The UFC is set to make its debut in Prague, Czech Republic on Feb. 23 and you’d be hard pressed to find a more exciting card on paper. With international flair and a lone homegrown fighter, let’s have a look at what to expect from the promotion’s third card exclusive to ESPN+.
Preliminary Card – 11 am EST on ESPN 2 (Fight Pass in Canada)
No ranked fighters will be found on the undercard of UFC Fight Night 145; however, plenty of potential can be found in all seven undercard bouts. Kicking off the card is former M-1 Global lightweight champ Damir Ismagulov (17-2) taking on promotional newcomer and former AFL lightweight champ Joel Alvarez (15-1). Ismagulov boasts an impressive 10 wins by finish but it’s Alvarez’s finishing ability that jumps off the page. The Spaniard has yet to see a decision and boasts 14/15 wins by submission.
Former Cage Warriors featherweight champ Chris Fishgold (17-2-1) is looking to right the ship following his loss to Calvin Kattar in his UFC debut this past October, matching up against Swedish striker Daniel Teymur (6-2). Teymur has dropped each of his UFC contests, with losses coming to Danny Henry and most recently to Julio Arce in June.
An early pick for “Fight of the Night” would be the afternoon’s second contest, a classic striker vs. grappler match-up at lightweight between 11-fight UFC vet Rustam Khalibov (23-3) and Diego Ferreira (14-2). Khalibov boasts wins over such names as Jorge Masvidal and Yancy Medeiros while Ferreira’s returned from a two year absence and finished both Jared Gordon and Kyle Nelson in 2018. In terms of stats, Khalibov lands an average of 4.04 takedowns per 15 minutes at 45% accuracy and only attempts a meager 0.1 submissions in that same time frame. Ferreira comes into this fight with 9/14 wins by finish (six by submission and three by KO/TKO) and his career striking numbers dwarf those of Khalibov with 4.45 to 2.01 significant strikes landed per round on average.
Main Card – 2 pm EST on ESPN+ (Fight Pass in Canada)
Czech fans are set for a six fight main card with seven ranked fighters competing. Powerhouse bantamweights Petr “No Mercy” Yan (11-1) meets John “The Magician” Dodson (20-10), who combine for 14 total wins by KO/TKO and neither man losing by way of finish.
The lone hometown fighter Lucie Pudilova (8-3) is set to tangle with former bantamweight title challenger Liz Carmouche (12-6). Pudilova has gone 2-2 since joining the promotion in 2017 and in that same span Carmouche has gone 1-1.
The main event pits dynamic finishers Jan Blachowicz (23-7) and Thiago Santos (20-6) possessing a combined 29 wins by finish. The last two years have seen Santos posting a 7-1 record, winning six by KO/TKO. His finish of Jimi Manuwa at UFC 231 in December was good enough to net a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus. Poland’s former KSW light heavyweight champ Blachowicz is currently riding a four fight win streak. He last welcomed Nikita Krylov back to the UFC by submitting the lanky Russian at UFC Moscow in September.