The UFC 260 Prelims have been confirmed. Due to COVID-19 affecting this card, we only have five bouts on the show this weekend on the UFC 260 Prelims. On Wednesday, Hannah Goldy had to pull out her strawweight bout with Jessica Penne due to contracting COVID-19.
Also, William Knight has been ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols. With this, his fight with Alonzo Menifield has been canceled for a second time. Promotional newcomer and LFA light heavyweight champion Fabio Cherant has replaced Knight to join the UFC 260 Prelims.
UFC 260 Prelims Preview
Alonzo Menifield (9-2) vs Fabio Cherant (7-1)
Alonzo “Atomic” Menifield has suffered defeats in his last two fights and he’ll be desperate to get back to winning ways this weekend on the UFC 260 Prelims.
The “Atomic” started his professional career fighting at Bellator 146, knocking out Zach Rosol after only 38 seconds. He was invited to Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017 to face Daniel Jolly. The fight was stopped due to an eye injury for Jolly that occurred in the first round, declaring Menifield the winner.
He failed to get a UFC contract after the bout, but he appeared back on the Contender Series in 2018, destroying Dashawn Boatwright after 8 seconds. This was enough for him to be awarded a contract, setting him up to fight Vinicius Moreira in January 2019.
Menifield finished the Brazilian after the first round. It was the sixth first-round knockout of his career. Next up is with the American coming up against Scotsman Paul Craig in his next bout. His nickname “Atomic” doesn’t’ come for nothing, as he’s been dropping bombs left, right, and center throughout his career.
After a strong first-round, 3:19 into his match-up against the Scot, it was Craig who slipped up (literally), as he fell to the floor from a high-kick attempt. Menifield seen an opportunity and applied the ground and pound, releasing vicious punches to knock Craig out.
The light-heavyweight was looking like a dangerous contender in the division. A tough challenge against Devin Clark knocked him back, as he came to his first defeat in his professional career, losing the fight on a unanimous decision. A second loss came three months later against Ovince St. Preux, the veteran was the first person to knock Menifield out.
Fabio “Water Buffalo” Cherant loves to work on the ground and he’d be the first to submit Menifield if he achieves this on the UFC 260 Prelims. In his first four bouts, he came away with two guillotine chokes and two rear-naked chokes. The first three of those finishes came in the first round, including a victory 13 seconds into his debut against James Dysard.
Cherant could’ve been in the UFC two years earlier, but he faced a setback when being knocked out to a stunning flying knee to ground and pound against Aleksa Camur in Contender Series in 2019.
The American went on hiatus for a year, then he decided to join LFA to set himself up with a debut performance against Erick Murray Jr. Cherant only needed one round again in his sixth professional bout. It took 57 seconds to submit Murray Jr with an anaconda choke on his promotional debut.
February 12th was Cherant’s last bout before he became a champion for the first time. A five-round bout for the LFA light heavyweight belt was in store against Myron Dennis. This went the distance for the first time in Cherant’s career. The American was victorious and became a champion in his first time at asking.
These fighters will both want a finish, probably just a different way. Menifield will look to control on the feet, whilst Cherant will persist on taking it to the ground to find the submission. Definitely don’t miss this one if you’re watching the UFC 260 Prelims to see a finish!
Jared Gooden (17-5) vs Abubakar Nurmagomedov (15-3-1)
Jared “Nite Train” Gooden has spent his MMA career exploring different promotions. That was until he got his chance to fight Alan Jouban at UFC 255. It wasn’t the dream start for Gooden, after a battle with Jouban, he lost the fight on a unanimous decision. He was saved by the bell at the end of the third round, with Jouban inches close from a submission.
Gooden started his professional career in 2015. He was victorious in his first six bouts, finishing five of his opponents. His first title fight came a year after he started professionally, meaning he was fighting his seventh fight in 12 months.
He fought for the National Fighting Championship (NFC) Welterweight Title against fellow American Dave Vitkay. After three rounds, the judges awarded Vitkay the unanimous victory, meaning a first loss in Gooden’s career.
The American got his second chance at a title-shot, just over a year and three fights later against Elijah Wynter. A dominant performance in the three-round bout by Gooden. He earned himself the NFC welterweight championship belt.
He’s finished 13 of his 17 wins in his MMA career, only being finished once in his five losses. It will be Gooden’s desire to finish this fight quick, as he’ll need to stop the wrath of Nurmagomedov’s take-down attempts.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov has had a similar career path to his opponent leading up to the UFC 260 Prelims, with the Dagestani victorious in his first eight professional bouts. He finished all eight opponents, with five knockouts and three submissions.
