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UFC PHILADELPHIA AND UFC RUSSIA SHAPING UP

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The UFC was busy announcing bouts for upcoming fight cards in recent weeks, and under are my thoughts on some of the newly-announced bouts for UFC Philadelphia and UFC Russia.
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson, UFC on ESPN two Featherweight competition Josh Emmett will return from a lengthy layoff when he takes on Michael Johnson in UFC on ESPN 2, which takes place March 30 in Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ESPN broke news of this fight. Emmett (13-2) is currently 4-2 in the UFC but has not fought since a brutal KO loss to Jeremy Stephens in February 2018. He rocketed up the ranks with a knockout win over Ricardo Lamas but the loss to Stephens at which he broke his nose was a significant setback. Johnson (19-13) is 11-9 in the UFC and is coming from back-to-back decision wins over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov. However, he’d lost three consecutive fights before that. Although Johnson is inconsistent, we understand how great he is when he is at his best, and with Emmett coming from such a lengthy layoff you need to fade him here and favor Johnson to win this fight.
Ray Borg vs. Pingyuan Liu, UFC on ESPN two Ray Borg will proceed up to bantamweight if he takes on Pingyuan Liu at UFC on ESPN 2. The Philly Voice broke news. Borg (11-3) is 5-3 in the UFC but hasn’t fought since a submission loss to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He was one of the greatest flyweights in the UFC but will probably be moving up to bantamweight today and it’s going to be interesting to see if he can make a run in his new weight class. Liu (13-5) is riding a nine-fight win streak including a 2-0 mark at the Octagon with wins over Damian Stasiak and Martin Day. Even though he is going up to bantamweight, there’s no doubt Borg will be a big favorite here only based on his UFC expertise and degree of competition.
Marcin Tybura vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov, UFC Fight Night 149
Heavyweights Marcin Tybura and Shamil Abdurakhimov will square off at UFC Fight Night 149, set for April 20 in Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. Tybura (17-4) is 4-3 at the UFC and chose over Stefan Struve in his last outing. Abdurakhimov (19-4) is 4-2 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back wins over Andrei Arlovski and Chase Sherman. It’s heavyweight MMA so you can never be certain of the outcome, but I believe Tybura is the better fighter and ought to be favored here.
Emil Weber Meek vs. Sultan Aliev, UFC Fight Night 149
Welterweights Emil Weber Meek and Sultan Aliev will even meet at UFC Fight Night 149. Meek (9-4, 1 NC) is 1-2 at the UFC and is coming off of successive losses to Kamaru Usman and Bartosz Fabinski. Aliev (14-3) is 1-2 in the UFC and is coming from a TKO loss to Warlley Alves. Both men are disappointments in the UFC, but Meek usually gets more respect from bettors and that I suppose he’ll be preferred here.
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Roman Kopylov, UFC Fight Night 149
And finally, a middleweight bout will see Krzysztof Jotko take on UFC newcomer Roman Kopylov in UFC Fight Night 149. Jotko (19-4) is 6-4 at the UFC but is driving a three-fight losing skid including back-to-back KO declines to Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares. Kopylov (8-0) is making his UFC debut after going undefeated in the Russian regional arena. It’s hard to back Jotko after his current win series, and I anticipate the undefeated Kopylov are the preferred here.
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