Hot on the heels of Kelvin Gastelum vs Vitor Belfort being confirmed to main event UFC Fight Night 107, the first Brazilian event of 2017 has been handed another boost in the form of a stellar lightweight match-up. Pitting the current fifth and ninth ranked UFC lightweights against one another, Edson Barboza is set to take on Beneil Dariush in a bout that will surely produce fireworks.
Barboza (18-4) is currently on a two-fight win streak at 155 pounds after having defeated both former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez in 2016. With his two biggest career wins coming in his last two bouts, 2017 could be the year that the Brazilian cracks into title contention. Barboza is notorious for his wicked kicking ability as he is the only man to finish multiple bouts via leg kick TKO in the UFC and is perhaps most famous for his stunning knockout of Terry Etim which is written into folklore as the first spinning wheel kick knockout in UFC history.
Dariush (14-2) is also riding a two-fight win streak of his own in the UFC as the Iranian-born lightweight has defeated both James Vick and fellow prospect Rashid Magomedov in the space of five months. The 27-year-old has gone from strength to strength since signing with the UFC as he came into the promotion primarily as a grappler but has steadily improved his striking abilities with his kicking game, in particular, being a strong suit of his overall game. Dariush has also won seven of his last eight fights.
While neither bout has been made official by the UFC as of yet, it is expected that they will be in the coming days/weeks. UFC Fight Night 107 will take place on March 11 from Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste in Fortleza, Brazil. The card currently looks as follows:
UFC Fight Night 107
- Kelvin Gastelum vs Vitor Belfort
- Edson Barboza vs Beneil Dariush
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.
Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.
First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)
EXCLUSIVE: My sources tell me that Eryk Anders (@erykanders) has gotten his wish. He'll headline UFC Fight Night: Belem against Lyoto Machida (@lyotomachidafw) in Brazil. Ask and you shall receive. #UFC pic.twitter.com/qX62A9qH6k
— The MMA Kings (Nolan King) (@mma_kings) December 14, 2017
Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.
Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.
Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.
In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.
UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira.
Mark Hunt Returns to Fight Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221
UFC 221 in Perth has officially added a another Australian to the main card. Joining Robert Whittaker is the knockout legend Mark Hunt.
The Daily Telegraph first reported that Hunt will be stepping into the octagon to face #9 Curtis Blaydes. Some weren’t sure if we would ever see Hunt fight again after he was pulled from the main event in UFC Fight Night 21 against Marcin Tybura. The UFC removed him due to “medical concerns” while Hunt was stating he was perfectly fine.
After getting evaluated and cleared to fight by Australian and American doctors, it looks like his time has come to return. Hunt’s last fight was back in June when he derailed the Derrick Lewis hype train with a 4th round TKO win.
Hunt had been adamant about calling out #3 ranked heavyweight Fabricio Werdum and trying to get that rematch booked, labelling Werdum a “chicken shit” and a “coward.”
Curtis “Razor” Blaydes who has an 8-1 record, is coming off a TKO victory due to doctor stoppage at UFC 217 in November. Since losing to now title challenger Francis Ngannou in April of 2016, Blaydes has rattled off three straight wins over Alexey Oleynik, Daniel Omielanczuk, and Cody East.
With all this momentum from the win streak, Blaydes looks to capitalize and win the biggest fight of his career against Hunt.
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