The UFC has been busy announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards in recent weeks, and under are my ideas on some of those newly-announced bouts for UFC Philadelphia and UFC Russia.
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson, UFC on ESPN two Featherweight competition Josh Emmett will return from a long layoff if he takes on Michael Johnson in UFC on ESPN two, which takes place March 30 in Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ESPN broke news of the struggle. Emmett (13-2) is 4-2 in the UFC but hasn’t fought because a brutal KO loss to Jeremy Stephens in February 2018. He rocketed up the ranks with a knockout win over Ricardo Lamas but the reduction to Stephens at which he broke his nose was a big setback. Johnson (19-13) is 11-9 in the UFC and is coming from back-to-back choice wins over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov. However, he had lost three straight fights prior to that. Though Johnson is inconsistent, we know how great he is when he is at his finest, and with Emmett coming off of such a long layoff you have to fade him and prefer Johnson to win this fight.
Ray Borg vs. Pingyuan Liu, UFC on ESPN two Ray Borg will move up to bantamweight when he takes on Pingyuan Liu in UFC on ESPN 2. The Philly Voice broke the news. Borg (11-3) is 5-3 in the UFC but has not fought since a submission reduction to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He was one of the best flyweights in the UFC but will probably be moving up to bantamweight now and it will be interesting to see whether he can make a run in his new weight class. Liu (13-5) is riding a nine-fight win series including a 2-0 mark at the Octagon with wins over Damian Stasiak and Martin Day. Even though he is moving up to bantamweight, there is no doubt Borg will be a big favorite here only according to his UFC expertise and degree of competition.
Marcin Tybura vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov, UFC Fight Night 149
Heavyweights Marcin Tybura and Shamil Abdurakhimov will square off UFC Fight Night 149, set for April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Tybura (17-4) is 4-3 at the UFC and won a decision over Stefan Struve in his final outing. Abdurakhimov (19-4) is 4-2 in the UFC and is coming from back-to-back wins over Andrei Arlovski and Chase Sherman. It is heavyweight MMA so you can’t ever be certain of the result, but I believe Tybura is the better fighter and ought to be favored here.
Emil Weber Meek vs. Sultan Aliev, UFC Fight Night 149
Welterweights Emil Weber Meek and Sultan Aliev will even meet at UFC Fight Night 149. Meek (9-4, 1 NC) is currently 1-2 in the UFC and is coming from consecutive declines to Kamaru Usman and Bartosz Fabinski. Aliev (14-3) is 1-2 at the UFC and is coming off of a TKO loss to Warlley Alves. Both guys have been disappointments in the UFC, but Meek usually gets more respect from bettors and that I suppose he’ll be preferred here.
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Roman Kopylov, UFC Fight Night 149
And finally, a middleweight bout will see Krzysztof Jotko take on UFC newcomer Roman Kopylov at UFC Fight Night 149. Jotko (19-4) is 6-4 at the UFC however is riding a three-fight losing skid including back-to-back KO declines to Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares. Kopylov (8-0) is making his UFC debut after going undefeated on the Russian regional scene. It’s difficult to back Jotko after his current win series, and I expect the undefeated Kopylov to be the favorite here.
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