The UFC was busy announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards lately, and below are my thoughts on some of those newly-announced bouts for UFC Philadelphia and UFC Russia.
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson, UFC on ESPN 2 Featherweight competition Josh Emmett will come back from a lengthy layoff when he takes on Michael Johnson in UFC on ESPN 2, which takes place March 30 in Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ESPN broke news of the fight. Emmett (13-2) is currently 4-2 at the UFC but has not fought because a brutal KO loss to Jeremy Stephens in February 2018. He rocketed up the rankings with a knockout win over Ricardo Lamas but the reduction to Stephens at which he broke his nose was a big setback. Johnson (19-13) is 11-9 in the UFC and is coming from back-to-back decision wins over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov. But he’d lost three straight fights before that. Though Johnson is inconsistent, we know how good he is when he is at his finest, as well as Emmett coming from such a long layoff you have to fade him here and prefer Johnson to win this battle.
Ray Borg vs. Pingyuan Liu, UFC on ESPN two Ray Borg will proceed up to bantamweight when he chooses on Pingyuan Liu at UFC on ESPN 2. The Philly Voice broke news. Borg (11-3) is 5-3 at the UFC but hasn’t fought since a submission loss to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He was among the greatest flyweights in the UFC but will probably be moving up to bantamweight today and it’s going to be interesting to see whether he could make a run in his new weight class. Liu (13-5) is riding a nine-fight win series including a 2-0 mark at the Octagon with wins over Damian Stasiak and Martin Day. Though he’s moving up to bantamweight, there is no doubt Borg will be a big favorite here just based on his UFC experience and level of competition.
Marcin Tybura vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov, UFC Fight Night 149
Heavyweights Marcin Tybura and Shamil Abdurakhimov will square off UFC Fight Night 149, set for April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. Tybura (17-4) is 4-3 in the UFC and won a decision over Stefan Struve in his last outing. Abdurakhimov (19-4) is currently 4-2 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back wins over Andrei Arlovski and Chase Sherman. It’s heavyweight MMA so that you can never be certain of the outcome, but I believe Tybura is the better fighter and ought to be preferred here.
Emil Weber Meek vs. Sultan Aliev, UFC Fight Night 149
Welterweights Emil Weber Meek and Sultan Aliev will even fulfill at UFC Fight Night 149. Meek (9-4, 1 NC) is currently 1-2 in the UFC and is coming off of successive losses to Kamaru Usman and Bartosz Fabinski. Aliev (14-3) is 1-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a TKO loss to Warlley Alves. Both guys are disappointments in the UFC, but Meek generally gets more respect from bettors and I assume he’ll be preferred here.
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Roman Kopylov, UFC Fight Night 149
And finally, a middleweight bout will see Krzysztof Jotko take on UFC newcomer Roman Kopylov in UFC Fight Night 149. Jotko (19-4) is 6-4 at the UFC however is driving a three-fight losing skid including back-to-back KO losses to Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares. Kopylov (8-0) is making his UFC debut after going undefeated on the Russian regional arena. It’s difficult to back Jotko following his recent win streak, and I expect the undefeated Kopylov to be the favorite here.
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