The UFC matchmakers are busy sending out contracts. In today’s MMA odds and ends I will give my thoughts on two fresh spells for UFC 237, including 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 clash at UFC 237 in a potential title eliminator. The card takes place May 11 in Jeunesse Arena at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and information of the bout was initially 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 pumped three days in four fights, Aldo looks better than ever and can be creating a late-career run for the belt he once held for years. Volkanovski (19-1) is 6-0 at the UFC and in his final departure brutally knocked out Chad Mendes. Many believe him a future featherweight champion, and this battle should tell us a lot about that. This is a huge fight, rather than a simple one to predict. Aldo will likely be favored because of his name value 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 when he chooses on potential Laureano Staropoli. MMAFighting.com broke the information. Alves (23-13) is 15-10 overall in the UFC and most recently won a controversial split decision over Max Griffin. Staropoli (8-1) is riding a six-fight win streak and in his UFC debut won a”Battle of the Night” bonus because of his decision win over Hector Aldana. Now you have to fade Alves and I would favor the 26-year-old Staropoli to win this bout. But considering he is an unknown, it is 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 wounded Emil Weber Meek on relatively short notice with this bout. Aliev (14-3) is just 1-2 in the UFC and most recently was completed 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 inside the Octagon. In his last fight, he edged out a split decision over Salim Touahri. Both men will be on the chopping block with a loss, and this fight resembles a near one. I’d 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 as a September 2017 knockout win over Bojan Mihaljovic and has just one fight since 2015. However, he’s 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 looks 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 hard 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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