Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland headlines. While it’s certainly the weekend’s most high-profile fight, it’s only one of a dozen on the UFC card.
UFC 293 is an event short on stakes and name value but there is fun to be had.
Another fight jumping off the page is Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov. Tuivasa is a fighter with a personality as big as his knockout power. The Australian fighter will surely receive a raucous reception from his home crowd. Tuivasa was in peak form with five-consecutive KO wins, but two subsequent losses have forced him to recalibrate. It’s imperative he puts on a good show against Alexander Volkov, an established and tough heavyweight who rattled off first-round KOs in his last two fights.
Take a closer look at three fights worth your time on Saturday beyond the main event.
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Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov
Tuivasa vs. Volkov is not a significant pay-per-view co-main event, but it sure is fun. Tuivasa is one of UFC’s more popular fighters: a colorful personality with rattling KO power. Coming off consecutive stoppage losses to top contenders Sergei Pavlovich and Ciryl Gane, it’s imperative that Tuivasa rekindles the magic of his five-fight finishing run. Standing across from him is a suitable challenge. Former Bellator and M-1 heavyweight champion Volkov is coming off two first-round KOs and has only lost to elite heavyweights like Gane, Tom Aspinall and Curtis Blaydes in recent years. A win for Tuivasa could kickstart his image recovery; meanwhile, a victory for Volkov would be his biggest in the UFC and put him one step behind the division’s top challengers.
Carlos Ulberg vs. Da un Jung
A KO is on the agenda whenever Ulberg and Jung fight. Ulberg is a promising light heavyweight contender with four straight wins in UFC and three consecutive first-round stoppages. Jung is on a slide after consecutive losses to Devin Clark and Dustin Jacoby, but he’s always a threat on the feet. An interesting throughline to the fight is that Jung has a KO win over Kennedy Nzechukwu, the only person to stop or defeat Ulberg. Do not expect this preliminary headliner to go the distance.
Manel Kape vs. Felipe dos Santos
Kape was originally scheduled to face Kai Kara-France on Saturday, a solid piece of matchmaking. Kape vs. Kara-France would have provided the winner ammunition in a title chase. Instead, dos Santos makes his UFC debut with a 7-0 record against the toughest test of his career. Kape should mop the floor with dos Santos, but it should be fun while it lasts considering each man has finished all but two of their respective pro fights.