UFC Return to Lincoln Headlined by Top Light Heavyweight Contenders

LAS VEGAS – UFC® returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb. for the second time in two years with an exciting main event guaranteed to deliver action, as No. 3 ranked light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith looks to defend his home state territory against No. 9 Glover Teixeira. Also on the card, No. 10 ranked strawweight Cynthia Calvillo aims to make a statement when she moves up in weight to take on No. 12 ranked flyweight Antonina Shevchenko.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT ON ESPN+®: SMITH vs. TEIXEIRA will stream live from Pinnacle Bank Arena with all fights carried exclusively on ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The main card begins at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 25, with the prelims kicking off at 5 p.m. ET. Doors open at 4 p.m. ET.

Competing in his home state for the first time under the UFC banner, Smith (32-14, fighting out of Omaha, Neb.) looks to get back into the title conversation with another highlight-reel victory. After joining the light heavyweight division in 2018, Smith quickly established himself as a top contender with impressive first-round knockouts over former champions Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua. He now looks to put on a show for his fans by taking out his third former-title challenger in a row.

A perennial top contender since joining the UFC in 2012, Teixeira (30-7, fighting out of Danbury, Conn.) aims to spoil the homecoming of Smith and notch his fourth win in a row. Tied with champion Jon Jones for the most stoppages in light heavyweight division history, Teixeira has scored emphatic finishes over Rashad Evans, Ovince Saint Preux and Ion Cutelaba. He now plans on breaking back into the top 5 with a record-setting performance.

The older sister of women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, Shevchenko (8-1, fighting out of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) looks to keep building her own legacy in the UFC. A former K-1 and Muay Thai world champion, Shevchenko holds wins over Ji Yeon Kim and Lucie Pudilova. She now intends to build the first win streak of her UFC career with another bonus-earning performance.

A top contender in the strawweight division, Calvillo (8-1-1, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) moves up in weight for the first time in her UFC career in order to compete at her full potential. A dangerous submission specialist, she has locked in finishes against Amanda Cooper, Pearl Gonzalez and Poliana Botelho. Calvillo now aims to make a statement by being the first person to stop Shevchenko.

Announced bouts on the card include:

Light heavyweight finishers battle as Ovince Saint Preux (24-13, fighting out of Knoxville, Tenn.) attempts to hand Shamil Gamzatov (14-0, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) his first loss
Evan Dunham (18-7-1, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) returns to the Octagon against Michael Johnson (20-15, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla.) in a clash of lightweight veterans
Brazilian women’s strawweight prospects meet as grappling ace Mackenzie Dern (7-1, fighting out of Long Beach, Calif.) hunts for another submission against Ariane Carnelossi (12-2, fighting out of Presidente Prudente, Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Anthony Rocco Martin (17-5, fighting out of St. Cloud, Minn.) and David Zawada (17-5, fighting out of Düsseldorf, Germany) look to make a statement to the rest of the welterweight division
Middleweights Andrew Sanchez (12-5, fighting out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada) and Zak Cummings (23-7, fighting out of Kansas City, Mo.) compete to climb back into the win column
Rising lightweight talents meet as Roosevelt Roberts (9-1, fighting out of San Bernardino, Calif.) takes on Matt Frevola (8-1-1, fighting out of Long Island, NY)
Alexander Romanov (11-0, fighting out of Gagauzia, Moldova) intends to make a statement when he makes his UFC debut against Raphael Pessoa (10-1, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Lightweights Christos Giagos (17-8, fighting out of Hawthorne, Calif.) and Alan Patrick (15-2, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) look to bounce back into the win column

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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