The grudge match between two former friends and former training partners headlines UFC 272 with former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby "Chaos" Covington (16-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) versus former UFC title challenger and the holder of the fastest KO in UFC history Jorge "Gamebred" Masivdal (35-15 MMA, 12-8 UFC). The newly lamented co-main event slot contains former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13 MMA, 19-11 UFC) squaring off against short notice replacement Renato Moicano (16-4-1 MMA, 8-4 UFC) for 5 rounds after Rafael Fiziev withdrew due to a positive Covid-19 test. With the upcoming press conference and the majority of the hype going to the main event filled with bad blood and animosity between Covington and Masivdal with potential title implications down the line for the victor, the majority of the preliminary bouts and the main card has been overshadowed. A solid amount of young talented prospects and ranked contenders are scattered all over the card and deserved of some of the limelight outside of the major stakes at 170 the main event holds.
One of the best Muay Thai strikers the UFC has ever seen regardless of gender, #3 Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2 MMA, 5-1-2 UFC) is one step closer to the elusive title shot and the chance to be able to call herself the queen of the straw weights. Coming off a 1st round TKO on the Brazilian edition of the Contender Series back in 2018, Rodriguez has had wonderful performances over legit names such as Michelle Waterson and a split decision loss to the next title challenger in Carla Esparza, but her most memorable performance was delivering a 2nd round KO over then previously undefeated in the UFC Amanda Ribas. With her stand up being her main weapon, she has very strong takedown defense and footwork to avoid clinching and takedown attempts as seen in his last outing against jiu jitsu wizard Mackenzie Dern. She fights long with a high volume of straight punches and a healthy mix of kicks at all three levels. With Rodriguez going the full 25 minutes in her last two fights, she has great cardio and output so she has every reason to be a -280 favorite against #4 ranked Yan "Nine" Xiaonan (13-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC).
Devonte "King Kage" Smith (11-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has had an exciting run in the UFC's lightweight division with every single one of his UFC appearances never entering the 3rd round. Coming into the UFC with a contract earned on Dana White's Contender Series as a bright prospect being only 25 with a 8-1 record, Smith has had some ups and downs so far but now has the chance to capitalize on a pay-per-view spot against a short notice L'udovit Klein (17-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC). Smith has heavy hands seen in his finishes of Julian Erosa and Dong Hyun Ma and has incredibly fast hand speed as well as having a wrestling background, being a 4 year wrestler at Bedford High School in Ohio. He mixes up his magnet like jab with excellent low kicks and his alliance to factoryX Muay Thai really elevates his striking to the next level. With an ever improving mix of his striking arsenal and more UFC appearance notched under his belt, Smith only being at 28 and a great team surrounding him, the sky is the limited for King Kage and is looking to smash through Klein on route to a big name opponent soon after.
Former GLORY kickboxer Dustin "The Hanyak" Jacoby (16-5-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC) is climbing up the ranks of the 205 pound division after returning to MMA after a long stint in kickboxing and boxing back in 2020. Originally debuting in the UFC all the way back in 2011 as a young 5-0 prospect, he went 0-2 and after his short 2 fight stint in Bellator in, decided to focus on kickboxing and fought the likes of kickboxing champions such as Alex Pereira and Simon Marcus. Getting his shot on the Contender Series in 2020, won a contract with his slick and experienced striking with a dominant unanimous decision win over Ty Flores. With tons of combat fights under his belt, he has the experience and the cardio to match anyone in the UFC and puts out a high volume of strikes to keep his opponents off the back foot. His punching power is also to be noted with the ability to knock opponents out in boxing and kickboxing gloves, the power translates well into smaller MMA gloves. His opponent, Michal Oleksiejczuk (16-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) is as well a highly touted striker so this has the chance to be fireworks to open up UFC 272.