, including a second-round submission loss to Nazim Sadykhov midway through last month. Breeden competes for the first time in almost 18 months, also seeking to snap a two-fight skid after suffering losses to Alexander Hernandez and Natan Levy in his first two UFC appearances.
Francis Marshall vs. Isaac Dulgarian
After registering a second-round stoppage win over Marcelo Rojo in his promotional debut, Marshall suffered his first professional loss last time out against William Gomis. The 27-year-old Dulgarian is 5-0 as a professional, and has won nine straight overall dating back to his amateur days, with each of those victories coming in the opening round.
Josh Parisian vs. Martin Buday
Parisian has alternated results since punching his ticket to the big stage on Season 4, most recently dropping a decision to Jamal Pogues in February. A Season 5 alum, Buday has gone 3-0 since matriculating to the Octagon, posting decision wins over Chris Barnett, Lukasz Brzeski, and Jake Collier.
Jaqueline Amorim vs. Montserrat Conejo
Strawweights looking to get back into the win column meet here, as Jaqueline Amorim faces off with Montserrat Conejo.
A Brazilian jiu jitsu standout, Amorim rolled into the UFC with a perfect 6-0 record, but had no answers for the pace and experience of Sam Hughes in her promotional debut in April. Fighting for the first time in over two years, Conejo is looking to rebound from getting beaten by title challenger Amanda Lemos last time out.
Juliana Miller vs. Luana Santos
For the second consecutive week, flyweights open the show as TUF 31 winner Juliana Miller welcomes Luana Santos to the UFC.
The 27-year-old Miller made her post-TUF return at UFC 286 in March, dropping a unanimous decision to Veronica Hardy in London to fall to 3-2. A pro for just over two years, the 23-year-old Santos is 5-1 overall, entering on a two-fight winning streak, with her most recent victory coming by way of first-round submission.
UFC Fight Night: Luque vs Dos Anjos took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on August 12, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!