The UFC welterweight division continues to add new high-profile matchups. Just a few days later Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington was targeted for an interim name fight at UFC 224, two great matchups have been booked. Here are my thoughts on these two new primary events, as well as some other bouts recently declared by the UFC, listed in chronological order.
Sean Strickland vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, UFC 224
A welterweight bout between Sean Strickland and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is the latest addition to the stacked UFC 224 card. The event takes place Saturday, May 24 at Jeunesse Arena at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and this bout rumor premiered by Combate. Strickland (19-2) is an impressive 6-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a decision win over Court McGee. Dos Santos (18-5) is 4-1 in the UFC and has won”Fight of the Night” 3 times, including in his conclusion win over Max Griffin in his final fight. Both men are excellent fighters that are continuously improving their games and that I expect a very close gaming lineup here.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Kamaru Usman, UFC Chile
A welterweight bout between Santiago Ponzinibbio and Kamaru Usman was officially announced by the UFC since the headliner of UFC Fight Night 129, which takes place Saturday, May 19 at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile. Ponzinibbio (26-3) is 8-2 at the UFC and is now riding a six-fight win series, with a decision win over Mike Perry his last time out. Usman (12-1) is a perfect 7-0 at the UFC and defeated Emil Weber Meek in his final outing. Both guys are elite welterweights and this should be a great battle. Look for Usman to be preferred heading into this battle due to his wrestling advantage.
Darren Until Armour Stephen Thompson, UFC Liverpool
A welterweight showdown between Darren Until and Stephen Thompson is expected to headline UFC Fight Night 130, which takes place Sunday, May 27 in Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. BJPenn.com reported the matchup. Until (16-0-1) is 4-0-1 at the UFC and pumped out Donald Cerrone in spectacular fashion in his final struggle. Thompson (14-2-1) is 9-2-1 in the UFC and is coming from a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal. This is one hell of a matchup between two of the welterweight division’s elite strikers. All of the hype is all behind Till right now so I believe he’ll be favored, but I personally prefer Thompson to win this battle and will be eyeing him as an underdog. I will be very curuous to see the way the public swings the chances for this one.
Dan Ige vs. Mike Santiago, UFC 225
And lastly, a welterweight bout between Dan Ige and Mike Santiago is heading to UFC 225, that takes place Saturday, June 9 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The UFC affirmed the booking. Ige (8-2) recently made his UFC debut but lost a unanimous decison to Julio Arce. Santiago (20-11) has dropped both of his UFC struggles so far against Zabit Magomedshapirov and Mads Burnell. Neither fighter looks like they will stay around the Octagon for extended but I’d imagine Ige is a slight favourite heading into this one.
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