UFC PHILADELPHIA AND UFC RUSSIA SHAPING UP
The UFC was busy announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards lately, and below are my ideas on a few of the newly-announced bouts for UFC Philadelphia and UFC Russia.
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson, UFC on ESPN two Featherweight contender 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 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ESPN broke news of this fight. Emmett (13-2) is 4-2 at the UFC but hasn’t fought since a brutal KO loss to Jeremy Stephens in February 2018. He rocketed up the ranks with a knockout win over Ricardo Lamas however, 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 off of back-to-back choice wins over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov. However, he’d lost three straight fights before that. Although Johnson is inconsistent, we know how good he is when he is at his best, as well as Emmett coming off of such a lengthy layoff you have to fade him 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 in UFC on ESPN 2. The Philly Voice broke news. Borg (11-3) is currently 5-3 at the UFC but hasn’t fought as a submission reduction to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He was one of the best flyweights in the UFC but will soon be moving up to bantamweight now 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 is moving up to bantamweight, there’s no doubt Borg will be a big favorite here only based on his UFC expertise 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 at Yubileyny Sports Palace in 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 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’t ever be certain of the result, but I think Tybura is the better fighter and ought to be favored here.
Emil Weber Meek vs. Sultan Aliev, UFC Fight Night 149
Welterweights Emil Weber Meek and Sultan Aliev will also fulfill at UFC Fight Night 149. Meek (9-4, 1 NC) is currently 1-2 in the UFC and is coming off of consecutive declines to Kamaru Usman and Bartosz Fabinski. Aliev (14-3) is 1-2 at the UFC and is coming from a TKO loss to Warlley Alves. Both men have been disappointments in the UFC, but Meek generally gets more respect from bettors and I assume he will 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 at UFC Fight Night 149. Jotko (19-4) is 6-4 in 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 scene. It is hard to back Jotko following his current win series, and I anticipate the undefeated Kopylov to be the favorite here.
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