The UFC was occupied announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards lately, and below 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 return 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 this fight. Emmett (13-2) is 4-2 at the UFC but has not fought since a brutal KO loss to Jeremy Stephens in February 2018. He rocketed up the ranks with a knockout win over Ricardo Lamas but the reduction to Stephens where he broke his nose was a big 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. But he had lost three consecutive fights before that. Though Johnson is inconsistent, we understand how good he is when he is at his finest, and with Emmett coming from such a lengthy layoff you have to fade him and favor Johnson to win this fight.
Ray Borg vs. Pingyuan Liu, UFC on ESPN two Ray Borg will proceed 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 has not fought as a submission reduction to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He was among the greatest flyweights from the UFC but will probably be moving up to bantamweight today 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 streak including a 2-0 mark at the Octagon with wins over Damian Stasiak and Martin Day. Though he’s moving up to bantamweight, there’s no doubt Borg is going to be a large favorite here only according to his UFC experience and level 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 at Yubileyny Sports Palace at 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 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 should be favored here.
Emil Weber Meek vs. Sultan Aliev, UFC Fight Night 149
Welterweights Emil Weber Meek and Sultan Aliev may also meet at UFC Fight Night 149. Meek (9-4, 1 NC) is 1-2 at 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 men have been disappointments in the UFC, but Meek generally gets more respect from bettors and I suppose 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 in UFC Fight Night 149. Jotko (19-4) is 6-4 at the UFC however is riding 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 in the Russian regional scene. It is difficult to back Jotko after his current win streak, and I expect the undefeated Kopylov are the preferred here.
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