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 Post subject: [Event] UFC on ESPN 59 - Namajunas vs. Cortez - Jul 13
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:12 am 
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ImageUFC 303 - Pereira vs. Prochazka 2 --- UFC on ESPN 60 - Lemos vs. JandirobaImage


UFC on ESPN 59: Namajunas vs. Cortez (also known as UFC Denver) is an upcoming mixed martial arts event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that will take place on July 13, 2024, at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, United States.

Fight card

Main card (ESPN / ESPN+)

Women's Flyweight Rose Namajunas vs. Tracy Cortez
Welterweight Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Muslim Salikhov
Lightweight Drew Dober vs. Jean Silva
Welterweight Gabriel Bonfim vs. Ange Loosa
Featherweight Julian Erosa vs. Christian Rodriguez
Middleweight Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Cody Brundage

Preliminary card (ESPN / ESPN+)

Women's Flyweight Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Fatima Kline
Flyweight Joshua Van vs. Charles Johnson
Women's Flyweight Luana Santos vs. Mariya Agapova
Middleweight Josh Fremd vs. Andre Petroski
Bantamweight Montel Jackson vs. Da'Mon Blackshear


The event will mark the promotion's seventh visit to Denver and first since UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs. Rodríguez in November 2018.

A women's flyweight bout between former two-time UFC Women's Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas and Maycee Barber was expected to headline the event. However, Barber withdrew from the bout, due to what was later revealed to be ongoing health problems, and was replaced by Tracy Cortez, who was scheduled to face Miranda Maverick one week later at UFC on ESPN: Lemos vs. Jandiroba.

Chris Duncan was scheduled to face Nazim Sadykhov in a lightweight bout. However, Duncan was replaced by Marquel Mederos due to undisclosed reasons. A week later, Mederos pulled out and a replacement is currently being sought for Nazim Sadykhov. On July 8, Sadykhov released a statement saying he would not be competing at the event.

A lightweight bout between Drew Dober and Mike Davis was expected to take place at this event. However, Davis was forced to withdraw due to a torn bicep. He was replaced by Jean Silva, who just fought two weeks earlier at UFC 303.

A welterweight bout between Mike Malott and Gilbert Urbina was scheduled to take place at this event. However, two weeks before the event, as a result of Urbina withdrawing due to undisclosed reasons, Malott decided not to fight another opponent at this event due to an injury sustained during training, so the bout was scrapped.

Viviane Araujo and Jasmine Jasudavicius were expected to meet in a women's flyweight bout. However on July 5, Araújo pulled out for unknown reasons and was replaced by promotional newcomer Fatima Kline.


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 Post subject: Re: [Event] UFC on ESPN 59 - Namajunas vs. Cortez - Jul 13
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:18 am 
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Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Denver

Breaking Down The Action Slated To Hit The Octagon As The We Return To Where It All Started This Weekend For UFC Fight Night: Namajunas vs Cortez

By E. Spencer Kyte, on X: @SpencerKyte

Denver has played host to some pretty cool moments in UFC history over the years, including UFC 1, UFC 2, and Jon Jones’ initial light heavyweight title defense.

The last time the Octagon touched down in the Rocky Mountains, Yair Rodriguez closed out the evening with a ridiculous (in a good way) upward elbow at the horn that knocked out “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. Honestly, it doesn’t get talked about enough as one of the most insane knockouts in UFC history.

This week, the UFC returns to Denver for the first time since that 25th anniversary show in 2018 with a fun fight card littered with emerging talents in critical matchups.

Main Event: Rose Namajunas vs Tracy Cortez

Former strawweight queen Rose Namajunas headlines at home as she looks to cement her contender status in the flyweight division, while Tracy Cortez looks to make the most of a massive short notice opportunity in Saturday night’s main event.

After dropping her divisional debut last fall in Paris, Namajunas rebounded in March with a five-round unanimous decision win over Amanda Ribas to solidify her position in the pecking order and get things moving in the right direction again. The 32-year-old two-time champion remains one of the most skilled and talented fighters on the roster, and a second consecutive win could put her in a position to challenge for the title in 2025.

