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The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Nashville, Tennessee, for UFC Fight Night 148 this Saturday. The “Music City” will be treated to a welterweight headliner between Stephen Thompson and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
Thompson (14-3-1) last competed in May. The bout saw him lose a close unanimous decision to Darren Till, making it just one win in his last four fights. However, with Tyron Woodley no longer being the welterweight champion, “Wonderboy” will be even more motivated to start a new winning streak en route to a potential third title shot. Thompson is currently unranked in Sherdog’s Top 10 but is rated as the sixth-best welterweight in the world by ESPN while he is also ranked as the No. 3 contender in the UFC rankings.
He will be welcoming Pettis (21-8) to the welterweight division as “Showtime” makes his divisional debut under the UFC banner. The former lightweight champion is 2-2 in his last four fights, most recently coming off a loss against Tony Ferguson at UFC 229 in October. Pettis will be looking to quickly climb the ranks at welterweight in hope of another title shot. He is unranked by Sherdog and ESPN but is the No. 8 contender in the UFC lightweight rankings. A win on Saturday could see shoot right into the Top 10 of the welterweight rankings. Meanwhile, Thompson would likely need another win on top of Pettis if he is to climb the rankings further.
Ranked heavyweights are also in action the co-main event as Curtis Blaydes takes on Justin Willis. Blaydes (10-2, 1 NC) will look to bounce back after suffering a second loss to Francis Ngannou late last year. Considering most would agree he was on the verge of a title shot before that loss, a win on Saturday could see him right back into the mix. The Chicago native is ranked as the seventh-best heavyweight in the world by Sherdog, fifth by ESPN and is the No. 4 contender in the UFC rankings.
Willis (8-1) is coming off the biggest win of his career when he defeated Mark Hunt via unanimous decision in December. He is currently unranked by Sherdog and ESPN but is the No. 10 contender in the UFC rankings. A win would undoubtedly see him climb up further.
Also, on the main card is a pivotal flyweight clash as Jussier da Silva (22-5) competes against the undefeated Deiveson Figueirido (15-0). “Formiga” is ranked as the sixth-best 125 pounder in the world by Sherdog, fourth by ESPN, and is the No. 1 contender in the UFC rankings. Figueirido is rated as the eighth-best flyweight by Sherdog, fifth by ESPN, and the No. 4 contender in the UFC rankings. Given the uncertainty surrounding the flyweight division, a win for either fighter may not guarantee them a title fight with Henry Cejudo but could put them in line to face another highly-ranked flyweight like former title challenger Joseph Benavidez.
Finally, in the prelims, Jennifer Maia (15-5-1) will look to get her first UFC win when she takes on longtime veteran Alexis Davis (19-8) in a women’s flyweight contest. Maia is currently rated as the fifth-best flyweight by Sherdog and ninth by ESPN. Interestingly, she is not in the top 15 of the UFC rankings while Davis, on the other hand, is the No. 5 contender in the UFC rankings, but is unranked by Sherdog and ESPN.