UFC 255 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds and Predictions for Figueiredo vs. Perez

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2020

UFC 255 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds and Predictions for Figueiredo vs. Perez

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The UFC rolls out its penultimate pay-per-view offering of 2020 with a card headlined by two flyweight title fights, including Deiveson Figueiredo and Alex Perez fighting for the belt on the men's side. 

    It's Figueiredo's first official title defense after beating Joseph Benavidez twice for the championship vacated by Henry Cejudo. While Triple C has ridden off into the sunset of retirement for now, the Brazilian has established himself as the man to beat. 

    The bout was initially scheduled to feature former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, but a torn bicep forced him out of the fight and afforded Perez the new opportunity. 

    In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko looks to continue her dominance over the women's flyweight division. She has yet to lose a fight at 125 pounds, but Jennifer Maia is going to try to break that streak riding the momentum from a win over Joanne Calderwood in her last appearance. 

    Here's a look at the complete card, with the latest odds and predictions for the biggest fights on the card. 

Fight Card and Odds

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV)

    • Deiveson Figueiredo (c) (-286) vs. Alex Perez (+225): flyweight title
    • Valentina Shevchenko (c) (-1667) vs. Jennifer Maia (+850): flyweight title
    • Mike Perry (-162) vs. Tim Means (+130)
    • Cynthia Calvillo (-265) vs. Katlyn Chookagian (+205)
    • Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (+150) vs. Paul Craig (-190)

    Prelims (8 p.m. ET on ESPN+/ESPN2)

    • Brandon Moreno (-190) vs. Brandon Royval (+150)
    • Joaquin Buckley (-265) vs. Jordan Wright (+205)
    • Ariane Lipski (+130) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (-167)
    • Nicolas Dalby (+250) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (-335)

    Early Prelims (6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+/ESPN2)

    • Jared Gooden (+120) vs. Alan Jouban (-150)
    • Kyle Daukaus (-315) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (+230)
    • Louis Cosce (-455) vs. Sasha Palatnikov (+325)

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Figueiredo Overwhelms Perez Early

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    Leo Correa/Associated Press

    The longer this fight goes, the better chance Alex Perez has. He has the tools to repeat the strategy that Jussier Formiga used to hand the champ the only loss of his career. 

    But that involves avoiding enough damage early that he can survive and take over the fight in the later rounds. That's not an easy task, as Figueiredo possesses power rarely seen in the flyweight division. 

    Perez is an adept grappler and can utilize leg kicks to keep the distance and nullify an opponent's rhythm. But the champion is an aggressive swarmer from the start and has 15 wins by finish within the first two rounds in his career. 

    If he tags Perez early, he won't waste time before going for the finish. Four of Perez's five career losses have come in the first or second round, and he's been prone to getting hit in the past. His best bet will be to keep his distance and make this as much about grappling as possible. 

    Those are two different ranges he'll need to balance. That's an awfully risky tightrope to walk. 

    Prediction: Figueiredo via first-round TKO

Shevchenko Schools Maia

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    Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

    The women's flyweight title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Jennifer Maia is one of necessity, not intrigue. 

    There's very little in Maia's last five fights that should have anyone believing she can hang with the champ. Unless your name is Amanda Nunes, fighting Shevchenko hasn't been very fun. She's lost just one round since losing to Nunes in 2017, to Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

    Maia—on the other hand—has decision losses to Katlyn Chookagian and Liz Carmouche in her last five fights. 

    It's difficult to even find one area where you can say Maia is better than the champion. Let alone enough to carve out a path to victory. 

    Shevchenko has the elite-level striking to pick Maia apart on the feet. She can beat her up in the clinch and scramble well enough as a grappler to get to advantageous positions. 

    Maia winning this would be a massive upset, but it's much more likely she's outclassed over the course of five rounds. 

    Prediction: Shevchenko via decision

Calvillo Punches Ticket to Title Shot

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Valentina Shevchenko will likely want to have a close eye on the main-card bout between Cynthia Calvillo and Katlyn Chookagian. There's a good chance the winner will have the inside track on Bullet's next title defense, should she defeat Maia. 

    Calvillo and Chookagian sit at No. 4 and 2 respectively in the UFC rankings, but those should clearly be switched based on the odds in this fight. Calvillo has one of the best win streaks in the division right now. She's 3-0-1 with a majority draw against Marina Rodriguez. 

    In that fight, Calvillo got off to a slow start but rallied to get a 10-8 round on two scorecards and forced the draw. 

    The 33-year-old is at her best when she's using her pressure wrestling to get the fight to the ground and wear her opponent down. Chookagian is a rangy striker but has proved to have shoddy takedown defense. 

    That's a recipe for Calvillo to shine against a highly ranked fighter and earn a crack at the championship. 

    Prediction: Calvillo via decision

                        

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