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The UFC welterweight division continues to incorporate new high profile matchups. Only a few days after Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington was targeted at an interim name fight at UFC 224, two more great matchups are booked. Here are my thoughts on these two new main events, as well as some other bouts recently announced 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 most recent addition to the stacked UFC 224 card. The event takes place Saturday, May 24 in Jeunesse Arena at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and this bout rumor was reported by Combate. Strickland (19-2) is an impressive 6-2 from 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 decision win over Max Griffin in his final fight. Both men are excellent fighters who are continuously improving their games and that I expect a very close betting line here.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Kamaru Usman, UFC Chile
A welterweight bout between Santiago Ponzinibbio and Kamaru Usman was formally announced by the UFC since the headliner of UFC Fight Night 129, which takes place Saturday, May 19 in Movistar Arena at Santiago, Chile. Ponzinibbio (26-3) is 8-2 in the UFC and is currently 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 in the UFC and conquered Emil Weber Meek in his final outing. Both guys are elite welterweights and this should be a great fight. Search for Usman to be preferred heading into this fight due to his wrestling advantage.
Darren Until Armour Stephen Thompson, UFC Liverpool
A welterweight showdown between Darren Till and Stephen Thompson is expected to headline UFC Fight Night 130, which takes place Sunday, May 27 at Echo Arena at Liverpool, England. BJPenn.com reported the matchup. Until (16-0-1) is 4-0-1 in the UFC and pumped out Donald Cerrone in spectacular fashion in his last struggle. Thompson (14-2-1) is 9-2-1 from the UFC and is coming from a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal. This is 1 hell of a matchup between two of the welterweight division’s elite strikers. All the hype is all behind Till right now so I believe he will be favored, but I personally prefer Thompson to win this fight and will be eyeing him as an underdog. I will be very curuous to view how the public swings the odds for this one.
Dan Ige vs. Mike Santiago, UFC 225
And finally, a welterweight bout between Dan Ige and Mike Santiago is going to UFC 225, that takes place Saturday, June 9 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The UFC confirmed the booking. Ige (8-2) recently made his UFC debut but lost a unanimous decison to Julio Arce. Santiago (20-11) has lost 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 would envision Ige is a little favourite heading into this one.
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