The UFC matchmakers have been busy sending out contracts. In today’s MMA odds and ends I will present my thoughts on two new bouts for UFC 237, including a possible No. 1 contender fight from the featherweight division, plus my first reactions to 2 new bouts fights for UFC Russia.
Jose Aldo vs. Alexander Volkanovski, UFC 237
Featherweight contenders Jose Aldo and Alexander Volkanovski are set to battle at UFC 237 in a possible title eliminator. The card happens May 11 at Jeunesse Arena at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and news of the bout was initially shown by MMA journalist Farah Hannoun. Aldo (28-4) is 10-3 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back knockout wins over Renato Moicano and Jeremy Stephens. After a rough stretch that saw him get pumped three times in four conflicts, Aldo appears better than ever and can be creating a late-career run for the belt that he held for years. Volkanovski (19-1) is 6-0 in the UFC and in his last bout brutally knocked out Chad Mendes. Many consider him a prospective featherweight champion, and this battle should tell us a whole lot about that. This is a huge fight, and not an easy one to call. Aldo will probably be favored because of his title value and Octagon experience, but Volkanovski has appeared incredible from the UFC and ought to be a live puppy in this bout.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli, UFC 237
Veteran welterweight Thiago Alves returns at UFC 237 when he chooses on potential Laureano Staropoli. broke the information. Alves (23-13) is currently 15-10 complete in the UFC and most recently won a controversial split decision over Max Griffin. Staropoli (8-1) is riding a six-fight win streak and in his UFC debut won a“Battle 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 is an unknown, it is possible he will 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 battle UFC Fight Night 149, occurring April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Nakamura replaced the injured Emil Weber Meek on relatively short notice for this bout. Aliev (14-3) is only 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 out a split decision over Salim Touahri. Both guys will be on the chopping block with a reduction, and this battle looks like a near one. I would 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 can be slated for UFC Fight Night 149. Edilov (17-4) has not fought as a September 2017 knockout win over Bojan Mihaljovic and has just one 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 in 205lbs, but overall looks like a promising prospect if he can remain healthy and stay out of trouble with USADA. Clark (9-3) is 3-3 at the UFC and is coming off of a barbarous TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. Now it is just very difficult to trust the chin of Clark, and also a hard-hitter like Edilov will be favored to beat him in this fight.
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