UFC Fight Night 129: Demian Maia vs. Kamaru Usman

UFC Fight Night 129: Demian Maia vs. Kamaru Usman

This isn’t the main event that was promised for the fans in Chile, but it will surely be a good one. #5 ranked Demian Maia will replace Santiago Ponzinibbio on a short notice battle with Kamaru Usman (#7).

Maia will be attempting to snap a two-fight losing streak as he steps into the cage with the fast-rising Usman. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert has had a tough run lately and has failed in his challenge for the UFC’s Welterweight Championship before also dropping a gritty three-round war with Colby Covington. The story of these two fights was much the same. Maia was never able to get his ground game going because Woodley and Covington are superb wrestlers and defended his takedown attempts with ease.

Unfortunately for Maia, Usman is also a talented wrestler. In fact, he’s one of the more explosive wrestlers in the division and will likely have no troubles keeping Maia away. Usman is also excellent at pushing forward and making his opponent fight off the back foot, so it’s going to be difficult for Maia to shoot in and trap Usman against the cage.

All the signs point to trouble for the aging Brazilian, but there’s always a tiny bit of hope considering his submission skills are probably the best in all of mixed martial arts.

Prediction: Kamaru Usman by KO/TKO – Round 2

Bet: Kamaru Usman to win

Alexa Grasso vs. Tatiana Suarez

24-year-old Alexa Grasso will return to the UFC’s cage this weekend in Chile to face the up-and-coming Tatiana Suarez in what will be an exciting strawweight clash.

Grasso was one of the most-talked-of prospects not all that long ago. However, recently, all of that hype has seemingly disappeared, and now she enters this one after a narrow split decision win against Randa Markos. Grasso is now 2-1 during her time in the UFC and 10-1 as a professional, with her only loss coming to Felice Herrig.

Could Tatiana Suarez be one of the brightest rising stars in all of the UFC? Maybe. She’s got loads of talent and stood out from a tough pack of women on The Ultimate Fighter Season 23 to take home the gold. She defeated Amanda Cooper in 2016 and then came back to outwork 13-0 Viviane Pereira over three rounds in November last year. Suarez is now undefeated after five fights and will be looking to keep her streak alive this weekend.

Prediction: Tatiana Suarez by unanimous decision

Bet: Tatiana Suarez to win

Jared Cannonier vs. Dominick Reyes

The heavy-hitting Jared Cannonier will face rising talent Dominick Reyes in a light heavyweight battle at UFC Fight Night 129.

Despite his talents, Cannonier has struggled to get traction in the UFC so far and has since gone 3-3 after six fights. Most recently, Cannonier was controlled by Jan Blachowicz in a three-round fight in December. That loss quickly erased the memories of his earlier win against Nick Roehrick and his handy work against Ion Cutelaba and Cyril Asker in 2016.

He’s only had two fights in the UFC, but Dominick Reyes has already made a splash.  With a first round KO/TKO victory over Joachim Christensen and a first-round submission against Jeremy Kimball, Reyes has made his presence felt quickly. He’ll look to extend his career record to 9-0 this weekend.

Prediction: Dominick Reyes by KO/TKO – Round 1

Bet: Dominick Reyes to win

Diego Rivas vs. Guido Cannetti

Diego Rivas and Guido Cannetti are all set to square off against each other in a bantamweight fight this weekend.

Rivas and Cannetti wouldn’t usually be featured on the main card, but they are fighting in Chile and Rivas will be representing the local fans in a battle against his Argentinian opponent. After a lengthy break, Cannetti reappeared after his USADA violation to challenge Kyung Ho Kang at UFC Fight Night 124. Unfortunately for Cannetti, the matchup didn’t go his way, and he was submitted late in the first round.

Diego Rivas began his stint in the UFC by featuring on The Ultimate Fighter Latin America Season 1 against Gabriel Benitez. He came back from a defeat in an exhibition bout on the season to then defeat Rodolfo Rubio Perez and Noad Lahat in the UFC. In his most recent outing, Rivas was defeated by Jose Alberto Quinones by unanimous decision in Mexico last August.

Prediction: Diego Rivas by KO/TKO – Round 2

Bet: Diego Rivas to win

Andrea Lee vs. Veronica Macedo

Andrea Lee has finally arrived at the UFC, and she will face Veronica Macedo in her first fight with the promotion.

Lee, who is well-known for her enthusiastic personality and dominant fights at Invicta FC and LFA, is a seriously talented flyweight fighter that will inject some much-needed talent into the list of women in the division. In her last fight, she successfully defended her Legacy Fighting Alliance Flyweight Championship against Jamie Thornton.

22-year-old Veronica Macedo first appeared in the UFC when she faced Ashlee Evans-Smith in Germany. Macedo certainly impressed with her striking ability but fatigued significantly as the bout progressed because she had taken the fight on short notice. The bigger and stronger Smith also outsized her at the time in this bantamweight battle.

Prediction: Andrea Lee by unanimous decision

Bet: Andrea Lee to win

Vicente Luque vs. Chad Laprise

To get the six-fight main card started, Vicente Luque and Chad Laprise will do battle in a welterweight fight.

Laprise has proven to be quite an entertainer in his last three fights and has managed to stop Thibault Gouti, Brian Camozzi, and Galore Bofando consecutively. He’s on a roll of great performances, and we’ve quickly forgotten about two losses to Francisco Trinaldo and Ross Pearson a few years back now.

He’ll be up against the talented Vicente Luque, though, who looked better than ever against Niko Price. Luque had also finished his last four victories before that fight and had stopped five of his last six opponents. His only loss during this time was a unanimous decision defeat to Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Night 107.

Prediction: Vicente Luque by submission

Bet: Vicente Luque to win

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UFC Fight Night 129 fight card

UFC Fight Night 129 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, May 19.

FS1 Main Card (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Demian Maia [+336] vs. Kamaru Usman [-380]
  • Alexa Grasso [+340] vs. Tatiana Suarez [-400]
  • Dominick Reyes [-231] vs. Jared Cannonier [+190]
  • Diego Rivas [-145] vs. Guido Cannetti [+130]
  • Andrea Lee [-330] vs. Veronica Macedo [+267]
  • Chad Laprise [+171] vs. Vicente Luque [-200]

FS2 (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Michel Prazeres vs. Zak Cummings
  • Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Moreno
  • Poliana Botelho vs. Syuri Kondo
  • Gabriel Benitez vs. Humberto Bandenay

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 pm GMT)

  • Enrique Barzola vs. Brandon Davis
  • Frankie Saenz vs. Henry Briones
  • Claudio Puelles vs. Felipe Silva

Bellator 199: Ryan Bader vs. Muhammad Lawal

Bellator 199: Ryan Bader vs. Muhammad Lawal

Well, here we are. Many years after Ryan Bader and Muhammad Lawal crossed paths in collegiate wrestling, they’ll now stand toe-to-toe in a battle to proceed in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Bader and Lawal is the very last matchup of the first round, and the winner will go on to face Matt Mitrione in round two.

Bader is stepping into this contest in hot form. He’s looked superb through his most recent four fights, and it all began with a face-shattering knee that crushed Ilir Latifi in the UFC. Bader then stopped Antônio Rogério Nogueira in the third round before making a move over to Bellator.

Since arriving in Bellator, Bader has claimed the Light Heavyweight Championship by defeating Phil Davis at Bellator NYC and then defended his title successfully against Linton Vassell. The Davis fight was a close one, but Bader returned to finishing ways when he stopped Vassell with ground and pound in the second round.

