Watch as the fighters for UFC’s return to Phoenix, one day before UFC Fight Night: Phoenix, headlined by Cain Velasquez and Francis Ngannou.
While the two heavyweight headliners didn’t have to worry about a weight limit, three fighters on the UFC Phoenix card ended up missing weight — and it nearly could have been more.
Manny Bermudez weighed in at 140 pounds, four pounds over the maximum bantamweight limit, for his scheduled bout with Benito Lopez on the televised UFC Phoenix prelims. Bermudez will be fined 30 percent of his purse.
Meanwhile, former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao and Jessica Penne both missed weight by two pounds for their respective bantamweight and women’s strawweight bouts. Each will be fined 20 percent of their purse.
Barao, who is on a three-fight losing skid and faces Luke Sanders in the ESPN+ early prelim headliner, has had a struggle with weight since moving back down from featherweight to the weight class where he was once a world champion. The move to 145 was caused by an incident prior to UFC 177 — where he was supposed to rematch with TJ Dillashaw for the bantamweight title — when Barao had to be admitted to a hospital due to weight cut issues.
The California State Athletic Commission cited this incident as a reason to not license Barao to compete at bantamweight, forcing his UFC 214 bout with Aljamain Sterling to be conducted at 140 pounds. Barao missed the bantamweight limit by five pounds in his last bout back in September.
This is the first time missing weight for Penne, who is a former Invicta atomweight champion and UFC women’s strawweight title challenger, and was the first woman to compete and win a female bout in Bellator. Penne faces Jodie Esquibel on the early prelim card.
Most concern for the weight cut came for Cynthia Calvillo, who missed weight by two pounds in her last bout against Poliana Botelho last November. Calvillo was the last fighter to weigh in during the early weigh-ins but successfully made the 116-pound weight limit. Calvillo faces Cortney Casey on the UFC Phoenix main card.
Ashlee Evans-Smith initially missed the women’s flyweight limit by a half-pound, but after stripping down and using the hoop, she successfully made weight. Evans-Smith faces Andrea Lee on the televised ESPN prelims.
UFC Phoenix Main Card (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET)
Francis Ngannou (258) vs. Cain Velasquez (248)
James Vick (156) vs. Paul Felder (155.5)
Cortney Casey (116) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (116)
Alex Caceres (146) vs. Kron Gracie (146)
Vicente Luque (171) vs. Bryan Barberena (170.5)
Andre Fili (145.5) vs. Myles Jury (146)
UFC Phoenix Preliminary Card (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET)
Jimmie Rivera (135) vs. Aljamain Sterling (136)
Benito Lopez (135.5) vs. Manny Bermudez (140*)
Ashlee Evans-Smith (126.0) vs. Andrea Lee (125.5)
Scott Holtzman (156) vs. Nik Lentz (155.5)
UFC Phoenix Early Prelim Card (ESPN+, 5:30 p.m. ET)
Renan Barao (138**) vs. Luke Sanders (135.5)
Jessica Penne (118**) vs. Jodie Esquibel (115.5)
Aleksandra Albu (114.5) vs. Emily Whitmire (116)
*missed weight, fined 30 percent of purse
**missed weight, fined 20 percent of purse