UFC PHILADELPHIA AND UFC RUSSIA SHAPING UP
The UFC was busy announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards in recent weeks, and under are my thoughts on some of those newly-announced bouts for UFC Philadelphia and UFC Russia.
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson, UFC on ESPN two Featherweight competition Josh Emmett will come back from a long layoff when he takes on Michael Johnson in UFC on ESPN two, which takes place March 30 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ESPN broke news of the fight. Emmett (13-2) is 4-2 in the UFC but hasn’t 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 significant setback. Johnson (19-13) is 11-9 at the UFC and is coming from back-to-back choice wins over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov. However, he had lost three consecutive fights prior to that. Although Johnson is inconsistent, we understand how good he is when he is at his finest, and with Emmett coming from such a long layoff you need 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 if he chooses on Pingyuan Liu in UFC on ESPN 2. The Philly Voice broke news. Borg (11-3) is 5-3 at the UFC but has not fought since a submission reduction 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 will be interesting to see if 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 big favorite here just 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 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 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 sure of the outcome, but I think 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 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 declines 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 have been disappointments in the UFC, but Meek usually gets more respect from bettors and I suppose he’ll be favored 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 scene. It’s difficult to back Jotko following his current win streak, and I anticipate the undefeated Kopylov to be the favorite here.
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