The Octagon heads to Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 29 for ESPN 4.
It’s been previously announced the headliner is going to be a five-round welterweight rematch between former champions Tyron Woodley and Robbie Lawler, and we understand four of the other fights on the card, including a title eliminator in the flyweight division. These fires are official as per the UFC. The new bouts are listed below, together with my initial thoughts on them.
Jussier Formiga vs. Joseph Benavidez, UFC on ESPN 4
The most essential of the new batch of struggle announcements is a flyweight bout between Jussier Formiga and Joseph Benavidez, which is predicted to garner the winner a title shot 125lbs. Formiga (23-5) is 9-4 in the UFC and is currently riding a four-fight win series that includes a dominant win over Deiveson Figueiredo in his final outing. After many years as a gatekeeper, it finally looks like Formiga has turned the page and has entered competition status. Benavidez (27-5) is 13-3 at the UFC and is coming from back-to-back wins over Dustin Ortiz and Alex Perez. Both guys are tremendous fighters in the flyweight division, but given Benavidez’ restart and quality of wins through time, I would have to favor him heading into this battle.
Maurice Greene vs. Junior Albini, UFC on ESPN 4
Heavyweights Maurice Greene and Junior Albini are scheduled to battle. Greene (7-2) is 2-0 at the UFC with back-to-back wins over Jeff Hughes and Michel Batista. The triumph over Hughes was especially striking as Greene was an underdog heading into the bout. Albini (14-5) is 1-3 in the UFC and has lost three straight fights such as a TKO loss to Jairzinho Rozenstruik in his last outing. This is a weird matchup considering one fighter is on a win streak and the other is on a losing skid, but if you believe Greene is the hometown fighter, it looks like the UFC is throwing him a bone here in order to find an easy win before his supporters. Greene should be a big favorite in this one.
Drew Dober vs. Marco Polo Reyes, UFC on ESPN 4
An exciting lightweight bout sees Drew Dober take on Marco Polo Reyes. Dober (20-9, 1 NC) is 6-5, 1 NC overall in the UFC and is coming from a submission reduction to Beneil Dariush. Before this Dariush fight, Dober had won three straight struggles, but once more his lack of submission defense cost him his win series. Reyes (8-5) is currently 4-2 at the UFC and is coming from a TKO loss to Damir Hadzovic. He has summoned electricity himself, but Dober has a good chin so that may not come in to play. Both guys have been quite inconsistent in the UFC, but Dober appears to be a little more durable and that is why I would marginally prefer him in what ought to be a stand-up struggle.
Vinicius Moreira vs. Roman Dolidze, UFC on ESPN 4
And finally, light heavyweights Vinicius Moreira and Roman Dolidze are place to fulfill. Moreira (9-2) is 0-1 in the UFC with a brutal KO loss to Alonzo Menifield within his Octagon debut which snapped a five-fight win series. Dolidze (6-0) is undefeated so far in his MMA career with all his wins coming from stoppage. Moreira looked awful in his UFC debut and you need to fade him figure Dolidze should be able to complete him in devastating fashion.
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