UFC Returns To Newark With Pivotal Welterweight Bout

LAS VEGAS – UFC® returns to Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. for the first time in three years with a thrilling welterweight contenders’ bout that sees former interim titleholder and No. 2 ranked Colby Covington take on former champion and No. 10 Robbie Lawler. Among the other highly anticipated bouts will be a top-10 light heavyweight clash featuring former title challenger and No. 7 ranked Volkan Oezdemir against hard-hitting No. 9 Ilir Latifi.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT ON ESPN® will air live from the Prudential Center exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 3, with the prelims kicking off at 12 p.m. ET. on ESPN and in Spanish on the ESPN App. Doors open at 11 a.m. ET. All UFC live events will also be available in English and Spanish.

Currently riding a six-fight win streak, Covington’s (14-1, fighting out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) last outing saw him secure an impressive decision victory over Rafael Dos Anjos one year ago. A NCAA Division I wrestler known for his relentless pressure, Covington has also netted dominant wins against former title challenger Demian Maia, Dong Hyun Kim and Bryan Barberena. He now aims to take out a former champion en route to earning a shot at the 170-pound belt.

Considered one of the most exciting KO artists in MMA history, Lawler (28-13 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) first captured the welterweight championship against Johny Hendricks in late 2014. Lawler then went on to have epic title defenses against Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit. Lawler has also netted wins over Donald Cerrone, Matt Brown and Josh Koscheck during his career. He now hopes to stop Covington’s momentum and re-assert himself as one of the division’s most dangerous contenders.

A skilled kickboxer with heavy hands, Oezdemir (15-4, fighting out of Fribourg, Switzerland) earned his nickname “No Time” with a pair of rapid-fire knockouts that secured him a light heavyweight title shot in 2017. During his UFC tenure, Oezdemir has netted impressive wins over contenders Ovince Saint Preux, Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa. He now aims to re-assert himself in the championship picture with yet another highlight-reel finish.

A powerful and gritty grappler, Latifi (15-6 1NC, fighting out of Malmo, Sweden) has proven equally dangerous striking as he is on the mat. The Allstars Training Center standout has utilized relentless pressure to pick up spectacular victories against Ovince Saint Preux, Tyson Pedro and Gian Villante. Latifi now looks to add a former light heavyweight title challenger to his impressive resume to continue his ascent up the 205-pound ladder.

Announced bouts on the card include:

In a spectacular clash of lightweight veterans, New Jersey native Jim Miller (30-13 1NC, fighting out of Sparta, N.J.) locks horns with Clay Guida (35-15, fighting out of Johnsburg, Ill.)

Talented finisher Joaquim Silva (11-1, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil) aims to put on another show-stealing performance against streaking Nasrat Haqparast (10-2, fighting out of Hamburg, Germany)

No. 8 ranked flyweight contender Jordan Espinosa (13-5 1NC, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) looks to keep his momentum going against No. 12 Matt Schnell (13-4, fighting out of Shreveport, La.)

No. 8 ranked Lauren Murphy (10-4, fighting out of Glendale, Ariz.) faces No. 12 Mara Romero Borella (13-5 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Ponte dell’Olio, Italy) in a clash of women’s flyweight contenders

Dana White’s Contender Series signee Antonina Shevchenko (7-1, fighting out of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) looks to put on a striking clinic against gritty Lucie Pudilova (8-4, fighting out of Pribram, Czech Republic) in a battle of flyweight prospects

Trevin Giles (11-1, fighting out of Houston, Tex.) takes on Gerald Meerschaert (28-11, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.) in an exciting middleweight bout

Hard-hitting light heavyweights throw down when Darko Stosic (13-2, fighting out of Belgrade, Serbia) faces Kennedy Nzechukwu (6-1, fighting out of Dallas, Tex.)

Ramazan Emeev (18-3, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) goes for his eighth consecutive win against submission ace Claudio Silva (13-1, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Scott Holtzman (12-3, fighting out of Knoxville, Tenn.) hopes to return to the win column when he squares off with battle-tested Dong Hyun Ma (16-9, fighting out of Busan, South Korea)

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Author: Robert Belen

Robert Belen is a long-time combat sports writer for dSource Boxing. An avid sports fan, he knows no fear nor partiality in his reporting. If you have a problem with him, tell it to his face. (We bid you not.) You can follow him on Twitter @robertbelen

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