Muhammad Lawal, or “King Mo,” recently got himself back on track when he ‘outworked’ “Rampage” Jackson in March last year. It wasn’t the most impressive performance, but he got the job done and now enters the tournament with some momentum. “King Mo” typically relies on strategic game planning to defeat his opponents – he can take them down or keep them standing.

Against Bader, though, it’s going to be hard for him to control the pace of the fight.

Prediction: Ryan Bader by unanimous decision

Bet: Ryan Bader to win

Paul Daley vs. Jon Fitch

Well, this certainly isn’t a battle that we had expected to see this year.

Paul Daley, who is a well-regarded name in Bellator, will face Jon Fitch who has only recently made a move over to the organization. Both of these guys are veterans and have been in there with some very high-quality opposition. Now, they’ll compete against each other in what is sure to be an exciting co-main event.

Daley steps in after smashing Lorenz Larkin with a perfect left hook. The win marked his return to form after Rory MacDonald dominated him in the prior bout. Fitch is riding a four-fight winning streak that all happened during his time at WSOF (now PFL) and that included a successful title claim and a defense, as well.

Prediction: Paul Daley by KO/TKO

Cheick Kongo vs. Javy Ayala

In the second and much less important heavyweight clash of the evening, Cheick Kongo will face Javy Ayala on the main card.

Ayala picked up a big upset victory when he crushed Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 163 in 16 seconds in November 2016. That win propelled Ayala to a position to fight Roy Nelson at Bellator 183. Unfortunately for Ayala, things didn’t go his way that night, and Nelson grounded him for the majority of the contest. It was certainly a sign of respect from Nelson, who chose the most convenient path to victory against the heavy-handed heavyweight.

As for Cheick Kongo, we haven’t seen the 39-fight veteran since he defeated Augusto Sakai in May last year. The win marked the fifth consecutive win for Kongo, and he moved to 7-1 in his last eight fights. His only loss during this time was to “King Mo,” who is in the headline bout of Bellator 199 this weekend. Kongo has managed to defeat all of his most recent opponents by way of submission and it’s approaching three years since he finished a fight inside the distance.

Will this be any different to Roy Nelson vs. Javy Ayala? Probably not.

Prediction: Cheick Kongo by unanimous decision

Aaron Pico vs. Lee Morrison

Bellator’s rising star will step back into the cage this weekend when he faces Lee Morrison

Despite just three fights under his belt, most of us know the story of Aaron Pico. The highly-touted youngster suffered a stunning defeat in his MMA debut last year when Zach Freeman submitted him in 24 seconds. He has since picked up his first and second victory in the sport by defeating Justin Linn and Shane Kruchten. Pico has finished both of these guys with highlight-reel knockouts.

This time, Pico is facing another experienced fighter in Lee Morrison. Morrison has 26 fights to his name, and the 32-year-old has stopped his last four opponents. Upon closer inspection, though, none of opposition had a winning record, and his last opponent was 0-10 when they met in November last year.

Prediction: Aaron Pico by KO/TKO – Round 1

Carrington Banks vs. Adam Piccolotti

The undefeated Carrington Banks will get another stiff test when he meets Adam Piccolotti this weekend at Bellator 199.

Banks is 7-0 as a professional and 3-0 since joining the ranks over at Bellator. With a strong wrestling base, he has caused havoc for his opponents so far. This time, however, he faces Piccolotti who is somewhat of an underrated fighter after dropping contests to Goiti Yamauchi and David Rickels. It’s been a sharp decline for the guy who defeated Brandon Girtz in November 2016.

Prediction: Carrington Banks via unanimous decision

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Bellator 199 fight card

Bellator 199 begins at 7:00 pm ET (10:00 pm GMT) on Saturday, May 12.

Main Card (9:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Ryan Bader [-255] vs. Muhammad Lawal [+294]
  • Jon Fitch vs. Paul Daley
  • Cheick Kongo vs. Javy Ayala
  • Adam Piccolotti vs. Carrington Banks
  • Aaron Pico vs. Lee Morrison

Prelims (7:00 pm ET / 10:00 pm GMT)

  • James Terry vs. Danasabe Mohammed
  • Brandon Hester Diego Herzog
  • Mark Climaco vs. Daniel Oseguera
  • Elias Anderson vs. Hyder Amil
  • Josh San Diego vs. Hohelin Hernandez
  • Dominic Sumner vs. Tom Oswald
  • Khai Wu vs. Cass Bell
  • Josh Paiva vs. Adam Antolin
  • Justin Tenedora vs. David Rivera-Cruz
  • Ignacio Ortiz vs. Matt Aragoni
  • Ahmed White vs. Deron Winn
  • Janay Harding vs. Amber Leibrock
  • J. Okanovich vs. Hugo Lujan
  • Gaston Bolanos Malcolm Hill

UFC 224: Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington

Amanda Nunes vs Raquel Pennington

UFC 224 is headlined by what should be an entertaining duel between Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington. As it stands, Nunes is one of the very best females in the sport right now. She’s the kingpin of the women’s bantamweight division and there is seemingly no way to stop her reign. She terrifying stormed past Miesha Tate at UFC 200 to claim the title before then destroying Ronda Rousey in her comeback fight. She backed up these two wins with a victory over arguably the best complete striker in the division, Valentina Shevchenko. Amanda Nunes is for real.

The champion will be defending her title against Pennington, who has been on a winning streak of her own lately. In her last fight, she practically retired Tate at UFC 205. Pennington outhustled Tate for three rounds before Tate decided to hang the gloves up for good. Pennington’s last two defeats were a while back but they came against the very talented Holly Holm and Jessica Andrade – not concerning.

Prediction: Amanda Nunes is powerful, accurate, and ferocious. Pennington doesn’t offer anything too complex and is relatively flat-footed in her striking approach. It’s hard to see her getting the better of Nunes while standing, but her toughness might see her hang in there longer than many expect.

Amanda Nunes by unanimous decision

Bet: Total Rounds – Over 2.5

Jacare Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum

This is the type of fight that would make for a really good main event. However, it’s in the co-main spot and that’s fine. Jacare Souza will face Kelvin Gastelum in what should be a very entertaining middleweight affair. Both of these talented fighters bounced back from defeat with a win in their last contest.

For Souza, he marched past Derek Brunson with ease. In fact, it was kind of terrifying the way that Souza walked down Brunson and finished him inside the first four minutes of the contest. Souza is well and truly back in the mix in this division.

As for Gastelum, he ruined the former champion Michael Bisping in Shanghai, China, inside the first round as well. Gastelum had been growing in confidence and quickly rising the rankings until he met Chris Weidman in July last year. No matter, though, because he’s already back in the win column.

Prediction: Kelvin Gastelum’s hands are no joke. He’s lightning fast in this division and extremely accurate, as well. He can work the body and come up high with extreme power. It’s the same way that Souza lost to Whittaker, really. But it’s just hard to see Souza losing here. When he’s switched ‘on,’ he controls the distance and always has the ability to shoot in there and take someone down to the mat and submit them.

Jacare Souza by submission – Round 2

Bet: Total Rounds – Under 2.5

Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Cooper

Mackenzie Dern returns to action here against Amanda Cooper in what should be a highly-anticipated female clash.

