Experienced featherweights with a penchant for putting on exciting fights clash here as Andre Fili and Daniel Pineda go toe-to-toe in a bout that has all the makings of a Fight of the Night candidate.
Fili, who turns 31 the day before the fight, has spent the past five years as the entrance exam everyone with Top 15 aspirations has to pass, logging bouts against emerging talents like Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Kattar, Myles Jury, Sodiq Yusuff, and Charles Jourdain. The longtime Team Alpha Male representative is a perennial tough out with a crafty all-around skill set and the ability to string together a couple quality wins and go on a run of his own at any time.
Six years after his last appearance in the Octagon, Pineda returned to the UFC last August and scored an upset win over Herbert Burns that earned him a Performance of the Night bonus. Four months later, the 35-year-old Houston native landed on the wrong side of things in a showdown with fellow veteran Cub Swanson, and he jumps in here looking to get back in the win column by taking out a divisional staple like Fili on Saturday night.
Featherweight is always flush with talent and the competition for space on the fringes of the Top 15 is just as heated as the battles for spots in the rankings, so don’t be surprised if this one gets rolling right out of the gate and keeps running hot until things are settled or the final horn sounds, whichever comes first.