Don’t Sleep On This – UFC Philadelphia Edition

The UFC is finally back in my hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – for the first time since 2011. A marquee lightweight bout between heavy leg strikers Edson Barboza and Justin Gaethje headlines the card and we also have the debut of former LFA women’s flyweight champion Sabina Mazo. I’m taking a look at my favorite matchups going into this weekend, as these will be the first fights I’ll be seeing live since January of 2016.

Kicking off the early prelims, Sabina ‘The Colombian Queen’ Mazo is set to make her debut against Maryna Moroz. This fight was announced in January, you can check out my analysis hereMy pick: Moroz’s ground game could spell trouble for Mazo, but ultimately I think Mazo is victorious in her octagon debut

Ray Borg was set to make his return this weekend against Kyler Phillips, but as of yesterday Phillips is out and newly crowned LFA double champ and DWTNCS vet Casey Kenney steps in. LFA flyweight champion Casey Kenney, who captured that title in November, just added the bantamweight title to his mantle this past weekend – now he’s headed to the UFC. Kenney beat Brandon Royval at LFA 53 to claim the flyweight strap then knocked out Vincent Cachero in the first round this past weekend to become the bantamweight champ. Kenney went 1-1 on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, the only loss on his 11-1 record and is now looking to stick around with the top promotion. Borg hasn’t fought since his 2017 title loss to then-champion Demetrious Johnson. Injuries and complications with his newborn son has kept him away from the sport, but now Borg is ready to make some waves as he moves to the bantamweight division. My pick: Kenney takes it on short notice after his successful move up to bantamweight, the time off will hurt Borg

One of the top fights on the preliminary card is between the streaking Enrique Barzola and former LFA featherweight champion Kevin ‘Angel Of Death’ Aguilar. Barzola has been on a 4-fight win streak since late 2016, picking up victories over Chris Avila, Gabriel Benítez, Matt Bessette and most recently Brandon Davis at UFC Fight Night 129 last May. Barzola will be tasked with stopping the 8-fight win streak of Aguilar. Kevin Aguilar has been with LFA since 2013, going 8-1 during that stretch and claiming the featherweight title before being featured on DWTNCS. Aguilar didn’t get a contract that night but did get the call for the Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale where he beat out Rick Glenn in a three round war. Aguilar hasn’t quite found that stride that made him a name in LFA, but I think a knockout victory here will gain him some attention. My pick: Aguilar by TKO

On to the main card, where top strawweight contenders Karolina Kowalkiewicz and ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson will face off. Kowalkiewicz came into the UFC on a 7-fight win streak and picked up three wins before getting a shot at the title. Since her loss to then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Kowalkiewicz has gone 2-2, her most recent fight a brutal knockout loss to the next strawweight challenger, Jéssica Andrade. Waterson was a hot prospect coming into the UFC, going 2-2 before putting together a couple of wins against Cortney Casey and most recently Felice Herrig. A win here for Waterson could mean a title shot, while Kowalkiewicz is looking to get back in the win column. My pick: This is a tough fight to call, but I’m going with Kowalkiewicz via unanimous decision

The last time Josh Emmett fought was at UFC on FOX 28 over a year ago, a controversial loss to Jeremy Stephens where it looked like Stephens landed a knee to a downed opponent; nonetheless, it was the first knockout loss for Emmett. Prior to that, Emmett was 13-1, holding wins over Jon Tuck, Scott Holtzman and former title challenger Ricardo Lamas – his only loss being a split decision to Desmond Green. Emmett is ready to prove himself again after having ‘one of the worst years’ of his life in 2018. Standing in his way is Michael ‘The Menace’ Johnson; Johnson is on a 2-fight win streak after beating Artem Lobov at UFC Fight Night 138. Johnson’s career has been streaky, he went 8-4 from 2010 to 2015 and holds wins over Tony Ferguson and Edson Barboza in that span; but then went 1-5 after that before putting together that small win streak – his lone win over Dustin Poirier. Johnson has fought the who’s who in the featherweight division, and this matchup has FOTN written all over it. My pick: Emmett gets back on track, but this could go either way