Dern, who competed at the highest level in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu previously, has now swapped to mixed martial arts and made her UFC debut in March against Ashley Yoder. Dern showcased her elite grappling when she took Yoder down to the mat and controlled her in the final round to score a narrow split decision victory. Now, she jumps right back in the cage just two months later to face Cooper.

Cooper might even be a step down from Ashley Yoder in some ways. She’s certainly quite a capable fighter, but she isn’t one of the best in the division. She’s won two of her last three, but those two wins came against Anna Elmose and Angela Magana. This is arguably her toughest test to date against the rising Mackenzie Dern who has waves of support behind her.

Prediction: Mackenzie Dern flourished when the fight went to the ground last time – it just took her too long to get it there. Her takedown attempts aren’t perfect yet and Cooper might be able to shrug away most of the threat. However, just one takedown might be enough for Dern to do her work and score a submission victory.

Mackenzie Dern via Submission – Round 3

Bet: Mackenzie Dern to win

John Lineker vs. Brian Kelleher

While this matchup won’t garner the same attention that the main and co-main event at UFC 224 will, it’s still going to be a fascinating battle.

John Lineker will return to action against the rising Brian Kelleher. Starting with Lineker, it’s important to note that this guy is one of the most heavy-handed punchers in the bantamweight division. There’s a reason that he is named “Hands of Stone.” He knows this, of course, and essentially just walks down his opponent before trapping them against the cage and unloading series of devastating punches. It’s worked to great effect and he defeated six fighters consecutively before he met TJ Dillashaw at UFC 207. Lineker bounced back in a big way when he met Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night 119 and is now looking to make it two in a row.

Brian Kelleher is the definition of ‘sneaky good.’ By that, we mean that he doesn’t look to be all that technical or capable as a fighter, but he keeps getting victories against high quality opposition. Take his UFC debut, for example. He debuted against Iuri Alcantara and finished him in just 1:48. Yes, he lost to Marlon Vera in his next fight, but he has since defeated Damian Stasiak and Renan Barao. This guy is equally impressive and underrated.

Prediction: The thing about John Lineker is that he is brilliant at enforcing his own strategy. Everyone knows what he is going to do, and then he does it anyway. He’ll walk down Kelleher here for three rounds, unless he gets an early stoppage.

John Lineker by unanimous decision

Bet: Total Rounds – Under 2.5

Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida

Two aging fighters who are likely well past their prime will meet in the cage at UFC 224 to get the main card started this weekend.

Both Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida used to be some of the very best to have ever done it. Machida is a former champion, having defeated Rashad Evans in spectacular fashion at UFC 98 back in 2009. It hasn’t been quite the same for Machida recently, however. He lost three of his four fights before being pinned by USADA for a drug policy violation. He returned and was then demolished by Derek Brunson in under three minutes in late 2017. Most recently, though, he picked up a big win over the rising Eryk Anders.

Belfort’s path has been remarkably similar. Also a former champion, Belfort has recently struggled with form. He lost two contests in a row to Ronaldo Souza and Gegard Mousasi before he was then finished by Kelvin Gastelum, as well. However, he recently got back to winning ways with a win over Nate Marquardt  in June 2016.

Who’s going to make it two in a row?

Prediction: Vitor Belfort looked to have improved against Nate Marquardt recently. Machida was what we have come to expect, he controlled the distance and managed Anders from a distance. Will he do the same to Belfort? We think so.

Lyoto Machida by unanimous decision

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UFC 224 fight card

UFC 224 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:15 pm ET (10:15 pm GMT) on Saturday, May 12.

Pay-per-view (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Amanda Nunes [-588] vs. Raquel Pennington [+702]
  • Jacare Souza [-140] vs. Kelvin Gastelum [+133]
  • Mackenzie Dern [-217] vs. Amanda Cooper [+205]
  • John Lineker [-234] vs. Brian Kelleher [+212]
  • Vitor Belfort [+236] vs. Lyoto Machida [-255]

FX (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Cezar Ferreira vs. Karl Roberson
  • Aleksei Oleinik vs. Junior Albini
  • Davi Ramos vs. Nick Hein
  • Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Sean Strickland

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:15 pm ET / 10:15 pm GMT)

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

Bellator 198: Emelianenko vs. Mir

Bellator is back in business this weekend with Bellator 198: Fedor vs. Mir scheduled to take place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois on Saturday, April 28.

Headlining the card is a fascinating heavyweight battle between Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Mir. This bout is part of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, which is a tournament style format. Also on the card is the MMA debut of Dillon Danis, who will be competing in a catchweight bout at 175 lbs against Kyle Walker.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir 

Fedor Emelianenko is rightly regarded as one of the very best mixed martial artists in the history of the sport. At the least, he’s the best heavyweight to ever do it.

Fedor recently joined Bellator and made his debut appearance at Bellator NYC in June last year. He faced the ever-dominant Matt Mitrione and was knocked out in just 74 seconds. The win was the end of Fedor’s five-fight winning streak (which mostly involved just knocking out low-skilled fighters overseas). However, let’s not forget that Fedor tagged and dropped Mitrione at the exact same time. It’s just that Mitrione recovered faster.

He’ll be up against another legend of the sport in Frank Mir. Like Fedor, Mir has an extensive background as a heavyweight and now at the age of 38 he’s tallied up 18 wins and 11 losses. Mir is an absolute beast when the fight hits the mat and will be looking to use his submissions skills against Fedor in this one. On the feet, he’s going to have a lot of trouble dealing with Fedor’s pace and power. Mir steps in after losing to Mark Hunt in March 2016 and is currently on a two-fight losing streak that includes a defeat at the hands of Andrei Arlovski.

Prediction: Fedor will beat up Frank Mir as long as this one remains standing. Once he knocks him down, let’s hope he doesn’t engage with Mir on the mat.

Fedor Emelianenko by KO/TKO – Round 1

Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Sam Sicilia 

In the co-main event of Bellator 198, Emmanuel Sanchez will take on Sam Sicilia in a featherweight bout.

Emmanuel Sanchez (16-3) has really put it all together in his last three appearances with Bellator. He stepped into the cage three times in 2017 and proved victorious on all occasions, defeating Georgi Karakhanyan by majority decision, Marcos Galvao by unanimous decision, and then Daniel Straus by submission. In fact, Sanchez has only lost once in his last seven bouts.

Sam Sicilia made the switch over to Bellator in December last year after a lengthy stint with the UFC. Sicilia lost three consecutive fights with the UFC, against relatively tough competition including Gavin Tucker and Doo Ho Choi. In his debut with Bellator, he won a unanimous decision victory against Marcos Galvao.

Prediction: Emmanuel Sanchez by decision 

Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. John Salter 

Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. John Salter is an interesting clash between two very sound middleweight fighters. In somewhat of a rare occasion for Bellator, both of these guys will be stepping into the cage after amassing notable win streaks.

For Lovato, he’s strung together an undefeated career after seven fights. His most recent three botus have been with Bellator. His debut with the organization resulted in a fast 13-second knockout in the very first round against Charles Hackmann.

Before Bellator, John Salter wasn’t all that great at keeping undefeated streaks alive. He lost three times to take his record to 8-3 but has since moved to 15-3 after a string of submission victories. Salter was supposed to take on Anatoly Tokov at Bellator 188, but Radcliffe acted as a late replacement; Salter went on to win that won comfortably.

Prediction: Rafael Lovato Jr. by submission – Round 2

Neiman Gracie vs. Javier Torres 

Neiman Gracie carries the famous Gracie tag and is, of course, part of the renowned Gracie Family. As you can probably imagine, Gracie is exceptional at submitting opponents and he has won six of his seven fights as a professional by way of submission. Most recently, he defeated Zak Bucia in October with a neck crank. 

