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Let’s talk about the other matches on the UFC 229 card

From local athletes to former champions, the UFC 229 card is stacked with talent outside of Khabib and McGregor

This Saturday (October 6), Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov will battle it out to decide who is the true UFC Lightweight Champion. It is a bout that could change the course of UFC history. The expected profit from the bout could be beyond comprehension. However, that doesn’t mean it is the only fight on the card.

UFC 229 features some solid bouts outside of the main event. From contending fights to slugfests, there is something for everyone. Whoever is on that card should be receiving a nice payday and exposure to the world. Here are just a few of the fights to look out for, whether they feature local talent or badasses.

Ryan LaFlare v. Tony Martin – Welterweight bout 

The first previewed match may be the first bout to be featured on the UFC Fight Pass prelims. Long Island’s Ryan LaFlare will face off against Tony Martin. LaFlare (14-2) last fought at UFC Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City, NJ, beating Alex Garcia via unanimous decision. In his last five fights, the Lindenhurst native is 5-2. A member of Long Island MMA, LaFlare will look to gain momentum in a very crowded welterweight field.

His opponent is looking for his second win in a row as well. Martin (13-4) also last fought at UFC Fight Night 128, beating Keitaro Nakamura via unanimous decision. This will be his second fight back in the welterweight division since testing his luck as a lightweight.

Aspen Ladd v. Tonya Evinger – Bantamweight bout

Two top female contenders in MMA will fight on the FS1 prelims to determine the latest challenger for Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes. Well, at least who will be considered.

Ladd (6-0) last fought at UFC Fight Night 118, beating Lina Lansberg via second-round TKO. She was supposed to face Leslie Smith at UFC Fight Night 128 but failed to make weight. Smith refused to fight at catchweight, canceling the fight altogether. At (1-0) in the UFC, Ladd will look to make her case as a true contender, as long as she makes weight this time.

She faces a former contender for the UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship in Tonya Evinger. The 37-year-old Evinger (19-6 (1 NC)) is on a weird run for an MMA fighter. After winning nine fights in a row, the former Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion has one no contest, one win and one loss. Her loss was in her UFC debut against Cris Cyborg at UFC 214.

Vicente Luque v. Jalin Turner – Welterweight bout

As I said before, the UFC’s welterweight division is stacked. Another fight on the FS1 prelims, New Jersey’s Vincente Luque (13-6-1) is looking for his third win in a row. A member of Carrado MMA, the 26-year-old is unranked but has all the potential to be a true force. In his way is Jalin Turner (7-3), who is looking for his fourth win in a row. Turner is a knockout artist, so he will look to put this one away early. Vincente can take down an opponent in many ways; he has won six fights via submission and six via KO.

Sergio Pettis v. Jussier Formiga – Flyweight bout 

This fight is what we like to call the first true slugfest of the night. In his last six fights, Pettis (17-3) is 5-1. His last bout was a back-and-forth win against Joseph Benavidez at UFC 225. The former RFA Flyweight Champion hasn’t had a decisive victory (KO or submission) since submitting James Porter back in 2013 at NAFC: Battle in the Ballroom. Will his 11 wins via decision be his downfall?

On the other hand, his opponent has won two in a row, both via submission. Formiga (21-5) had a Fight of the Night moment against Ben Nguyen at UFC 221. The 33-year-old may also have 11 wins via decision, but he balances it out with ten submission victories.

Surviving a fight is Pettis’ specialty, and if all goes according to plan, this could be a true game of survival of the fittest between two top contenders.

Ovince Saint Preux v. Dominick Reyes – Light Heavyweight bout

Two of the most highly-entertaining fighters will look to provide fans with a delectable appetizer before the main course. OSP (23-11) is the master of the Von Flue Choke, a rare submission move that will get any fan out of their seat to applause. Saint Preux is 4-1 in his last five fights, last submitting Tyson Pedro at UFC Fight Night 132. He has been teetering back and forth in regards to contending, but has the skill set to truly steal the show. While Daniel Cormier might be busy at the moment, don’t be surprised if a win here puts OSP back on everyone’s radar.

The undefeated Reyes (9-0) is a knockout specialist, winning six fights via devastating punches and kicks. At 28, OSP is the perfect fight for a man just starting to face off against the right opponents.

Tony Ferguson v. Anthony Pettis – Lightweight bout

My, how the times have changed. It was only a few months ago that Ferguson (23-3) was the Lightweight Champion and was set to face Khabib at UFC 223. A week before the fight, Ferguson had to back out due to a torn knee ligament and was stripped of the title. Now, he is climbing a mountain to get his title back.

On a ten-fight win streak, Ferguson is a man on a mission. If Ferguson was to win this fight, don’t be surprised if he confronts the winner of Conor v. Khabib to mark his territory. While the UFC may have other things planned, “El Cucuy” will be doing things on his own terms.

In his way is Sergio’s brother, Anthony Pettis. On the decline of his career, according to many, Pettis (21-7) has gone 3-5 in his last eight fights but won his last bout at UFC 226 against Michael Chiesa. Some marked that as his “I’m Back” moment. The deciding factor whether that is true or not will be a win against Ferguson.

These are a few of the several fights to take place on October 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. What is your favorite non-Conor/Khabib match heading into the night?

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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