MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR THURSDAY: UFC BOOKS GAETHJE VS. BARBOZA, BLAYDES VS. WILLIS
A pair of high-profile bouts from the UFC lightweight and heavyweight divisions have been added to forthcoming fight cards, and I will give my first thoughts on these 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 at UFC Fight Night 148, which takes place March 23 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Farah Hannoun broke the information, though ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported the fight may take place at UFC Fight Night 149 another week at Philadelphia. In any event, it appears like this struggle will take place, which is good news for MMA fans because it pits two of the very dangerous and fascinating strikers in the lightweight division against each other.
Gaethje (19-2) is 2-2 so much in the UFC but is now a household name to MMA fans as a result of 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, including a bonus for his KO over James Vick past August. He has been prone to being knocked out at the UFC because he dropped to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez, however as he demonstrated against Vick and Michael Johnsonhe has incredible knockout power himself. Barboza (20-6) is 14-6 overall at the UFC and in his last fight he put on the 2018″Beatdown of the Year” because of his barbarous TKO win over Dan Hooker. Barboza is known for his deadly leg kicks and incredible knockout energy, but like Gaethje he’s been prone to the knockout too.
This looks like an wonderful fight on newspaper, and also the fact it is set for five rounds is just tremendous. Both men are excellent fighters and I’m anticipating a close gaming lineup. Now, it looks like near a Select ’em fight, but considering how great Barboza looked in his last fight he may get 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 place for UFC Fight Night 148. FloCombat’s Nolan King broke the information. 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’d won four consecutive fights before that, though, including a TKO over Alistair Overeem, and may easily get back into the heavyweight title talks with another couple of wins. Willis (8-1) is 4-0 at the UFC and in his final fight picked up the biggest win of his career to date over Mark Hunt. The issue with Willis is that he hasn’t shown off considerably finishing ability in the UFC, and his wrestling is likely to be negated in this matchup against Blaydes. It is heavyweight so you can’t ever count out anyone, but on paper this looks like Blaydes’ fight to win and I expect him to be a strong favorite when the odds come out.
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