The co-main event is a middleweight matchup between David Branch and Jack Hermansson. David Branch is 2-2 in his return to the UFC after winning 10 straight including both the middleweight and light heavyweight championships in the WSOF. Branch took out Krzysztof Jotko and current LHW title challenger Thiago Santos while his most recent fight was a TKO loss to Jared Cannonier. Jack Hermansson is riding his second win streak with the UFC after going 3-2 to start off with the promotion. Hermansson finished Thales Leites and Gerald Meerschaert and is looking to keep that momentum going as he tries to crack into the top 15. This is another fight that could go either way, Branch’s inconsistency is a concern as Hermansson has looked near-flawless in his wins. My pick: David Branch

The main event Saturday night is a gift to MMA fight fans. Edson Barboza is one of the most dynamic strikers in the UFC and that includes having the hardest leg kicks in the sport (just ask Mike Lullo and Rafaello Oliveira). Barboza has only had one small losing streak: a two-fight stretch from December 2017 to April 2018; he has fought the best in the division, including wins over Paul Felder, Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez and most recently taking out the streaking Dan Hooker at UFC on FOX 31 – a fight that was one for the books. Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje is an enigma, he is a NCAA Division I All-American wrestler, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from his fights. Gaethje went 17-0 with 14 KO’s while competing for the WSOF, capturing the lightweight title and defending it five times before signing with the UFC. In his first fight, he put on a classic FOTN against Michael Johnson and finished him in the second round. Since then he is 1-2, suffering his first loss to Eddie Alvarez and then Dustin Poirier before picking up a win against James Vick in August. Between the two, Barboza and Gaethje have 13 fight night bonuses and have both ended fights via leg kicks. Gaethje’s brawler style is a lot of fun to watch, and Barboza is no stranger to battles, but as the less dynamic striker it might be wise for Gaethje to finally use his wrestling this time. I don’t see that happening. My pick: Barboza wins the battle of the leg kicks

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Don’t Sleep On This – UFC Nashville Edition: Maycee ‘The Future’ Barber

Maycee Barber was all smiles after her UFC debut in November and had reason to be. The 20-year-old is currently the youngest fighter on the roster and is undefeated at amateur and pro (6-0). The Colorado native has been involved in the fight game since the age of 3, starting with karate and dabbling in everything from BJJ to boxing up until her pro debut in 2017. Fighting out of Fort Collins Martial Arts Academy, ‘The Future’ is back in action this weekend opening up the main card in Nashville against her toughest test to date, J.J. Aldrich.

Barber had cut her teeth in Legacy Fighting Alliance to begin her career, going 4-0 with three finishes (two by submission, one by ground and pound). Barber’s ground and pound has been on display her last three fights, and when she gets on top and in position, there’s very few who’d be able to withstand it. In her last fight for LFA against Audrey Perkins, Barber caught Perkins’ kick and transitioned to a straight armbar before finishing the fight with relentless G&P.

After her LFA run, Barber was invited to main event Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and didn’t disappoint. In the 3rd round, Barber finished Jamie Colleen with that same ground and pound that ended her last fight and scored a contract.

Barber then made her debut at UFC Denver last November and faced off against fellow newcomer Hannah Cifers. Barber opened a lot of eyes with a brutal 2nd round stoppage of Cifers while taking minimal damage in the fight.

Barber wants to be a household name along with being the youngest UFC champion ever, and she has a little under 3 years to do so. Standing in her way this weekend is J.J. Aldrich. Aldrich is on a 3-fight win streak after losing her debut, besting Chan-Mi Jeon, Danielle Taylor and most recently Polyana Viana at UFC 227. Barber will make the move to flyweight, where she will have more strength and power to add to her skillset. You can watch ‘The Future’ open up the main card.

UFC Fight Night: Thompson Vs. Pettis streams live on ESPN+ with the main card starting at 8:00PM ET/5:00PM PT.

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Live Results – UFC on ESPN+ 5: Till Vs. Masvidal

Saturday, March 16th – The O2 Arena in London, England

The UFC is back in London at about the same time they were last year, and the card is headlined by Liverpool’s Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal, who is back in action for the first time since November 2017. The co-main event pits streaking Leon Edwards against Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson and filling out the card is an important light heavyweight matchup between Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes, London’s own Nathaniel Wood and the return of Joe Duffy.

The preliminaries kick off @ 1:00PM ET/10:00AM PT with the main card starting @ 4:00PM ET/1:00PM PT streaming live on ESPN+.

