Originally, UFC 222 had a scheduled featherweight title match between champion Max Holloway and challenger Frankie Edgar. UFC 222 was in danger of being canceled when Holloway was forced to opt out to an injury. The pair were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 218 in Detroit, but an eye injury forced Edgar out and Holloway defended his belt against Jose Aldo in an immediate rematch.
Enter Cristiane 'Cyborg' Justin to save the day. Cyborg successfully defended his belt against Holly Holm at UFC 219 on the December end card and is making the quick change three weeks in advance to keep the card. Her opponent is former bantamweight champion Invicta FC, Yana Kunitskaya, who will make her UFC debut with little notice.
Edgar remains on the card as well, fighting with Brian Ortega in a No. 1 contender match predetermined by the featherweight belt. Edgar cited his limited remaining time in his career as the reason for the fight instead of waiting to fight Holloway at a later date.
The UFC also explored a bantamweight title fight between champion TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt, a rematch of their UFC 217 title fight. Dillashaw declined due to the birth of his son and being out of a regular training regime, he also felt that Garbrandt did not deserve an immediate rematch after a TKO in the second round and marked his long way back to a title fight after a close decision loss to Dominick Cruz.
Dillashaw has also been pursuing a fight for the flyweight title with champion Demetrious Johnson.
UFC 222 will start kicking at 7PM PT/10PM ET in the US, 9PM in Mexico, 00:00AM from Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. You can watch the fights with UFC Fight Pass, FS1, Pay-Per-View in the United States, Fight Networks in Mexico and Central America, Fox Sports in South America. The Preliminary fights will be available on UFC.TV and Fox Sports Go. UFC.TV PPV, DirecTV, and Amazon also offers PPV live streaming of the event.
Cris Cyborg (19-1) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (10-3)
Invicta has 20 fights, Brazilian Cyborg faces a debutante in her second weight-penalty belt defense (up to 66 kg) in the UFC. Russian Yana Kunitskaya is a former champion (up to 41 kg) from Invicta FC and trains alongside American Holly Holm, defeated by Curitiba in December.
The challenging, great zebra in the houses has bets, she's a shooter just like the champion. Knockout power is his greatest weapon, as he has won 70% of his fights taking his opponents to the canvas.
It will hardly be enough to overcome Cris, who has proven almost unbeatable and evolving a lot since he debuted at the biggest event in the world.
Frankie Edgar (22-5-1) vs. Brian Ortega (13-0)
No doubt a struggle. Former lightweight champion (up to 70 kg), Edgar was virtually out of contention for the featherweight belt with two defeats for Jose Aldo. The American got a new chance when Max Holloway took the Brazilian title.
The dispute would be on Saturday, but was canceled due to the injury of the Hawaiian. The unbeaten Ortega, then, has been cast to keep Edgar on the card, but ensures he will not be extra.
Ortega has a very high level of soft art. He has seven wins per finish and also goes well in boxing. T-City will have a considerable advantage of height and wingspan in combat.
The question is whether Edgar's experience, heart, and virtually infinite gas will make a difference.
Mackenzie Dern (5-0) vs. Ashley Yoder (5-3)
Jiu-jitsu's prowess, the straw-weight (up to 52 kg) Mackenzie Dern finally debuts in the octagon. With five wins at regional events, the American daughter of Brazilian Wellington Megaton Dias - a legend of BJJ - arrives at the big stage of MMA to show if it really will be a phenomenon such as Ronda Rousey. The potential to be a great star is all there.
Cat Zingano (9-2) vs. Ketlen Vieira (9-0)
The 26-year-old Ketlen Vieira from Amazonas picks up her toughest opponent in her career. At age 26, the Nova União fighter faces nine-year-old veteran Cat Zingano, who returns to the Octagon after nearly two years away. The American has lost her last two UFC bouts (Ronda Rousey and Julianna Peña) but has already knocked out defending champion Amanda Nunes and former champion Miesha Tate. It will certainly be an important fight for the future of the category.
John Dodson (19-9) vs. Pedro Munhoz (15-2)
Canceled from UFC Belem, the clash was rescheduled to Las Vegas on Saturday. If you hit the weight this time, Munhoz should do a competitive bout with Dodson. The American is very fast and has good knockout power, plus a chin and iron. The Brazilian, in turn, specializes in finishing, owner of a feared guillotine - three of his four victories ended like this.