The UFC matchmakers are busy sending out contracts. In the current MMA odds and ends I will give my thoughts on two fresh spells for UFC 237, such as a potential No. 1 competition struggle in the featherweight division, plus my first reactions to two new bouts struggles for UFC Russia.
Jose Aldo vs. Alexander Volkanovski, UFC 237
Featherweight contenders Jose Aldo and Alexander Volkanovski are set to clash at UFC 237 in a possible title eliminator. The card takes place May 11 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and news of this bout was first shown by MMA journalist Farah Hannoun. Aldo (28-4) is 10-3 in the UFC and is coming from back-to-back knockout wins over Renato Moicano and Jeremy Stephens. Following a rough stretch which saw him get knocked out three times in four fights, Aldo appears better than ever and can be making 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 final bout brutally knocked out Chad Mendes. Many consider him a future featherweight champion, and this battle should tell us a lot about that. This is a tremendous fight, and not an easy one to predict. Aldo will likely be favored because of his title value and Octagon experience, but Volkanovski has looked incredible in the UFC and ought to be a live puppy in this bout.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli, UFC 237
Experienced welterweight Thiago Alves yields at UFC 237 when he takes on potential Laureano Staropoli. MMAFighting.com broke the news. Alves (23-13) is currently 15-10 complete 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 because of his decision win over Hector Aldana. Now you need to fade Alves and I would favor the 26-year-old Staropoli to win this bout. But considering he’s an unknown, it’s possible he’ll 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, taking place 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 in the UFC, including a 4-3 mark in his second stint inside the Octagon. In his last fight, he edged a split decision over Salim Touahri. Both men are going to be on the chopping block with a reduction, and this fight resembles a near one. I’d prefer 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 is also slated for UFC Fight Night 149. Edilov (17-4) has not fought as a September 2017 knockout win over Bojan Mihaljovic and contains just one fight since 2015. However, he’s just 27-years-old and is currently riding an 11-fight win streak dating back to 2013. He’s a bit of a 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 in the UFC and is coming off of a brutal TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. Now it’s just very difficult to trust the chin of Clark, and a hard-hitter like Edilov will be favored to beat him in this fight.
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