Cortez jumped at the chance to replace Maycee Barber in the main event, shifting out of her bout with Miranda Maverick next week to headline for the first time. The Fight Ready MMA representative is 5-0 inside the Octagon and has won 11 straight overall, though Namajunas represents a considerable step up in competition for the Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) graduate.

The short-notice nature of this fight is an interesting wrinkle, as you never know how each fighter is going to react to the situation. Namajunas has a considerable edge in experience on all fronts, but there is something to be said about the confidence that comes with playing with house money, as Cortez will be here.

Other Main Card Matchups

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Muslim Salikhov

Veteran welterweights Santiago Ponzinibbio and Muslim Salikhov finally cross paths inside the Octagon this weekend in Denver.

Now 37, Ponzinibbio returns for the first time since UFC 287, where he was stopped in the third round of his clash with Kevin Holland. The Argentine remains a dangerous competitor in the “Second 15” of the welterweight division, and a pairing with a fellow stalwart was in order after several years of serving as a litmus test for ascending names and streaking hopefuls.

A long-time fixture of the Top 15, Salikhov has slipped form the rankings in recent years after losing three of his last four. This is the first time he’s entered a fight having dropped consecutive contests, so it will be interesting to see how the new territory impacts his performance this weekend.

These two were scheduled to face off several years ago, only for the bout to be scuttled by a positive COVID test on Salikhov’s side. Both are perpetually entertaining, so while it doesn’t carry the stakes it would have back in 2021, it should be fun times for as long as it lasts on Saturday.

Drew Dober vs Jean Silva

Dashing lightweight and Denver resident Drew Dober remains on the card following an opponent switch, as Jean Silva jumps up a weight class for a rapid turnaround after earning a victory at UFC 303 in Las Vegas two weeks ago.

Dober is now 41 fights into his professional career and has successfully carved a lane out for himself as an all-action crowdpleaser who can be counted on to deliver excitement, win or lose, each time out. Originally slated to face Mike Davis, he’ll now look to rebound from his February loss to Renato Moicano by sharing the Octagon with another aggressive, streaking Brazilian.

Silva looks to collect wins one Saturday apart here, stepping in for Davis just two weeks after dispatching Charles Jourdain during International Fight Week. The DWCS Class of ’23 alum is already 2-0 in the UFC this year with a pair of stoppage wins, and if he make it a hat trick here, the 27-year-old Fighting Nerds representative will have plenty of options and a ton of buzz heading into the dog days of summer.

Can Dober get back on course and slow Silva’s momentum or will the first-year UFC fighter keep rolling and add another established name to his list of vanquished foes?

Gabriel Bonfim vs Ange Loosa

The first of this weekend’s twin main card welterweight pairings features Brazilian prospect Gabriel Bonfim and ascending DWCS alum Ange Loosa.

Bonfim came out of the gates exceptionally well during his 2023 rookie campaign, rapidly submitting Mounir Lazzez and Trevin Giles in back-to-back outings to build to 15-0 overall. His run of success was ended in November in Sao Paulo, however, as Danish veteran Nicolas Dalby drained his gas tank and handed him his first loss.

Loosa, who battled top contender Jack Della Maddalena for three rounds during Season 5 of the annual summer talent search series, picked up consecutive victories over AJ Fletcher and Rhys McKee following his short-notice debut loss to Lazzez. Last time out, the Kill Cliff FC man was rendered unable to continue following a second-round eye poke in his bout with Bryan Battle.

This is where we really find out what Bonfim is made of as a fighter, as he’s faced with coming off a loss for the first time. He’s an electric talent, but if he’s not dialed in and focused on the task at hand, Loosa is more than capable of handing him a second consecutive defeat.

Julian Erosa vs Christian Rodriguez

Featherweight staple Julian Erosa looks to provide a veteran test for surging prospect — and “prospect killer” — Christian Rodriguez in Denver.

The 34-year-old Erosa is now 40 fights deep into his career, settling into a quality run as a fan-friendly dynamo in the 145-pound weight class. He earned a quick submission finish last time out and each of his last three outings have ended in the opening stanza, which speaks to the risks the Xtreme Couture man is willing to take inside the Octagon.

