The UFC has been busy announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards lately, and below are my thoughts on a few of the newly-announced bouts for UFC Philadelphia and UFC Russia.
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson, UFC on ESPN 2 Featherweight contender Josh Emmett will come back from a lengthy layoff when he takes on Michael Johnson at UFC on ESPN two, which takes place March 30 in Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ESPN broke news of the struggle. Emmett (13-2) is currently 4-2 in the UFC but has not fought since a brutal KO loss to Jeremy Stephens in February 2018. He rocketed up the rankings with a knockout win over Ricardo Lamas however, the loss to Stephens where he broke his nose was a significant setback. Johnson (19-13) is 11-9 at the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back choice wins over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov. However, he had lost three consecutive fights prior to that. Though Johnson is inconsistent, we understand how good he is when he is at his best, and with Emmett coming from such a long layoff you have to fade him here and prefer Johnson to win this fight.
Ray Borg vs. Pingyuan Liu, UFC on ESPN two Ray Borg will proceed up to bantamweight if he takes on Pingyuan Liu at UFC on ESPN 2. The Philly Voice broke the news. Borg (11-3) is currently 5-3 in the UFC but has not fought as a submission reduction to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He was among the best flyweights in the UFC but will soon probably be moving up to bantamweight now and it’s going to be interesting to see whether he can make a run in his new weight class. Liu (13-5) is riding a nine-fight win streak including a 2-0 mark at the Octagon with wins over Damian Stasiak and Martin Day. Even though he’s moving up to bantamweight, there’s no doubt Borg will be a large favorite here only based on his UFC experience and degree of competition.
Marcin Tybura vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov, UFC Fight Night 149
Heavyweights Marcin Tybura and Shamil Abdurakhimov will square off at UFC Fight Night 149, set for April 20 in Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Tybura (17-4) is 4-3 at the UFC and won a decision over Stefan Struve in his last outing. Abdurakhimov (19-4) is 4-2 at the UFC and is coming from back-to-back wins over Andrei Arlovski and Chase Sherman. It’s heavyweight MMA so that you can’t ever be certain of the result, but I believe Tybura is the better fighter and should be preferred here.
Emil Weber Meek vs. Sultan Aliev, UFC Fight Night 149
Welterweights Emil Weber Meek and Sultan Aliev may also meet at UFC Fight Night 149. Meek (9-4, 1 NC) is currently 1-2 in the UFC and is coming from successive declines to Kamaru Usman and Bartosz Fabinski. Aliev (14-3) is currently 1-2 at the UFC and is coming from a TKO loss to Warlley Alves. Both men are disappointments in the UFC, but Meek usually gets more respect from bettors and that I suppose he’ll be preferred here.
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Roman Kopylov, UFC Fight Night 149
And finally, a middleweight bout will visit Krzysztof Jotko take on UFC newcomer Roman Kopylov in UFC Fight Night 149. Jotko (19-4) is 6-4 at the UFC but 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 in the Russian regional arena. It’s hard to back Jotko following his current win streak, and I expect the undefeated Kopylov are the preferred here.
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