He’ll be up against Javier Torres, who has been a bit of a mixed bag through his MMA career. At the age of 33, Torres has accumulated a record of 10-3. Torres has put together four wins recently against middling competition outside of Bellator, and he’s been brought in as another feeder opponent for Gracie. Can he stop him? Probably not.

Prediction: Neiman Gracie by submission – Round 1

Dillon Danis vs. Kyle Walker 

Well, this is the one that we have all been waiting for.

Dillon Danis is widely regarded for being an outstanding grappler. Additionally, he also gained fame as being a training partner of the “Notorious” Conor McGregor. Now, at the age of 24, he’s looking to get his career started as a mixed martial artist. Danis isn’t simply here to test the waters, he wants to challenge himself and eventually become a world champion. It goes without saying that Danis’ submission abilities will be unparalleled by many in the division, but how will his striking hold up?

He’s going to be tested by Kyle Walker, who has a 2-3 record to his name. He’s got a handful of submission defeats and Bellator are obviously looking to hand Danis a fairly achievable target here in his professional debut. It looks simple enough. But remember, we all thought that Aaron Pico was going to steamroll Zach Freeman at Bellator NYC, as well…

Prediction: Dillon Danis by submission – Round 1 

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Bellator 198 Fight Card

The Bellator 198: Fedor vs. Mir main card will begin on Saturday, April 28, at 9:00 pm ET (1:00 am GMT)

Main Card

  • Fedor Emelianenko [+120] vs. Frank Mir [-135]
  • Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Sam Sicilia
  • Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. John Salter
  • Neiman Gracie vs. Javier Torres
  • Dillon Danis vs. Kyle Walker

Preliminary card (Paramount Network.com)

  • R’Mandel Cameron vs. P. J. Cajigas
  • Dan Stittgen vs. Mark Stoddard
  • Eric Wisely vs. Morgan Sickinger
  • Matt Paul vs. Brian Booth
  • Joey Diehl vs. Nate Williams
  • Tom Shoaff vs. Mike Budnik
  • James Bennett vs. Dustin Stusse
  • Asef Askar vs. Andrew Johnson
  • Corey Jackson vs. Adil Benjilany
  • Tom Angeloff vs. Sultan Umar
  • Adam Maciejewski vs. Robert Morrow

UFC Fight Night 128: Barboza vs. Lee

UFC Fight Night 128: Barboza vs. Lee – Fight Card Preview, Odds, Betting Guide, and Predictions

If this event can continue with the momentum that Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje has generated for the UFC, we’re in for a fascinating night of fights. The UFC will travel to Atlantic City for this six-fight main card that is stacked with promising talent and proven veterans.

Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee

If there was an emoji to explain this matchup between two highly-skilled lightweights, it’s probably the fireworks one, or the fire one; either is fine.

Edson Barboza and Kevin Lee will square off in the UFC’s Octagon in Atlantic City as they each look to get back to winning ways.

For Barboza, he ran into the undefeated Russian that is Khabib Nurmagomedov and was pummeled into the canvas for 15 minutes before losing a unanimous decision. Barboza struggled to keep the fight standing and couldn’t get back to his feet. That’s nothing unusual for opponents of Nurmagomedov, however. The defeat snapped a three-fight winning streak, and he’ll now look to get back on track and avoid losing consecutive fights for the first time in his career.

Kevin Lee had an opportunity to skip past seven or eight fighters in the UFC’s lightweight division when he was given a shot at Tony Ferguson last year at UFC 216. At the time, no one else wanted to fight Ferguson. Lee stepped up and proved that he could hang in there with the best of the division, however, and managed to ground and pound Ferguson in the first round. However, he faded significantly after that (partly due to a case of staph infection) and Ferguson later overwhelmed him.

Prediction: Kevin Lee is certainly a great fighter, but this is a difficult matchup for him. Edson Barboza is too ‘slippery’ and will be hard to get to the mat. Expect Barboza to outwork Lee on the feet.

Edson Barboza by KO/TKO – Round 2

Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson

Speaking of brilliant fights, Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson is the type that we should be paying money for. Instead, this fight is featured as a co-main event on a UFC Fight Night card – it doesn’t get much better than this!

Interestingly, both of these guys are coming off devastating losses to Brian Ortega, who is next in line for a shot at Max Holloway and the UFC Featherweight Championship. Originally, Edgar was supposed to challenge Holloway but was then rebooked with Ortega after Holloway injured himself. Unfortunately for Edgar, however, he was crushed by Ortega in the very first round.

Swanson also fell victim to Ortega. Unlike Edgar, Swanson made it into the second round before he was submitted with a brilliant guillotine. The defeat snapped a winning streak for Swanson and now forces him to fight with arguably one of the very best in the division (still) in Edgar.

Prediction: It’s hard to bet against Frankie Edgar in any situation, but this is probably the time to do it. Cub Swanson enters this one as an underdog and makes for extreme value considering that Edgar was only recently finished by Ortega just six weeks ago.It’s a dangerous fight for Edgar.

Cub Swanson by split decision

Justin Willis vs. Chase Sherman

Probably the most underwhelming fight on this main card is a heavyweight battle between Justin Willis and Chase Sherman. While it is disappointing in terms of actual ranking and significance in their division, it is sure to be an exciting fight considering both of these guys pack tremendous power into their punches.

Willis is undefeated in the UFC after two fights and will be looking to make it three victories in a row. He’ll be facing Sherman, who has recently had his two-fight win streak snapped while competing in Shanghai, China. Sherman is now 2-3 in the UFC and desperately needs a win to stay in the running.

Prediction: It’s not quite a matter of who lands first. But it might be.

Justin Willis by KO/TKO – Round 1

David Branch vs. Thiago Santos

David Branch was ever so close to scoring yet another big-name matchup in the middleweight division when he was scheduled to face Yoel Romero in Orlando. However, Romero was forced to leave that contest and take on Rockhold in Perth, Australia, and Branch is now instead in a battle with Thiago Santos.

Santos is a freak in his own right and has won his last four fights via KO/TKO. It marks an incredible recovery from the Brazilian after he suffered two devastating defeats consecutively. Now, he’ll be testing his skills against Branch.

Branch is heavily underrated. He tagged Rockhold hard in his most previous bout but eventually submitted to the ground and pound that rained down from above. That’s not a devastating defeat by any means, Rockhold is truly one of the best middleweight mixed martial artists on the planet. Branch might not be on that same level, but he probably isn’t far from it either.

Prediction: Branch is heavily underrated, and Thiago Santos is rising through the ranks yet again. Can he stand up with Santos’ devastating strikes? Not for too long.

Thiago Santos by KO/TKO – Round 2

Aljamain Sterling vs. Brett Johns

Don’t look away when Aljamain Sterling and Brett Johns collide inside the UFC’s Octagon this weekend.

Sterling has long been a threat in the bantamweight division and has scored some big wins during his time in the UFC. However, it seems as if he falls short whenever he gets a shot against a big-name opponent. Sterling is a talented wrestler with some silky submission grappling ability to go with it. His striking has improved dramatically over recent years, as well.

Sterling will need to bring his A-game against Johns. Johns is undefeated through 15 fights in his career and has been streaking through the UFC’s bantamweight division with big wins over Kwan Ho Kwak, Albert Morales, and now Joe Soto. In fact, Johns defeated Joe Soto with a calf slicer in just 30 seconds at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale.

