The UFC returns to pay-per-view on ESPN+ this weekend with a fight card that is well and truly packed with high-quality mixed martial arts action. UFC 238 will take place on Saturday, June 8, at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, and we’re here to bring you all of the information you need to know before this fight card takes place.
The event features two title fights at the top end of the card. In the main event, UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo slides up to bantamweight to fight Marlon Moraes for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. That title was recently vacated after TJ Dillashaw tested positive for EPO.
Before then, Valentina Shevchenko will attempt to defend her UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship for the first time when she meets top-ranked challenger, Jessica Eye. The main card also features a bunch of exciting fighters including Tony Ferguson, Donald Cerrone, and Petr Yan.
Read on for the full fight card and a preview of the two title fights taking place at UFC 238.
UFC 238 Fight Card
Main Card (10:00 PM/ET on ESPN+)
- Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes ?
- Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye ?
- Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone
- Jimmie Rivera vs. Petr Yan
- Tai Tuivasa vs. Blagoy Ivanov
Prelims (8:00 PM/ET on ESPN)
- Tatiana Suarez vs. Nina Ansaroff
- Aljamain Sterling vs. Pedro Munhoz
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Alexa Grasso
- Ricardo Lamas vs. Calvin Kattar
Early Prelims (6:15 PM/ET on ESPN+)
- Xiaonan Yan vs. Angela Hill
- Bevon Lewis vs. Darren Stewart
- Katlyn Chookagian vs. Joanne Calderwood
UFC 238 Preview
Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes
In less than 12 months, Henry Cejudo has emerged from the shadows of long-reigning flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, to take his crown and become one of the most highly-regarded athletes in mixed martial arts today.
In August last year, Cejudo did the unthinkable by defeating Johnson via split decision over five rounds at UFC 227. It was a close, competitive fight that fans had scored in favor of either fighter, but two of the three judges sitting cage-side believed that the +380 underdog had done enough to claim the title.
Cejudo leveraged his position as the flyweight champion to welcome bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw down to the 125-pound division for a champion vs. champion fight to kick-off the UFC x ESPN era on January 19. In a performance that’s almost more unbelievable, Cejudo managed to defend his title by finishing Dillashaw with strikes just 32 seconds into the first round. That win was enough to warrant a shot at Dillashaw’s now vacated title. However, it doesn’t get any easier for the flyweight champion.
Across from the Olympic gold medallist at UFC 238 is Marlon Moraes, a former World Series of Fighting champion who has now found his way in the UFC. Moraes lost his UFC debut, a tight split decision to Raphael Assuncao in June 2017, before defeating John Dodson in November 2017. While neither of those performances inspired improved confidence in Moraes’ ability against top UFC athletes, it was the next three wins that have truly solidified the Brazilian as the most deserving of a shot at the bantamweight strap.
Moraes’ run of brilliance began when he crushed Aljamain Sterling with a knee in December 2017. That 67-second stoppage earned him a fight with Jimmie Rivera, who was undefeated after five fights in the UFC and had not lost a professional MMA bout since 2008. Moraes made insanely quick work of Rivera, as well, stopping him in just 33 seconds with a head kick and punches. All that remained in his way was the man who had defeated him in his UFC debut. But that wasn’t for long, as Moraes managed to wrap-up the neck of Raphael Assuncao and finish him with a guillotine choke in February this year.
Cejudo and Moraes will now battle for bantamweight gold this weekend in Chicago.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye
When fans think of the best female mixed martial artists competing in the sport today, the names Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes come to mind before any other. Shevchenko failed to defeat Nunes in fights in 2016 and 2017, and has since opted to drop down to the 125-pound flyweight division, moving on from the division currently ruled by Nunes.
Shevchenko impressed in her debut in the division, but that was always to be expected when she was matched as a -1000 betting favorite against Priscila Cachoeira. Shevchenko’s beatdown of Cachoeira lasted for 9 minutes and 25 seconds and was the tipping point for Mario Yamasaki’s career as a referee; Yamasaki relucted to stop the one-sided fight, allowing Cachoeira ‘to be a warrior and keep fighting.’ It was expected that Shevchenko would gain instant top-contender status after her debut with the division, yet it took over ten months for her to get her shot at the title.
At UFC 231 in December last year, Shevchenko worked her way to a 49-46 unanimous decision against former strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Shevchenko sprinkled takedowns into her typically striking-heavy gameplan to overwhelm Jedrzejczyk through the early rounds and run away with a clear decision. Now a champion, she’ll be making her first title defense this weekend.
Shevchenko meets Jessica Eye in the UFC 238 co-main event. In a relatively shallow division, Eye’s three-fight winning streak has been enough to move her to the top of the list of conders at 125-pounds. The 32-year-old recorded all three of those victories in 2018, defeating Kalindra Faria, Jessica-Rose Clark, Katlyn Chookagian via decision, despite entering her last two fights as an underdog.
It’s been quite the turnaround for Eye, who not all that long ago had lost four consecutive fights through 2015 and 2016. She’ll be up against the odds at UFC 238, however, as she’s currently listed as a +1050 betting underdog at some bookmakers.
UFC 238 is exclusively available via the ESPN+ digital streaming service in the United States.
UFC 238 Predictions
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.