This main event matchup between Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Moraes has been brewing up for quite a while.
The two were in the works to go at it on short-notice not that long ago, but Moraes changed his terms and backed out of the contest. However, now, Rivera and Moraes will be given the opportunity to lay hands on each other as they step in and feature in the showcase bout of UFC Fight Night 130 in Utica, New York.
This fight is a very significant one regarding how the bantamweight division is shaping up. Rivera, who is on a 20-fight winning streak and is 5-0 in the UFC, is one of the top contenders at bantamweight right now but has been unable to secure a big-name matchup.
Not long after arriving in the UFC, Moraes has now become a major threat to the top guys in the division. He was once a World Series of Fighting champion and will enter the cage this weekend on a two-fight winning streak that includes big victories over Aljamain Sterling and John Dodson.
Prediction: Jimmie Rivera inside the distance
Bet: Jimmie Rivera to win
Gregor Gillespie vs. Vinc Pichel
Gregor Gillespie is a legitimate lightweight threat who is yet to breakthrough and gain widespread attention, much like Rivera who is in the main event. Gillespie will be fighting Vinc Pichel, who is on a four-fight winning streak over as many years.
Since arriving at the UFC in 2016, Gillespie has managed wins against Glaico Franca, Andrew Holbrook, Jason Gonzalez, and Jordan Rinaldi, who are all below-average fighters for the division. Pichel, who is by no means a top contender, is certainly a step up for Gillespie and it will be interesting to see how this fight plays out.
At the very least, both of these guys are known for their wildly entertaining styles.
Prediction: Vinc Pichel inside the distance
Bet: Vinc Pichel to win
Walt Harris vs. Daniel Spitz
The token heavyweight clash of the evening is a battle between Walt Harris and Daniel Spitz. Neither Walt Harris nor Daniel Spitz have been successful in their UFC career so far, and have been skipping between wins and losses.
Harris has been around since 2014 and is now 3-4 in the UFC’s heavyweight division after recent defeats to Fabricio Werdum (on short notice) and a disqualification loss to Mark Godbeer at UFC 217.
Spitz recently got back to winning ways by defeating Anthony Hamilton in his last outing. He picked up that win in just 24 seconds at UFC Fight Night 116.
Both Harris and Spitz pack plenty of power in their hands, so this one might not last long.
Prediction: Walt Harris inside the distance
Bet: Walt Harris to win
Jake Ellenberger vs. Ben Saunders
One year after being crushed by a vicious Mike Perry elbow, Jake Ellenberger will return to the UFC’s Octagon to battle with Ben Saunders at UFC Fight Night 131.
The devastating KO loss to Mike Perry became Ellenberger’s second consecutive KO/TKO defeat and his fourth defeat in his last five fights. His only win during this time came against Matt Brown in a fight at UFC 201.
Ellenberger’s chin will be tested against Ben Saunders, who is entering this fight after two KO/TKO defeats of his own. Saunders, who is a 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu student, was recently on the bad end of the contest with fellow 10th Planet fighter Alan Jouban in February.
Prediction: Jake Ellenberger by decision
Bet: Jake Ellenberger to win
Julio Arce vs. Daniel Teymur
Daniel Teymur will drop down to featherweight and do battle with Julio Arce in a fierce contest in the 145 lbs category.
Teymur, who usually competes at lightweight, will make the drop down one weight class after struggling against Danny Henry at UFC Fight Night 113 nearly one year ago. Despite winning Fight of the Night honors, Teymur ended up on the wrong side of the decision and tasted defeat for the first time in his seven-fight career.
Julio Arce is riding a six-fight winning streak and only recently earned his spot in the UFC, as well. Arce made his way through Dana White’s Contender Series after defeating Peter Petties and earned a call-up to the UFC. In his debut with the promotion, he defeated Dan Ige via unanimous decision and now looks to make it two in a row in the featherweight division.
Prediction: Julio Arce by decision
Bet: Julio Arce to win
Gian Villante vs. Sam Alvey
It’s a strange old scrap, but Gian Villante will clash with Sam Alvey in a fight that no one asked for.
Villante steps in after a big win over Francimar Barroso at UFC 220. The win marked his return to form after experiencing two losses to Mauricio Rua and Patrick Cummins in 2017.
Sam Alvey also returned to winning ways with a win in his last contest. He defeated Marcin Prachnio in a fight that not many predicted Alvey to win. He proved that his hands are still powerful enough to knock an unsuspecting fighter in the division out with ease and Villante will need to be careful of the stopping power in Alvey’s hands.
It makes sense to go with Gian Villante here as he is more skilled than Alvey overall, but Alvey does have that one-shot power that can end fights.
Prediction: Sam Alvey inside the distance
Bet: Sam Alvey to win
UFC Fight Night 131 fight card
UFC Fight Night 131 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Friday, June 1.
FS1 Main Card (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)
- Jimmie Rivera [-110] vs. Marlon Moraes [+101]
- Gregor Gillespie [-503] vs. Vinc Pichel [+377]
- Walt Harris [-308] vs. Daniel Spitz [+252]
- Jake Ellenberger [-159] vs. Ben Saunders [+131]
- Julio Arce [-184] vs. Daniel Teymur [+156]
- Gian Villante [+116] vs. Sam Alvey [-144]
FS1 Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)
- Sijara Eubanks vs. Lauren Murphy
- Nik Lentz vs. Leonardo Santos
- Belal Muhammad vs. Chance Rencountre
- Desmond Green vs. Gleison Tibau
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 pm GMT)
- Jessica Aguilar vs. Jodie Esquibel
- Johnny Eduardo vs. Nathaniel Wood
- Jarred Brooks vs. Jose Torres