The UFC matchmakers are busy sending out contracts. In the current MMA odds and ends I will give my thoughts on two fresh spells for UFC 237, such as a potential No. 1 competition struggle in the featherweight division, and my initial reactions to 2 new bouts struggles for UFC Russia.
Jose Aldo vs. Alexander Volkanovski, UFC 237
Featherweight contenders Jose Aldo and Alexander Volkanovski are set to battle at UFC 237 at a possible title eliminator. The card takes place May 11 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and information of the bout was first shown by MMA journalist Farah Hannoun. Aldo (28-4) is 10-3 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back knockout wins over Renato Moicano and Jeremy Stephens. Following a rough stretch which saw him get knocked out three days in four conflicts, Aldo looks better than ever and is making a late-career run to the belt that he once held for years. Volkanovski (19-1) is 6-0 at the UFC and in his final bout brutally knocked out Chad Mendes. Many believe him a future featherweight champion, and this battle should tell us a whole lot about that. This is a huge fight, rather than an easy one to predict. Aldo will probably be favored because of his name worth and Octagon experience, but Volkanovski has appeared incredible from the UFC and ought to be a live dog in this bout.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli, UFC 237
Veteran welterweight Thiago Alves returns at UFC 237 if he chooses on prospect Laureano Staropoli. broke the news. Alves (23-13) is 15-10 complete from the UFC and most recently won a controversial split decision over Max Griffin. Staropoli (8-1) is riding a six-fight win streak and in his UFC debut won a”Fight of the Night” bonus because of his decision win over Hector Aldana. At this point you have to fade Alves and I would prefer the 26-year-old Staropoli to win this bout. But considering he’s an unknown, it is possible he’ll be an underdog in this bout, so keep your eye out for him.
Sultan Aliev vs. Keita Nakamura, UFC Fight Night 149
Welterweights Sultan Aliev and Keita Nakamura are set to clash at UFC Fight Night 149, occurring April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. Nakamura replaced the wounded Emil Weber Meek on relatively short notice with this bout. Aliev (14-3) is just 1-2 in the UFC and most recently was completed by Warlley Alves. Nakamura (34-9-2, 1 NC) is 4-6 overall from the UFC, including a 4-3 mark in his next stint inside the Octagon. In his last battle, he edged out a split decision over Salim Touahri. Both guys are going to be on the chopping block with a loss, and this fight resembles a close one. I’d prefer Nakamura slightly just due to his durability, but it could go either way.
Abdul-Kerim Edilov vs. Devin Clark, UFC Fight Night 149
A light heavyweight bout between Abdul Kerim-Edilov and Devin Clark is also slated for UFC Fight Night 149. Edilov (17-4) hasn’t fought as a September 2017 knockout win over Bojan Mihaljovic and contains only 1 fight since 2015. But he is just 27-years-old and is currently riding an 11-fight win streak dating back to 2013. He’s a small wild card at 205lbs, but overall looks like a promising prospect if he could stay healthy and keep out of trouble with USADA. Clark (9-3) is 3-3 in the UFC and is coming from a brutal TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. At this point it’s simply very difficult to trust the chin of Clark, and a hard-hitter such as Edilov will surely be favored to beat him in this fight.
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