Featured Bouts: (#3) Yan Xiaonan vs (#4) Carla Esparza, (#7) Jack Hermansson vs (#12) Edmen Shahbazyan
UFC is set to deliver another entertaining card at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, headlined by a bantamweight bout all but guaranteed to deliver action as No. 3 ranked contender Rob Font takes on former champion and No. 4 Cody Garbrandt. Also on the card, top five women’s strawweights collide with title aspirations on the line as No. 3 ranked contender Yan Xiaonan battles former champion and No. 4 Carla Esparza.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT: FONT vs. GARBRANDT will take place Saturday, May 22 from UFC APEX in Las Vegas. All bouts will be available exclusively on ESPN+ in English and Spanish with the main card beginning at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT and the prelims kicking off the action at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT.
Font (18-4, fighting out of Woburn, Mass.) is the newest member of the UFC bantamweight top five following his first-round knockout of former title challenger Marlon Moraes. A member of the UFC roster since 2014, he rose up the ranks with a series of impressive stoppage wins, including victories over Thomas Almeida, Matt Schnell and Douglas Silva de Andrade. Font now intends to secure the biggest win over his career by taking out Garbrandt.
Former bantamweight champion Garbrandt (12-3, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) plans to continue his journey back to the title by delivering a vintage performance against Font. Among the most dangerous strikers in the division’s history, he showed off his power with statement knockouts over Raphael Assuncao, Thomas Almeida and Marcus Brimage. Garbrandt now aims to put together another long win streak and prove that he is still among the best bantamweights in the world.
Chinese contender Yan (13-1, 1 NC, fighting out of Beijing, China) seeks to maintain her undefeated record in the UFC and add the first former champion to her resume. A Sanda expert with all of her finishes coming by knockout, Xiaonan announced herself as a top prospect in the division with wins over perennial contenders Angela Hill, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Claudia Gadelha. She now looks to cement herself as the next in line for the title with a standout performance.
Esparza (18-6, fighting out of Irvine, Calif.) became the first UFC women’s strawweight champion in history after winning the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Currently on the longest win streak of her UFC career, she fought her way back into the title conversation with wins over Alexa Grasso, Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez. Esparza now plans to earn a chance to regain her belt and repeat her victory over current champion Namajunas.
Additional bouts on the card include:
- No. 7 ranked middleweight Jack Hermansson (21-6, fighting out of Oslo, Norway) looks to return to the winner’s circle when he meets No. 12 Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1, fighting out of Glendale, Calif.)
- Heavyweight finishers collide as Justin Tafa (4-2, fighting out of North Lakes, Australia) meets Jared Vanderaa (11-5, fighting out of Hemet, Calif.)
- Former women’s featherweight title challenger Felicia Spencer (8-2, fighting out of Orlando, Fla., by way of Montreal, Canada) intends to bounce back into the win column against short notice replacement Norma Dumont (5-1, fighting out of Minas Gerais, Brazil)
- Top 15 flyweights David Dvorak (19-3, fighting out of Horice, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic) and Raulian Paiva (20-3, fighting out of State of Amapa, Brazil) vie to break into the top 10 of the division
- In an entertaining featherweight bout, Ricardo Ramos (14-3, fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) locks horns with Bill Algeo (14-5, fighting out of King of Prussia, Pa.)
- Heavyweight veteran Ben Rothwell (38-13, fighting out of Kenosha, Wisc.) competes in his 52nd professional MMA bout against UFC newcomer Chris Barnett (21-6, fighting out of Athens, Ga.)
- The Ultimate Fighter season 11 winner Court McGee (20-10, fighting out of Orem, Utah) takes on submission specialist Claudio Silva (14-2, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at welterweight
- Veteran flyweight Bruno Silva (11-5-2, 1 NC, fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) plans to stop Victor Rodriguez (7-3, fighting out of Soldotna, Ala.) from earning his first UFC victory
- Josh Culibao (8-1-1, fighting out of New South Wales, Australia) aims to secure his first UFC win against the debuting Sha Yilan (19-6, fighting out of Beijing, China)
- Exciting lightweights Yancy Medeiros (15-7, 1 NC, fighting out of Makaha, Hawaii) and Damir Hadzovic (13-6, fighting out of Copenhagen, Denmark) look to deliver bonus-earning performances
- Dana White’s Contender Series signee Rafael Alves (19-9, fighting out of Miami, Fla. by way of Belem, Para, Brazil) aims for a successful UFC debut against Damir Ismagulov (19-2, fighting out of Orenburgskaia, Russia) at lightweight
- In a women’s bantamweight bout, Stephanie Egger (5-2, fighting out of St. Gallen, Switzerland) faces off with Sarah Alpar (9-5, fighting out of Oklahoma City, Okla.)
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