Saturday, March 03, 2018,
Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC 222 Preview
UFC 222 was in danger of cancellation after Max Holloway, the original headliner, was forced to pull out with an ankle injury. Holloway defending his title against No. 1 contender Frankie Edgar.
On Wednesday, the UFC announced that Cyborg V Kunitskaya will headline UFC 222. In addition to the main event, Edgar will on the card in a nontitle bout against undefeated contender Brian Ortega.
Cris “Cyborg” Justino (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (10-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
The March 3 headliner will mean quick turnaround for Cyborg, who’s coming off her first UFC title defense a unanimous-decision win over Holly Holm, on Dec. 30.
Justino (19-1, 1 NC) hasn’t lost an MMA fight since her pro debut in 2005. The 32-year-old Brazilian ‘beast’ stands 5-8 with a 68-inch reach and has recorded 16 of her 18 career wins via KO with three coming by way of decision. She specializes in Muay Thai, boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The 28-year-old Kunitskaya (10-3), is 2-2 with one no contest in her last five fights and makes her UFC debut after beating Raquel Pa’aluhi at Invicta 25 via unanimous decision in August. Afterward, she announced that she was moving up to 145 pounds. Kunitskaya was set to have her UFC debut against Leah Letson on the same event before getting the significant step-up in competition.
Frankie Edgar (21-5-1) vs. Brian Ortega (13-0)
36-year-old Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (21-5-1) stands 5-6 with a 68-inch reach. He’s won two straight fights including a second round TKO (doctor stoppage) over Yair Rodriguez in May. Edgar has recorded seven of his career wins via knockout, four via submission and 11 by way of decision. He’s also suffered five decision losses and one draw.
26-year-old Brian “T City” Ortega (13-0) stands 5-8 and has a 69-inch reach. He’s won five straight fights including a submission win over ‘Cub’ Swanson at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega that won him the Fight of the Night in December. Ortega has recorded two of his career wins via knockout, seven by way of submission and four via decision.
Yana Kunitskaya gave it everything she had at UFC 222. But it wasn’t nearly enough.
The Invicta bantamweight champion went up a weight class to challenge Cris Cyborg on short notice for the UFC featherweight championship Saturday night.
But after Kunitskaya found early success, Cyborg proved once again why she’s considered by so many the greatest women’s fighter of all-time. Cyborg turned up the heat after an awkward start and earned the knockout victory. The time of the stoppage at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas was 3:25 of the opening round.
Frankie Edgar vs Brian Ortega
Let there be no more doubt: Brian Ortega is the real deal.
The Gracie jiu-jitsu standout from Torrance, Calif., had the biggest opportunity of his career on Saturday night, as he took a matchup with Frankie Edgar as a replacement for featherweight champion Max Holloway.
And boy, did Ortega ever take advantage. A giant, fight-changing elbow led to a first-round knockout on Saturday night in the co-feature bout of UFC 222. The time of the stoppage at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas was 4:44 of the opening round as Ortega become the first fighter ever to finish the legendarily tough former UFC lightweight champion.
Sean O'Malley vs Andre Soukhamthath
The legend of “Suga” Sean O’Malley continues to grow.
The MMA Lab product by way of Montana put on an incredible show of heart in earning a unanimous decision victory over Andre Soukhamthath on Saturday at UFC 222.
O’Malley, who looked well on his way to victory, appeared to suffer a broken foot early in the third round of their bantamweight bout. But he managed to tough his way through the rest of the round and survive until the horn.
O’Malley improved to 10-0 by getting scores of 29-27, 29-27, and 29-28 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Stefan Struve vs Andrei Arlovski
Andrei “Pit Bull” Arlovski might be an old dog by MMA standards. But he’s not afraid to learn new tricks.
The former UFC heavyweight champion had more takedowns against Andrei Arlovski on Saturday night (6) than he did in his previous 24 UFC fights (3).
And that helped make the difference in his bout against Stefan Struve at UFC 222. Arlovski earned a unanimous decision at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on a pair of 29-28s and a 30-27.
Cat Zingano vs Ketlen Vieira
Ketlen Vieira continues her surge up the bantamweight division.
The Nova Uniao product from Manuas, Brazil, put in a dominant performance against Cat Zingano on Saturday night at UFC 222. The judges scores were a pair of 29-28s for Vieira and a bizarre 29-28 for Zingano, resulting in a split decision.
That put the undefeated Vieira (10-0) at 3-0 in the UFC and gave her consecutive wins over former bantamweight title challengers in Zingano and Sara McMann.
*Fights labeled as "may not be broadcast" are scheduled to take place before the live broadcast begins. These pre-recorded fights are inserted into the broadcast if time permits. However, due to broadcast time constraints some of these undercard bouts may not be seen on a broadcast. These additional bout can be found as bonus footage on the event DVD.