‘UFC 224’ Start Time And Full Card, Champion Amanda Nunes Defends Against Raquel Pennington

Mackenzie Dern once again missed the weight limit during Friday's weigh-in, and her fight with Amanda Cooper is now a catchweight contest. 

Photo of Amanda Nunes, who defends her title at UFC 224.
Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Mackenzie Dern once again missed the weight limit during Friday's weigh-in, and her fight with Amanda Cooper is now a catchweight contest. 

UFC 224 features bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes defending her title against Raquel Pennington in the main event, and four other matches on the main card. UFC 224 comes to us live from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday, May 12, 2018. In addition to the five-match main card, there are eight other bouts scheduled for the prelims.

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6 p.m. EST)

  • (Welterweight) Warlley Alves vs. Sultan Aliev
  • (Middleweight) Thales Leites vs. Jack Hermansson
  • (Welterweight) Alberto Mina vs. Ramazan Emeev
  • (Middleweight) Markus Perez vs. James Bochnovic

UFC 224 Preliminary Card on FX (8 p.m. EST)

  • (Middleweight) Cezar Ferreira vs. Karl Roberson
  • (Heavyweight) Alexey Oleynik vs. Junior Albini
  • (Lightweight) Davi Ramos vs. Nick Hein
  • (Welterweight) Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Sean Strickland

Main Card Available On PPV And UFC TV (10 p.m. EST)

Amanda Nunes has been on an impressive winning streak. She has won six straight contests, and she looks to defend her bantamweight title successfully for the third consecutive time. The Brazilian champion will be fighting in her home country, and the 10-to-one favorite looks set to become one of the company’s most dominating champions.

Raquel Pennington challenging for the championship is a controversial decision to some. Though she has won her last four matches, the fighter hasn’t competed since retiring former champion Miesha Tate in late 2016. This UFC 224 main event may seem like out-of-the-blue booking to some fans — and with a lack of strong competition there may not have been a choice — but those who have followed Pennington’s career knows that she is tough as nails.

Taking the fight to her opponents head-on, “Rocky” shows no fear in the Octagon. She has shown glimpses of being championship material, and she is looking for a big victory on Saturday night. It would come a surprise to no one if the “Lioness” won by knockout, but this may also make for a surprising nail-biter. A few experts have predicted an upset victory for Pennington, and stranger things have certainly happened in the UFC.

The main card also brings us Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza taking on Kelvin Gastelum. Souza is one of the best grapplers in the UFC, but he is also known to go toe-to-toe with opponents in a melee. Gastelum, a former welterweight, is an effective wrestler in the Octagon, but his ground game isn’t his strong suit.

Kelvin is a heavy hitter with a killer jab and left cross. If this becomes a slugfest, he could find himself with the W. Both fighters seem to be in championship contention, and whoever loses this fight could find that opportunity dwindling. With such high stakes implied in this contest, look for both fighters to leave it all in the Octagon.

Fans can also look forward to the undefeated Mackenzie Dern (6-0) taking on Amanda “ABC” Cooper (3-3). This was originally supposed to be a strawweight contest, but per her usual, Dern missed the weight limit (116 pounds) by a whopping seven pounds during Friday’s UFC weigh-in. Cooper agreed to making this a catchweight contest, and the Golden Gloves boxer will receive 30 percent of Dern’s purse.

Cooper took to Instagram to weigh in on the situation.

It’s on! My opponent missed weight by 7.4 lbs but I’m not going home without that fight. Worked too hard and too long for my hand to not be raised. I am ready for this and can’t wait for tmrw night.

A post shared by Amanda Bobby Cooper (@abcnation115) on

In addition, there are two other bouts on the main card: John Lineker will face Brian Kelleher in bantamweight competition, and two middleweights square off as Vitor Belfort takes on Lyoto Machida.

With a heavy undercard and Nunes defending her bantamweight championship, UFC 224 should pack quite the punch on Saturday night.