The first of three pay-per-view events slated to take place in the next eight weeks touches down inside the UFC octagon on Saturday from Singapore Indoor Stadium, as UFC 275 delivers an avalanche of action capped by the sequel to an epic clash and a pair of compelling championship matchups.
With a tight lineup featuring a number of critical and intriguing bouts ahead of the all-star closing lineup, this weekend’s fight card should serve as the jump-off point for an electric summer of action under the UFC banner.
Here's a closer look at what is slated to take place.
Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka
Seven-and-a-half months after capping one of the more improbably marches to championship gold in UFC history, Glover Teixeira defends his light heavyweight title for the first time against surging finisher Jiri Prochazka.
Seven years and 15 fights after first challenging for UFC gold, Teixeira claimed the title with a second-round submission win over Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 to become the oldest first-time champion in the company’s history. The 42-year-old enters his first title defense on a six-fight winning streak, having earned finishes over Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Blachowicz over his last three outings.
The challenger will be stepping into the octagon for the third time on Saturday, ending a 13-month hiatus that has seen him staying at the ready, waiting in the wings for this opportunity. A star in Japan before arriving in the UFC, Prochazka blew through Volkan Oezdemir in his debut to establish himself as a threat, and then knocked out former title challenger Dominick Reyes with a hellacious spinning elbow last May to punch his ticket to a title shot.
Not only is this a classic "Grappler vs. Striker" pairing, but it's also the old school versus the new school, as 14 years stand between champion and challenger. Will Teixeira's grit, experience, and veteran savvy allow him to weather the early storm that is undoubtedly headed his way this weekend and successfully defend his title or can Prochazka become the first fighter from the Czech Republic to win a UFC title?
Tune in Saturday night to find out.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Taila Santos
Valentina Shevchenko looks to etch her name in the record books once more as she puts her flyweight title on the line against dangerous Brazilian challenger Taila Santos in the co-main event of the evening.
Heading into Saturday's contest, Shevchenko is tied with Ronda Rousey for the most consecutive successful title defenses by a female champion in UFC history, with six each. Like Rousey, the 34-year-old Shevchenko has made it look easy to this point, bowling through the competition while barely breaking a sweat, exhibiting the most complete skill set in the sport.
Santos arrives in Singapore on a four-fight winning streak, having cemented her championship opportunity with a first-round submission win over Joanne Wood in November. The 28-year-old boasts a 19-1 record overall, with her lone setback coming by split decision in her promotional debut. Since then, Santos has shown impressive power and strength, and has the physical stature to potentially push Shevchenko on Saturday.
Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
The first time Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk shared the octagon, the strawweight standouts combined to deliver one of the absolute best fights in UFC history. Saturday night, they're set to run it back.
After pushing her winning streak to 21 with her split decision victory over Jedrzejczyk in their iconic first meeting, Zhang enters Saturday's rematch on the first two-fight skid of her career, having dropped consecutive championship fights to Rose Namajunas last year. The Chinese standout responded to being knocked out by pushing Namajunas to her limit in the second meeting, and will look to maintain her position in the championship queue by handing Jedrzejczyk a second consecutive defeat.
"Joanna Champion" hasn't fought since her last meeting with Zhang, and arrives in Singapore having lost four of her last six appearances. While each of those losses came in championship fights against elite competitors, it's still jarring to recall that Jedrzejczyk has just two victories since registering her fifth consecutive successful title defense with a unanimous decision win over Jessica Andrade at UFC 211 … five years ago.
Expecting these two to deliver a fight that measures up to their initial encounter is asking a great deal – that fight was incredible in many ways and had the benefit of being a five-round affair, while Saturday's second meeting is a three-round fight. That said, there is something about the dynamic between these two former champions that seems to be designed to draw out the best from each of them, so while a Hall of Fame-level fight might not be in the cards, a "Fight of the Night" contender is very much on the table.