Main Card (ESPN+ 4:00PM ET/1:00PM PT)

  • 5-Round Welterweight Bout: Jorge Masvidal def. Darren Till via KO (punch) 3:05, R2
  • Welterweight Bout: Leon Edwards def. Gunnar Nelson via split decision (28-29, 29-27, 29-28)
  • Light Heavyweight Bout: Dominick Reyes def. Volkan Oezdemir via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Bantamweight Bout: Nathaniel Wood def. José Alberto Quiñónez via submission (rear-naked choke) 2:46, R2
  • Welterweight Bout: Cláudio Silva def. Danny Roberts via verbal submission (armbar) 3:37, R3
  • Catchweight Bout (188): Jack Marshman def. John Phillips via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Preliminary Card (ESPN+ 1:00PM ET/10:00AM PT)

  • Featherweight Bout: Arnold Allen def. Jordan Rinaldi via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Lightweight Bout: Marc Diakiese def. Joseph Duffy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Light Heavyweight Bout: Saparbek Safarov def. Nicolae Negumereanu via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-27)
  • Featherweight Bout: Dan Ige def. Danny Henry via submission (rear-naked choke) 1:17, R1
  • Women’s Flyweight Bout: Molly McCann def. Priscila Cachoeira via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Featherweight Bout: Mike Grundy def. Nad Narimani via TKO (punches) 4:42, R2

Don’t Sleep On This – UFC London Edition: Volkan Oezdemir Vs. Dominick Reyes

Since Jon Jones has returned to the light heavyweight picture, the division has seen an emergence of contenders. It’s a breath of fresh air since in the last few years we have seen only a few of the same title challengers. Daniel Cormier seems to be done with the division, focusing on ending his career at heavyweight. After that, Jones has his work cut out for him. Up next for Jones could very well be Thiago Santos, who has made waves in the division after moving up from middleweight. Alexander Gustafsson will be fighting recent challenger Anthony Smith in the summer. Corey Anderson is also on a win streak and awaiting what’s next for him. Then there’s the dark horse, Dominick ‘The Devastator’ Reyes who will face former title challenger Volkan ‘No Time’ Oezdemir this weekend. If Reyes can keep his win streak going, we could very well see him next in line for a shot at the champ.

Volkan Oezdemir seems like he came out of nowhere when he was picked up by the UFC. A former kickboxer and Bellator fighter, Volkan made his debut in 2017 and won a split decision against former title challenger Ovince Saint Preux. In his next fight, he stopped the hype train and 8-fight win streak of Misha Cirkunov and then dropped title contender Jimi Manuwa. Both of those fights ended in under a minute, which explains the nickname ‘No Time’. Since then, Volkan has dropped two straight – to then champion Daniel Cormier and most recently Anthony Smith. Now on the first losing streak of his career, Volkan is in a must-win situation as the light heavyweight picture is heating up.

It’s hard to believe that Dominick Reyes debuted back in 2017 when he seems like a fresh addition to the light heavyweight title picture. The 29-year-old Reyes is undefeated at 10-0 and had one bout in LFA before signing with the UFC. Reyes finished Joachim Christensen, Jeremy Kimball, Jared Cannonier and had a near-finish on former title challenger Ovince Saint Preux back in October. Reyes is excited for the ‘brawler vs. kind-of-boxer’ matchup this weekend and is ready to show the division that it’s ‘his turn’.

UFC Fight Night: Till Vs. Masvidal streams live on ESPN+ with the main card starting at 4:00PM ET/1:00PM PT.

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Don’t Sleep On This – UFC Prague Edition: John Dodson Vs. Petr Yan

UFC on ESPN+ 3 will visit the Czech Republic for the first time in the promotion’s history, and it will be headlined by top heavyweights Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos. Also on the main card is an exciting bantamweight matchup between John ‘The Magician’ Dodson and Petr ‘No Mercy’ Yan. Dodson is looking to find his footing the division since moving up from flyweight and Yan has been making noise since his debut last summer.

After winning the Ultimate Fighter 14 against current bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw in 2011, Dodson moved to flyweight and went 5-2 in the division, with those two losses coming in title fights against champion at the time, Demetrious Johnson. After the second loss, Dodson moved back up to bantamweight and has alternated wins and losses since. Those wins came against Manny Gamburyan, Eddie Wineland and Pedro Munhoz; while the losses have been against contenders John Lineker, Marlon Moraes and most recently Jimmie Rivera.

