The UFC continues to crank out weekly fighting events at the APEX facility, ushering another Fight Night show this Saturday night. The main event features journeyman fight legend Alistair Overeem (46-18-0, 1 NC, 11-7 UFC) as he enters the Octagon for the 19th time in the UFC and 66th time in his MMA career. The 40-year old squares off against the up and coming heavyweight phenom in Japanese-Brazilian Augusto Sakai (15-1-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
Overeem, a legendary kickboxer with limited Jiu-Jitsu experience may have his work cut out for him against Sakai, 29, a Muay Thai practitioner, closing in on a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu. Both kickboxing styles should be interesting to see, with Sakai holding the edge on the ground. Sakai predicted a knockout over “The Demolition Man” in an interview with Sherdog.com back in August, though his awareness of Overeem’s fighting style has changed significantly. He may not be as aggressive as he was in his prime, but could he be playing possum against Sakai come Saturday night?
The co-main event includes former Tennessee Volunteer football standout Ovince Saint Preux (24-14 MMA, 12-9 UFC) and Los Angeles native Alonzo Menifield (9-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in light-heavyweight action. Both are coming off decision losses where Saint Preux suffered a split-decision setback to Ben Rothwell in a heavyweight bout back at UFC Fight Night on May 13 while Menifield lost unanimously to Devin Clarke at UFC 250 weeks later on June 6.
In a welterweight war, nine-year fight veteran Michel Periera (23-11, 2 NC MMA, 1-2 UFC) fights for his UFC life to even his record with the company as he hooks up with the Russian Zelim Amadaev (10-2 MMA 0-2 UFC) who is looking for his first win inside the Octagon. Both men fighting with heavy hearts his weekend are looking to turn their luck around in a town that could make it worse in Sin City. Brian Kelleher (21-11 MMA, 5-4 UFC) welcomes in greenhorn Kevin Natividad (9-1 MMA) who makes his UFC debut against the 32 fight veteran in a featherweight matchup. Kelleher, who lost at UFC 250 to Cody Stamann, looks to take it out on the 27-year old Tempe, Arizona native.
Rounding out the main card includes a lightweight battle between Thiago Moisés (13-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Jalin Turner (9-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC), both 25 years young. Half of the fighters on the main card were involved in Dana White’s Contender Series before coming to work for him under the William Morris Endeavor umbrella.
In preliminary fighting, André Muniz 19-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) looking for his sixth consecutive win and second UFC win against Bartosz Fabinski (15-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC). In women’s flyweight action, Viviane Araújo (8-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) fights for the first time in 2020 against Montana De La Rosa (11-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC). Moldovan mauler Alexander Romanov (11-0 MMA) makes his UFC debut at heavyweight facing off against Sao Paulo native Marcos Rogério de Lima (17-6-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) and Vancouver’s own “Cole Train” Cole Smith (7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) stares down against Phoenix native Hunter Azure (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) as both bantamweights look for their second win in the Octagon.
UFC Fight Night 176 starts at 6 pm ET/3 pm PT with the preliminary card before the bell time for the main card chimes in at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on ESPN+.