The UFC’s #12 ranked welterweight, Michael Chiesa is, gearing up for a return to action against the #15 ranked, Li Jingliang, at UFC 287 on April 8th.
It was on an episode of “UFC Live” that Chiesa disclosed his upcoming matchup with “The Leech,” in what will be his first bout since his decision loss to Sean Brady at UFC Vegas 43 on November 20, 2021.
Going into UFC 287, the 16-6 Chiesa will be trying to snap a two-fight losing skid, while the 19-8 Li will be looking to avoid one. Before the Brady fight, Chiesa was submitted with a D’arce in the first round by Vicente Luque, so another L here for “Maverick” would spell the first time in his career that he’s lost three in a row.
On the bright side, Chiesa is still 4-2 overall at 170-pounds, so a win here could re-establish that he belongs in the top-15 at welterweight. The ‘TUF Season 15’ winner clearly has skills to compete among the best in the world, but he’s an interesting case. He’s like the grappling version of Melvin Manhoef. It’s just as likely that he catches someone in a sub, as it is for him to get caught in one. How peculiar.
As far as Li goes, he has been struggling with consistency as of late, only batting .500 in his last six at bats. To his defense, some pretty awful timing (or plain bad luck) played a significant part in him not currently enjoying a two-fight winning streak.
Last year the Leech had that sweet knockout of Muslim Salikhov at UFC on ABC 3 in July, but then had that wonky situation unfold for him at UFC 279: Diaz vs. Ferguson in September. You know, when he was supposed to fight Tony Ferguson, but Khamzat Chimaev missed weight for his match with Nate Diaz — so the UFC scrambled to save the card by having Tony fight Nate, Khamzat fight Kevin Holland, and then Kevin’s original opponent, Daniel Rodriguez, end up as Li’s new opponent. Li fought hard despite giving up a bunch of size, and although Daniel walked away with the split decision, many fans thought that Jingliang should have gotten the nod.
Check out the rest of the UFC 287 lineup:
- Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya: Middleweight Title
- Gilbert Burns vs. Jorge Masvidal: Welterweight
- Rob Font vs. Adrian Yanez: Welterweight
- Michelle Waterson-Gomez vs. Luana Pinheiro: Strawweight
- Kelvin Gastelum vs. Chris Curtis: Middleweight
- Kevin Holland vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio: Welterweight
- Cynthia Calvillo vs. Lupita Godinez: Strawweight
- Ignacio Bahamondes vs. Nikolas Motta: Lightweight
- Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Christian Rodriguez: Bantamweight
- Steve Garcia vs. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke: Featherweight
- Gerald Meerschaert vs. Joseph Pyfer: Middleweight
- Michael Chiesa vs. Jingliang Li: Welterweight
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