LAS VEGAS – UFC flyweight Tagir Ulanbekov may be entering his upcoming bout with a number of advantages over his opponent.
Ulanbekov (14-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) welcomes Nate Maness to the flyweight division on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 214 inside the UFC Apex. It’s an opponent he’s very familiar with because his teammate, Umar Nurmagomedov, was the last man to face him. Nurmagomedov defeated Maness (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) by unanimous decision in June, and Ulanbekov plans to follow the same path his teammate traveled.
“Nate is a very tough opponent, he’s very strong, but we already have a blueprint on how to beat him,” Ulanbekov told reporters through an interpreter at Wednesday’s media day. “My teammate Umar, we have a tape on him how to do it exactly. We have a gameplan. I’m just going to do what my teammate did and get my hand raised.”
Just getting to the fight is a bit of a question for Ulanbekov’s opponent as he will be making the cut to flyweight for the first time. Maness fought four times in the bantamweight division before deciding to drop down a weight class.
“If this is the first time he’s making flyweight, and I’m not sure if he is, this is a different division,” Ulanbekov said. “First of all, his first fight is going to be weight cut. If he gets through that fight and recovers well, good for him. The second fight is going to be me standing across the octagon looking him right in the face, in his eyes.”
Both fighters will be looking to rebound from a loss in their last outing. Ulanbekov won his first two fights under the UFC banner with decision wins over Bruno Silva and Allan Nascimento, before ending up on the wrong end of the scorecards against Tim Elliott. The loss snapped a five-fight win streak, but he hopes to start another run with a win over Maness.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 214.