Rogerio Bontorin vs. Manel Kape
Bontorin's last win came on a night when Shevchenko was defending her flyweight title, so the Brazilian is likely hoping that history repeats itself here. After getting knocked out by Kai Kara-France and having a win over Matt Schnell overturned last year, the top-15 fixture landed on a wrong side of a split decision verdict in a fight with Brandon Royval earlier this year, prolonging his misery.
Kape arrived in the UFC amidst much fanfare, but stumbled out of the gate, looking hesitant in losses to Alexandre Pantoja and Matheus Nicolau. He's since bounced back with first-round stoppage wins over Ode Osbourne and Zhalgas Zhumagulov, and declared himself to be the most dangerous fighter in the division.
This could go any number of ways and the only common thread between them all is that it should be exciting. Bontorin is chomping at the bit to reverse his fortunes and cement his standing as a top-10 talent, while Kape needs a win over a ranked opponent in order to continue singing his own praises and climbing the divisional ladder.
Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ramazan Emeev
A member of the Dana White’s Contender Series class of ’21, Della Maddalena made quick work of short-notice replacement Pete Rodriguez in his promotional debut earlier this year. Initially slated to face Warlley Alves, the 25-year-old Australian prospect now takes a sizable step up in competition for his sophomore appearance in the octagon, looking to add to his 11-fight winning streak and stamp himself as someone to keep close tabs on in the 170-pound weight class.
Emeev enters Saturday’s contest with a 20-5 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the UFC, having dropped a split decision to Danny Roberts last time out. The 35-year-old Russian has fought a solid slate through his career and has a diverse arsenal of skills at his disposal, but he can be a little hesitant to throw at times, which leads to closer rounds and more stressful moments when the scorecards are being read.
Will the newcomer's swift, powerful hands and steady work-rate allow him to overpower and overwhelm his veteran opponent or can Emeev's considerable edge in experience give him the advantage necessary to halt Della Maddalena's impressive run of success?
Seungwoo Choi vs. Josh Culibao
The 29-year-old Choi rebounded from consecutive losses to Movsar Evloev and Gavin Tucker in his first two UFC appearances to carry a three-fight winning streak into the final quarter of last year. Unfortunately, a pairing with Alex Cacares proved to be too much, as the former "The Ultimate Fighter" contestant weathered a first-round illegal knee to secure a second-round submission win.
Culibao has achieved three different results through his first three trips into the Octagon, having lost his debut against Jalin Turner before battling Charles Jourdain to a draw and posting a unanimous decision win over Shayilan Nuerdanbieke last time out. The 28-year-old Australian was 8-0 prior to arriving in the UFC, and looks to turn his first win into the start of a winning streak here.
Comfortably settled into place in the middle of the featherweight division, Saturday's contest is a chance for one of these men to show they're capable of moving forward in the talent-rich 145-pound ranks. It should be a spirited affair from start-to-finish that does a quality job of setting the table for the pay-per-view main card.
Brendan Allen vs Jacob Malkoun
The talented Allen has earned six victories in eight UFC starts thus far but stumbled at inopportune times. He started off the year with a short-notice victory at light heavyweight against Sam Alvey and drops back down to his natural surroundings looking to collect his 19th career in his 24th outing.
Since losing his promotional debut against Phil Hawes in 18 seconds, Malkoun has used the full 15 minutes in back-to-back outings, grinding out wins over Abdul Razak Alhassan and AJ Dobson. The Australian has shown an excellent ability to neutralize opponents and control them on the deck, but it will be interesting to see if he can do the same to the active Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Allen this weekend.
Both men are 26 years old and focused on taking a step forward in the 185-pound weight class this year. Allen has been close to the top 15 before, and Malkoun is trending in that direction now, so how this one plays out should go a long way to determining if either (or both) will reach that milestone in 2022.
