[Press Release] A potential shot at the world title is on the line when UFC makes its first ever trip to South Dakota. Two rising contenders in the 155-pound division collide when No. 3 Tony Ferguson meets No. 9 Michael Chiesa in the five-round main event of UFC Fight Night: Ferguson vs. Chiesa at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls on Wednesday, July 13.
Currently riding a seven-fight winning streak, which is tied for the longest in the division, Ferguson (21-3, fighting out of Ventura, Calif.) is on a tear in the lightweight division. With a resume that boasts submission wins over Edson Barboza and Abel Trujillo, “El Cucuy” hopes another impressive win will earn him a crack at UFC gold. Looking to derail those plans is Chiesa (14-2, fighting out of Spokane Valley, Wash.), who has won five of his last six inside the Octagon®. His slick jiu-jitsu pedigree has resulted in five first-round finishes, all in less than three minutes, and a similar statement against Ferguson would send shockwaves throughout the most talent-rich division in the sport.
Also on the card, Tim Boetsch (18-10, fighting out of Sunbury, Pa.) and Josh Samman (12-4, fighting out of Tallahassee, Fla.) clash in a pivotal middleweight bout. Boetsch is veteran of both the UFC light heavyweight and middleweight divisions who uses his veteran savvy to overwhelm his opponents, as seen in his knockout wins over Brad Tavares and Yushin Okami. “The Barbarian” hopes to once again showcase his brute strength and tenacity inside the 185-pound division. Meanwhile, Samman looks to match that tenacity and collect his fourth UFC win by finish. His aggressiveness has paid dividends, with 11 of his 12 professional wins coming by way of submission or knockout, including seven in the first-round. With these two ferocious athletes facing off, the fight could end at any moment.
Additional bouts include:
· No. 12 Louis Smolka (10-1, fighting out of Kapolei, Hawaii) meets Sioux Falls native No. 15 Ben Nguyen (15-5, fighting out of Brisbane, Australia) in a dynamic flyweight battle.
· Australian veteran Kyle Noke (22-8-1, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) meets Keita Nakamura (31-7-2, 1 NC, fighting out of Tokyo, Japan) in a welterweight clash.
· Combining for 57 finishes, No. 15 Alexey Oliynyk (50-9-1, fighting out of Moscow, Russia) and Daniel Omielanczuk (18-5-1, 1 NC, fighting out of Warsaw, Poland) collide at heavyweight.
· An action-packed bout between exciting lightweights will take place, as Scott Holtzman (8-1, fighting out of Knoxville, Tenn.) meets Cody Pfister (12-5-1, fighting out of Boulder, Colo.).
· Hard hitting light heavyweight Alex Nicholson (6-2, fighting out of Orlando, Fla.) welcomes hometown hero Devin Clark (6-0, fighting out of Sioux Falls, S.D.) to the UFC.
· Submission artist Rani Yahya (21-8, 1 NC, fighting out of Brasilia, Brazil) collides with undefeated Matthew Lopez (8-0, fighting out of Fullerton, Calif.) in his UFC bantamweight debut.