The UFC matchmakers are busy sending out contracts. In today’s MMA odds and ends I’ll present my thoughts on two fresh bouts for UFC 237, including a possible No. 1 contender struggle from the featherweight division, plus my initial reactions to two new bouts fights 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 takes place May 11 in Jeunesse Arena at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and information of this bout was first shown by MMA journalist Farah Hannoun. Aldo (28-4) is 10-3 at the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back knockout wins over Renato Moicano and Jeremy Stephens. After a rough stretch that saw him get pumped three times in four fights, Aldo appears better than ever and can be creating a late-career run for the belt he held for several years. Volkanovski (19-1) is 6-0 at the UFC and in his last departure brutally knocked out Chad Mendes. Many consider him a future featherweight champion, and this fight should tell us a lot about that. This is a huge fight, rather than a simple one to predict. Aldo will probably be favored because of his title worth and Octagon experience, but Volkanovski has looked incredible from the UFC and ought to be a live dog in this bout.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli, UFC 237
Experienced welterweight Thiago Alves returns at UFC 237 if he chooses 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 decision 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’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, occurring April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. Nakamura replaced the injured 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 in the UFC, including a 4-3 mark in his next stint within 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 close one. I would prefer Nakamura slightly just 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 1 fight since 2015. However, he is only 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 keep out of trouble with USADA. Clark (9-3) is 3-3 in the UFC and is coming from a brutal TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. Now it is just very difficult to trust the chin of Clark, and a hard-hitter like Edilov will surely be favored to beat him in this fight.
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