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Our questions about UFC Fight Night Chile: Usman vs. Maia

Kamaru Usman vs. Demian Maia

Image: MMA Fighting

UFC returns for its second show of three this month, a Fox Sports One show emanating from Santiago, Chile -- their first show in the country. Fun fact: all three of their May events are outside of North America. Use that at your next round of trivia and stump everyone!

The show was supposed to be headlined by a battle of fast-rising welterweights, but local favorite Santiago Ponzinibbio had to bow out due to injury, leaving Kamaru Usman without a dance partner. Enter veteran Demian Maia, looking to snap a two-fight losing streak and hold as he nears the end of an interesting career.

Helping me preview the show and answer some questions are "Mr. Winnipeg" Paul Fontaine and Texas tough Ryan Frederick.

Main Card

  • Demian Maia vs. Kamaru Usman
  • Alexa Grasso vs. Tatiana Suarez
  • Jared Cannonier vs. Dominick Reyes
  • Diego Rivas vs. Guido Cannetti
  • Veronica Macedo vs. Andrea Lee
  • Vicente Luque vs. Chad Laprise

Undercard

  • Zak Cummings vs. Michel Prazeres
  • Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja
  • Poliana Botelho vs. Syuri Kondo
  • Gabriel Benitez vs. Humberto Bandenay
  • Enrique Barzola vs. Brandon Davis
  • Henry Briones vs. Frankie Saenz
  • Claudio Puelies vs. Felipe Silva

What are you most looking forward to?

Frederick: I guess it would be the main event as there isn’t much to this card. I don’t think Maia has much of a chance against Usman, and the short training camp and preparation time hurts him more. Usman has so much power on his feet and has arguably the best wrestling in the welterweight division. Out of all of the rising competition at 170, I see Usman as the one that is destined to be the champion more than any of the others (Darren Till, Colby Covington and Santiago Ponzinibbio to name a few). Also, I am looking forward to Andrea “KGB” Lee’s UFC debut as she has star potential.

Fontaine: I’m a big proponent of women’s MMA and have been following Lee’s career for a couple of years and it’s great to see her finally debuting in UFC this weekend. I think she could be the signature star of the UFC’s newest weight class within a year or two.

Nason: Usman-Maia because Usman has a lot on the line after his last outing, a dull win that raised Dana White's ire as Usman's "30%" comment that got taken the wrong way. With an impressive showing, he gets right back in the mix for an interesting fight. With a boring win, I think they try to run the Ponzinibbio fight back. The Grasso-Suarez fight is also on my radar, but more on that below.

What is being overlooked?

Fontaine: The fact this show is even happening is my answer as it's really a one-fight main card with no one anyone knows outside of the most hardcore of the hardcore fanbase. Going down the prelims, there are a few more names that are slightly familiar but aside from Maia, no one has ever headlined a card or even been in a featured fight aside from Suarez in the TUF finale the year she made it to the finals.

Frederick: I really don’t think anything is being overlooked due to the lack of overall interest in this card. I know a lot of people are down on Grasso vs. Suarez as a co-main event, but it is an interesting fight. Grasso still has loads of potential despite the stumbling block that was her loss to Felice Herrig, but she could still be a contender down the line. Suarez also could be a contender and she has shown a lot of potential. It’s a very good fight for both at this stage of their careers.

Nason: I think the term "co-main event" really can throw people off. On this show, I'm fine with the placement as there's really not much else and UFC would love to have one of these two breakout this year. An impressive showing by either puts them in a good spot for their next fight. The undefeated Suarez can take a loss here and will be fine, but I think the weight of this is really on Grasso given the expectations she came in with.

What’s not doing it for you?

Nason: The prelms are pretty meh. The Moreno-Pantoja fight could be a dark horse, but UFC has to hope this is like last week's Brazil show with lots of fun finishes.

Frederick: I don’t have many expectations for this card. There are some solid, mid-tier fights in certain divisions, but nothing overtly stands out. It’s a night of fights.

Fontaine: The whole card in general. As someone who, for the most part, prides himself in seeing every card the UFC puts out there, it’s a struggle for even me to care in the slightest about this show. I do have family commitments that will make it impossible for me to see it live and, for the first time in awhile, I’m contemplating not even bothering to catch up with the show the next day when I have a chance to.

What’s the intrigue with this show?

Frederick:  It's whether Maia can pull off the upset over Usman. It’s Maia’s 28th UFC fight and only Michael Bisping and Jim Miller have had more. He’s a hard-nosed veteran who is certainly capable of pulling it out. However, he’s getting up there in age and it’s going to be a tough outing for him. If he’s able to win, it's the most intriguing thing to me on this card.

Fontaine: I suppose it would be whether or not the three unbeaten fighters on the show can maintain their perfect records. Syuri Kondo (6-0) and Tatiana Suarez (5-0) are early in their careers but in a strawweight division that doesn’t have a ton of depth, they could be title contenders in short time. The other is light heavyweight Dominick Reyes. At 8-0, he’s had first round finishes in each of his first two UFC fights. 205 is a division in turmoil right now and a third straight quick finish will have a lot of people talking about the 28-year-old prospect.  

Nason: I'm also interested in the Reyes-Cannonier outcome, but the intrigue here is whether Usman can put on a show. A finish of Maia would raise his stock considerably. 

What will be people talking about Sunday after the show is done?

Frederick: That Kamaru Usman is a real threat to be the champion at 170 pounds, and that Andrea Lee is going to be a star. Those are the two to watch on this show. Everything else just seems to be filling a card. Chile finally gets an event and I’m sure the fans there are going to show up and be a good crowd.

Fontaine: Whether or not the Celtics can be competitive in the NBA finals with either Golden State or Houston. Certainly not anything from this show. Maybe Andrea Lee if she puts in a good performance and gets some promo time.

Nason: "There was a show?"

Who wins?

Demian Maia vs. Kamaru Usman

Usman: Nason, Frederick
Maia: Fontaine

Alexa Grasso vs. Tatiana Suarez

Grasso: Frederick, Fontaine
Suarez: Nason

Jared Cannonier vs. Dominick Reyes

Cannonier: Nason
Reyes: Frederick, Fontaine

Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja

Moreno: Nason, Frederick, Fontaine

Follow along with our coverage Saurday night.