A pair of high-profile bouts from the UFC lightweight and heavyweight divisions are added to upcoming struggle cards, and I will give my first thoughts on those new matchups in today’s 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, although ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported the struggle may occur at UFC Fight Night 149 another week at Philadelphia. Either way, it appears like this struggle is going to happen, which is fantastic news for MMA fans as it pits two of the most 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 as a result of his ability to put on an amazing show. He’s 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 because of his KO over James Vick last August. He has been more prone to being knocked out in the UFC because he dropped to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez, but as he showed against Vick and Michael Johnson, he has unbelievable knockout power himself. Barboza (20-6) is 14-6 overall in the UFC and in his last fight he place on the 2018″Beatdown of the Year” because of his barbarous TKO win over Dan Hooker. Barboza is known for his mortal leg kicks and amazing knockout power, but such as Gaethje he has been prone to this knockout too.
This looks like an amazing battle on newspaper, and the fact it is set for five rounds is just enormous. Both men are excellent fighters and I’m expecting a close gaming lineup. Now, it seems like near a Select Celtics struggle, but thinking about how great Barboza looked 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 involving Curtis Blaydes and Justin Willis is also set for UFC Fight Night 148. FloCombat’s Nolan King broke the news. Blaydes (10-2, 1 NC) is 5-2, 1 NC at the UFC and in his final fight suffered a brutal knockout loss to Francis Ngannou. He had won four straight fights before that, however, like a TKO over Alistair Overeem, and could easily get back to 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 thus far over Mark Hunt. The issue with Willis is that he hasn’t shown off considerably completing ability from the UFC, and his wrestling is very likely to be negated in this matchup against Blaydes. It’s heavyweight so that you can’t ever count anyone out, but on paper this seems like Blaydes’ struggle to win and I expect him to be a solid favorite as soon as the odds come out.
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