The Octagon heads to Target Center at Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 29 for ESPN 4.
It has been previously declared the headliner is going to be a five-round welterweight rematch between former champions Tyron Woodley and Robbie Lawler, and now we know four of the other fights on the card, including a title eliminator in the flyweight division. These fires are official as per the UFC. The new bouts are listed below, along with my first thoughts on them.
Jussier Formiga vs. Joseph Benavidez, UFC on ESPN 4
The most important of this new batch of struggle announcements is a flyweight bout between Jussier Formiga and Joseph Benavidez, which is predicted to garner the winner a title shot 125lbs. Formiga (23-5) is 9-4 in the UFC and is now riding a four-fight win streak that includes a dominant win over Deiveson Figueiredo in his final outing. After many years as a gatekeeper, it finally looks like Formiga has turned the page, and it has entered contender status. Benavidez (27-5) is 13-3 in the UFC and is coming from back-to-back wins over Dustin Ortiz and Alex Perez. Both guys are tremendous fighters in the flyweight division, but given Benavidez’ restart and high quality of wins through the years, I’d have to prefer him heading into this battle.
Maurice Greene vs. Junior Albini, UFC on ESPN 4
Heavyweights Maurice Greene and Junior Albini are scheduled to clash. Greene (7-2) is 2-0 at the UFC with back-to-back wins over Jeff Hughes and Michel Batista. The win over Hughes was particularly impressive as Greene was an underdog heading into the bout. Albini (14-5) is 1-3 in the UFC and has lost three consecutive fights including a TKO loss to Jairzinho Rozenstruik in his last outing. This is a bizarre matchup considering one fighter is about a win streak and the other is on a losing skid, but should you believe Greene is the hometown fighter, it looks like that the UFC is throwing him a bone here to get an easy win in front of his fans. Greene ought to be a big favorite in this one.
Drew Dober vs. Marco Polo Reyes, UFC on ESPN 4
An exciting lightweight bout sees Drew Dober take on Marco Polo Reyes. Dober (20-9, 1 NC) is 6-5, 1 NC total from the UFC and is coming off of a submission loss to Beneil Dariush. Before this Dariush struggle, Dober had won three consecutive struggles, but once more his lack of entry defense cost him his win streak. Reyes (8-5) is currently 4-2 at the UFC and is coming from a TKO loss to Damir Hadzovic. He’s summoned electricity himselfbut Dober includes a good chin so that might not come in to play. Both guys have been quite inconsistent in the UFC, but Dober appears to be a bit stronger and that’s why I would slightly prefer him in what ought to be a stand-up struggle.
Vinicius Moreira vs. Roman Dolidze, UFC on ESPN 4
And lastly, light heavyweights Vinicius Moreira and Roman Dolidze are place to fulfill. Moreira (9-2) is 0-1 in the UFC with a brutal KO loss to Alonzo Menifield within his Octagon debut which snapped a five-fight win series. Dolidze (6-0) is undefeated so far in his MMA career with all his wins coming from stoppage. Moreira looked awful in his UFC debut and you have to fade him figure Dolidze ought to be able to complete him in catastrophic fashion.
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