The UFC matchmakers have been busy sending out contracts. In the current MMA odds and ends I will give my thoughts on two new bouts for UFC 237, such as a potential No. 1 competition struggle from the featherweight division, plus my first reactions to 2 new bouts struggles 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 in Jeunesse Arena at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and information of the bout was first 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. Following a rough stretch that saw him get knocked out three days in four conflicts, Aldo looks better than ever and can be making a late-career run to the belt he held for several years. Volkanovski (19-1) is 6-0 at the UFC and in his final departure brutally knocked out Chad Mendes. Many consider him a prospective featherweight champion, and this fight should tell us a whole lot about that. This is a tremendous fight, rather than a simple one to predict. Aldo will probably be favored because of his title value and Octagon expertise, but Volkanovski has looked incredible in the UFC and ought to be a live dog in this bout.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli, UFC 237
Veteran welterweight Thiago Alves returns at UFC 237 if he takes on potential Laureano Staropoli. MMAFighting.com broke the news. Alves (23-13) is currently 15-10 overall from 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”Fight of the Night” bonus for 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 in Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Nakamura replaced the injured Emil Weber Meek on relatively short notice with 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 second 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 reduction, and this battle resembles a near one. I would favor Nakamura slightly simply due to 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) hasn’t fought as a September 2017 knockout win over Bojan Mihaljovic and has just 1 battle since 2015. But he is just 27-years-old and is now riding an 11-fight win streak dating back to 2013. He’s a bit of a wild card in 205lbs, but overall seems like a promising prospect if he could stay healthy and stay out of trouble with USADA. Clark (9-3) is 3-3 at the UFC and is coming from a barbarous TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. Now it is just very difficult to trust that the chin of Clark, and a hard-hitter such as Edilov will surely be favored to beat him in this battle.
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