-350 Marci Held (22-6) vs. +285 Damir Hadzovic (10-3)
Marcin Held: Former Bellator title contender and leg lock specialist Marcin Held has not enjoyed the same success in the octagon through his first two bouts. Held lost a very controversial split decision to Joe Lauzon this past December, dropping his UFC record to 0-2.
Still only 25 it is far too early to hit the panic button on the Polish BJJ Black Belts career. He lacks the strength to compete with stronger wrestlers right now, but as he matures he should put on more muscle to prevent him from getting overpowered on the mat. If he does not bulk up, featherweight might not be out of the question for the 5’7″ fighter.
Damir Hadzovic: Bosnian born Danish resident Damir ” The Bosnian Bomber” Hadzovic will make his sophomore appearance in the octagon following a disappointing debut in which he was knocked out by Mairbek Taisumov in the opening round. Hadzovic went punch for punch with the dangerous Chechen, but ultimately ended up on the wrong end of a well placed uppercut.
The 30 year old knockout artist trains at the Danish Rumble Sports with fellow UFC vets Nicholas Dalby and Anna Elmose. Hadzovic has been inactive for over a year due to two UFC bouts with Yuskue Kasuya being cancelled at the end of last year and will be chomping at the bit to get back to action.
The Fight: Held is going to be the far superior grappler and he does a good job of keeping range on the feet where rarely eats hard shots. Hadzovic has certifiable knockout power but his grappling experience is limited and considering Held has never been knocked out his probability of victory is very slim. Held will close the distance early get the take down and pick up his first victory in the octagon. Held RNC 1st
-355 Darren Till (13-0-1) vs. +290 Jessin Ayari (16-3)
Darren Till: Liverpool’s Darren Till will make his long awaited return to the octagon following a 18 month lay off due to injury. Till was well on his way to his second UFC victory against Nicholas Dalby when his shoulder popped out of place mid way through the second round leaving him in survival mode and forced to hang on to a majority draw.
Till cut his teeth in the ultra violent Brazilian regional circuit where he started his career 12-0. His style reflects his Brazilian experience, the 24 year old Brit strikes with a versatility and violence that is reminiscent of a Chute Boxe fighter circa 2004. Till recently returned to his native UK to train with the isles premier striking gym Team Kaobon.
Jessin Ayari: German-Tunisian prospect Jessin Ayari extended his win streak to 7 with his UFC debut victory over Jim Wallhead. Ayari kept the veteran Judo Black Belt at a distance and used his speed to pick him apart from the outside en route to a split decision.
The 25 year old Ayari splits his camp up between The Hammers Team in his hometown of Nuremberg and the Planet Eaters Gym where he works his ground game with UFC veteran Peter Sobotta.
The Fight: This match would appear to favor Till, Ayari will not shy away from a striking battle and is tough as nails but he lacks the diversity and experience in his striking to trade with Till. Ayari does posses the superior grappling abilities and his best chance would be on the mat. But the most likely outcome is a stoppage for Till in a early striking exchange. Till TKO 1st
-145 Nico Musoke (13-4) vs. +125 Bojan Velickovic (14-4-1)
Nico Musoke: Swedish standout Nico Musoke returns from a two year hiatus which he was forced in to due to knee and back injuries. Nico did not fair too well the last time he performed for his hometown fans, losing a unanimous decision to Albert Tumenov in 2015. He will look to redeem himself in this long awaited homecoming bout.
Musoke holds a respectable 4-2 record in the UFC and appeared to be heading toward contender status before his long break. An all around athletic threat Nico does most of his training alongside headliner Alexander Gustafsson at the Allstars Training Center, but he also has spent extensive time working with Firaz Zihabi and his team at the Tri Star Gym in Montreal.
Bojan Velickovic: Team Elevation fighter Bojan Velickovic made it through his initial UFC contract with a rare 1-1-1 mark. In his most recent UFC bout he dropped a razor thin split decision to Russian Sultan Aliev. Bojan deserved the win in Aliev fight, but was gifted a draw against Michael Graves in a fight he spent on his back for the majority of the time.
A long time veteran of the mid west circuit, Bojan cut his teeth in hard scraps in small venues. Now on the largest stage in the MMA world, this Serbian southpaw has the chance to prove they made the right decision re signing him and move one step closer to getting on to a main card.
The Fight: These two have very similar styles, they both are proficient in every aspect and have better than average cardio. It’s tough to predict what we will see out of Musoke following the two year break, but if he is back to optimal health he will be the victor in a very close decision in a fight that will have a little bit of everything. Musoke Split Decision
+155 Reza Madadi (14-5) vs. -180 Joaquim Silva (9-1)
Reza Madadi: Iranian born Swedish resident Reza “Mad Dog” Madadi will make a super quick turnaround after coming up short against Joseph Duffy just two months ago. Madadi was out gunned by the talented young Irishman, but fought like a true warrior continually moving forward despite absorbing massive amounts of punishment.