Prediction: This is certainly Brett Johns’ toughest test to date, but the matchup seems to be one that Aljamain Sterling can win. Can Johns hang in there with the elite submission grappling ability of Sterling? We’ll find out.

Aljamain Sterling by split decision

Jim Miller vs. Dan Hooker

Don’t sleep on this opening bout of the main card at UFC Fight Night 128.

Jim Miller is a proven veteran of the lightweight division and has been giving the toughest contenders in the division a real run for their money lately. To clarify, Miller lost a close majority decision to Dustin Poirier (who is within title contention) and lost decisions to Anthony Pettis and Francisco Trinaldo. He’s durable, crafty, and still has what it takes to hang in there with the best of them.

Miller will be up against Dan Hooker who has finally found his stride in the UFC. After competing as a featherweight for his first six fights in the organization, Hooker moved up to lightweight and has since won two fights. He got Ross Pearson out of there in two rounds before finishing Marc Diakiese with a choke in the third round at UFC 219.

Prediction: Can Dan Hooker make it three in a row at lightweight? He’s certainly got the ability to do so against Jim Miller this weekend.

Dan Hooker by unanimous decision

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UFC Fight Night 128 fight card

UFC Fight Night 128 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, April 21.

FS1 Main Card (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Edson Barboza [+125] vs. Kevin Lee [-130]
  • Frankie Edgar [-195] vs. Cub Swanson [+184]
  • Justin Willis vs. Chase Sherman
  • David Branch vs. Thiago Santos
  • Aljamain Sterling vs. Brett Johns
  • Jim Miller vs. Dan Hooker

FS1 Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Ryan LaFlare vs. Alex Garcia
  • Magomed Bibulatov vs. Ulka Sasaki
  • Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Luan Chagas
  • Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 pm GMT)

  • Leslie Smith vs. Aspen Ladd
  • Merab Dvalishvili vs. Ricky Simon
  • Tony Martin vs. Keita Nakamura

UFC on FOX 29: Poirier vs. Gaethje

UFC on FOX 29: Poirier vs. Gaethje

Hopefully, this fight week goes smoother than the last.

Soon after their last-minute changes to UFC 223, the organization heads to Glendale, Arizona, for a UFC on FOX event this weekend.

We’ve got a true fight on our hands as Dustin Poirier takes on Justin Gaethje in what is sure to be a brilliant scrap in the main event.

Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje

This one is going to be glorious.

Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje are set to square off in what is going to be one of the most violent fights of 2018.

Poirier, who is fresh off a brilliant win over Anthony Pettis in November, will be looking to remain undefeated since September 2016 when he steps into the Octagon this weekend. Poirier has been on some kind of run lately. He scored a majority decision over Jim Miller and then almost topped Eddie Alvarez, but the fight ended up going sideways before ending in a no-contest. After that, Poirier showcased his lightning-fast hands and beat up Anthony Pettis at a UFC Fight Night in Norfolk, Virginia.

Poirier is as tough as they come and his boxing is amongst the top tier in the UFC’s lightweight division.

Against him is the also tough-as-nails Justin Gaethje, who has only just experienced his first-ever defeat as a professional mixed martial artist. Previously, Gaethje had racked up 19 straight wins through his time at World Series of Fighting and a killer debut against Michael Johnson at The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale. In that fight, Gaethje took all the best shots that Johnson had to offer before storming past him in the second round after destroying his legs with kicks and then finishing him off with strikes.

So, when Gaethje lost to Eddie Alvarez, it wasn’t surprising, but it was shocking. Gaethje relied on his tried and tested strategies against “The Underground King,” but Alvarez seemingly had an answer for all of Gaethje’s questions at UFC 218 and eventually stopped Gaetje in the third round.

The question before UFC on FOX 29 is how much has Gaethje learned from his loss?

Prediction:

Carlos Condit vs. Alex Oliveira

Speaking of fights that are destined to be fantastic, Carlos Condit and Alex Oliveira are going to battle it out in a welterweight contest. Condit was originally supposed to fight Matt Brown, but after Brown experienced an injury early last week, he was forced to withdraw. Now, the UFC has replaced Brown with an equally eager opponent in Oliveira, who is always a ‘Fight of the Night’ candidate.

Condit made his long-awaited reappearance inside the Octagon in December last year after he took longer than 15 months away from the sport. It was a strategic decision by Condit to remove himself from MMA after losing two in a row to the very best in the division. He returned at UFC 219 and found himself in a very winnable matchup with Neil Magny, but he eventually faltered and failed to have the same impact that he has had in the past. It remains to be seen if Condit still has what it takes to hang in there with dangerous opponents.

And Oliveira is certainly a very dangerous opponent. The Brazilian isn’t the most technically sound fighter you’re ever going to see, but he is indeed game. His ferocious Muay Thai striking combined with elite submission skills mean that he is capable of finishing the fight on either front. He’s also got this kind of ‘only-forward’ mentality that makes it hard for an opponent to settle into his game. The thing about Oliveira, though, is that when he is winning he is really good. By that, I mean that when there is adversity, he seems to lose interest. This is best displayed by his recent two-fight series with Tim Means.

Prediction:

Marvin Vettori vs. Israel Adesanya

Sorry to Marvin Vettori, but this fight is all about Israel Adesanya.

Adesanya stormed the scene in February and took out Rob Wilkinson in the second round with ease. He’s a striking phenom and seems to be levels above the standing ability of many middleweight fighters on the UFC’s roster right now. Why’s that? Well, his record speaks for itself. Adesanya has competed in 57 kickboxing bouts and won 50 of them. He brings a level of striking intelligence and precision that is rarely seen amongst this larger weight division in the UFC.

MMA fans are certainly hyped up about Adesanya and his arrival, but he has to get through Marvin Vettori first. Vettori has been competing in the UFC since August 2016 and has compiled a 2-1-1 record in the organization so far. At the age of 24, he’s also another exciting prospect but he has struggled to be consistent with his effort in the UFC so far.

Adesanya is certainly a better striker than Vettori, but can he get the job done?

Prediction:

Michelle Waterson vs. Cortney Casey

Let’s not forget the importance of this clash between Michelle Waterson and Cortney Casey.

Waterson and Casey will be colliding in a women’s strawweight fight as each fighter looks to get back on track after experiencing defeat. For Waterson, she’s now lost two in a row after falling short against Rose Namajunas in April last year and then to Tecia Torres in December. The defeats certainly mark a change in trajectory for the once rising martial artist who had defeated Paige VanZant via rear-naked choke in December.

We’re quickly starting to find out exactly where Cortney Casey stands in the division. She’s not top tier, and she’s not in any of those couple of tiers below it; the losses to Claudia Gadelha and Felice Herrig prove that. Instead, she’s certainly in the middle of the pack after recording wins over Randa Markos and Jessica Aguilar who are both tough fights.

Is Michelle Waterson better than the ‘middling’ fighters of the division, or is she on par?

Prediction:

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UFC on FOX 29 fight card

UFC on FOX 29 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 3:30 pm ET (7:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, April 14.

