Donald Cerrone will headline UFC Fight Night 126 on Sunday in Austin, Texas, as he attempts to end a three-fight losing streak at the expense of a red-hot Yancy Medeiros. However, the undercard offers a number of enticing storylines that are worth your attention, including two involving graduates of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and another concerning the late addition of Joshua Burkman to the UFC Fight Pass prelims.
Here are five reasons to tune into the UFC Fight Night 126 prelims:
1. Sanchez’s Return
After a 1-2 start to his Ultimate Fighting Championship career, flyweight prospect Joby Sanchez was released and sent back to the regional scene in early 2016. Sanchez to his credit took the news in stride, used it as motivation to hone his craft and improved upon his already strong skills. Since his loss to Geane Herrera at “The Ultimate Fighter 22” Finale, he has posted a perfect 4-0 record, with two of those wins coming on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Sanchez makes his return to the Octagon against former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Roberto Sanchez, who suffered his first pro defeat to Joseph Morales in his UFC debut. This serves as an important litmus test for two young flyweights.
2. “The People’s Warrior” Back at 170
Burkman will meet Alex Morono in what amounts to a make-or-break performance, as he heads back to the welterweight division in hopes of rekindling past magic. This will be the 37-year-old’s 46th professional fight. Burkman finds himself on a four-fight losing streak that covers more than two years and most recently succumbed to punches in the first round against Drew Dober at UFC 214. Just how much remains in the tank is anyone’s guess, but the showdown with the younger Morono may represent his last chance to close out his career with a meaningful victory.
3. Steely Resolve
Discovered on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Geoff Neal punched his ticket to the UFC with a first-round knockout of Chase Waldon in July. “Handz of Steel” will face the struggling Brian Camozzi in his promotional debut. Camozzi has been knocked out in each of his first two appearances under the Ultimate Fighting Championship flag and may be ripe for the picking. A pro since 2012, Neal has cut his teeth in the Legacy Fighting Alliance and Legacy Fighting Championship organizations while patiently awaiting the opportunity to show the world what he can do inside the cage.
4. Another Difficult Test
Former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Jared Gordon has put down solid roots in the UFC with back-to-back victories inside the Octagon. The 29-year-old last appeared at UFC Fight Night 119 on Oct. 28, when he took a unanimous decision from Hacran Dias and climbed another rung on the lightweight ladder. In his latest assignment, Gordon will face Carlos Diego Ferreira -- a onetime Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder who has lost only to Dustin Poirier and Beneil Dariush. Can he navigate the dangers Ferreira poses in the Brazilian’s first fight in more than two years?
5. Bantamweight Hopefuls
Two women’s bantamweights will kick off the Fox Sports 1 prelims. Sarah Moras has gone 2-1 since joining the UFC roster -- she dropped a unanimous decision to Jessica Andrade in 2015 -- and enters her battle with Lucie Pudilova with some welcomed momentum following her armbar submission on Ashlee Evans-Smith at UFC 215 on Sept. 9. Pudilova has never fought in North America. The 23-year-old Czech last competed at UFC Fight Night 111 in June, when she walked away with a unanimous decision over Ji Yeon Kim. Pudilova’s only two losses have come to Lina Lansberg.