There are several compelling bouts scheduled for UFC Phoenix tomorrow, including of course, the headliner between Francis Ngannou and Cain Velasquez. But, the card will also feature the UFC debut of the grappling phenom, and son of the legendary Rickson Gracie, Kron Gracie.
Gracie will make his Octagon debut against the rugged vet, Alex Caceres at the event, and he’ll do so having gone 4-0 to date in pro-MMA. Since Kron moved into pro-MMA he’s submitted veteran Hideo Tokoro, and in his last bout in December 2016, he tapped out Tatsuya Kawajiri while competing for Rizin. It’s worth noting that both of those fighters have over 100 bouts on their records combined, so, the fact Gracie defeated them in his third and fourth fights says a lot.
Gracie is the 30-year-old son of the aforementioned Rickson Gracie, he’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo as well. In 2013, Kron won the gold medal for the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, which is just one of the many, many grappling accolades he’s won.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life.” Gracie said. “I like representing my entire family. I always expect the best result, but I’m ready for anything. I train to win, but I’m prepared to die, always.”
So, it will be very interesting to see if Gracie can deliver on the hype that’s tied to his UFC arrival. Caceres doesn’t have a great winning ratio – his record is 14-11 – but he’s extremely tough, very unorthodox and athletic. Most recently, at the TUF 27 Finale last July, Caceres earned a split decision win over Martin Bravo.
Here is the complete line-up for UFC Phoenix.
MAIN CARD (ESPN/9 p.m. ET)
Heavyweight: Cain Velasquez vs. Francis Ngannou
Lightweight: James Vick vs. Paul Felder
Strawweight: Cortney Casey vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Featherweight: Alex Caceres vs. Kron Gracie
Welterweight: Vicente Luque vs. Bryan Barberena
Featherweight: Andre Fili vs. Myles Jury
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN/7 p.m. ET)
Bantamweight: Jimmie Rivera vs. Aljamain Sterling
Bantamweight: Benito Lopez vs. Manny Bermudez
Female Flyweight: Andrea Lee vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith
Lightweight: Scott Holtzman vs. Nik Lentz
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+/5:30 p.m. ET)
Bantamweight: Renan Barao vs. Luke Sanders
Strawweight: Jessica Penne vs. Jodie Esquibel
Strawweight: Aleksandra Albu vs. Emily Whitmire