The UFC has been occupied announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards in recent weeks, and under are my thoughts on a few of those 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 long layoff when he takes on Michael Johnson at UFC on ESPN 2, which takes place March 30 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ESPN broke news of this struggle. Emmett (13-2) is currently 4-2 in the UFC but has not fought because a brutal KO loss to Jeremy Stephens in February 2018. He rocketed up the ranks with a knockout win over Ricardo Lamas but the loss to Stephens where he broke his nose was a significant setback. Johnson (19-13) is 11-9 at the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back decision wins over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov. But he’d lost three consecutive fights before that. Though Johnson is inconsistent, we understand how great he is when he is at his best, as well as Emmett coming off of such a lengthy layoff you have to fade him here 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 currently 5-3 at the UFC but hasn’t fought since a submission loss to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He was one of the best flyweights from the UFC but will probably be moving up to bantamweight now and it’s going to be intriguing to see if he can make a run in his new weight class. Liu (13-5) is riding a nine-fight win streak including a 2-0 mark in the Octagon with wins over Damian Stasiak and Martin Day. Even though he’s moving up to bantamweight, there is no doubt Borg is going to be a big 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 at St. Petersburg, Russia. Tybura (17-4) is 4-3 in the UFC and chose over Stefan Struve in his final outing. Abdurakhimov (19-4) is currently 4-2 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back wins over Andrei Arlovski and Chase Sherman. It is heavyweight MMA so that you can’t ever be sure of the outcome, 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 from successive losses 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 guys 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 at UFC Fight Night 149. Jotko (19-4) is 6-4 in the UFC however is riding 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 after his current win streak, and I anticipate the undefeated Kopylov to be the favorite here.
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