The UFC has been occupied announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards in recent weeks, and under are my thoughts on some of the newly-announced bouts for UFC Philadelphia and UFC Russia.
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson, UFC on ESPN 2 Featherweight competition Josh Emmett will return from a lengthy 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 struggle. Emmett (13-2) is 4-2 at the UFC but hasn’t fought since a brutal KO loss to Jeremy Stephens in February 2018. He rocketed up the rankings with a knockout win over Ricardo Lamas but the loss to Stephens at which he broke his nose was a big setback. Johnson (19-13) is 11-9 in the UFC and is coming from back-to-back decision wins over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov. But he had lost three consecutive fights prior to that. Though Johnson is inconsistent, we know how great he is when he is at his best, and with Emmett coming from such a lengthy layoff you need to fade him here and prefer Johnson to win this battle.
Ray Borg vs. Pingyuan Liu, UFC on ESPN 2 Ray Borg will proceed up to bantamweight when he takes on Pingyuan Liu in UFC on ESPN 2. The Philly Voice broke the news. Borg (11-3) is currently 5-3 in the UFC but hasn’t fought as a submission loss to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He was among the greatest flyweights from the UFC but will soon probably be moving up to bantamweight now and it will be interesting to see whether he can make a run in his new weight class. Liu (13-5) is riding a nine-fight win series including a 2-0 mark at the Octagon with wins over Damian Stasiak and Martin Day. Though he is going up to bantamweight, there’s no doubt Borg will be a large favorite here only according to 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 UFC Fight Night 149, set for April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Tybura (17-4) is 4-3 in the UFC and won a decision over Stefan Struve in his last outing. Abdurakhimov (19-4) is 4-2 at the UFC and is coming from back-to-back wins over Andrei Arlovski and Chase Sherman. It is heavyweight MMA so you can’t ever be sure of the result, but I believe 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 meet at UFC Fight Night 149. Meek (9-4, 1 NC) is currently 1-2 at the UFC and is coming from successive declines to Kamaru Usman and Bartosz Fabinski. Aliev (14-3) is currently 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 usually gets more respect from bettors and that 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 however 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 on the Russian regional scene. It is difficult to back Jotko following his current win streak, and I expect the undefeated Kopylov to be the favorite here.
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