A pair of high profile bouts from the UFC lightweight and heavyweight divisions are added to forthcoming fight cards, and I’ll give my initial thoughts on these brand new matchups in the current MMA odds and ends.
Justin Gaethje vs. Edson Barboza, UFC Fight Night 148
An intriguing lightweight connection between strikers Justin Gaethje and Edson Barboza has been targeted at UFC Fight Night 148, which takes place March 23 in Bridgestone Arena at Nashville, Tennessee. Farah Hannoun broke the news, though ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported the fight may take place at UFC Fight Night 149 the next week in Philadelphia. In any event, it appears like this struggle is going to happen, which is fantastic news for MMA fans as it pits among the most dangerous and fascinating strikers in the lightweight division against each other.
Gaethje (19-2) is 2-2 so much in the UFC but has become a household name to MMA fans as a result of his ability to put in an amazing show. He’s already racked up five bonus awards, including three”Fight of the Night” awards and two”Performance of the Night” awards, such as a bonus for his KO over James Vick last August. He has been prone to being knocked out at the UFC because he dropped to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez, but because he demonstrated against Vick and Michael Johnsonhe has incredible 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 amazing knockout power, but such as Gaethje he has been prone to this knockout as well.
This looks to be an amazing fight on newspaper, and the fact it’s place for five rounds is just tremendous. Both men are excellent fighters and I am expecting a close betting line. At this point, it seems like close to a Pick ’em fight, but thinking about how good Barboza appeared in his last fight he may find more assistance from bettors because of recency bias.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis, UFC Fight Night 148
A heavyweight matchup between Curtis Blaydes and Justin Willis can also be set for UFC Fight Night 148. FloCombat’s Nolan King broke the news. 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 had won four consecutive fights before that, however, including a TKO over Alistair Overeem, and may easily get back into the heavyweight title talks with another few wins. Willis (8-1) is 4-0 in the UFC and in his last fight picked up the biggest win of his career thus far over Mark Hunt. The problem with Willis is that he has not shown off much finishing ability from the UFC, and his wrestling is likely to be negated in this matchup against Blaydes. It’s heavyweight so you can’t ever count anyone out, but on paper this seems like Blaydes’ struggle to win and I expect him to be a strong favorite when the chances come out.
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