+330 Jenel Lausa (7-2) vs. -400 Magomed Bibulatov (13-0)
Jenel Lausa: Former PXC Bantamweight champion Jenel “The Demolition Man” Lausa displayed lighting quick hand speed and efficient Boxing combos in his one sided debut victory over TUF China Alum Yao Zhikui. Lausa landed pot shots at will on the Chinese Wrestler leaving him frustrated, disoriented and unable to mount any offense.
Lausa began his combat career as a professional Boxer where he complied a 7-0 record before making the crossover to MMA full time. His hands are his best weapon but he’s also a BJJ brown belt and owns two submission victories in his young career.
Magomed Bibulatov: Number one ranked Flyweight in Russia, Chechen Magomed “Gladiator” Bibulatov will make his long awaited octagon debut following an undefeated 13-0 start to his career that included a World Series Of FIghting championship.
Bibulatov spent a large amount of this camp working with Mark Henry and crew in Jersey tighten up his striking. Like many fighters hailing from the old Soviet Bloc region Bibulatov has dominant wrestling, but he also possesses a versatile striking arsenal that features an array of spinning kicks. Many believe that in time the 28 year old will be a contender for Demetrious Johnson’s Flyweight crown.
The Fight: Lausa may have a chance if Bibulatov totally abandons his grappling and engages in a Kickboxing match. If he mixes his take downs and strikes up as per usual he will be on another level than the talented Filipino striker. Bibulatov TKO 3rd
-170 Katlyn Chookagian (8-1) vs. +145 Irene Aldana (7-3)
Katlyn Chookagian: In her last octagon outing “Blond Fighter” Katlyn Chookagian fought Liz Carmouche to a grueling split decision loss. Carmouche controlled much of their fight early with her smothering top control, but Chookagian came on late and was almost able to finish Carmouche with a flying knee in the third.
The 28 year old trains throughout the tri-state area working with boxing coach Mark Henry, BJJ coach Ricardo Almeida and former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. The lifelong striker and BJJ brown belt has shown flashes of brilliance but will need to shore up her Wrestling to crack the top 15.
Irene Aldana: Former Invicta star Irene Aldana engaged in a back and forth fight of the night, striking battle with Skrap Packer Leslie Smith in her UFC debut. Aldana had a few bright spots in the three round decision, but Smith’s continuous aggression and unrelenting forward pressure proved to be too much for her octagon debut.
Despite the debut loss Aldana is still one of the more promising new comers in the Bantamweight division. Her 5’9″ frame and technical, efficient striking paired with unquestionable heart and resilience will make this 29 year old Mexican a staple in the UFC’s roster for many years to come.
The Fight: This should be an early fight of the night favorite. These ladies both have an extensive striking background and will most likely choose to keep this one standing for the majority of the time. Aldana is going to want to keep it at a distance while Chookagian will do her best work in the clinch. Aldana will be able to eek it out on the cards utilizing her flawless footwork and long jab. Aldana Split Decision
-225 Josh Emmett (10-0) vs. +190 Desmond Green (19-5)
Josh Emmett: Undefeated Alpha Male fighter Josh Emmett kept his undefeated record intact when he defeated the MMA Lab’s Scott Holtzman this past December. In his first octagon performance Emmett picked up a decision victory over Jon Tuck despite suffering one of the goriest finger breaks in UFC history.
Emmett has been brought along nicely as an emerging prospect, he possess all of the skills commonly found in Alpha Male fighters good Wrestling, quick hands and textbook technique. At 32 Emmett’s ascent to the upper echelons of the division will need to be sped up to avoid the ill effects of father time.
Desmond Green: Long considered one of the top unsigned Lightweights Desmond “The Predator” Green will finally get the call to debut an hour away from his hometown. Green is currently riding a four fight win streak, the most recent being a grueling, razor thin decision victory over Martin “Trey” Brown in Titan FC.
Green has bounced around the continent to train with elite camps like Tristar and The Blackzilians. Now based in South Florida at Henri Hooft’s Combat Club, Green is working on improving his striking abilities to compliment his already suffocating Wrestling control.
The Fight: Emmett will have the edge on the feet while Green will be the better grappler. Green will work hard for the take downs throughout and as long as he does not gas like he did in his last bout he will score enough to get the nod. Green Split Decision
-220 Gregor Gillespie (8-0) vs. +185 Andrew Holbrook (12-1)
Gregor Gillespie: Former Division I National Champion and 4x All-American Gregor “The Gift” Gillespie impressed in his octagon debut outworking TUF Brazil 4 champ Glaico Franca in hard fought unanimous decision.
Gillespie trains with fellow elite wrestlers turned MMA pros Dennis Bermudez, Ryan Laflare and Andre Harrison at New York’s Bellmore Kickboxing Academy. His wrestling credentials are without a doubt some of the best in the sport and the ceiling on this 30 year old’s potential is extremely high.
Andrew Holbrook: Protégé of fellow Indiana native and UFC workhorse Chris “Lights Out” Lytle, Andrew Holbrook pulled off the sizable upset in his last bout defeating young Aussie Jake Matthews on his home turf. Holbrook utilized constant pressure and excellent cardio to eek out Matthews in a split decision.
2-1 in the octagon Holbrook is on the verge of becoming an unlikely contender in the Lightweight division. Slick southpaw striking, crafty Jujitsu and first rate cardio have earned him his first two octagon victories and now Holbrook is out to prove the odds makers wrong again and crack the top 15 for the first time.