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Petr Yan came over from ACB after winning the bantamweight championship while avenging the only loss of his career. At 11-1, Yan has won three straight since debuting with the UFC, besting Teruto Ishihara, Jin Soo Son and Douglas Silva de Andrade.

Yan will have the height and a slight reach advantage, but it’s hard to match the speed of Dodson. This will be the biggest test of Yan’s career, but something he’s welcoming, as he wanted John Lineker after his latest win. Yan signed a new contract with the UFC in the beginning of the year and this will be his fourth fight in just eight months. Dodson is just trying to get some consistency going, as a loss here will land him on the first losing streak of his career.

UFC Fight Night: Blachowicz Vs. Santos streams live on ESPN+ with the main card starting at 2:00PM ET/11:00AM PT.

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Don’t Sleep On This – UFC Phoenix Edition

UFC is finally making its main card debut on ESPN this weekend, and on paper, it shouldn’t disappoint. The main card features the return of one of the greatest heavyweights in the sport, facing a former title challenger looking to get back to the top. In the co-main event; after being booked to fight this summer and then having it fall apart, a lightweight bout between James Vick and Paul Felder was rescheduled to the delight of many fans. Kron Gracie will also be making his UFC debut against ‘Bruce LeroyAlex Caceres. The prelims also offer a lot of great style matchups, and that’s what I’ll be taking a look at.

On the ESPN prelims, Ashlee Evans-Smith, who was originally scheduled to face Lauren Murphy, now faces former LFA flyweight champion Andrea ‘KGB’ Lee. Lee is looking for her sixth straight win and second with the UFC after being successful in her debut back in May. Evans-Smith is looking for her second in a row after besting Bec Rawlings in April. These two match up very similar, with Evans-Smith usually having the advantage with her wrestling background, but doesn’t seem to rely on it often. My pick: Andrea Lee gets the nod after three rounds

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Headlining the prelims on ESPN are bantamweight contenders Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling. Rivera is coming off a win over John Dodson, which helped with the sting of his first defeat since 2008 by Marlon Moraes last June. Rivera came into the UFC on a 15-fight win streak and continued with five more straight against Marcus Brimage, Pedro Munhoz, Iuri Alcântara, Urijah Faber and Thomas Almeida. Sterling also suffered a defeat to Moraes, but since then has won two straight against Brett Johns and Cody Stamann. This could very well be a precursor to a title fight – if T.J. Dillashaw fights Moraes next, whoever wins this could be next in line. My pick: Jimmie Rivera by unanimous decision

Kicking off the main card will be featherweights Andre Fili and Myles Jury. Fili is coming off the wrong end of a split decision loss to Michael Johnson, but before that had reeled off two straight against Artem Lobov and Dennis Bermudez. Jury had taken two years off and when he came back had won two straight as well, against Mike De La Torre and Rick Glenn. Back in July, Jury welcomed Chad Mendes back from his suspension and lost the fight via first round TKO. My pick: I love this matchmaking, but I think the more well-rounded fighter will get it done, Myles Jury

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In what will be the UFC‘s 5000th fight (if nothing changes), Kron Gracie, the son of Rickson Gracie and the grandson of Hélio Gracie, will be making his UFC debut. Gracie will come in with a 4-0 record (all submissions), but hasn’t fought since December of 2016. ‘Bruce Leroy’ Alex Cacares will have the task of dealing with the submission specialist. Caceres is coming off a win against Martín Bravo, but is only 4-6 in his last 10. My pick: This is a classic striker-versus-grappler, Gracie by (no surprise) submission

The third and final strawweight bout of the night is Cortney ‘Cast Iron’ Casey versus Cynthia Cavillo. Casey has been on the wrong end in two of her last three fights, all split decisions; losing to Felice Herrig and Michelle Waterson, but picking up the win against Angela Hill in August. Cavillo was on a roll coming into the UFC, winning her first three (two by submission) against Amanda Cooper, Pearl Gonzalez and Joanne Calderwood. Calvillo then lost to former champion Carla Esparza at UFC 219 along with being suspended for marijuana metabolites, but returned in November with another submission win against Poliana Botelho. Casey has the height and reach advantage, but Calvillo will most likely want to take this fight to the mat where she has excelled. My pick: Calvillo

