UFC Fight Night 172 Update: Three Additional Bouts Slated Including Kenney-Smolka

By: Jay Pettry
May 21, 2020

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship is quickly building its next event on May 30.

On Thursday, three fights were added to the UFC Fight Night card on May 30, which will reportedly take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. First up, two competitors on Dana White's Contender Series will meet at lightweight as Roosevelt Roberts (9-1) takes on Brok Weaver (15-4). Meanwhile, a pair of flyweight ex-pats in Casey Kenney (13-2-1) and Louis Smolka (16-6) will meet at 135 pounds at this event. The third bout added sees former women’s flyweight title challenger Katlyn Chookagian (13-3) return to action against the sister of her last competitor, Antonina Shevchenko (8-1). The first was first reported by FightBananas, the second coming by way of MMA DNA, and the third from MMA Junkie.

Since bursting on to the scene in the Contender Series by tapping Garrett Gross with a second-round rear-naked choke, Roberts has won three while losing to Vinc Pichel. Most recently, “The Predator” went over to hostile territory in Russia to defeat hometown opponent Alexander Yakovlev by decision. The 26-year-old from California sports four wins by tapout, three by knockout, two on the scorecards, while his lone defeat came by decision.

Also a bright prospect from the Contender Series, the enigmatic Weaver took a spirited decision over Devin Smyth to earn a spot on the UFC roster. His long-awaited debut came in February, where after a thrilling four minutes, Weaver was blasted in the face with an illegal knee and the fight was waved off. It was the second time in his last three fights that Weaver won by disqualification, and the man nicknamed “Chata Tuska” is currently riding an eight-fight win streak.

Former two-division LFA champ Kenney most recently dropped a decision to Merab Dvalishvili in February. The loss snapped a six-fight win streak where he had beaten the likes of Manny Bermudez, Ray Borg and Brandon Royval. Although he competed twice on the Contender Series, it took four consecutive wins in Legacy Fighting Alliance for the Tachi Palace Fights vet to get the call to the Octagon.

In his second stint with the Las Vegas-based promotion, Smolka has yet to reach the judges across three bouts. His return saw him armbar Su Mudaerji, get tapped with a triangle choke by Matt Schnell, and in his last bout, knock out Ryan MacDonald in September 2019. Smolka was originally linked to fight Davey Grant in March, but the coronavirus forced the postponement of several events so the fight was ultimately scratched.

Chookagian was finished for the first time in her career when Valentina Shevchenko knocked her out at UFC 247 in February. Before then, “Blonde Fighter” had won five of her last six, taking decision over names including Jennifer Maia and Joanne Calderwood, while losing a narrow split verdict to Jessica Eye. The New Jersey native has gone the distance in 12 of her 16 career fights, including each of her first eight trips to the Octagon before losing to V. Shevchenko. Chookagian will become one of a very small number of fighters across major MMA promotional history to ever fight two siblings back-to-back, along with names like Akira Shoji.

Antonina rebounded from her first career loss -- a split verdict against Roxanne Modafferi in April 2019 -- by putting Lucie Pudilova to sleep at UFC on ESPN 5 in August 2019. In doing so, “Pantera” earned her first career submission win. Like her opponent, A. Shevchenko has gone the distance in a majority of her career bouts, with six of nine going three full rounds. Win or lose, no fight for the Tiger Muay Thai product has ever ended in the opening frame.

UFC Fight Night 172 should take place on May 30 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event will be headlined by a welterweight tilt between Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns. Also expected to compete at the event is a pair of flyweights in former title challenger Tim Elliott against ex-LFA champ Brandon Royval.

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