Eight years Erosa’s junior, Rodriguez is 11-1 overall and 4-1 in the UFC, with three consecutive wins over previously unbeaten opponents. The quiet 26-year-old handed both Raul Rosas Jr. and Cameron Saaiman their first losses in 2023, and did the same to Isaac Dulgarian in March, turning the Roufusport product into the prospect other prospects might want to avoid.

Will the action-oriented Erosa create chaos and find a way to halt Rodriguez’ momentum or will the rising star turn back the dangerous, attacking veteran to earn a fifth straight win?

Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Cody Brundage

It’s an all-Colorado battle in the middleweight division to kick off the main card as Elevation Fight Team’s Abdul Razak Alhassan faces off with Cody Brundage from Factory X Muay Thai.

Alhassan has struggled to find consistent results throughout his UFC run, entering Saturday’s contest with a 6-6 mark between two divisions. Last time out, the 38-year-old judo ace was taken down and submitted by Joe Pyfer in the second round.

Brundage has been extremely active over the last 18 months, with this weekend’s tussle with Alhassan standing as his six appearances since the start of 2023. He’s just 2-3 during that stretch, however, and enters off his own second-round submission loss, having fallen to Bo Nickal at UFC 300 in April.

This should be a classic “one wants to keep it standing, the other looks to take it to the canvas” battle between two guys that always come out of the gates quickly and look to finish early. Which one will have success and earn state-wide bragging rights remains to be determined.

Preliminary Card Fights

Jasmine Jasudavicius vs Fatima Kline

Ranked Canadian flyweight Jasmine Jasudavicius gets a short-notice shift in opponent this week as instead of facing Viviane Araujo, she instead welcomes highly regarded prospect Fatima Kline to the UFC.

A member of the DWCS Class of ’21, Jasudavicius enters off the most dominant effort of her career — a third-round submission win over Priscila Cachoeira at UFC 297 in Toronto where she collected 10-8 scores across the board before finally collecting the finish. Unbeaten in six pro bouts and a teammate of flyweight contender Erin Blanchfield, the 23-year-old Kline earned “Double Champ” status under the CFFC banner last time out, adding the strawweight title to the flyweight belt she won in her previous outing, and now has the chance to instantly establish herself as another young, ascending star in the 125-pound weight class this weekend in her promotional debut.

Luana Santos vs Mariya Agapova

Luana Santos and Mariya Agapova meet in an intriguing flyweight clash that should answer some questions about each fighter.

The 24-year-old Santos is 2-0 in the UFC and 7-1 overall, but will be under scrutiny here after missing weight at bantamweight last time out against Stephanie Egger. Agapova has been out of action since the fall of 2022, when the former highly regarded prospect suffered a submission loss to Gillian Robertson, her second straight stoppage loss and third in four fights.

Josh Fremd vs Andre Petroski

Middleweights Josh Fremd and Andre Petroski share the Octagon with one another on Saturday’s prelims, with each man looking to get things moving in the right direction again.

Fremd earned back-to-back wins over Sedriques Dumas and Jamie Pickett to begin his 2023 campaign before running into Roman Kopylov at Noche UFC. Petroski won five straight out of the chute after his time on The Ultimate Fighter, but has since suffered back-to-back stoppage losses.

Joshua Van vs Charles Johnson

Flyweight prospect Joshua Van squares off with ever-active veteran Charles Johnson in this fascinating flyweight fixture.

The 22-year-old Van has earned eight straight wins overall, including three straight inside the Octagon, while Johnson arrives on a two-fight run of success, having most recently outworked Jake Hadley in St. Louis. This is a classic “prospect versus veteran” battle and it will be captivating to see how this one shakes out as it will definitely have an impact on the division’s alignment going forward.

Montel Jackson vs Da’Mon Blackshear

Talented bantamweights Montel Jackson and Da’Mon Blackshear provide an exciting late addition of action to this weekend’s already strong lineup.

Jackson has gone 7-2 in the UFC after reaching the biggest stage in the sport after less than one year as a pro, and enters Saturday’s contest on a four-fight winning streak. Blackshear has been a tough assignment for everyone he’s faced in the Octagon to date, having mustered a 2-2-1 record against quality competition through his first five appearances.

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