His first career loss came at the hands of Magomed Mustafaev, due to a doctor stoppage in the first round at the Sochi Star tournament. Nurmagomedov bounced back in style, coming up with a six-fight win-streak before joining the PFL for their first season in 2018.
He lost his first PFL bout against Pavel Kusch, being submitted for the first time in his professional career. Nurmagomedov earned himself a place in the quarter-final of the welterweight tournament by turning it around against Jonatan Westin winning on a unanimous decision.
He faced Bojan Velickovic in the quarter-final. The bout ended in a unanimous draw. Due to this being a tournament, someone has to go through and according to the rules, whoever wins the first round progresses. Nurmagomedov was the winner of the first round meaning he’d progress to the semi-final. However, he had to withdraw due to a hand injury, and Velickovic replaced him.
13 months later, Nurmagomedov was given the chance of fighting in the UFC, and he faced a tricky start in facing David Zawada. Nurmagomedov struggled, and Zawada took advantage, submitting him in the first round with a triangle choke. It’s been 16 months since his last bout in the octagon.
Modestas Bukauskas (11-3) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-4)
The Lithuanian fights out of Gintas Combat in Buckinghamshire, England. He started his professional career in Ultimate Challenge MMA (UCMMA). He came away with four victories in his first four fights, showing the power he unleashes, which he’ll need for this bout on the UFC 260 Prelims.
He then faced two losses on the bounce against Pavel Doroftei, due to a heel hook after 18 seconds. Two months later, he was knocked out in his Cage Warriors debut against John Redmond, again in the first round.
Bukauskas took a break of 20 months till he fought in his next bout at Cage Warriors 92. He finished his next four opponents leading up the Night of Champions event Cage Warriors held with six title fights on the event.
Marthin Hamlet Nielsen was Bukauskas’ opponent for the light heavyweight title. Three rounds down and it was looking like Nielsen would be up on the judge’s scorecard. Bukauskas was potentially in need of a knockout and in the fourth round that’s exactly what he did. He caught Nielsen with a right hook, which dropped him to his knees, and Bukauskas hammered his opponent till the referee stopped the fight.
He retained his title with a first-round knockout over Riccardo Nosiglia, which proved it was his time to step up and join the UFC. Bukauskas’ first fight in the promotion ended in a bizarre fashion.
Bukauskas threw several legal elbows to the head of his opponent Andreas Michailidis before the bell at the end of the first round. When the bell went, Michailidis remained on his knees. Referee Daniel Movahedi kept talking with Michailidis, to see if he was able to continue.
The referee instructed Michailidis to get up. However, when Michailidis moved he fell out of the open octagon door. Movahedi waved off the fight, awarding Bukauskas the TKO victory.
Michal “Lord” Oleksiejczuk’s UFC career has hit a snag after losing his last two fights in the promotion before being set up to fight Bukauskas on the UFC 260 Prelims. Funnily enough, his last fight came against Crute, eight months before he and Bukauskas fought. It was the same result though, with Oleksiejczuk being finished in the first round via a kimura.
At UFC Fight Night Copenhagen, Oleksiejczuk fought St. Preux. The signature move “The Von Flue Choke” has been adopted by St. Preux over the years from former MMA fighter Jason Von Flue. Oleksiejczuk was unfortunately on the receiving end of this move in his third bout in the UFC, giving him his first loss in the promotion at the time.
Oleksiejczuk has fought in his home country Poland for the majority of his career, working his way to the UFC, fighting in Thunderstrike Fight League. In his 10th professional bout, he fought for the vacant TFL light heavyweight championship against Łukasz Borowski. His first and only career submission came in this fight, with a rear-naked choke in the second round to win the belt.
He retained his title two times before moving on to the UFC. He was matched up against Khalil Rountree at UFC 219. After a dominant performance in a unanimous decision victory, the win was overturned due to Oleksiejczuk testing positive for Clomiphene, an anti-estrogenic substance. He received a one-year ban from USADA.
A return for Oleksiejczuk in February 2019, seen him face UFC veteran Gian Villante. In a performance of the night, we saw him knock out Villante with a punch to the body after 1:34 in the first round. Another first-round knockout came in his second bout against Gadzhimurad Antigulov after just 44 seconds.
Shane Young (13-5) vs Omar Morales (10-1)
Two featherweights clash on the UFC 260 Prelims with both fighters looking to avenge themselves after losing last time out.
