The Octagon’s return to Sweden is starting to shape up. UFC Fight Night 152 takes place June 1 in Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, and the following four bouts have been added to the card that’s predicted to be headlined by Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Smith.
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Ilir Latifi, UFC Fight Night 152
An exciting light heavyweight bout between Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi is the most noteworthy of the newest bouts added to UFC Fight Night 152. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the news. Oezdemir (15-4) is 3-3 at the UFC but is now mired in a three-fight losing skid such as a split decision loss to Dominick Reyes at UFC London just over a week ago. Clearly, he needs to get back in there and place that close loss behind him. Latifi (14-6, 1 NC) is 7-4 in the UFC and many recently dropped a choice to Corey Anderson. Both guys are just beneath the elite level of the top light heavyweights but tend to be far better than gatekeepers, which makes this a close one to call. Despite his losing slip I slightly lean towards Oezdemir, but Latifi combating in the home in Sweden could be the difference in this struggle and I expect a very close betting line.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Aleksandar Rakic, UFC Fight Night 152
Another exciting light heavyweight bout will see Jimi Manuwa take on Aleksandar Rakic. Manuwa (17-5) is 6-5 from the UFC and is now riding a three-fight losing skid. He was among the very dangerous light heavyweights in the world at one time, but the sport seems to have passed by and at age 39 he looks to be on the downside of his career, even though he can still surprise with a violent knockout. Rakic (11-1) is currently 3-0 at the UFC and is coming from a huge knockout win over Devin Clark. Only 27, Rakic seems like a force at 205lbs for years ahead, and I’d expect hm for a large favorite to win this fight.
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Chris Fishgold, UFC Fight Night 152
Featherweights Makwan Amirkhani and Chris Fishgold are set to clash, and the UFC has made the bout official. Amirkhani (14-3) is 4-1 overall in the Octagon and is coming off of a split decision win over Jason Knight. At one time he looked like a prospective featherweight contender, but injuries and long layoffs have halted his career. Fishgold (18-2, 1 NC) was completed by Calvin Kattar in his UFC debut but rebounded with a submission win over Daniel Teymur his out time. I anticipate Amirkhani to be preferred as he is a popular fighter, but I provide Fishgold a fantastic chance of winning this bout.
Nick Hein vs. Luigi Vendramini, UFC Fight Night 152
Nick Hein takes on Luigi Vendramini at a lightweight bout. Combate broke the news. Hein (14-4, 1 NC) is 4-3 overall from the UFC but has lost back-to-back fights to Damir Hadzovic and Davi Ramos. Vendramini (8-1) was undefeated with all his wins coming by stoppage before getting knocked out by leading rival Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in his UFC debut. Moving down a weight class and obtaining a full camp ought to be valuable to Vendramini, who should be a small favorite here.
Bea Malecki vs. Duda Santana, UFC Fight Night 152
And finally, women’s featherweights Bea Malecki and Duda Santana meet. Malecki (2-0) is a Sweden native who appeared on TUF but didn’t fare well on the series as she lost. Santana (3-0) has won three of her pro bouts but hasn’t fought because 2017. Flip a coin for this one as both women have plenty of question marks surrounding them.
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