After a jam-packed UFC 261, the octagon will return to the Apex for UFC Vegas 25. The card will feature some solid matchups, but it won't nearly have the same level of star power and excitement that UFC 261 had.
UFC Vegas 25 will see a couple of former UFC title contenders attempt to return to relevance in their respective divisions. Standing in their way are two promising up-and-comers who are both fresh off impressive knockout wins.
Like any other card, UFC Vegas 25 will likely deliver some memorable moments as well as some lackluster bouts. On that note, let's take a look at three fights to look forward to and two that will likely disappoint at UFC Vegas 25:
3 fights to look forward to at UFC Vegas 25
#3 Sean Strickland vs. Krzysztof Jotko
On the main card of UFC Vegas 25, a pair of red-hot middleweights are en route to a collision course as Sean Strickland is set to take on Krzysztof Jotko.
A terrible motorcycle accident forced Strickland to miss action for two years. Thankfully, he didn't suffer any long-lasting injuries, successfully returning to the UFC in 2020 against Jack Marshman. Strickland then turned in his most impressive career performance against Brendan Allen in the same year.
Jotko, meanwhile, earned three victories in a row against Alen Amedovski, Marc-Andre Barriault, and Eryk Anders after suffering a three-fight skid from 2017 to 2018. If he could defeat Strickland, Jokto would take one step closer to becoming the next Polish star after Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jan Blachowicz.
#2 Loma Lookboonmee vs. Sam Hughes
Thai striker Loma Lookboonmee will square off against former LFA title contender Sam Hughes in the early prelims of UFC Vegas 25.
After a successful octagon debut against Aleksandra Albu, Lookboonmee bit off more than she could chew by taking on Angela Hill. But in her most recent outing, Lookboonmee successfully bounced back via a unanimous decision win over Jinh Yu Frey at UFC on ESPN 16.
Based solely on looks, it would seem like Sam Hughes has a massive advantage over Lookboonmee. At 5'5, Hughes will tower over her opponent, who stands at 5'1. More than that, 'Sampage' will also enjoy a 2.5-inch reach advantage.
But in terms of UFC experience and striking ability, the edge belongs to Lookboonmee. The dynamic between the two combatants makes Hughes vs. Lookboonmee one of the most interesting fights at UFC Vegas 25.
#1 Dominick Reyes vs. Jiri Prochazka
Once considered a future star in the UFC light heavyweight division, Dominick Reyes will try to get back in the win column after dropping consecutive fights against two of the most talented fighters in the division.
However, Reyes's quest for redemption will be anything but easy. The 31-year-old will face a tough challenge in the form of knockout specialist Jiri Prochazka in the main event of UFC Vegas 25.
The Czech up-and-comer has collected 11 victories in a row, winning his last nine fights via KO. If he could add a big name like Reyes to his hit list, Prochazka would have a solid case as a contender for the 205-pound title.
2 fights that will likely disappoint at UFC Vegas 25
#2 Gabriel Benitez vs. Jonathan Pearce
After scoring a knockout of the year candidate in 2020, Gabriel Benitez will try to build up his momentum against 'Dana White's Contender Series' alum Jonathan Pearce on the preliminary card of UFC Vegas 25.
The seven-year veteran floundered in the featherweight division after two straight losses against Sodiq Yusuf and Omar Morales. But it all changed when Benitez moved up to lightweight and earned a spectacular TKO win over Justin Jaynes.
Jonathan Pearce struggled in his UFC debut after beating Jacob Rosales in the season 3 finale of DWCS. He lost to Joe Lauzon in his first fight inside the octagon but bounced back against Kai Kamaka III.
Benitez will have a striking advantage, but Pearce possesses the necessary tools to turn the contest into a grinding one-sided affair. Expect Pearce to shoot for takedowns and try to smother his opponent on the ground to earn a lopsided decision win.
#1 Cub Swanson vs. Giga Chikadze
The co-main event of UFC Vegas 25 will feature fan-favorite Cub Swanson, who will try to extend his winning streak to three against surging star Giga Chikadze.
Based on previous performances, Swanson vs. Chikadze could be a fight of the night candidate. After all, both competitors have won their most recent bouts by stopping their opponents.
Swanson, however, is no longer the same fighter he was in his prime, although he recently proved that he has more to give. Against Chikadze, the 37-year-old's highly-praised durability will be thoroughly tested. This fight could turn out to be very exciting or extremely disappointing.