The UFC matchmakers are busy sending out contracts. In today’s MMA odds and ends I’ll present my thoughts on two new spells for UFC 237, such as a possible No. 1 competition struggle in the featherweight division, and 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 takes place May 11 in Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and news of the bout was first revealed 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. Following a rough stretch which saw him get knocked out three days in four fights, Aldo appears better than ever and is creating a late-career run to the belt he once held for several years. Volkanovski (19-1) is 6-0 in the UFC and in his last departure brutally knocked out Chad Mendes. Many believe him a prospective featherweight champion, and this battle should tell us a lot about that. This is a tremendous fight, and not an easy one to call. Aldo will probably be favored because of his title worth and Octagon experience, but Volkanovski has looked incredible in the UFC and should be a live puppy in this bout.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli, UFC 237
Experienced welterweight Thiago Alves yields at UFC 237 if 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 series and in his UFC debut won a“Battle of the Night“ bonus because of his conclusion win over Hector Aldana. Now you have to fade Alves and I would prefer the 26-year-old Staropoli to win this bout. But considering he’s an unknown, it’s 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 clash at UFC Fight Night 149, occurring April 20 in Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Nakamura replaced the wounded Emil Weber Meek on relatively short notice for this bout. Aliev (14-3) is just 1-2 in the UFC and most recently was finished by Warlley Alves. Nakamura (34-9-2, 1 NC) is 4-6 overall in the UFC, including a 4-3 mark in his next stint within the Octagon. In his last battle, he edged a split decision over Salim Touahri. Both men are going to be on the chopping block with a loss, and this fight looks like a close one. I would prefer 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 is also slated for UFC Fight Night 149. Edilov (17-4) hasn’t fought since a September 2017 knockout win over Bojan Mihaljovic and has only one battle since 2015. However, he is just 27-years-old and is currently riding an 11-fight win streak dating back to 2013. He is a bit of a wild card in 205lbs, but overall seems like a promising prospect if he could stay healthy and keep out of trouble with USADA. Clark (9-3) is 3-3 in the UFC and is coming off of a barbarous TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. Now it’s just very difficult to trust the chin of Clark, and a hard-hitter like Edilov will surely be favored to beat him in this battle.
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