MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR THURSDAY: UFC BOOKS GAETHJE VS. BARBOZA, BLAYDES VS. WILLIS

A pair of high profile bouts in the UFC lightweight and heavyweight divisions are added to forthcoming struggle cards, and I will give my initial thoughts on those 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 has been targeted for UFC Fight Night 148, which takes place March 23 in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Farah Hannoun broke the news, although ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported the fight may take place at UFC Fight Night 149 the next week in Philadelphia. Either way, it looks like this fight is going to happen, which is good news for MMA fans because it pits among the very dangerous and exciting strikers from 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 on 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 because of his KO over James Vick past August. He has been prone to being knocked out in the UFC as he lost to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez, but because he showed against Vick and Michael Johnsonhe has unbelievable 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 incredible knockout energy, but such as Gaethje he’s been prone to the knockout as well.
This looks to be an wonderful battle on paper, and the fact it’s set for five rounds is just tremendous. Both guys are excellent fighters and I am anticipating a close betting line. At this point, it looks like near a Select ’em fight, but considering how great Barboza appeared in his last fight he might find more support from bettors due to 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 information. Blaydes (10-2, 1 NC) is 5-2, 1 NC at the UFC and in his last fight suffered a brutal knockout loss to Francis Ngannou. He had won four straight fights before that, however, including a TKO over Alistair Overeem, and may easily get back to 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 to date over Mark Hunt. The problem with Willis is that he hasn’t shown off much completing ability from the UFC, and his wrestling is likely to be negated in this matchup against Blaydes. It’s heavyweight so you can not ever count anyone out, but on paper this looks like Blaydes’ struggle to win and I expect him to be a solid favorite as soon as the chances come out.
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Author: pto