Madadi has trained with Alexander Gustafsson, Iler Latafi and crew at Sweeden’s Allstars Training Center for the past couple years and has transformed himself from a Wrestler to a Mixed Martial Artist. At 38 this may be the last time we see Madadi grace the octagon. If that is the case the Swedish fan favorite will get the opportunity for a story book final fight.
Joquim Silva: TUF Brazil 4 contestant Joquim “Netto BJJ” Silva recently made short work of Andrew Holbrook to pick up his second UFC victory in as many attempts. Silva floored the scrappy Indianan with a flying knee in the opening stanza of their July bout.
Don’t be fooled by the nickname Silva is a Muay Thai striker through and through. Other than his split decision debut victory over Argentine Nazareno Malegarie, Silva has finished all of his fights in the first round. A win here would give him a 3-0 start post TUF which could lead to bigger numbers for his contract negations in the near future.
The Fight: Madadi has a lot going for him in this match up. For starters Madadi is as tough as they come and has never been knocked out. Secondly Silva has proven to be susceptible to submissions losing by rear naked to choke to Glacio Franca on TUF. And lastly Madadi will be near impossible to finish in front of his hometown crowd. Madadi will take loads of punishment early and pull off a dramatic choke in the final frame. Madadi RNC 3rd
+155 Trevor Smith (14-7) vs. -180 Chris Camozzi (24-12)
Trevor Smith: Arizona Combat Sports trained Trevor “Hot Sauce” Smith will be stepping into the octagon for the 10th time in Stockholm. In his most recent outing Smith had a two fight win streak snapped by TUF 23 winner Andrew Sanchez in a gritty, grinding unanimous decision.
Smith will be stepping in for Magnus Cedenblad and as a result will have an abbreviated training camp. This will be a bit of a crossroads fight for the 36 year old vet, currently sitting at 4-5 in the UFC a loss would make a case continued employment difficult despite his kill or be killed mentality. A victory would put him at .500 and a winner in three of his last four, making him a likely candidate for a top 15 contender match up.
Chris Camozzi: Team Elevation stand out Chris Camozzi returns to the octagon for the 19th time in his UFC career. Camozzi’s last appearance was a hard fought decision loss to unlikely top 15 contender, Aussie Judoka Daniel Kelly this past November.
A veteran of the UFC since 2010 Camozzi has had his fair share of ups and downs in the cage. The dangerous striker has proven to be too good for competition outside of the UFC, but at 30 his margin for era is decreasing and any losses going forward would make a future as a title contender improbable.
The Fight: This has all the makings of a loser leaves town match. Less with Camozzi who has endured 5 fight skids in the past, but still neither can afford a step backwards. Smith is a scrappy Wrestler whose strength is his strength and tends to struggle when his is unable to overpower his foes. Camozzi is an excellent striker whose take down defense has held up against non elite grapplers. Camozzi will score on the feet and stuff enough take downs to bring home the victory on the cards. Camozzi Unanimous Decision
-750 #12 Pedro Munhoz (13-2) vs. +550 Damian Stasiak (10-3)
Pedro Munhoz: Former RFA Bantamweight champion Pedro “The Young Punisher” Munhoz recently collected his fourth UFC victory when he submitted Justin Scoggins in his native Brazil. The submission machine also took home his second 50k bonus for performance of the night.
The long time Kings MMA fighter recently made the cross country move to start training with the ever increasing super camp known as The American Top Team. The Sao Paulo native is a legitimate contender for the Bantamweight title and at 30 his run to the top should start know.
Damian Stasiak: 26 year old Polish prospect Damian “Webster” Stasiak was given his nickname due to his physical resemblance and similar no non sense attitude of America’s favorite 80’s sitcom orphan. The resilient Stasiak picked up his second UFC victory last October in a come from behind victory over Davy Grant.
Stasiak began his martial arts career in karate but has transformed himself into a high level grappler winning seven of his eleven (including two in the UFC) victories via submission. Stasiak still trains in his native Poland with his home camp being the United Gym in Lodz, Poland with UFC heavyweight Marcin Tybura.
The Fight: Satsiak has shown he is a competent submission grappler in his UFC bouts, but his going to be dealing with another level of expertise in Munhoz. Stasiak will do his best to keep his distance on the feet and remain standing, but the fight will eventually hit the ground and end shortly there after. Munhoz Gullotine 1st