With reigning featherweight kingpin Max "Blessed" Holloway stepping up on six days notice to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight championship, UFC 223 has an absolute sizzler of a main event. However, it's actually the preliminary card bout between Bec Rawlings and Ashlee Evans-Smith that could steal the show.
While it's true the fight has flown under the radar in mainstream media circles, we're talking about a scrap between two of the top flyweights on the planet. Rawlings vs. Evans-Smith deserved a lot more press than it received in the lead-up to UFC 223. This fight is interesting because it marks Rawlings' second official UFC fight at flyweight, but first against someone her size.
In the Aussie's UFC flyweight debut, her opponent -- Jessica "Jessy Jess" Rose-Clark -- missed weight. This put the "Rowdy" one at a disadvantage before the cage door even locked. In fact, the 29-year-old's full six-fight stint in the UFC can almost be thrown away and forgotten because she was always battling Secondary Hypothyroidism while cutting down to 115 pounds.
Now that the women's flyweight division is reality in the UFC, she has a fresh start and a new opportunity to cement her legacy. Quite literally the same could be said about Smith, who is riding a two-fight losing skid at bantamweight. Smith, like Rawlings, wanted a fresh start in a new division after fighting opponents that weren't her size.
With Rawlings coming up from strawweight and Smith coming down from bantamweight, it'll be interesting to see how this thing plays out. What we do know is that both could be fighting to stay on the UFC roster.
When jobs are on the line, there tends to be serious fireworks inside the Octagon. This one shouldn't disappoint. UFC 223 goes live on April 7 from Brooklyn's Barclays Center.