The UFC is back in action this weekend as the mixed martial arts product returns to Oklahoma City for the first time since 2009. A pair of underrated lightweights step into the spotlight on Fox Sports 1.
Michael Chiesa (14-2) heads into this contest with plenty of momentum. He won The Ultimate Fighter Live tournament in 2012 and has gone 7-2 in his last nine bouts while winning his last three. He takes on Kevin Lee (15-2) in a fight that has already seen plenty of buildup. These two almost got into it at the press conference as a punch was thrown and the two had to be separated. This could be a battle on the mat as Chiesa has 10 submission wins to his name while Lee has seven. Neither fighter really has much knockout power.
Lee enters the bout as a slight -145 favorite while Chiesa is priced at +115. If you’re looking for technical mat work and grappling, this should be the match for you on this card.
We’ll also see a battle of middleweights as Tim Boestch (20-11) takes on Johny Hendricks (18-6) in one of the more interesting bouts of the night. Hendricks defeated Hector Lombard in his middleweight debut in February and the former welterweight champion looked much better than he did on a three-fight losing skid before leaving the division. He was struggling with the weight cut but Hendricks looked good. As for Boestch, he’s coming off an ugly loss. He didn’t look good when he was submitted by Ronaldo Souza in February. The UFC veteran has 11 losses, which is a lot in MMA. That’s part of why he’s a +170 dog for this bout while Hendricks is at -210.
Felice Herrig (12-6) and Justine Kish (6-0) meet in a women’s strawweight match as Kish puts her unbeaten record on the line. Both like to use their Muay Thai backgrounds on their feet, although Herrig is the only one with a knockout win. They both have submission victories as well. This is a big match for Kish, who missed weight for her unanimous-decision win over Ashley Yoder in December. The UFC doesn’t take too kindly to fighters that can’t make weight and she would like to put that slipup behind her.
Joachim Christensen (14-5) and Daniel Reyes (6-0) square off in the light heavyweight division as Reyes makes his UFC debut. He has won four of his six matches by TKO/KO, including his last two with head kicks. Christensen has lost two of his last three by submission, but Reyes may be more willing to engage him standing up.
Tim Means (26-8-1, 1 NC) takes on Alex Garcia (14-3) at welterweight in a matchup of two fighters that have been very inconsistent. Means had a no-contest with Alex Oliveira because he hit him with knees when he was down, then was submitted in the rematch. He had won two straight by knockout before that. As for Garcia, he has alternated wins and losses in his last five fights with a record of 3-2. Both of these fighters need a win if they want to stay on the radar in the welterweight division.
The main card opens with former two-division champion B.J. Penn (16-11-2) and Dennis Siver (23-11, 1 NC) at featherweight. Neither fighter has looked good recently. Siver has lost two in a row to current lightweight champion Conor McGregor and Tatsuya Kawajiri, but Penn has looked three steps too slow in a four-fight losing skid. Many have suggested that he retire and that may happen if he loses this fight. He’s a UFC legend, though, and the fans will be behind him to get back in the victory column. Siver is struggling and if Penn can’t get a win in this spot, it should be the end of the line for him.