UFC Fight Night in Kansas City: Kligman picks Max Holloway vs Arnold Allen, Edson Barboza vs Billy Quarantillo
Championship implications are on the line in Kansas City this weekend, as two featherweights headline UFC Fight Night this Saturday, Apr. 15.
The UFC returns to Kansas City for the first time in nearly four years, where Max Holloway will look to end the English Arnold Allen and his surging streak. Veterans, fan favorites, and ranked matchups are sprinkled throughout the card, which will be entirely available on ESPN.
Read for more about UFC Kansas City, including picks and a preview of what should be a fun fight night event. Throughout 2023, my picks are 30-15-2.
Featherweight: Max Holloway vs. Arnold Allen
Featherweight: Edson Barboza vs. Billy Quarantillo
Light heavyweight: Dustin Jacoby vs. Azamat Murzakanov
Light heavyweight: Tanner Boser vs. Ion Cutelaba
Bantamweight: Pedro Munhoz vs. Chris Gutierrez
Lightweight: Clay Guida vs. Rafa Garcia
Featherweight: Bill Algeo vs. TJ Brown
Flyweight: Brandon Royval vs. Matheus Nicolau
Light heavyweight: Zak Cummings vs. Ed Herman
Strawweight: Gillian Robertson vs. Piera Rodriguez
Lightweight: Lando Vannata vs. Daniel Zellhuber
Strawweight: Bruna Brasil vs. Denise Gomes
Bantamweight: Aaron Phillips vs. Gaston Bolanos
Bantamweight: Joselyne Edwards vs. Lucie Pudilova
Max Holloway (23-7) vs. Arnold Allen (19-1)
A star-studded main event headlines UFC Kansas City with dominant featherweights Max Holloway and Arnold Allen ready to face off.
The Hawaiian former champion Holloway enters the Octagon since his trilogy loss to Alexander Volkanovski but is looking to continue his success against anyone not named Volkanovski. It’ll be interesting to see how the 31-year-old handles his last loss especially against an aggressive opponent like Allen. Holloway is 0-3 facing Volkanovski, but in the midst of those losses put up unforgettable victories over now interim champion Yair Rodriguez and battering Calvin Kattar with the most significant strikes ever in a UFC fight with 445 landed.
Allen enters in the best form of his career. He is undefeated in the UFC, logging ten consecutive victories, which is the second longest active win streak in the UFC only behind one of his sparring partners – current welterweight champion Leon Edwards. Allen has put up show-stopping finishes, rising the ranks after commanding stoppages over Dan Hooker and Calvin Kattar. This is the biggest matchup of Allen’s fight career, with a win most likely propelling him to be the first challenger after Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez at UFC 290 in July.
Allen is going to throw everything it takes at Holloway, but we’ve yet to see Allen over a full five rounds. If the fight enters the championship rounds, Holloway’s experience and stamina could be the determining factor.
My pick: Max Holloway
Edson Barboza (22-11) vs. Billy Quarantillo (17-4)
Not only will featherweights occupy the main event, but they accompany the co-main as well, as Edson Barboza takes center stage with Billy Quarantillo.
The wily UFC veteran Barboza, now 37 years old, looks to get back to winning ways after a two-fight losing streak since moving to the 145-pound division. He’s faced some of the most skillful fighters the UFC has ever seen throughout his career, so Quarantillo won’t be anything new for Barboza.
Quarantillo is 5-2 in his UFC career after graduating from Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) in 2019. He’s known for putting up entertaining fights, and with the style of Barboza, this should be a brawl.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook of the UFC, Barboza is a +150 underdog, but his craftiness could carry him through.
My pick: Edson Barboza
Dustin Jacoby (18-6-1) vs. Azamat Murzakanov (12-0)
Shifting to the light heavyweight class, Dustin Jacoby squares off against the undefeated Azamat Murzakanov in the antepenultimate fight.
Another grad from DWCS, Jacoby has been one of the most impressive stories, going 6-1-1 in his first eight fights after returning to the UFC. Although Jacoby dropped his last fight with Khalil Rountree Jr., he landed 35 more significant strikes. Jacoby aims to avoid consecutive losses in the Octagon since his first two appearances over a decade ago.
Murzakanov is yet to lose in his mixed martial arts career, donning a perfect 12-0 record, registering back-to-back finishes in his rookie year in the UFC. In his last three fights, including his performance on DWCS, Murzakanov has knocked out all his opponents.
This should be a grueling fight, with both fighters wanting to leap into the top 10.
My pick: Azamat Murzakanov
Tanner Boser (20-9-1) vs. Ion Cutelaba (16-9-1)
Tanner Boser makes his debut at light heavyweight against the experienced Ion Cutelaba this Saturday in Kansas City.
This is Boser’s first fight at light heavyweight in the UFC, with a hungry Cutelaba waiting on the other side. It’ll be intriguing to see what the former heavyweight looks like at 205.
This will be Cutelaba’s 15th time in the Octagon this Saturday, where he’s looking to stop a three-fight skid. Cutelaba is just 1-5-1 in his last seven appearances, with all five losses coming via stoppage.
This fight should be close, with each looking to make a point.
My pick: Ion Cutelaba
Pedro Munhoz (19-7) vs. Chris Gutierrez (19-3-2)
In potentially the deepest division in the sport, bantamweight top ten Pedro Munhoz needs a bounce-back win facing a streaking Chris Gutierrez.
Munhoz is searching for his first win since beating Jimmie Rivera in February 2021. He’s 1-4-1 in his last six appearances but has faced worthy competition. Despite the losses against skilled fighters, there is no doubt Munhoz is a tough out.
Gutierrez comes in on a four-fight win streak, most recently sending future UFC Hall of Famer Frankie Edgar into retirement at Madison Square Garden in November. Gutierrez has looked remarkable of late, but Munhoz desperately needs a win.
My pick: Chris Gutierrez
Clay Guida (38-19) vs. Rafa Garcia (15-3)
Lightweights Clay Guida and Rafa Garcia will open the main card this weekend.
Now 41 years old, Clay Guida does not stop. Entering his 17th year on the UFC roster, Guida is coming off a split decision win over Scott Holtzman and has gone 6-5 since returning to lightweight in 2017. Guida has seen it all throughout his time on the roster, making him a tough gatekeeping matchup for Garcia.
After dropping his first two fights for the company, Garcia is 3-1 in the Octagon, showcasing his wrestling skills. In his last four fights, Garcia has 19 takedowns.
If Garcia decides to use his wrestling, he could have a good chance at controlling the fight and possibly putting a submission on Guida. Guida has the experience, but his age is still a concern.
My pick: Rafa Garcia
You can watch the entire event on ESPN or ESPN+. The prelims start at 5:30 PM EST, and the main card is at 8 PM EST.