Once again, UFC International Fight Week is here with a brand new installment. This year’s edition, UFC 290, serves as the centerpiece of the festivities. While it may not have the usual headline attraction, the card is stacked with top-tier talent.
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will be home to a championship doubleheader on Saturday. Alexander Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez, the UFC featherweight and interim featherweight champions respectively, will unify their belts in the main event. In the co-main event, UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno looks to finally defeat his rival Alexandre Pantoja. However, there are several other exciting fights on the undercard.
Former world champions Robert Whittaker and Robbie Lawler will also be stepping into the octagon, along with an anticipated clash between Jalin Turner and Dan Hooker. Let’s take a closer look at three non-title fights that are definitely worth your attention on Saturday night.
Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus du Plessis
UFC doesn’t always follow a straightforward approach in determining title contenders. That’s why a matchup like Whittaker vs. du Plessis stands out on this card. Both fighters have the potential to challenge Israel Adesanya. A victory for either man on Saturday would add an exciting twist to the middleweight division. Whittaker has previously lost twice to Adesanya but their rematch was highly competitive, giving fans hope for a potential trilogy fight after Whittaker has cleared out the rest of the contenders. Du Plessis brings a fresh perspective to the division, and his verbal feud with the champ has only added to the hype. Regardless of the outcome, a showdown with Adesanya in Sydney would be incredibly intriguing.
Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker
If you’re looking for a fight filled with destruction, Turner vs. Hooker is the one to watch. These lightweight fighters have an impressive 89% finishing rate among their 35 combined victories. While they may be lower-ranked in the division, both fighters are rebuilding their careers. Turner recently suffered a close decision loss to Mateusz Gamrot, putting an end to his five-fight winning streak. Hooker, on the other hand, showcased his skills against Claudio Puelles after a string of losses against top contenders. A win on Saturday is crucial for both fighters if they want to secure their future title aspirations.
Robbie Lawler vs. Niko Price
International Fight Week serves as the farewell for former UFC welterweight champion Lawler. With the nickname “Ruthless,” Lawler delivered some of the most memorable fights in UFC history, earning consecutive Fight of the Year honors. His battles against Johny Hendricks, Rory MacDonald, and Carlos Condit defined his thrilling title reign. Lawler is a battle-tested veteran looking for his 30th professional win in his 22-year career. Price, while not as spectacular, is a solid opponent who, like Lawler, prefers to finish fights rather than leave them in the hands of the judges.
Other notable mentions: Bo Nickal’s return, Yazmin Jauregui vs. Denise Gomes, Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield