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UFC 212 Fight to Watch: Moraes vs. Assunção

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We are only a day away from UFC’s return to Brazil for UFC 212 where the UFC Featherweight strap will be unified at last in the highly anticipated match-up between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo. As with all of the PPV cards we are treated to an abundance of outstanding fights and this card no different, from the off we have cracking fights to look forward to. Now when there is so many high quality fights some get forgotten about or maybe even overshadowed by other fights. So in this article, I’m going to give you my fight to watch for the night.
Since the Main Event and Co-Main Event are the 2 big fights on the card and the major draw for the card I won’t pick any of them as they are already in the spotlight, instead, I’m going to choose a fight elsewhere on the card which has the potential to be a barn burner. Looking at this fight card there is one fight in particular that stands out to me and that is the clash of the Brazilians in the Prelim headline fight between Raphael Assunção and Marlon Moraes. Both these guys are high profile fighters that are aiming to climb the 135lb ladder and earn a shot at the belt and could possibly do so with a 2 or 3 more wins.
Marlon Moraes will be making his highly anticipated debut in the UFC at this event and has not been given an easy task for his first fight. Prior to signing with the UFC Moraes enjoyed success in WSOF, winning the inaugural Bantamweight championship followed by successfully defending the belt on 5 consecutive occasions. His dominance over the division led many to believe he was the best 135lb fighter outside of the UFC and without a loss in over 6 years it will be interesting to see how he fairs against a new flock of talent in the UFC.
Moraes is a very aggressive style fighter who likes to keep the fight standing, his striking is superb and where he flourishes the most, his kickboxing game is almost Dutch like in its execution and his vicious leg kicks have resulted in finishes themselves. What to look out for with Moraes is his counter kicks and leg strikes as well as the use of his hips to stuff a takedown. His takedown defence will be vital in his efforts to keep the fight standing. However, his ground game is not to be ruled out, holding a brown belt in BJJ and 5 submission victories he poses a threat in every area possible.
Assunção, on the other hand, has been around the UFC for year tallying together 10 fights in total under the promotion only losing 2 of those match-ups. He currently sits at #3 in the UFC Bantamweight rankings and is coming off a split-decision victory over Aljamain Sterling.
Assunção is an overall good fighter, however, his submission game is his strong point, his prowess on the mat has earned him 10 of his career victories to date. His patience and timely submission are what to look for here as his technique in that department is where he shines the most. Despite not having many finished in the UFC he has proven to be a tough task for many, grinding the fight out and bringing it the distance.
This fight has the potential to be the fight of the night and hopefully, it lives up to the hype. You can watch this bout live on Saturday on the UFC 212 Prelim card.
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Fight to Watch

UFC 217 Fight To Watch: Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal

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UFC 217 features a myriad of phenomenal fights, a list that includes 3 champions and 3 former champions, but amongst this impressive list of fights, one that stands out the most is Stephen Thompson vs Jorge Masvidal.

It seems like a lot of people are forgetting about this fight due to a stacked card that puts this excellent bout at only the 2nd fight in the main card, but stylistically this is the most exciting match up of the night.

No knock on any other fights. Bisping vs GSP is going to be Bisping vs GSP, nothing less. Garbrandt vs Dillashaw is an intriguing match up as well, a storyline that includes two former training partners and friends turned to bitter enemies, and Joanna Jędrzejczyk making her 6th title defense against Rose Namajunas.

But Thompson vs Masvidal is so exciting for two reasons:

1) Stylistic Match Up

As briefly mentioned above, the stylistic view of this fight is beyond excellence. Everyone is aware of ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson’s achievements. 57-0 in kickboxing and a former title challenger who came as close as humanly possible to take the title away from Tyron Woodley. ‘Gamebred’, on the other hand, is an all around great mixed martial artist. Although a natural lightweight, it wouldn’t be an overstatement that Masvidal shined a lot more since moving up to the welterweight division.

This fight has an extremely high chance of becoming a kickboxing match with little to no grappling involved. And what makes it truly so fascinating is the fact that neither of these guys are too worried about getting taken down, which will showcase who’s striking is truly better. Most likely scenario of the fight will be both guys throwing hands for 3 rounds straight, with Masvidal pushing most of the action. But neither fighter can make a game changing mistake, as both fighters are more than capable of finishing fights.

2) Welterweight Division

The fight will also clean up the top of the welterweight division a little bit. With Colby Covington joining top 3 and Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos going at each other in a month’s time, winning this fight is crucial for Thompson and Masvidal in order to remain in the conversation of a title shot, but of course, only one guy can walk out the winner. It would be difficult for them to drop down in the rankings and then having to fight their way back up with all the prospects that have been rising.

So with all the cards laid out on the table for the fight, it’s time to make a prediction:

It’s tough to see Thompson getting caught with big shots by Masvidal, especially with a reach and size advantage, but it’s a hard pick due to Masvidal’s explosiveness and his ability to pull the trigger. Ultimately, I believe Thompson will edge Masvidal out by a bit, but by no means will this be an easy or simple fight for Thompson.

Prediction: Stephen Thompson def. Jorge Masvidal via Unanimous Decision

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Khabib vs Barboza UFC 219 breakdown

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Khabib vs Barboza has been made official for UFC 219 and it promises to be an absolute cracker, so in this article, I’m going to give a full breakdown of this fantastic fight.

UFC 219 just got a whole lot better with the addition of Khabib vs Barboza to the main card, Khabib will be hungry to grab a victory in his first fight since his submission win over Michael Johnson at UFC 205.

However, UFC fans will be crossing their fingers and hoping that the fight does happen as Khabib has been scheduled to fight in the main event, back in April 2016, but his opponent Ferguson had to pull out of their scheduled main event because doctors had found fluid and blood in his lungs. Khabib also pulled out of there fight at UFC 209 because he was hospitalized trying to cut weight for there highly anticipated bout, which played down his chances at him getting a title shot against McGregor. This fight is a chance for him to once again prove himself to get that title shot. Hopefully, we do not see a repeat of these past scheduled fights for Khabib and hopefully, we can see him back in the octagon for UFC 219.

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Now onto Barboza, who is an explosive and aggressive fighter, his last three fights have resulted in three wins for the Brazilian who won his last fight by TKO/KO with his latest loss coming from Ferguson by way of submission at the Ultimate Fighter Finale, back in 2015.

This Brazilian fighter prefers to stand and trade with his opponents and usually outclasses his opponents on the feet, however, most of Barboza’s losses have come by submission, one of those opponents being Michael Johnson (who Khabib beat by submission) so Barboza may want to work on his submission defence and ground game altogether because Khabib is a very dominant fighter who can control the fight and has a strong ground game so he will be looking to take Barboza to the ground.

Barboza needs to try to take control of the fight away from Khabib and keep it stood up to try and outclass Khabib, which will make for a very Interesting bout on December the 30th and many will be tuning in to see how it turns out.

I believe Khabib will walk with the victory over Barboza at UFC 219 in a fight which promises to be exciting and aggressive throughout.

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Fight to Watch

UFC Fight Night 119 Fight to Watch: John Lineker vs. Marlon Vera

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UFC Fight Night 119 is approaching this Saturday, and most of the attention is on the main and co-main events. While Derek Brunson vs. Lyoto Machida and Demian Maia vs. Colby Covington are exciting fights, there is another fight on the main card that deserves some attention. Kicking off the main card is a bantamweight matchup between Marlon Vera, and #5 John “Hands of Stone” Lineker.

Marlon Vera, who is 10-3-1 in his professional career, is coming off of an eight-month stretch of 3 wins in the octagon. After defeating Ning Guangyou in November of 2016 by unanimous decision, “Chito” followed that up with a huge upset win over Brad Pickett in his farewell fight in London. Vera had a quick turnaround and fought again 3 months later in July at UFC on Fox: Weidman vs. Gastelum, where he submitted Brian Kelleher in the very first round via armbar.

John Lineker, on the other hand, is a different story. His last fight would have elevated him to a title shot with a win, but he ended up with a unanimous decision loss to former champion T.J. Dillashaw. He would have truly earned that shot too, before losing at UFC 207 Lineker had won 4 straight fights since moving up to Bantamweight.  This included wins over names like Rob Font, Michael McDonald, and John Dodson. John Lineker broke his jaw in the first round of his matchup with Dillashaw but didn’t end up needing surgery. He initially intended to return in July but ended up waiting until October to return.

John Lineker vs. Marlon Vera is a great matchup to this fight night card. Vera has a chance to get another huge win that could propel him into the rankings. Fighting in his opponents home country is obviously not something that affects him, as he defeated Brad Pickett in England. He has proven in his last two fights that he has the skills to get it done with his striking, and also has a great submission game. Vera has a 5-inch height advantage that could really help distance himself from Lineker’s power. John Lineker is small for a bantamweight, and this could factor into this matchup. However, he does have 29  professional wins and has shown the ability to take an absolute beatdown and not slow down.

Prediction: When the main card kicks off this Saturday, it will be an important fight for the Bantamweight division. While Vera offers lengthy striking and a good ground game, I see Lineker’s experience and toughness to earn him a victory. John Lineker took some of the biggest shots T.J. Dillashaw had to offer and even fought two rounds after breaking his jaw. This toughness will allow him to take some shots from Vera, before landing a big one of his own. My prediction, John Lineker by 2nd round KO. Who do you think will have the first victory of the main card this Saturday?

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