In the co-main event, a fight that was supposed to happen in the summer is finally set to take place. James ‘The Texecutioner’ Vick faces Paul ‘The Irish Dragon’ Felder. Vick has been on a tear during his UFC run, going 8-1 from 2013 to 2017. Vick kicked off last year with a win over Francisco Trinaldo before getting the main event slot at UFC Fight Night 135 in Lincoln, Nebraska against former WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje. After all the back-and-forth, bad blood and dust had settled, Gaethje had knocked Vick out in under two minutes. Standing in his way of trying to put that loss behind him is Paul Felder. Felder had won three straight and was set to face Vick at UFC Fight Night 133, but Vick was pulled in favor of said matchup against Gaethje. Felder then stepped in on short notice and moved up to welterweight to fight Mike Perry at UFC 226 – a decision loss, but Felder suffered a broken arm early on in the fight. Both fighters have something to prove, and a win could help them move up that crowded lightweight ladder. My pick: Felder via TKO

In the first main event on ESPN, Cain Velasquez makes his much anticipated return to the cage against Francis Ngannou. Ngannou had taken the heavyweight division by storm, winning six straight with highlight reel knockouts along the way and earning himself a title shot against then-champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic exposed the flaws in Ngannou’s game and that carried over in his next fight against Derrick Lewis. In a rematch against Curtis Blaydes at UFC Fight Night 141, Ngannou surprised a lot of his critics with a first round TKO of the National Champion wrestler. It’s been almost four years since Cain Velasquez has fought; a TKO win against Travis Browne at the historic UFC 200. Velasquez is still hailed by many as the greatest heavyweight of all time even though has a hard time staying active, but one of the advantages he has by training at American Top Team are his training partners – two of which are current champions and one being a former champion. All that being said, even with his knockout power, I can’t see Ngannou shoring up his lack of a ground game against the best wrestler in the heavyweight division. My pick: Cain Velasquez is victorious in his octagon return

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Don’t Sleep On This – UFC Fortaleza Edition: Charles Oliveira Vs. David Teymur

The UFC is back in Brazil for the first time under the ESPN banner. UFC Fight Night: Assunção Vs. Moraes 2 will air exclusively on ESPN+, so if you haven’t already subscribed, now is the time. Apart from the rematch that will be more important than their first matchup, there’s an undercard full of outstanding matchups. One of which is the always dangerous vet Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira against TUF vet David Teymur.

Charles Oliveira is a 22-fight veteran with the UFC, which includes 12 submission victories; the most in the history of the organization. Since returning to lightweight in 2017, Oliveira has gone 4-1, including a three-fight submission win streak (which all came last year) against Clay Guida, Christos Giagos and Jim Miller – Oliveira broke the record for most submissions against Giagos and extended it against Miller. All four of his most recent lightweight wins have come with a performance bonus as well.

David Teymur lost his first professional fight in 2013. Since then, he has reeled off eight straight, including five with the UFC. After losing in the quarter-finals of the Ultimate Fighter’s 22nd season, Teymur had a successful debut against Martin Svensson and followed that up with wins over Jason Novelli, Lando Vannata, Drakkar Klose and most recently Nik Lentz this past June.

After claiming that he wants to go back down to featherweight soon, Oliveira has been very impressive back at lightweight. Teymur has yet to be figured out at lightweight and wants to make it nine in a row. In a stacked lightweight division that is currently at a standstill with the suspension of champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, strides have to be made, and both of these fighters have been on hot streaks. Coming from a kickboxing background, Teymur hasn’t really been tested on the ground yet, and there’s no question Oliveira will look for that takedown quick and try to extend his submission record. Either way, a win for either fighter should propel them into the top 15.

UFC Fight Night: Assunção Vs. Moraes 2 streams live on ESPN+ with the main card starting at 8:00PM ET/5:00PM PT.

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Sabina Mazo set to make her UFC debut against Maryna Moroz at UFC Philadelphia

LFA women’s flyweight champion Sabina Mazo will make her UFC debut against Maryna Moroz at UFC on ESPN 2.

The second event to be broadcast on ESPN will get another marquee women’s matchup. On a card that already features Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Michelle Waterson and Alexa Grasso, top prospect and LFA flyweight champion Sabina ‘Colombian Queen’ Mazo will make her much awaited octagon debut against veteran Maryna ‘Iron Woman’ Moroz.

