The UFC returns to Las Vegas on Saturday night as the fight capital of the world reopens for combat sports with a welterweight main event between former champion Tyron Woodley (19-4-1) and rising challenger Gilbert Burns (18-3).
As well as everything went for the UFC in Jacksonville — 32 total bouts and only one athlete, middleweight Jacare Souza, testing positive for the coronavirus — Las Vegas was always where the UFC hoped to settle in long-term. The company is based in Las Vegas, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission is among the best in the world.
Las Vegas — and, potentially, Fight Island — will be the UFC’s home for the foreseeable future, and this unique chapter of MMA history will begin at the Apex facility on the UFC’s campus.
Woodley hasn’t fought since losing his title to Kamaru Usman via unanimous decision on March 2, 2019. Part of that storyline was Woodley allowing himself to be distracted by things such as releasing a rap album shortly after that fight. But Woodley said he’s been as focused as he’s ever been leading up this bout.
Burns has won five straight and is looking to propel himself into the title conversation.
One thing to look out for is how the smaller 25-foot Octagon — it’s usually 30 feet — will impact the action.
Cageside commentary now includes slightly closer quarters and some plexiglass #UFCVegas
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 30, 2020
The card will also feature strawweight prospect Mackenzie Dern (7-1) opposite Hannah Cifers (10-4) and former flyweight title challenger Katlyn Chookagian (13-3) against Antonina Shevchenko (8-1), among others.
Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim offer their analysis and insight for every fight on the card.
Fight in progress
Gutierrez won his third straight fight with a bruising performance, finishing it at 4:27 of Round 2 by dropping Morales with a kick to his lead leg. His other lead leg.
Morales was in a southpaw stance by then, out of necessity. He’d started out orthodox, but Gutierrez wrecked his left leg with a succession of low kicks throughout the first round.
— Paul Felder (@felderpaul) May 30, 2020
Morales, his mobility seriously limited, had to switch it up before the first five minutes were over, but that proved to not be a sustainable answer. One last kick to the right calf sent Morales to the canvas, and Jason Herzog mercifully jumped in, something the referee had appeared poised to do for the better part of the round.
That gave Gutierrez, a 29-year-old out of Colorado, the 11th finish by leg kicks in UFC history, according to the promotion. Unofficially, he landed 22 of 27 leg strikes, according to UFC Stats. Overall, Gutierrez’s striking advantage was 60-8.
Morales has lost three of four in the UFC.