UFC Fight Night 63 takes place this Saturday from Virginia, as Chad Mendes battles Ricardo Lamas in the main event.
To give you a sense of who all is in action this weekend, check out the media notes furnished by the UFC. FightLine will have complete coverage of all the action beginning with the prelims.
Two of the top-four ranked featherweights collide when No. 2 Chad Mendes meets No. 4 Ricardo Lamas. Both men have strong wrestling pedigrees and have developed solid striking games to match. Only 145-pound champ Jose Aldo has defeated Mendes and Lamas during their UFC careers — handing Mendes the only two UFC losses and Lamas his lone defeat inside the Octagon. A victory for either Mendes or Lamas would position the winner for another shot at the title in the near future.
The co-main event features two of the brightest young stars in the lightweight division as No. 14 Jorge Masvidal meets 15th-ranked Al Iaquinta. Masvidal has won five of six inside the Octagon, including three straight. Iaquinta, arguably the hottest fighter in the division, has KO’d his last three opponents and won six of his last seven. The winner of this bout will take a big step forward in the stacked 155-pound division.
FORMER TITLE CHALLENGERS
UFC fans in Fairfax will be treated to watching a number of former title contenders compete at Patriot Center. Four former title challengers as well as a former STRIKEFORCE champion are set to compete on the card. Lamas, Mendes, Liz Carmouche and Gray Maynard have all challenged for a title during their UFC tenure; while Clay Guida was the inaugural STRIKEFORCE lightweight champion.
LONG AWAITED RETURN
No. 13 Julianna Pena, the first female winner of The Ultimate Fighter, makes her long awaited return after a devastating knee injury when she meets Milana Dudieva on the main card. Pena’s only Octagon appearance was in November 2013, when she beat Jessica Rakoczy via first-round KO to win the TUF 18 crown. The “Venezuelan Vixen” has finished all of her victories and looks to continue her winning ways in Fairfax and begin her ascent up the women’s bantamweight division.
MOVING ON UP
Seventh-ranked featherweight Dustin Poirier is moving back up to lightweight where he started his Zuffa career in the WEC. The American Top Team product went 8-1 as a pro in the 155-pound division, finishing all eight of his victories (5 KOs, 3 submissions). After a heartbreaking loss to Conor McGregor last September, “The Diamond” will try his hand at 155-pounds for the first time inside the Octagon in what is expected to be an action-packed bout against the always tough Diego Ferreira (11-1).
MAKING HIS PARENTS PROUD
Local (Camp Springs, Maryland) UFC middleweight Ron Stallings will make his second appearance in the Octagon and his first with a full camp under his belt. Stallings made his UFC debut as a last-minute replacement against Uriah Hall in Boston on Jan. 18. Stallings began fighting in college without the knowledge of his parents — who only found out when a poster for an event featuring Stallings on it was mistakenly sent to his parents’ home. Now that he has made it to the highest level of MMA, Stallings’ parents are his biggest fans.