3. The 'Karate Hottie' looks to get back to winning ways
One of women's strawweight most recognizable fighters, Michelle Waterson-Gomez, most commonly known as the 'Karate Hottie', is slowly coming to the end of her career, and another loss at UFC 287 could signify that time is up. The former Invicta FC atomweight champion is still the no. 10 ranked strawweight, however, that might have to do with the lack of depth in the weight class rather than her own merit.
She is 1-4 in her last five fights, including a two-fight losing streak to contenders that have now catapulted past her in the rankings. This isn't to say that Waterson-Gomez has become a gatekeeper, yet, it seems that the UFC is booking her exactly that way. Her opponent this weekend is the 29 year old Luana Pinheiro, a judo and jiu-jitsu black belt who is currently riding an eight fight win streak.
This is certainly a matchup that favors the younger fighter given her relentless pressure and accolades. The weight of the world appears to be on Waterson-Gomez's shoulder but a win here would continue to prove her doubters wrong and keep that pesky gatekeeper tag away from her.
4. The featured prelim bout could go either way
Right before the pay-per-view portion of the card kicks off, a middleweight clash between two well-known quantities will take place in the featured prelim bout. While we are used to seeing a promising youngster against a fading veteran or two up-and-comers take part in this match, the UFC has gone completely the other direction and instead given us a fight that is too close to call.
Former interim title challenger and TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum will look to snap his two-fight losing streak when he faces the no.14 ranked Chris Curtis in a fight that could really go either way.
Both men have a combined nine UFC performance bonuses and 23 wins by knockout. We are well aware that these two are prone to biting the mouthpiece and swinging for the fences, and a win for either men doesn't necessarily push them high up the rankings. It wouldn't surprise me to see this bout feature a spectacular war or a knockout that gets posted all over social media.