Main Card

FOX Main Card (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Dustin Poirier [-130] vs. Justin Gaethje [+125]
  • Carlos Condit [+185] vs. Alex Oliveira [-235]
  • Marvin Vettori [+270] vs. Israel Adesanya [-350]
  • Michelle Waterson vs. Cortney Caseys

FOX Prelims (6:00 pm ET / 10:00 pm GMT)

  • Tim Boetsch vs. Antonio Carlos Junior
  • Muslim Salikhov vs. Ricky Rainey
  • Wilson Reis vs. John Moraga
  • Krzsztof Jotko vs. Brad Tavares

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (3:30 pm ET / 7:30 pm GMT)

  • Gilbert Burns vs. Dan Moret
  • Shana Dobson vs. Lauren Mueller
  • Dhiego Lima vs. Yushin Okami
  • Arjan Bhullar vs. Adam Wieczorek
  • Matthew Lopez vs. Alejandro Perez
  • Luke Sanders vs. Patrick Williams

UFC 223: Max Holloway vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

UFC 223: Max Holloway vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov – Fight Card Preview, Odds, Betting Guide, and Predictions.

UFC 223 is finally here.

The organization’s return to pay-per-view was originally scheduled to showcase a UFC Lightweight Championship bout between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov, but a ‘freak accident’ has left Ferguson injured and unable to compete. In his place, Max Holloway will step up and feature in the main event.

Max Holloway vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

It might not be the fight that was promised, but this one is still about as good as it gets. Max Holloway, the UFC Featherweight Champion, will step up to the plate and challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 223. Holloway puts his 12-fight winning streak on the line here as he jumps up a weight class to challenge the tremendously skilled grappler from Russia.

Max Holloway has quickly become a fan-favorite because of his ‘it is what it is’ attitude. Taking this short-notice fight with Nurmagomedov only adds to that. Before this fight, Holloway stopped one of the greatest featherweight’s of all-time twice when he ran through Jose Aldo in just three rounds to steal the championship from him and then in three rounds again when he defended the title. Holloway is legitimate, and a win here would cement him as one of the greatest to have ever done it.

But standing across from him is a fighter who has become one of the most feared martial artists in the world. Nurmagomedov uses his exceptional grappling ability to take an opponent down to the mat before crushing them with devastating punches as they remain pinned to the canvas. His opposition is left helpless, and he continues to rain down heavy punches, and that’s what many expect to be the case again at UFC 223.

See, Holloway isn’t a lightweight. He’ll be stepping up to take on one of the biggest in the weight division, and he is going to have a hard time keeping the very sticky Nurmagomedov away from him. It’s going to be a long night for the Hawaiian at UFC 223.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov by KO/TKO – Round 2

Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

If you believed that the main event was about as good as it gets, then this rematch isn’t far behind.

Rose Namajunas recently defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk in just three minutes to claim the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship at UFC 217. In doing so, Namajunas became the first ever to defeat Jedrzejczyk and she now is set to defend this title in her very next appearance.

Jedrzejczyk was highly regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial arts in the entire UFC roster. She had crushed all of her challengers and used her slick striking ability to overwhelm opponent’s and make them look like they belonged in a secondary league. Yet, Namajunas stood toe-to-toe with the champion and bet her to the punch on every occasion. It was a clinical striking performance from a fighter many were expecting to rely on taking Joanna down to the canvas for a chance of winning.

Although the bookmakers don’t agree with us, we believe Rose Namajunas is going to do the same here; it might take a little longer, though.

Prediction: Rose Namajunas by KO/TKO – Round 2

Renato Moicano vs. Calvin Kattar

Since joining the UFC in December 2014, Renato Moicano put together three consecutive victories before running into the next featherweight championship contender in Brian Ortega. Moicano relies on his well-timed and precise striking to outwork his opponent. Most impressively, he navigated past Jeremy Stephens at a UFC on FOX card in April last year.

He’ll be up against Calvin Kattar, who is bursting through the scene right now. Kattar stepped into the UFC’s Octagon for the first time at UFC 214 and managed to defeat Andre Fili. After that, he then went on to defeat Shane Burgos by KO/TKO at UFC 220 in January. He’ll now be featured on his third consecutive pay-per-view and second-straight PPV main card as he faces Moicano in a featherweight contest.

Prediction: Calvin Kattar by unanimous decision

Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis

Tucked away toward the start of the UFC 223 main card is a pivotal matchup between Michael Chiesa and Anthony Pettis.

Chiesa was trending upward after three consecutive victories in the UFC through 2015 and 2016. It all came to a sudden ending when he ran into Kevin Lee in June last year, however. The usually dominant grappler met his match and was ‘technically submitted’ by Lee in the first round.

Pettis, on the other hand, has not experienced a winning streak of his own since late 2014 when he defended his UFC Lightweight Championship and won his fifth straight contest. Since then, it’s all been downhill for Pettis who has lost five of his seven fights afterward.

It’s time to find out whether Michael Chiesa is for real, or Anthony Pettis still has some gas left in the tank.

Prediction: Michael Chiesa by submission

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder

One of the very best matchups at UFC 223 is one that no one is talking about.

Al Iaquinta will clash with Paul Felder in a lightweight clash to get the UFC 223 pay-per-view started. Riding a five-fight winning streak, Iaquinta will look to keep things going as he returns to action for his second fight in nearly three years. After experiencing contract issues, Iaquinta played with the idea of leaving the sport for good. Thankfully, he didn’t.

Standing across from him at UFC 223 is the exceptionally gifted striker in Paul Felder. Known for bloodying up opponents with his brutal Muay Thai techniques, Felder has won five of his last six fights in the UFC. Most recently, he picked up a big win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 218.

Prediction: Al Iaquinta by KO/TKO

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UFC 223 fight card

UFC 223 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:15 pm ET (11:15 pm GMT) on Saturday, April 7.

Main Card

Pay-per-view (10:00 pm ET / 3:00 am GMT)

  • Max Holloway [+400] vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov [-450]
  • Rose Namajunas [+110] vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk [-115]
  • Renato Moicano [+120] vs. Calvin Kattar [-125]
  • Michael Chiesa [-130] vs. Anthony Pettis [+118]
  • Al Iaquinta [-112] vs. Paul Felder [+105]

FS1 (8:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)

  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz [-176] vs. Felice Herrig [+164]
  • Ray Borg [-265] vs. Brandon Moreno [+241]
  • Joe Lauzon [-158] vs. Chris Gruetzemacher [+148]
  • Evan Dunham [-135] vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier [+125]

UFC Fight Pass (6:15 pm ET / 11:15 am GMT)

  • Alex Caceres [-135] vs. Artem Lobov [+125]
  • Bec Rawlings [+175] vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith [-180]
  • Devin Clark [-106] vs. Mike Rodriguez [-102]
  • Zabit Magomedsharipov [-723] vs. Kyle Bochniak [+587]

Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Volkov

Fabricio Werdum vs Alexander Volkov

After a short break, the UFC returns to action this weekend with a European-focused event that takes place in London, England.

At the top of the card is a main event matchup between two top contenders in the UFC heavyweight division, Fabricio Werdum and Alexander Volkov.

Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Volkov 

Fabricio Werdum has been one of the more active heavyweight fighters on the UFC’s roster for a while now. After three fights in 2017, Werdum navigated his way to victory against Walt Harris and then Marcin Tybura not long after. The Harris fight was an interesting one, as it showcased just how brilliant Werdum can be – albeit against a low-ranked competitor who was filling in on short notice. The two victories helped Werdum bounce back to winning ways after he dropped a majority decision to Alistair Overeem at UFC 213. Without that loss on his record, it’s likely he would be challenging for the UFC Heavyweight Championship again already.