Since being signed by the UFC in early December, fans have been waiting for undefeated prospect Sabina Mazo to be booked to fight. Putting together a 6-0 record, including four in LFA where she captured the flyweight title, Mazo was put on the map after two back-to-back head kick knockouts in 2017.

11-fight veteran Maryna Moroz hasn’t had a win since August of 2016. After starting her UFC career with a 3-1 record, including wins over Joanne Calderwood, Cristina Stanciu and Danielle TaylorMoroz has dropped two in a row to former strawweight champ Carla Esparza and former Invicta FC champ Angela Hill.

This will be Mazo’s biggest test yet in her young MMA career and Moroz will be searching for her first win in almost three years. This striker-versus-striker matchup will be a fun one to watch and to see if Mazo has what it takes to hang in a surging flyweight division.

UFC Fight Night: Barboza Vs. Gaethje will on air live on ESPN Saturday, March 30th from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Darren Till & Jorge Masvidal agree to terms for UFC on ESPN+ 5 in London

Jorge Masvidal returns to the octagon for the first time since November 2017 to face England native Darren Till in London.

Two highly competitive strikers will meet on March 16th across the pond as welterweights Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal are both looking to get back into the win column. Till, fresh off his loss to champion Tyron Woodley and Masvidal, looking to shake off the rust of not fighting for 16 months.

Darren Till will enter the cage for the first time in March and not have an undefeated record under his name. That 0 was taken from him by welterweight champion Tyron Woodley back in September. After starting out his career 17-0-1, wins against tough veteran Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and former title challenger Stephen Thompson garnered Till a title shot, his first fight in the states, and it didn’t go according to plan. After mulling over moving up to light heavyweight after the loss, it looks like Till has at least one more fight at welterweight.

Jorge Masvidal hasn’t fought since losing a decision to Stephen Thompson at UFC 217 in November 2017, couple that with a loss to Demian Maia months earlier, and I’m sure Masvidal wants to get the taste of that losing streak out of his mouth. Before that, Masvidal was riding a different kind of streak that included wins over Ross Pearson, Jake Ellenberger and Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone before falling short of a title shot bid against Maia.

Masvidal is a friend and training partner of Colby Covington, the interim welterweight champion at the moment. Till had lobbied for a fight with Covington, but it looks like Masvidal’s request worked out better. It will be interesting to see if Masvidal’s time off shows, because Till is eager to get back in there and learn from his mistakes, as he’s back on his quest to become a champion.

UFC Fight Night: Till Vs. Masvidal will air on ESPN+ Saturday, March 16th from The O2 Arena in London, England.

Junior dos Santos Vs. Derrick Lewis to headline UFC on EPSN+ 4 event in Wichita, Kansas

Derrick Lewis will look to rebound from his loss to heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in November against former champion Junior dos Santos.

Lewis and dos Santos are set to throw down as the main event on March 9th in Wichita, which will be the promotion’s first visit to Kansas. Lewis is coming off his UFC 230-saving loss to champion Daniel Cormier, as dos Santos is riding a two-fight win streak.

Derrick Lewis had won nine of his last 10 dating back to October 2015, knocking out his opponents in all but two matchups (his lone loss coming from Mark Hunt in Auckland, New Zealand).  After ripping off three straight after that (Marcin Tybura, Francis Ngannou and comeback of the year nominee against Alexander Volkov), Lewis was called upon to save UFC 230 by challenging Daniel Cormier for the heavyweight title after just fighting 28 days prior. Lewis was submitted in the second round.

Junior dos Santos is currently riding a two-fight winning streak, his first winning streak since joining the UFC where he won nine straight from 2008 to 2012 and captured the heavyweight gold. After alternating wins and losses, JDS is coming off wins against former WSOF heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov and former undefeated Australian prospect Tai Tuivasa in Adelaide just over a month ago.

Lewis is looking to get back on track after some time off and dos Santos is eager to get back in the title picture. This should be a classic stand-up war, where Lewis packs tremendous power that can put your lights out at any time and JDS’ boxing is one of, if not the best, in the heavyweight division. With Cain Velasquez and Francis Ngannou set to meet in February, we could see a couple rematches materialize while the heavyweight division figures itself out for the new year.

UFC Fight Night: Lewis Vs. dos Santos will air on ESPN+ Saturday, March 9th from Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas.