UFC 251 Main Card – Saturday 11th July
UFC Fight Island – Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
The main card at UFC 251 gets going with a clash at flyweight as Paige VanZant welcomes ranked strawweight contender Amanda Ribas to the division. Can Ribas adapt to the higher weight class and continue her winning run or will VanZant claim consecutive wins for the first time since 2015?
Amanda Ribas (9–1) is making her first appearance as a flyweight in the UFC this weekend. The former Max Fight strawweight champion and former Jungle Fights strawweight champion made her UFC debut in that weight class in June last year with a 6–1 professional record.
Ribas had been scheduled to fight in the organization long before in July 2017 but was flagged for a potential doping violation after testing positive for ostarine, which increases stamina and fitness. The Brazilian received a two-year suspension but this was terminated after the findings were ruled to have been caused by taking a contaminated dietary supplement.
In total, Ribas was out of competition for over three years before her UFC career began. However, she has amassed a perfect record since, winning all three of her bouts and coming into this one on a four-fight winning streak.
Originally scheduled to face VanZant in March, her opponent pulled out with a fractured arm and was replaced by Randa Markos on the same card. The bout took place in Brazil, where Ribas completely dominated on her way to a unanimous decision victory.
Ribas’ versatility can be seen by looking at her career wins; she has three TKO, three submissions, and three unanimous decision victories to her name, and will be keen to continue this run as a flyweight and enter the rankings in her new weight class.
Paige VanZant (8–4) joined the UFC as a strawweight in 2014, entering the promotion with a 3–1 record. She is 5–3 in her eight fights with the company and won on her last appearance in January 2019 against Rachael Ostovich, submitting her opponent with an armbar in the second round.
VanZant’s previous fight had been a year earlier, a broken arm suffered in the bout forced her into a spell on the sidelines, and she had sat out 2017 in its entirety due to injuries and illnesses.
“12 Gauge” is 1–2 in her last three outings but has finished four of her five UFC wins, two by KO/TKO and two by submission, both due to armbar.
I am expecting the fighter from Oregon to try to clinch Ribas and grapple, attempting to open up opportunities to look for a submission. This is VanZant’s third fight at flyweight (1–1 in the division so far) and the last fight of her current UFC contract, so she will be eager to put on an impressive performance and secure the victory.
Prediction: Ribas by decision.
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