A pair of high profile bouts in the UFC lightweight and heavyweight divisions have been added to upcoming fight cards, and I will give my first thoughts on those brand new matchups in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Justin Gaethje vs. Edson Barboza, UFC Fight Night 148
An intriguing lightweight bout between strikers Justin Gaethje and Edson Barboza is being targeted for UFC Fight Night 148, which takes place March 23 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Farah Hannoun broke the news, although ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported the fight may take place at UFC Fight Night 149 the next week at Philadelphia. Either way, it looks like this fight is going to take place, which is good news for MMA fans as it pits among the very dangerous and fascinating strikers from the lightweight division against each other.
Gaethje (19-2) is 2-2 so far in the UFC but is now a household name to MMA fans due to his ability to put in an remarkable show. He has already racked up five bonus awards, including three”Fight of the Night” awards along with two”Performance of the Night” awards, such as a bonus for his KO over James Vick last August. He’s been prone to being knocked out in the UFC as he lost to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez, but because he showed against Vick and Michael Johnsonhe has unbelievable knockout power himself. Barboza (20-6) is 14-6 overall in the UFC and in his last fight he place about the 2018″Beatdown of the Year” for his brutal TKO win over Dan Hooker. Barboza is famous for his mortal leg kicks and incredible knockout power, but such as Gaethje he’s been prone to the knockout as well.
This looks like an wonderful fight on paper, and the fact it is set for five rounds is just enormous. Both men are excellent fighters and I am expecting a close gaming lineup. Now, it looks like close to a Select Celtics struggle, but thinking about how great Barboza looked in his last fight he might find more support from bettors due to recency bias.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis, UFC Fight Night 148
A heavyweight matchup involving Curtis Blaydes and Justin Willis can also be set for UFC Fight Night 148. FloCombat’s Nolan King broke the information. Blaydes (10-2, 1 NC) is 5-2, 1 NC in the UFC and in his final fight suffered a brutal knockout loss to Francis Ngannou. He’d won four consecutive fights before that, however, like a TKO over Alistair Overeem, and could easily get back into the heavyweight title talks with another couple of wins. Willis (8-1) is 4-0 in the UFC and in his final fight picked up the biggest win of his career to date over Mark Hunt. The issue with Willis has been that he has not shown off considerably completing ability in the UFC, and his wrestling is likely to be negated in this matchup against Blaydes. It is heavyweight so that you can’t ever count out anyone, but on paper that looks like Blaydes’ fight to win and I expect him to be a solid favorite when the chances come out.
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