This Saturday night, the UFC is in Chicago at the United Center for the UFC 238 pay-per-view featuring two championship fights.
In the main event, the vacant bantamweight title will be awarded to the winner of Saturday’s fight between flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and the streaking Marlon Moraes. The future of the flyweight division remains in flux and a Cejudo victory will amplify theories that the flyweight division is coming to an end.
In the co-feature, Valentina Shevchenko sets out to make her first defense of the women’s flyweight title against Jessica Eye. The challenger struggled at bantamweight, losing four in a row but found new life at the flyweight division having her arm raised in her previous three outings.
But the big fight on the card was a late addition as lightweights Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone will stand opposite one another in Chicago. After a sabbatical, Ferguson sets for his 12th consecutive victory with an unblemished record since his May 2012 loss to Michael Johnson. Cerrone is back only five-weeks removed from a five round decision win over Al Iaquinta in Ottawa, Ontario.
POST Wrestling’s Phil Chertok answers five of the pressing questions heading into UFC 238.
What is the fight you’re most intrigued by this weekend?
The obvious answer is Tony vs. Cowboy but I’m going to go with the main event, Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes. Cejudo’s improvement since the first Mighty Mouse fight has been incredible and his athletic pedigree is second to none. I’ve been told he’s a Gold medalist. Moraes has been outstanding in his UFC run and his time in World Series of Fighting was equally impressive. This fight will be thrilling from the get-go and I was sold on it and the event before El Cucuy vs. Cerrone was added to the bill.
Beyond the two championship fights, who has the most to gain from a great performance on Saturday?
This has to be Tony Ferguson. Although maybe it’s more about how much he could lose rather than what he will gain. He’s been so close to titles before and was even interim champ. A loss here would seriously set him back on his chase for the title in a stacked lightweight division. In a normal world, a win would set him up for a title shot but considering the Conor McGregor show and Tony’s history, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s denied again.
If Tatiana Suarez defeats Nina Ansaroff, should that put her in line for a title fight?
Based on the rankings the winner of this fight, whoever it is, should be next in line but as we all know the rankings don’t mean much, especially with Michelle Waterson orbiting the title picture. I do think that an Ansaroff win will get her a title shot. There’s a good story there with her partner Amanda Nunes being a two-division champion already. Can this UFC power couple rule three divisions? Suarez has looked good so far but has only beaten one top ten opponent. A win here would be big for her, but I think she might need another fight to expose her to a wider audience before giving her a shot at the gold.
What is the future of the flyweight division if Henry Cejudo wins this Saturday?
If Henry Cejudo becomes bantamweight champion you probably want to call a priest because it will be time for the last rites of the men’s 125-pound division. If Cejudo loses it doesn’t get much better as the only conceivable existence for this division going forward is something that resembles the women’s featherweight division which has been in disarray since inception.
Is there a storyline or fight that is flying under the radar for this event that has your interest?
The bantamweight changing of the guard. Not only will a new champion be crowned following TJ Dillashaw’s sordid ousting from the throne, but we’re also getting two additional bantamweight scraps on this card that have serious title implications. Aljamain Sterling is on a three-fight run and has looked great since losing to headliner Moraes. His opponent Pedro Munhoz has also strung together three in a row including a thrilling finish over former champion Cody Garbrandt. In the other 135-pound contest Jimmie Rivera takes on skyrocketing contender Petr Yan. Yan has been on the fast-track to a title shot. He’s 4-0 in the UFC including a win over veteran John Dodson. This will be his 5th fight in less than a year. Although Rivera has dropped 2 of his last 3, prior to that he’d won 20 fights in a row. A win over him means a lot and should propel Yan to a shot at the champ whomever that turns out to be. For Rivera, he needs a win to stay in the title picture, otherwise, it will be a long road back to contention.
Phil Chertok is the co-host of the UFC POST Shows on the site and will be joined by John Pollock Saturday night for the UFC 238 POST Show.