That’s the objective of Werdum as we head into this contest. However, the degree of difficulty is about as high as it gets when he steps into the UFC’s Octagon in London, England.

Alexander Volkov might just be one of the most unsuspecting challengers of the entire heavyweight division. He’s tall, smart, and extremely skilled, yet no one seems to be discussing Volkov as a real threat to Miocic’s title. With a win against Werdum, Volkov can extend his winning streak to six and kickstart his run to a title shot after moving to 4-0 in the UFC.

This is a significant test for both of these martial artists, and the prize is about as great as it gets.

Prediction: Alexander Volkov by KO/TKO 

Jimi Manuwa vs. Jan Blachowicz 

In the co-main event of the evening, light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa will battle with Jan Blachowicz.

Manuwa is an England fan-favorite and has won his last two appearances there. He made short work of Ovince Saint Preux and then Corey Anderson to move him closer to title contention, but his hopes were shattered when he was destroyed by Volkan Oezdemir in July last year.

That was the last we saw of Manuwa, and it remains to be seen how he will bounce back after suffering that tragic knockout loss in the first round.

He’ll be up against Jan Blachowicz, who is recently finding some superb form. For a while there, it looked as if Blachowicz didn’t belong in the UFC as he started with a 1-4 record in his first five fights. But now, he has recently picked up two consecutive wins over Devin Clark and Jared Cannonier. His submission victory against Clark in October was enough to be awarded a Performance of the Night award.

At the moment, these two are stuck in limbo. A win here will boost someone to a shot with a contender in the division, but the other will be forced to reclimb the standings.

Prediction: Jimi Manuwa by KO/TKO 

Tom Duquesnoy vs. Terrion Ware 

Tom Duquesnoy’s hype-train might have been derailed, but he is certainly still one of the best prospects to keep an eye on in the UFC today. He arrived in a big way when he defeated Patrick Williams in April last year but then dropped a split decision to the durable Cody Stamann in his next outing.

He’ll be up against Terrion Ware, who has lost his first two fights in the UFC so far. Ware first battled Stamann and lost a unanimous decision, before also stepping in with “Sugar” Sean O’Malley and losing yet again. It certainly hasn’t been the best of starts for Ware, who will look to turn things around against Duquesnoy.

Prediction: Tom Duquesnoy by KO/TKO 

Leon Edwards vs. Peter Sobotta

Leon Edwards four-fight winning streak will be on the line as he faces Peter Sobotta this weekend.

Since losing to Kamaru Usman in December 2015, Edwards has since won all four of his contests. Most recently he outworked Bryan Barberena, but has previously scored a win over Albert Tumenov. At the age of 26, Edwards certainly has time on his side and will be looking to jump past Sobotta and earn a ranked opponent for his next matchup.

Peter Sobotta is up there with some of the least talked about athletes in the UFC. With a mixture of the European effect, and a little to do with him being a generally quiet competitor, Sobotta hasn’t attracted much attention through his five fights in the UFC. With wins coming from four of these contests, and a loss to Kyle Noke at UFC 193, Sobotta hopes to storm past Edwards.

Prediction: Leon Edwards by decision

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UFC Fight Night 127 fight card

UFC Fight Night 127 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 1:45 pm ET (6:45 pm GMT) on Saturday, March 17.

Main Card

UFC Fight Pass (5:00 pm ET / 10:00 pm GMT)

  • Fabricio Werdum [-185] vs. Alexander Volkov [+190]
  • Jimi Manuwa [-196] vs. Jan Blachowicz [+185]
  • Tom Duquesnoy [-260] vs. Terrion Ware [+244]
  • Leon Edwards [-190] Peter Sobotta [+170]

UFC Fight Pass Prelims

UFC Fight Pass (1:45 pm ET / 6:45 pm GMT)

  • John Phillips vs. Charles Byrd
  • Danny Roberts vs. Oliver Enkamp
  • Jack Marshman vs. Brad Scott
  • Danny Henry vs. Hakeem Dawodu
  • Paul Craig vs. Magomed Ankalaev
  • Mark Godbeer vs. Dmitriy Sosnovskiy
  • Nad Narimani vs. Nasrat Haqparast
  • Kajan Johnson vs. Stevie Ray

UFC 222: Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

UFC 222: Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

UFC 222 has been saved.

Many fans were concerned about the future of the UFC’s upcoming pay-per-view card in Las Vegas, Nevada, when Max Holloway was forced to withdraw from his fight with Frankie Edgar after experiencing an injury. In typical Edgar fashion, he put his name forward to remain on the card and will now face the next top contender in the division, Brian Ortega. It might be a risky move by Edgar, who was originally scheduled to face Holloway in a UFC Featherweight Championship bout, but it is a move that is respected by the organization and fans. Edgar vs. Ortega will be the co-main event at UFC 222.

However, what managed to save the pay-per-view is a UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship matchup between Cris Cyborg and Yana Kunitskaya. When the Holloway vs. Edgar bout was removed from the card, the UFC desperately attempted to fill the spot with another title fight. Thanks to Cyborg and Kunitskaya, the organization can showcase a title matchup.

Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

Cris Cyborg (19-1) is undoubtedly the best female to have ever competed in the sport north of 145 lbs. There’s even an argument for her being the greatest female in the sport, regardless of weight class. After losing her first-ever contest, Cyborg has since won 19 consecutive fights including her four most recent in the UFC. In her last time in the UFC’s Octagon, Holly Holm took Cyborg to the scorecards for the first time since 2008. Cyborg defended her title successfully that night and managed a “Fight of the Night” award with Holm for her efforts.

Yana Kunitskaya (10-3) is a 28-year-old Russian competitor who will be making her first appearance in the UFC’s Octagon. Kunitskaya won the Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship in her most recent fight when she defeated Raquel Pa’aluhi in August last year.

Overall, Kunitskaya should be out of her league in this matchup with Cyborg. It’s hard to see Cyborg letting this one last any longer than it should, and she might get the job done early in the first or second round.

Prediction: Cris Cyborg by KO/TKO – Round One

Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

As mentioned above, Frankie Edgar (21-5) and Brian Ortega (13-0) is a result of unfortunate circumstances. Well, unfortunate for Edgar and maybe fortunate for Ortega.

After defeating Cub Swanson with a brilliant submission, the undefeated Brian Ortega looked set to challenge the winner of Holloway vs. Edgar. But now, Ortega can jump the line and get a shot at Holloway before anyone else if he defeats Edgar at UFC 222.

For Frankie Edgar, well he has potentially given up his spot at the front of the line to save the card. The last time we saw Edgar was in May 2017 when he pummeled the rising Yair Rodriguez. He defeated the prospect so badly that Rodriguez has seemingly disappeared for the time being. That win marked two in a row for Edgar after he defeated Jeremy Stephens at UFC 205.

Ortega is the real deal and has some of the slickest submission abilities in all of MMA right now. But this fight has all the makings of another beatdown from the experienced Edgar.

Prediction: Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath

Don’t be sleeping on this matchup, because this is must-watch mixed martial arts.

“Sugar” Sean O’Malley (8-0) has been a star attraction ever since he came through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series last year. With his confident and strangely relaxed attitude, he has used his incredible length and power to defeat all eight of his opponents so far. He defeated Terrion Ware via unanimous decision in his UFC debut in December.