Maheshate vs. Steve Garcia
The 22-year-old Chinese fighter landed a place on the UFC roster with a quality unanimous decision win over BFL lightweight champ Achilles Estremadura last fall on Dana White’s Contender Series. Now riding a six-fight winning streak, Maheshate looks to follow in the footsteps of Song Yadong and Sumudaerji as young Chinese talents to make early waves in the UFC.
The 30-year-old Garcia has been signed to the promotion since the start of 2020 but has only managed two appearances. After losing his UFC debut on the scorecards, Garcia picked up a second-round stoppage win over Charlie Ontiveros in his sophomore showing last October, moving his record to 12-4 and giving him five wins in his last six appearances overall.
Andre Fialho vs. Jake Matthews
Fiahlo debuted on short notice in January, landing on the unfavorable side of a unanimous decision verdict in a clash with Michel Pereira. Three months later, he registered his first victory – a first-round stoppage win over Miguel Baeza – before turning around three weeks later and collecting a knockout victory over Cameron VanCamp.
A former "The Ultimate Fighter contestant and member of the UFC roster since he was 19 years old, Matthews competes this weekend for the first time since suffering a third-round submission loss to Sean Brady at UFC 259 in March 2021. The loss snapped the 27-year-old’s three-fight winning streak, though he’s still 6-2 overall since returning the welterweight division.
Fialho has been active and entertaining throughout 2022, wading into exchanges and trusting in his power every time, but it will be interesting to see how he contends with a more experienced opponent with a strong grappling acumen this time around.
Kyung Ho Kang vs. Batgerel Danaa
Kang returned from a near two-year absence last November, dropping a decision to Brazilian grappler Rani Yahya, snapping his three-fight winning streak. Now in his tenth year on the UFC roster, the 34-year-old South Korean has made a career out of being tough out for anyone he shares the cage with, building a 6-3 record with one no contest through his first 10 starts inside the octagon.
After earning a trio of first-round stoppage victories following his debut loss to Alatengheili, Danaa landed on the wrong side of the finish last time out, felled by a Chris Gutierrez spinning backfist in the second round. The Mongolian bantamweight has worked extensively with Brandon Gibson in Albuquerque, New Mexico over the last several years, developing into an ever-dangerous, attacking fixture in the 135-pound weight class.
Neither man is capable of being in a boring fight on his own, and now they're being paired off together. While anything can happen inside the octagon, don't be surprised if these two set the bar high for Fight of the Night honors in the final early preliminary card contest.
Liang Na vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez
A 24-fight veteran, Liang got out-muscled and out-worked in her promotional debut last April against Ariane Carnelossi. The 25-year-old had earned five straight victories prior to making her first UFC appearance and enters her sophomore outing on Saturday sporting a 19-5 record overall.
Gomez Juarez has suffered the same fate in each of her first two UFC outings, losing by first-round submission to both Loopy Godinez and Vanessa Demopoulos. While she had little to offer Godinez in her short-notice debut, "La Malvada" blasted Demopoulos with a beautiful right hand out of the gate in their meeting but made the mistake of following the former LFA champ to the canvas, where she was caught and forced to tap to a deep armbar.
Ramona Pascual vs. Joselyn Edwards
Pascual got the call to the UFC in February for a short-notice date with Josiane Nunes, losing a unanimous decision. The Syndicate MMA representative had earned four straight wins prior to her debut setback and will look to get back to the form that produced stoppage wins in the last three fights of that winning streak.
Edwards made her UFC debut last January on short notice, registering an upset win over Wu Yanan on Fight Island. Since then, "La Pantera" has dropped consecutive decisions to Karol Rosa and Jessica-Rose Clark, leaving her in dire need of a victory on Saturday night.
The majority of Pascual's fights have come at featherweight, while Edwards is appearing in the 145-pound weight class for the first time. Edwards has a height and reach advantage on Pascual, so it will be interesting to see if the Hong Kong native can use her size and strength to muscle her way to her first UFC victory or if the divisional newcomer will rule the day.
This story first published at UFC.com.