The UFC has been occupied announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards lately, and below are my thoughts on a few of those newly-announced bouts for UFC Philadelphia and UFC Russia.
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson, UFC on ESPN 2 Featherweight contender Josh Emmett will return from a long layoff when he takes on Michael Johnson at 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 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 off of back-to-back choice wins over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov. But he had lost three consecutive fights prior to that. Although Johnson is inconsistent, we know how good he is when he’s at his best, and with Emmett coming from such a lengthy layoff you have to fade him and prefer Johnson to win this fight.
Ray Borg vs. Pingyuan Liu, UFC on ESPN 2 Ray Borg will move up to bantamweight when he chooses on Pingyuan Liu at UFC on ESPN 2. The Philly Voice broke the news. Borg (11-3) is 5-3 at the UFC but hasn’t fought since a submission reduction to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He was one of the greatest flyweights from the UFC but will be moving up to bantamweight now and it will 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 in the Octagon with wins over Damian Stasiak and Martin Day. Even though he is moving up to bantamweight, there is no doubt Borg is going to be a large favorite here just according to 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 UFC Fight Night 149, set for April 20 in Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. Tybura (17-4) is 4-3 in the UFC and chose over Stefan Struve in his final 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 never be sure of the outcome, but I think 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 at the UFC and is coming off of consecutive losses 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 generally gets more respect from bettors and that I suppose he’ll be favored here.
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Roman Kopylov, UFC Fight Night 149
And lastly, 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 declines to Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares. Kopylov (8-0) is making his UFC debut after going undefeated on the Russian regional arena. It’s hard to back Jotko following his recent win streak, and I expect the undefeated Kopylov to be the favorite here.
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