Card preview: UFC Fight Night – Woodley vs. Burns

SEVEN days removed from the madness, mixed martial arts returns this weekend amid a big few days for combat sports. Former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and rising Brazilian contender Gilbert Burns headline the UFC’s latest Fight Night, set to take place at the promotion’s APEX Centre in Las Vegas.

Nine of the 12 weight classes, plus a catchweight will be featured across the night, with seven ranked fighters taking to the octagon across the 11 bouts. Check out the full fight card below, with previews and predictions for each of the main card slots.


Welterweight | Tyron Woodley [1] vs. Gilbert Burns [6]

Woodley’s first fight since the night he relinquished his welterweight belt comes in yet another main event slot for the veteran, this time matching up against surging contender, Burns.

The former champ has been out of action for over a year, but had a much-anticipated bout with Leon Edwards scrapped before being booked here. On the flip-side, Burns has fought four times since Woodley’s last outing, making up all but one of his five-fight win streak.

Having taken on high-level competition upon his return to 170lbs – including Demian Maia this year – Burns has quickly shot into contendership. But this matchup serves as undoubtedly his toughest task yet, with the often maligned Woodley a seriously dangerous opponent.

The Brazilian is of course a high level jiu jitsu practitioner, but getting the fight to the ground against Woodley’s takedown defence has proven impossible to many others – just ask Maia. He has the added threat of power on the feet though, something which will be coming the other way in spades.

The recycled narrative regarding Woodley often pits his stamina as exploitable, but his experience and patience is often a good counter for that. He mustn’t be hasty in closing the distance, though his speed often leaves little time for a reaction.

It is hard to look past the American, even at 38-years-old, but the rise of a new contender is always fun to watch. This should be a good one, a high-level matchup to lead the card.

Prediction: Woodley via decision.

Heavyweight | Blagoy Ivanov [12] vs. Augusto Sakai [13]

Ranked heavyweights continue to rumble at the pointy end of UFC cards, and fans will this time be treated to a matchup between two relatively fresh promotional additions.

Ivanov, 2-2 in the UFC was thrown right into the deep end upon entering the leading promotion, but has fared well in four bouts which all went the distance. Sakai, a Contender Series alum is 3-0 in the UFC and rising into top 10 calculations having finished two of those fights on the feet.

The Brazilian’s 11 career knockouts suggest he is dangerous on the feet, but it will take something special to get rid of a crafty, veteran opponent within the 15 minutes. Ivanov, a world class grappler possesses a range of threats himself, making for an intriguing matchup.

Prediction: Ivanov via decision.

Catchweight (150lbs) | Billy Quarantillo vs. Spike Carlyle

Exciting Contender Series graduate Quarantillo gets his moment in the sun on the main card, looking to once again impress the boss against another fresh face in Carlyle.

The bout will be at a 150lbs catchweight, with Quarantillo cutting from lightweight and Carlyle meeting him in the middle from featherweight. Billy will be the taller, bigger man on the night and looking to add to his 10 career finishes.

But the ‘Alpha Ginger’ is no slouch, proving game in accepting this fight on the back of his debut UFC victory and 9-1 overall record. With eight finishes of his own, this fight should be a fun one.

Prediction: Quarantillo via T/KO

Lightweight | Roosevelt Roberts vs. Brok Weaver

Another pair of Contender Series products are set to go at it in search of a finish, with Roberts in for his first fight of the year. After a hiccup in 2019, Roberts redeemed himself late in the year and will hope to continue his rise here.

He faces Weaver, who has fought to eight decisions in his 15 professional victories and oddly boasts two wins via disqualification. But coming in on a roll of eight consecutive wins, Weaver will be riding high and looking to grind out another against a fellow worthy up-and-comer.

Prediction: Roberts via submission.

W. Strawweight | Mackenzie Dern vs. Hannah Cifers

Return of the Mack. The Mack is back. Okay, we’ll stop. Fan favourite grappling ace Mackenzie Dern will look to rectify her maiden professional loss in her first booking for 2020, but has a tough opponent in Cifers standing in her way.

The American lays claim to five career wins via T/KO, but is also coming in off a loss. While Dern is improving in the stand-up department, she will undoubtedly be looking to get this one to the mat as quickly as possible to work her submission game. The winner should take a big leap towards the rankings.

Prediction: Dern via submission.


In our featured prelim sleeper, Katlyn Chookagian will be looking to avoid a Shevchenko two-peat when she faces Antonina, fresh off a loss to her champion sister, Valentina. The stand-up battle should be a good one, with Chookagian’s point style coming up against Shevchenko’s vicious muay thai techniques. Not much of a sleeper, we know, it could well be on the main card.

At welterweight, Gabriel Green makes his promotional debut against the 11-1 Daniel Rodriguez, while undefeated light heavyweight prospect Jamahal Hill will look to consign Klidson Abreu to consecutive losses.

The always entertaining Tim Elliott will hope to make good on consecutive losses of his own when he welcomes LFA product Brandon Royval to the promotion, with Louis Smolka and Casey Kenney set to face off in another prelim sleeper, while Chris Gutierrez and Vince Morales open the night of fights at featherweight.

Prelim Sleeper:
W. Flyweight | Katlyn Chookagian [2] vs. Antonina Shevchenko [12]

Welterweight | Daniel Rodriguez vs. Gabriel Green

Light Heavyweight | Jamahal Hill vs. Klidson Abreu

Flyweight | Tim Elliott [11] vs. Brandon Royval

Bantamweight | Louis Smolka vs. Casey Kenney

Featherweight | Chris Gutierrez vs. Vince Morales

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