Which Ranked Fighters Are Competing This Weekend? UFC on ESPN 1 Rankings Tracker

By Abhinav Kini Feb 16, 2019
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Cain Velasquez’s return to the Octagon will headline the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first card to feature on ESPN television when it goes to Phoenix, Arizona for UFC on ESPN 1 on Saturday. Velasquez (14-2) will be facing the hard-hitting Francis Ngannou in the main event in what will be his first contest since July 2016, when he defeated Travis Browne via first-round TKO at UFC 200.

Injuries have kept the former heavyweight champion away from the Octagon since, with this being just his second fight since losing his title to Fabricio Werdum in 2015. As a result, he has become unranked by Sherdog, ESPN and in the official UFC rankings. However, a potential win over Ngannou (12-3) would insert Velasquez right back into the mix, as his opponent in the French-Cameroonian is fresh off a TKO win over Curtis Blaydes at UFC Fight Night 141 in November and is a highly-ranked foe.

“The Predator,” who be looking for his eighth win under the promotion’s banner, is currently regarded as the fifth best heavyweight in the world by Sherdog, fourth by ESPN, and is the No. 3 heavyweight in the UFC rankings. A definitive win for either fighter on Saturday could also see him stake a claim for a title shot next.

Meanwhile, in the co-main event, lightweights James Vick and Paul Felder will finally get to do battle after their fight was scrapped last year. Both fighters are notably coming off a loss and will want to get right back into the win column. Vick (13-2) last suffered a first-round knockout defeat to Justin Gaethje, and although he is still the No. 10-ranked lightweight as per the UFC, a second consecutive defeat would not be ideal especially given his past complaints about being ducked by higher-ranked opponents. Felder (15-4) on the other hand, last dropped a unanimous decision defeat to Mike Perry in a welterweight bout, but a fourth consecutive win at 155-pounds could see “The Irish Dragon” enter the top 15 of the UFC rankings.

One standout bout not taking place on the main card is a bantamweight fight between Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling on the prelims. Rivera (22-2) bounced back from his first defeat since 2008 with a unanimous decision victory over perennial contender John Dodson at UFC 228 last August and will look to be right in the mix for a title shot with another win against a top opponent.

“El Terror” is currently placed as the fifth best bantamweight in the world by Sherdog and is ranked No. 6 in ESPN and the UFC’s official rankings. His opponent in Sterling (16-3) is recognized as the ninth best bantamweight in the world by Sherdog while ESPN and the UFC have him No. 8 and 7 respectively. A win over Rivera would not only make it three straight wins for the “Funk Master” but also push him higher up in the division.

Finally, women’s strawweight contenders are also in action as Cortney Casey (8-6), ranked 11th by the UFC, and Cynthia Calvillo (7-1), placed 12th by the UFC, will both look to make it two wins in a row when they face each other on the main card. Advertisement

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