The UFC matchmakers are busy sending out contracts. In today’s MMA odds and ends I’ll give my thoughts on two new spells for UFC 237, such as a possible No. 1 contender 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 potential title eliminator. The card takes place May 11 in Jeunesse Arena at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and news of the bout was first revealed 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. 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 departure brutally knocked out Chad Mendes. Many consider him a prospective featherweight champion, and this fight should tell us a lot about that. This is a huge fight, and not an easy one to predict. Aldo will likely be favored because of his title worth and Octagon experience, but Volkanovski has looked incredible in the UFC and should be a live puppy in this bout.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli, UFC 237
Veteran welterweight Thiago Alves returns at UFC 237 if he takes on potential Laureano Staropoli. MMAFighting.com broke the information. Alves (23-13) is currently 15-10 overall from the UFC and most recently won a controversial split decision over Max Griffin. Staropoli (8-1) is riding a six-fight win series and in his UFC debut won a”Fight of the Night” bonus because of his conclusion win over Hector Aldana. At this point 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’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 in Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. Nakamura replaced the injured Emil Weber Meek on relatively short notice with this bout. Aliev (14-3) is just 1-2 in the UFC and most recently was finished 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 within the Octagon. In his last fight, he edged a split decision over Salim Touahri. Both guys will be on the chopping block with a reduction, and this battle resembles a close one. I’d favor Nakamura slightly simply 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) has not fought as a September 2017 knockout win over Bojan Mihaljovic and contains just 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 is 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 at the UFC and is coming from a brutal TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. Now it is just very hard to trust the chin of Clark, and a hard-hitter like Edilov will be favored to beat him in this battle.
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