The UFC welterweight division continues to add new high profile matchups. Only a few days after Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington was targeted at an interim name fight at UFC 224, two great matchups have been booked. Here are my thoughts on those two new primary events, as well as some other bouts recently declared by the UFC, recorded in chronological order.
Sean Strickland vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, UFC 224
A welterweight bout between Sean Strickland and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is the latest addition to the stacked UFC 224 card. The event takes place Saturday, May 24 at Jeunesse Arena at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and this bout rumor premiered by Combate. Strickland (19-2) is an impressive 6-2 in the UFC and is coming from a decision win over Court McGee. Dos Santos (18-5) is 4-1 in the UFC and has won”Battle of the Night” 3 occasions, such as in his decision win over Max Griffin in his final fight. Both men are excellent fighters that are constantly improving their matches and I anticipate a very close betting line here.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Kamaru Usman, UFC Chile
A welterweight bout between Santiago Ponzinibbio and Kamaru Usman has been formally declared by the UFC as the headliner of UFC Fight Night 129, which takes place Saturday, May 19 in Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile. Ponzinibbio (26-3) is 8-2 at the UFC and is now riding a six-fight win streak, with a decision win over Mike Perry his last time out. Usman (12-1) is a perfect 7-0 at the UFC and defeated Emil Weber Meek in his last outing. Both men are elite welterweights and this should be a fantastic fight. Look for Usman to become favored heading into this fight as a result of his wrestling advantage.
Darren Till vs. Stephen Thompson, UFC Liverpool
A welterweight showdown between Darren Till and Stephen Thompson is expected to headline UFC Fight Night 130, which takes place Sunday, May 27 at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. BJPenn.com reported the matchup. Until (16-0-1) is 4-0-1 at the UFC and knocked out Donald Cerrone in spectacular fashion in his final fight. Thompson (14-2-1) is 9-2-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal. This is 1 hell of a matchup between two of the welterweight division’s elite strikers. All the hype is behind Till right now so I believe he will be favored, however I personally prefer Thompson to win this fight and will be eyeing him as an underdog. I will be very curuous to see the way the public swings the odds with this one.
Dan Ige vs. Mike Santiago, UFC 225
And lastly, a welterweight bout between Dan Ige and Mike Santiago is heading into UFC 225, that takes place Saturday, June 9 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The UFC confirmed the booking. Ige (8-2) recently made his UFC debut but lost a unanimous decison to Julio Arce. Santiago (20-11) has lost both of his UFC fights so far from Zabit Magomedshapirov and Mads Burnell. Neither fighter looks like they will stick around the Octagon for long but I would envision Ige is a slight favourite heading into this one.
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