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Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium – Kallang, Singapore
When: Saturday, October 26, 8 AM EST
How (TV): ESPN, ESPN+
Two of the best grapplers under the UFC banner will step into the octagon together this Saturday as former middleweight title challenger and fourth-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Demian tackles the Olympic freestyle wrestling credentials of the former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren.
Demian Maia, 41, has had a career resurgence since moving down to welterweight back in 2012 despite his age.
Since moving down in weight, Maia has gone 12-5 and had a remarkable seven-fight winning streak from 2014 to 2017 that included notable wins over welterweight contenders such as Gunna Nelson, Carlos Condit, and Jorge Masvidal.
Maia is currently riding a two-fight winning streak with his last fight coming back on June 29. Maia defeated Anthony Rocco Martin via unanimous decision.
The Brazilian-born fighter stands at 6 feet, 1 inch tall and has a reach of 72 inches. He trains out of his home country at his own gym Demian Maia Jiu-Jitsu. Maia possesses an incredible fourth-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Fabio Gurge. He has been active in mixed martial arts since 2005 and is currently ranked as the tenth-best welterweight in the UFC.
Ben Askren, 35, suffered the first loss of his MMA career in his last fight when he was knocked out by a Jorge Masival flying knee at UFC 239 on July 6.
Prior to that loss, Askren had gone 19-0 with one no-contest in his career that spanned across Bellator, ONE Championship, and, now, the UFC – including his debut under the banner against Robbie Lawler.
”Funky” stands at 5 feet, 11 inches tall – meaning he comes in two inches shorter than his opponent. However, he will have an equal 72-inch reach.
The American-born fighter trains with former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in Milwaukee at the Roufusport Gym.
He competed at the 2008 Olympic games in freestyle wrestling and possesses NCAA Division I credentials. He has been active in MMA since 2009 and is currently ranked just below Demian Maia as the number-11 welterweight in the UFC.
Michael Johnson, 33, has been on quite the rollercoaster over the past four years of his career. Since 2015, Johnson has a UFC record of 4-6.
Johnson had put together back-to-back wins in 2018 when he defeated Andre Fili and Artem Lobov.
However, in his last fight, which took place earlier this year on March 30, Johnson was knocked out in the third round by Josh Emmett.
”The Menace” stands at 5 feet, 10 inches tall and has a reach of 73.5 inches. The American-born fighter stands southpaw and trains out of Florida with the Hard Knocks 365 gym. He was an NJCAA wrestler and has been active in mixed martial arts since 2008. He was a former contestant of the Ultimate Fighter series.
Stevie Ray, 29, is a former BAMMA and Cage Warriors lightweight champion.
Since joining the UFC, Ray has gone 6-4. Most recently, he has gone 1-3 with his latest bout coming on June 1 of this year.
On that night, Ray fought Leonardo Santos and was knocked out in the first round.
”Braveheart” stands at 5 feet, 10 inches tall, equal to Michale Johnson, but will have a 3.5-inch reach disadvantage – measuring at just 70 inches.
The Scottish-born fighter is also a southpaw with Higher Level MMA and Tristar Gym. He has a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Roberto Atalla and has been active in MMA since 2010.
Frank Camacho, 31, has gone 2-3 since joining the UFC but has fight of the night bonuses for three of those bouts.
After losing back-to-back fights against Drew Dober and Geoff Neal, Camacho bounced back. On June 1, Camacho faced off against Nick Hein and delivered a second-round TKO finish.
”The Crank” stands at 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He has a reach of 73 inches. Born in Guam, Camacho trains in Saipan with Steel Athletics and Purebred Jiu-Jitsu. He is a 2006 Micronesian Games gold medal winner in wrestling and he has a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Steve Roberto. He has been fighting in MMA professionally since 2005.
Beneil Dariush, 30, is a UFC veteran with 15 fights inside the octagon. He is currently riding a two-fight winning streak.
His last fight came on March 9 where he submitted opponent Drew Dober in the second round, earning him a performance of the night bonus.
The Iranian-born fighter stands at 5 feet, 10 inches tall and has a reach of 72 inches, giving him a one-inch reach disadvantage for this bout against Camacho.
Dariush trains out of Huntington Beach, California with Kings MMA under head coach Rafael Cordeiro. He has a black belt in muay thai under Cordeiro and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Bruno Paulista. He has been active in MMA since 2009.
Cyril Gane, 28, will be making just his second appearance in the UFC this Saturday.
After going 3-0 in his professional career, Gane made his debut under the UFC banner on August 10 against Raphael Pessoa. Gane won his debut via third-round arm-triangle submission.
”Bon Gamin” is a Paris-born fighter who stands at a hulking 6 feet, 5 inches tall. He has a reach of 83 inches. He fights out of Vincennes, France, and trains with the MMA Factory.
Don’Tale Mayes, 27, will be making his UFC debut Saturday after having a successful showing on Dana White’s Contender Series. His fight on the series came on July 16 and he fought Ricardo Prasel. He won the fight via first-round TKO. He is currently on a four-fight winning streak.
”Kong” stands, impressively, one inch taller than his opponent at 6 feet, 6 inches tall. He has a reach of 81.5 inches – 1.5 inches shorter than Gane in this bout. The American-born fighter trains under head coach Brent Maddox at the Bronx Hill MMA gym. He is known for his kickboxing and judo style.
Read more on the heavyweight division.
After losing his UFC debut, Muslim Salikhov, 35, has won two fights in a row within the octagon.
On April 18, 2018, Salikhov knocked out Rick Rainey in the second round of their bout. More recently, Salikhov knocked out Nordine Taleb at UFC 242 on September 7 in the first round of their bout which earned Salikhov a performance of the night bonus.
”The King of Kung Fu” stands at 5 feet, 11 inches tall and has a reach of 69.5 inches.
The Russian-born fighter trains in both his home country with the Fighting Eagle Team and Beijing, China.
He has masters of sport in both Wushu Sanda and Complex Martial Arts and a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He has been active in MMA since 2011.
Laureano Staropoli, 26, will be making his third appearance in the UFC this Saturday.
He is riding a seven-fight winning streak including three in a row under the UFC banner.
Staropoli last fought on May 11 where he took on UFC veteran Thiago Alves at UFC 237. Staropoli won the bout by unanimous decision.
”Pepi” stands at an even 6 feet tall, giving him the slight height advantage over his opponent.
He will also come in with a 71.5-inch reach – two-inches longer than Salikhov.
The Argentinian-born fighter trains out of his home country and is affiliated with Invictus MMA gym.
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Ryan Bristlon is a Canadian writer currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario. He studied print and broadcast journalism at Humber College and has been a lifelong fan of the sport of hockey and the NHL.
Email: [email protected]More info on Ryan Bristlon
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