Shane “Smokin” Young is in the clear at the moment, but he will have to pass regular fight testing this week for the bout to go ahead. This is due to him having close contact with both Brad Riddell and Alex Volkanovski, who were removed from their respective fights due to COVID protocols.
Young started his career in 2012, originally in his home country New Zealand. In his first three fights, he finished all three opponents in the first round. The majority of his career has been fighting in Australia in the promotion Xtreme Fighting Championship (XFC)
After a five-fight win-streak, he was awarded a UFC contract and was set up against current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. In a hard-fought bout, Young came away with a loss on his promotion debut, with Volkanovski winning on a unanimous decision.
Seven months later, he got his first UFC win. Some ruthless elbows and punches against Rolando Dy earned Young his first knockout and victory for the promotion. Another UFC victory over Austin Arnett seen Young face Serbian prospect Ľudovít Klein. The Serbian put on a stunning show with a beautiful head-kick and punches to knock out Young after only 1:16 into the first round.
Omar Morales was unbeaten until his last fight against Giga Chikadze back at UFC Fight Island 5. A strong three-round performance from the Georgian seen him victorious over Morales on the judges’ scorecards.
Morales started his professional career in 2011, fighting out of Venezuela. He’s now 35-years-old, so it’s now or never to become something in the promotion. Four submissions came for Morales in his first four fights, they also came in the first round.
He competed once in Bellator, knocking out Troy Nawrocki after 58 seconds. Morales took up the option of fighting in the Contender Series in 2019 to have a shot at fighting for the UFC. A class performance over Harvey Park by knocking him out in the second round gave him the opportunity in fighting for the promotion.
At UFC Fight Night Busan, he made his debut against Dong Hyun Ma. Morales outclassed his opponent to give him his first promotional victory. He made it two when he got another decision win over Gabriel Benítez. It’s interesting to see whether these two will last the three rounds, or will they both show their hunger for the finish in an exciting contest on the UFC 260 Prelims.
Abu Azaitar (14-2-1) vs Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4)
Abu “Gladiator” Azaitar returns for the UFC 260 Prelims after a short suspension due to USADA stating they had found the banned substance tamoxifen in four of his tests. He was facing a lengthy ban, but he was able to prove a doctor had prescribed the substance.
Azaitar hasn’t fought since his first and only UFC bout in July 2018 against Vitor Miranda. He came away with the win after the judges awarded him the unanimous victory. Azaitar was scheduled to fight Alessio Di Chirico and Joaquin Buckley in 2020, but he withdrew from both fights.
Only two losses have come for Azaitar in his career. The first coming in his professional debut in Germany in 2009. He was disqualified due to an eye gauge after 1:15 of the first round. His second loss, the doctor stopped the fight against Marcin Naruszczka due to a bad cut on Azaitar.
After only one fight in four-and-a-half years, will Azaitar still have the stand-up game and fitness he once possessed? He’s now 35 and he’s got an extremely tough opponent in his return on the UFC 260 Prelims.
Marc-Andre “Powerbar” Barriault has been a knockout artist in his MMA career, finishing eight of his 11 wins. He started his professional career in June 2014, fighting in his home country of Canada.
In his first three bouts, he didn’t waste any time, knocking out all three opponents inside the first five minutes. A split decision loss in his next bout against Jo Vallée put an extreme dampener on his record.
He turned it around by winning his next five bouts and he had a chance at becoming a champion in the Canadian promotion TKO Major League MMA. A split decision victory over Strahinja Gavrilovic made him a middleweight champion.
After defending his title against Brendan Kornberger. He stepped up and tried to become a two-weight champion. He tried and succeeded with a first-round knockout over Adam Hunter to also gain the light-heavyweight belt.
The UFC then came calling, but I don’t think many have had a more disastrous start to joining a promotion than Barriault. He’s lost three out of his four bouts since joining, they’ve all come on decision against the likes of Andrew Sanchez, Krzysztof Jotko and Jun Yong Park.
His last opponent was Oskar Piechota and finally he found a way to get a win in the UFC, well at least he thought so. He knocked out Piechota in the second round, but six months after the fight the UFC announced that Barriault had accepted a six-month suspension due to him testing positive for Ostarine. USADA gave him a reduced suspension because it was consistent with low-level ostarine cases with evidence of contamination.
This will be the opening fight on the UFC 260 Prelims.
With all of the UFC 260 Prelims previewed, which fight are you looking forward to the most?! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images