The UFC matchmakers have been busy sending out contracts. In the current MMA odds and ends I’ll give 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 2 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 potential title eliminator. The card takes place May 11 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and news of this bout was first revealed 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. After a rough stretch that saw him get pumped three times in four conflicts, Aldo looks better than ever and is making a late-career run to the belt he held for years. Volkanovski (19-1) is 6-0 at 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 call. Aldo will likely be favored due to his title worth and Octagon experience, but Volkanovski has looked incredible in the UFC and ought to be a live dog in this bout.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli, UFC 237
Veteran welterweight Thiago Alves yields at UFC 237 when he takes on potential Laureano Staropoli. MMAFighting.com broke the information. Alves (23-13) is 15-10 complete 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”Fight of the Night” bonus for his conclusion win over Hector Aldana. At this point you need to fade Alves and I’d favor the 26-year-old Staropoli to win this bout. But considering he is an unknown, it is possible he will 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 battle UFC Fight Night 149, taking place 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 only 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 guys will be on the chopping block with a reduction, and this fight resembles a near one. I would 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) has not fought since a September 2017 knockout win over Bojan Mihaljovic and has just 1 fight since 2015. But he’s only 27-years-old and is currently riding an 11-fight win streak dating back to 2013. He is a bit of a wild card at 205lbs, but overall looks like a promising prospect if he can 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. At this point it is simply very difficult to trust that the chin of Clark, and also a hard-hitter like Edilov will surely be favored to beat him in this fight.
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