It’s that time of the week again. That moment when the UFC finds if all their best laid plans have gone awry or if the fights they’d hoped to have will actually make it to the Octagon.
Despite some notable larger fight cancellations, the UFC has had some decent luck in 2024, with a couple stretches where every fighter hit their targets on weigh in day. Things have been a little rockier in recent weeks however, with at least two fighters failing to make the required limits in each of the last three events.
Lucas Alexander misses FW limit for UFC Fight Night Allen vs. Craig
One of two fighters who missed their mark this week by more than a pound, Brazilian featherweight Lucas Alexander came in at 148 lbs (2 lbs over the 146 lb limit) for his bout against Jeka Saragih.
A competitor on the inaugural Road to UFC season, Saragih fought his way to the lightweight finals with victories over Pawan Maan Sing and Ki Won Bin—lining him up for a bout against Anshul Jubli for the tournament crown at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Spivac. The 28-year-old Indonesian talent lost to Jubli via second round TKO. This bout against Alexander was supposed to mark Saragih’s debut at featherweight. Instead, the bout will now go ahead at a catchweight of 148 lbs, with Saragih receiving a portion of Alexander’s show money.
A Fusion X-Cel talent, Alexander enters this bout fresh off a unanimous decision victory over Steven Peterson at UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Sandhagen. That bout marked a return to winning ways for the 28-year-old, after suffering a first round submission loss to Joanderson Brito in his UFC debut in October of last year.
Ailin Perez fails to hit bantamweight on first attempt
Further down on the undercard, women’s bantamweight prospect Ailin Perez just barely failed to hit the women’s bantamweight limit, coming in at 136.5 lbs for her bout against Lucie Pudilova. Although it initially looked like Perez would forfeit a portion of her show purse, she was able to make the 136 lb limit on her second attempt and the bout will go ahead as a straight-forward bantamweight contest.
Still just 29-years old, Pudilvoa returned to the UFC just last august after more than 2.5 years outside the world’s largest MMA promotion. The Czech fighter made her re-entry to the Octagon with a victory over Yanan Wu at UFC 278, but followed that win with a closely contested split decision loss to Joselyne Edwards back in April.
For Perez, this bout against Pudilova had been expected to mark the second trip down to bantamweight for the Argentinian—before she missed weight. Perez debuted with the UFC back in September of 2022, taking a loss to Stephanie Egger in a featherweight bout. After two cancelled bookings and nearly a year on the sidelines, the now 29-year-old returned to action just this last July, beating Ashlee Evans-Smith by decision.
Rafael Estevam blows weight cut for UFC debut
Unlike Alexander and Perez, Brazilian flyweight Rafael Estevam is experiencing his first struggles with the scale straight out of the gate. Unbeaten at 11-0, the 27-year-old secured his spot on the UFC roster with a second-round TKO win over Joao Elias on the 2022 season of Dana White’s Contender Series.
Estevam had been expected to make his debut back in April, against Carlos Candelario, but an injury to Candelario pushed the Nova Uniao talent back to UFC 288. There Estevam was set to take on Zhalgas Zhumagulov, but more weigh-in problems prevented Estevam from getting to the Octagon. Standing at a towering (for flyweight) 5′ 8″, it may just be that the Brazilian’s future is up at 135 lbs.
For all that, however, Estevam will still be competing this weekend, taking on former LFA flyweight champion Charles Johnson. ‘Inner G’ got his ticket to the Octagon off four straight victories in the UFC feeder league, but ran headlong into Muhammad Mokaev for a decision loss in July of last year. Johnson has competed four more times since that defeat—beating the aforementioned Zhumagulov and Jimmy Flick, before dropping back-to-back fights against Ode Osbourne and Cody Durden in 2023.
UFC Fight Night: Allen vs. Craig takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. The card is expected to be headlined by a middleweight scrap between Brendan Allen and Paul Craig. A welterweight bout between Michael Morales and Jake Matthews is set for the evening’s co-main event.
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