Weekend Warrior: Get Ready, We’ve Got A Packed Slate

Photo: Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC [Getty Images]

Stuck in between the magnificence that was UFC 228 and the runaway hype train that is UFC 229 sits UFC Fight Night 137 this Saturday at Geraldo Jose de Almeida Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There, Thiago Santos will lock horns with Eryk Anders in a makeshift Ultimate Fighting Championship main event, while Alex Oliveira faces Carlo Pedersoli Jr. in the three-round co-headliner at 170 pounds.

Santos, 34, has won five of his past six bouts and last appeared at UFC 227 in August, when he took a unanimous decision from Kevin Holland to improve to 10-5 inside the Octagon. One of the sports most devastating kickers, the Tata Fight Team representative has delivered 12 of his 18 career victories by knockout or technical knockout.

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A short-notice replacement for the injured Jimi Manuwa, Anders returns to the cage on the heels of his soccer kick knockout of Tim Williams at UFC Fight Night 135 on Aug. 25. The former University of Alabama linebacker has proven to be a quick study in his transition to mixed martial arts, having compiled a stellar 11-1 record.

UFC Fight Night “Santos vs. Anders” — which airs live on Fox Sports 1 at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT — also features a light heavyweight confrontation pairing Sam Alvey with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, a bantamweight affair pitting Renan Barao against Andre Ewell and a women’s strawweight clash matching Randa Markos with Marina Rodriguez. UFC Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT) and Fox Sports 2 (8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT) will share coverage of the nine-fight undercard.

Meanwhile, Bellator MMA finds itself back on the mixed martial arts stage with Bellator 205 on Friday at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. Undefeated homegrown star A.J. McKee will toe the line against

John Teixeira da Conceicao in the featherweight headliner. McKee, 23, has raced out to an 11-0 record and surfaced as a potential cornerstone for the organization.

Airing live on Paramount at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, Bellator 205 thrusts three other fights into the spotlight: Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. John Salter, Veta Arteaga vs. Denise Kielholtz and Patricky Freire vs. Roger Huerta. Should Lovato Jr. emerge victorious in the co-main event, he could find himself in line for a shot at the Bellator middleweight championship.

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While the UFC and Bellator figure to generate a majority of the headlines, the regional scene offers plenty to satiate the senses.

The Legacy Fighting Alliance pushes its schedule forward with LFA 50 on Friday at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota. The vacant middleweight championship will be on the line in the main event, as Roufusport standout Brendan Allen does battle with the unbeaten Tim Hiley. AXS-TV will carry LFA 50 live at 9 p.m. ET.

Finally, Yoshitaka Naito will defend his strawweight championship in a rematch with Joshua Pacio atop One Championship “Conquest of Heroes” on Saturday at the Jakarta Convention Center in

Jakarta, Indonesia. Naito submitted Pacio with a third-round rear-naked choke in their first meeting on Oct. 7, 2016. The event streams live and free to the One Super App at 7 a.m. ET/4 a.m. PT, available on Android and iOS platforms.

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