The Fight: Holbrook’s ability to out grapple Matthews was impressive, but when it comes to Gillespie he is going to be facing another level of grappling skills. Gillespie will rack up enough top time and avoid the subs en route to a very close decision. Gillespie Split Decision
+105 #12 Patrick Cummins (8-4) vs. -125 #12 Jan Blachowicz (19-6)
Light Heavyweight (205)
Patrick Cummins: Former barista and alleged homeless guy Patrick “Durkin” Cummins makes his long awaited return following his unexpected knock out loss to PRIDE legend Antonio Rogerio Nogueria nearly a year ago. Since that fight Cummins has fallen on hard times low-lighted by his withdrawing from a December bout with Gian Vilante due to a gnarly staph infection.
The 36 year old two time NCAA division I All American has worked on his striking extensively with Master Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA and is now working with the Blackzilians at CSMMA to finely tune his entire game before this pivotal contenders match up.
Jan Blachowicz: Polish power puncher Jan Blachowicz was unable to pull off the massive upset of number two ranked Light Heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson in their September bout. Blachowicz got the better of the lanky Swede in the striking exchanges but was unable to avoid the take downs and ensuing ground and pound.
The 34 year old S4 Fight Club product has been hit and miss in the octagon sporting a pedestrian 2-3 record dating back to 2014. His striking has never been in question but his inability to prevent the take down has prevented him from taking the next step. This is a fight Blachowicz must win if he intends on remaining a contender.
The Fight: These two posses complete opposite skill sets. Cummins can smother the life out of opponents with his dominant Wrestling, but he has ran into issues with power punchers. Blachowicz is a knockout puncher who has had troubles stopping the take down. If Blachowicz is going to win it will come early, otherwise Cummins will be able to grind out the decision. Cummins Unanimous Decision
-200 Shane Burgos (8-0) vs. +170 Charles Rosa (11-2)
Shane Burgos: Undefeated Tiger Schulman prospect “Hurricane” Shane Burgos impressed in his short notice debut defeating Tiago Trator in definitive decision. Burgos stuffed all of the Brazilian vets take down attempts and unleashed efficient, effective Boxing combos that rocked Trator on multiple occasions.
The 26 year old Bronx native has been perfect in his young career thus far. Prior to his UFC debut Burgos finished all of his opponents, submitting four and knocking out three. This match up against a well traveled veteran like Rosa will reveal the potential ceiling of this exciting technical striker.
Charles Rosa: American Top Team standout “Boston Strong” Charles Rosa has had multiple fights fall through since his January 2016 decision victory over Kyle Bochniak. Rosa is 2-2 in the octagon but has put on a show every time out, picking up fight of the night bonuses in both of his losses.
This will be the first fight of a new four fight contract that Rosa inked after fielding offers from the UFC’s competitors. At 30 Rosa is primed to make his first run in the Featherweight division. If he can get by the game newcomer a ranked opponent will be in Rosa’s future.
The Fight: Burgos is the more polished striker, but Rosa is the more well rounded of the two. Rosa’s big fight experience, elite training partners and mental fortitude will help him edge out Burgos in a back and forth technical war. Rosa Unanimous Decision
-320 #11 Kamaru Usman (9-1) vs. +270 Sean Strickland (18-1)
Kamaru Usman: TUF: ATT vs. Blackzilians champ Kamaru “Nigerian Nightmare”Usman was able to showoff some of his new found striking abilities in his last octagon victory over fellow TUF winner Warlley Alves this past November. Following the win Kamaru called out Demian Maia, but he will have to turn back one more hungry youngster before he can get his big named opponent.
It appears that Usman has turned the corner with his striking, the years of work with Henri Hooft have turned this Wrestler into a competent striker. Adding striking to his elite grappling and off the charts fight IQ ensure Usman will be ready when he does get his marquee match up.
Sean Strickland: Former King Of The Cage Champion Sean “Tarzan” Strickland has been sidelined by a knee injury for close to a year. Prior to the injury Strickland was victorious over Tom Breese in a pivotal prospect showdown. The Breese win advanced Strickland’s octagon record to an impressive 5-1.
At only 26 Strickland is one of the most promising fighters in the Welterweight division. His home camp is the grappling heavy Team Quest, but he trained at length with legendary strikers Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Glover Teixiera at Black House for this crucial contenders bout.
The Fight: Strickland is going to be a future contender at Welterweight, but he is running in to Kamaru at the wrong time. The 30 year old is peaking mentally and physically and has begun to seamlessly blend his striking and wrestling. Strickland will have the slight edge in the striking department but he is going to have a tough time staying off of his back. Usman Unanimous Decision
-405 Myles Jury (15-2) vs. +335 Mike De La Torre (14-6)
Myles Jury: TUF: 15 standout Myles “The Fury” Jury will finally return to the octagon following a 16 month lay off. Jury appeared to be fast tracked for a title run when he started his UFC career 6-0, however consecutive losses to Cowboy Cerrone and Charles Oliveira have slowed his ascent to the top. The Oliveira loss did come with a asterisk due to “Do Bronx” missing weight by four pounds.
Jury is MMA’s version of a five tool prospect, he has know glaring weaknesses but lacked the big fight experience. Now 28 with veteran ring savvy and completely healed, this could very well be the start of a title run for the versatile fighter.
Mike De La Torre:
The MMA Lab trained Mike “El Cucuy” De La Torre engaged in a all out brawl with flamboyant Brazilian Godofredo Pepey in his last octagon outing. De La Torre landed his share of blows, but was ultimately outgunned by Pepey and lost via rear naked choke in the first.
De La Torre is 2-3-1 in the octagon and has been unable to string together consecutive wins. Six fights is usually adequate enough time to identify the potential of a fighter, however due to a few unique circumstances in his fights it’s difficult to gauge where De La Torre stands in the division. The Arizona based fighter must win this one if he plans on keeping his roster spot.
The Fight: These two will both be eager to impress in the prelim main event. Expect an early fire fight on the feet with Jury standing at the end. Jury Knockout 1st