Andre Soukhamthath (12-5) recently picked up a monumental win in his career when he defeated Luke Sanders at UFC Fight Night 123 in December. The win snapped a two-fight losing streak that he had experienced when arriving in the UFC. But still, after dropping two split decisions, Soukhamthath is in desperate need of a victory here if he wants any chance of rising the rankings in the UFC one day.

Prediction: Andre Soukhamthath by unanimous decision

Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski

In what was originally billed as the co-main event (somehow), Stefan Struve will meet Andrei Arlovski in a heavyweight clash between two fading stars.

Struve (32-9) is coming off a loss to Alexander Volkov and is seemingly losing a lot of his durability inside the Octagon. He still has the same old troubles of not being able to use his humongous frame appropriately, but despite being relatively washed up, he’s not as washed up as Arlovski.

Despite many people writing Arlovski (26-15) off after five (!!!) consecutive defeats, he still found a way to defeat Junior Albini at UFC Fight Night 120. Don’t go expecting a major turnaround here for Arlovski; it’s more the fact that Albini wasn’t ready for someone of Arlovski’s quality – regardless of whether he is half of what he used to be.

Prediction: Stefan Struve by KO/TKO – Round 1

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira is the fight to get everything started at UFC 222. Cat Zingano (9-2) hasn’t won since September 2014. Since then, Zingano was defeated by Ronda Rousey in just 14 seconds and then suffered a defeat to Julianna Pena at UFC 200. It’s easy to forget, though, that Zingano was tearing through elite competition before these two losses as she had defeated Amanda Nunes (current champion), Miesha Tate (former champion) and Raquel Pennington (top contender). Let’s not give up on Zingano just yet.

Zingano will be up against Ketlen Vieira (9-0) who has been enjoying a tremendous run in the UFC since joining in late 2016. Vieira has won all three of her contests so far and will be hoping to use Zingano as a stepping stone up to the top-ranked competition in the division.

Prediction: Cat Zingano by unanimous decision

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UFC 222 Fight Card

UFC 222 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (11:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, March 3.

Main Card

Pay-per-view (10:00 pm ET / 3:00 am GMT)

  • Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya
  • Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega
  • Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath
  • Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski
  • Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

FS1 (8:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)

  • Ashley Yoder vs. Mackenzie Dern
  • Beneil Dariush vs. Alexander Hernandez
  • John Dodson vs. Pedro Munhoz
  • C.B. Dollaway vs. Hector Lombard

Fight Pass Prelims

UFC Fight Pass (6:30 pm ET / 11:30 am GMT)

  • Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow
  • Bryan Caraway vs. Cody Stamann
  • Jordan Johnson vs. Adam Milstead

UFC on FOX 28: Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

UFC on FOX 28: Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

After a thrilling event in Austin, Texas, last weekend, the UFC travels to Orlando for the third time.

This time, the organization will host an action-packed fight card ‘UFC on FOX 28’ that is headlined by Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens.

The event was originally supposed to have a featured bout between Yoel Romero and David Branch at the forefront, but Romero was forced to step away from this event to compete in Perth, Australia, against Luke Rockhold instead.

Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Emmett (+135) / Stephens (-145)

The main event matchup is a fascinating featherweight scrap between a proven veteran in the division in Stephens against the fast-rising Emmett. Emmett jumped all the way to #4 in the featherweight rankings after he destroyed Ricardo Lamas with a knockout punch in the first round in December. Emmett stepped up to take the fight on short notice and proved the doubters wrong by ending the fight with conviction.

Stephens, on the other hand, has always been a contender in the division but has now strung together two impressive victories against talented opponents. Just last month, Stephens decisively beat down Doo Ho Choi in the second round, and that made it two wins in a row for Stephens after he chopped down the legs of Gilbert Melendez at UFC 215 not long before that.

The winner of this fight will be just outside title contention.

Prediction: Jeremy Stephens via KO/TKO

Jessica Andrade vs. Tecia Torres

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Andrade (-280) / Torres (+260)

In the co-main event, two of the very best women’s strawweights will compete in what seems like a title eliminator bout.

Tecia Torres was rumored to get the next shot at the new champion, Rose Namajunas, but the former champion in Joanna Jedrzejczyk got the call for a rematch instead. That means that Torres will now be competing against the insanely tough Jessica Andrade first if she wants a shot at that title.

Jessica Andrade broke through in a big way when she scored a decisive victory against Claudia Gadelha last year. It was a strong way to bounce back from losing to the then-champion, and now Andrade seems completely refreshed and ready to make another run for the title – no matter who the champion might be this time.

Torres is starting to turn heads in the division after she has scored three very impressive victories in a row. These victories mark a strong return to form after losing to Rose Namajunas in April 2016. Her and Namajunas are now 1-1 through their career, and a win against Andrade will set up a fascinating rubber match.

Prediction: Jessica Andrade via decision

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Saint Preux (-110) / Latifi (+105)

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi will also feature on the main card of UFC on FOX 28.

After an entire career of being just another contender in the division, Saint Preux is quickly gaining fame for his impressive ability to finish fights with the Von Flue choke. After losing to Jon Jones, Jimi Manuwa, and Volkan Oezdemir, Saint Preux has now put together three consecutive wins, and this was all topped off with a big knockout victory of Corey Anderson at UFC 217 in November.

Just like “OSP,” Ilir Latifi has enjoyed a return to winning ways recently. Latifi lost devastatingly to Ryan Bader in September 2016 when he was on the wrong end of a powerful knee. But he picked up a mightily impressive victory when he outclassed Tyson Pedro at UFC 215 in September.

Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux via KO/TKO

Mike Perry vs. Max Griffin

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Perry (-275) / Griffin (+280)

Fan-favorite Mike Perry will face Max Griffin in what is expected to be a full-on battle between heavy punchers.

Perry has captured the attention of MMA fans around the world because of his amazingly aggressive fighting style and attitude. He arrived in a big way in 2016 when he knocked out Hyun Gyu Lim and Danny Roberts, but opponents have now started to work him out.

Most recently, Santiago Ponzinibbio solved the Perry puzzle and defeated him in December. It is Perry’s second loss in four fights. Regardless of whether opponents are finding ways to handle Perry easier, he is always a strong chance to knock someone out.

Perry will come up against Max Griffin, who has won just one of his first three bouts with the organization. Colby Covington defeated him in his UFC debut but he then went on to win against Erick Montano. In his last bout, Griffin lost a unanimous decision to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos.

Prediction: Mike Perry via KO/TKO

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UFC on FOX 28 fight card

UFC on FOX 28 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 4:00 pm ET (9:00 pm GMT) on Saturday, February 24.

Main Card

FOX (8:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)

  • Josh Emmett (+135) vs. Jeremy Stephens (-145)
  • Jessica Andrade (-280) vs. Tecia Torres (+260)
  • Ovince Saint Preux (-110) vs. Ilir Latifi (+105)
  • Mike Perry (-275) vs. Max Griffin (+280)

Prelims

FS1 (6:00 pm ET / 11:00 pm GMT)

  • Renan Barao vs. Brian Kelleher
  • Sara McMann vs. Marion Reneau
  • Angela Hill vs. Maryna Moroz
  • Ben Saunders vs. Alan Jouban

Fight Pass Prelims

UFC Fight Pass (4:00 pm ET / 9:00 pm GMT)

  • Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
  • Sam Alvey vs. Marcin Prachnio
  • Rani Yahya vs. Russell Doane
  • Eric Shelton vs. Alex Perez
  • Albert Morales vs. Manny Bermudez