The UFC matchmakers are busy sending out contracts. In today’s MMA odds and ends I will give my thoughts on two fresh spells for UFC 237, such as a potential No. 1 competition struggle from the featherweight division, plus my initial reactions to 2 new bouts fights 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 news of the bout was first shown by MMA journalist Farah Hannoun. Aldo (28-4) is 10-3 at the UFC and is coming from back-to-back knockout wins over Renato Moicano and Jeremy Stephens. After a rough stretch which saw him get pumped three days in four fights, Aldo looks better than ever and can be creating a late-career run for the belt that he held for years. Volkanovski (19-1) is 6-0 in the UFC and in his last bout brutally knocked out Chad Mendes. Many believe him a prospective featherweight champion, and this fight should tell us a whole lot about that. This is a huge fight, and not a simple one to predict. Aldo will likely be favored because of his name value and Octagon experience, but Volkanovski has appeared incredible in the UFC and ought to be a live puppy in this bout.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli, UFC 237
Experienced welterweight Thiago Alves yields at UFC 237 when he chooses on prospect Laureano Staropoli. MMAFighting.com broke the information. Alves (23-13) is currently 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”Battle of the Night” bonus because of his decision win over Hector Aldana. Now you need to fade Alves and I’d prefer the 26-year-old Staropoli to win this bout. But considering he’s an unknown, it’s possible he will 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 battle UFC Fight Night 149, taking place April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. Nakamura replaced the wounded Emil Weber Meek on relatively short notice for 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 second stint within 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 would prefer Nakamura slightly just because of 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 since a September 2017 knockout win over Bojan Mihaljovic and has only 1 battle since 2015. But he is just 27-years-old and is now riding an 11-fight win streak dating back to 2013. He’s a small wild card at 205lbs, but overall seems like a promising prospect if he could stay healthy and keep out of trouble with USADA. Clark (9-3) is 3-3 at the UFC and is coming from a barbarous TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. At this point it is simply very hard to trust the chin of Clark, and a hard-hitter such as Edilov will be favored to beat him in this battle.
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