+120 Erick Silva (19-7) vs. -140 Yancey Medeiros (13-4)
Erick Silva: Action packed Brazilian brawler Erick Silva put an end to his two fight skid with a fight of the night performance against Luan Chagas. Silva went punch for punch with Chagas for two and a half rounds and at the end it was Silva who had the gas left to sink in the rear naked choke.
Silva is 7-6 since he began fighting for the UFC in 2011, with only two of those fights making it to the final bell. At 32 years old Silva will have to start placing a stronger emphasis on his striking defense and take a more technical approach to trading with his opponents, or he will find it difficult to hold on to his roster spot.
Yancey Medeiros: Hawaiian Scrapper Yancey Medeiros picked up his fourth performance bonus with a submission of the night victory over Sean Spencer at UFC 203. Injuries have limited Medeiros’s time in the octagon and the Spencer win was his first since 2015.
Medeiros is one of the best Lightweight fighters to not crack the divisions top 15 since his debut four years ago. The 29 year old has improved upon his diet, cardio and overall game, training with the Diaz brothers and if he keeps putting on fight of the night scraps he will be making Diaz money soon.
The Fight: This one will kick the PPV card off with a bang, these two brawlers will throw hands in a entertaining, technical street fight. Medeiros has been the more durable of the two and works the body with regularity. It will be his body blows that make the difference in the later rounds. Medeiros TKO 3rd
-270 Paulo Borrachinha (9-0) vs. +230 Oluwale Bamgbose (6-2)
Paulo Borrachinha: TUF: Brazil 3 alum Paulo Borrachinha kept his incredible nine fight first round knock out streak alive with a decimation of Garreth McClellan in his UFC debut. Borrachinha overwhelmed the blue collar South African with a litany of elbows, knees and kicks that brought a quick end to their March bout.
The 26 year old knock out artist is on the verge of super stardom in his native Brazil, a country hurting for homegrown talent. Borrachinha is a promotions dream an aggressive offensive striker with runway model appearance for marketability. But he will need to focus on his striking defense or his facial symmetry will take a turn for the Rich Franklin.
Oluwale Bamgbose: Explosive Nigerian Oluwale “The Holy War Angel” Bamgbose is returning to the octagon following a 14 month lay off. Injuries to himself and his opponent have kept Bamgbose sidelined and he will be eager to get back in there to erase his last lackluster decision loss to Cezar Ferreira.
The 29 year old Bamgbose has dynamite in his hands and will not back down from an all out slug fest. A life long martial artist he has worked diligently on his grappling, if for no other reason than keep his fights standing where he can unleash his devastating knock out power.
The Fight: Neither of these fighters will have any interest in the ground game in this match up. This will be a fast and furious striking battle that Borrachiha will have the speed and accuracy advantage in, he will avoid Bamgbose’s big shots and pick up the stoppage due to accumulation of damage. Borrachinha TKO 1st
-159 #11 Vitor Belfort (25-13) vs. +139 Nate Marquardt (38-16-3)
Vitor Belfort: Legendary Brazilian striker Vitor Belfort will (probably) leave his gloves in the cage following this one. Vitor has appeared ill prepared to deal with the next generation of fighters, getting badly beaten by Jacare, Mousasi and Gastelum respectively in his last three fights.
It has been twenty plus years since Vitor made his professional debut and in that two decades he has done and seen it all in the MMA world and now many question whether the 40 year old future hall of famer can succeeded in a USADA monitored sport that notes every substance that enters your body. Win or lose the former Middleweight and Light Heavyweight champion’s legacy of one the sport’s most exciting strikers is secure.
Nate Marquardt: Former Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nate “The Great” Marquardt will step into the octagon for the 24th time Saturday night. In his last bout Nate lost a decision to the ultra active “Smilin” Sam Alvey this past January.
The former King of Pancrase debuted against Ivan Salavary in the main event UFC Fight Night 1, since then he has had dozens of memorable battles and amazing accomplishments. But since the sport has cracked down on TRT, Marquardt has lost his Adonis physique and freak athleticism. However he still has unbelievable work ethic and off the charts fight IQ that will give him the advantage over any fighter that is not destined for the top.
The Fight: This legend vs. legend fight could be a preview of Belfort’s proposed senior division. But the general public’s negative opinion on elderly abuse would make that seem like a long shot. Both of these two still have knock out power but it is essentially all Vitor has left. Marquardt is the more complete fighter and he will use his Wrestling and clinch work to spoil Vitor’s swan song. Marquardt Unanimous Decision
-350 #1 Claudia Gadelha (13-2) vs. +285 #2 Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1)
Claudia Gadelha: TUF: 23 coach Claudia Gadelha bounced back from her failed title challenge by defeating Cortney Casey in a unanimous decision. Casey put up a much better fight than most expected, but Gadelha’s non stop pace and elite striking abilities were enough to out point the Hawaiian.
With two losses to current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Gadelha is going to have to defend her number one contender spot multiple times before she can make a case for a third shot at the Polish Kickboxing prodigy. Only 28 Gadelha has time on her side to rebuild her momentum to the top.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz: Polish Muay Thai practitioner Karolina Kowalkiewicz is coming off a failed title challenge to Joanna Champion in which the two Polish strikers traded heavy blows for five rounds. Kowalkiewicz gave the champ her best fight yet but the judges appeared to be going by the “you have to beat the champion to be the champion” philosophy giving the close decision to Joanna.
The 31 year old Kowalkiewicz has only been a professional Mixed Martial Artist for five years but she has already reached the pinnacle of the sport. She has the ability and personality to be a fan favorite for a long time regardless of championship status.
The Fight: Gadelha is the more explosive and powerful of the two, but after her initial flurries it will be Kowalkiewicz who will get the upper hand with her technical striking and superior cardio. Being a three rounder it will defiantly be a close one but Kowalkiewicz will have her hand raised at the end. Kowalkiewicz Split Decision
-148 C Jose Aldo (26-2) vs. +128 #1 Max Holloway (17-3)
Featherweight Title (145)
Jose Aldo: Former undisputed and current interim Featherweight champion Jose Aldo recovered from his :12 knock out loss to Conor McGregor with a masterclass performance against former Lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. Aldo overwhelmed the New Jersey born Wrestler with technical violent strikes and impenetrable take down defense.
Aldo was in top form in the Edgar 2 bout, it appears that the long lay off following the McGregor loss was beneficial in healing up nagging injuries. Aldo’s long term goal is redemption against McGregor, who has no timetable for a return from his adventures into Boxing.
Max Holloway: The newest Hawaiian prodigy on the scene is Max “Blessed” Holloway who became the first man to finish former Lightweight champ Anthony Pettis at UFC 206. Holloway extended his UFC best win streak to ten and collected a interim title of his own with the win over Pettis.
The 25 year old has not tasted defeat since a 2013 decision loss to Conor McGregor. Since the McGregor loss Holloway has steamrolled his competition, dead set on getting vengeance on the Irish super star.
The Fight: This has fight of the year written all over it, both men are super exciting aggressive strikers who thrive in wars. If Holloway choses to strike with Aldo he is going to eat a lot of leg kicks from the outside. Aldo has a one inch reach advantage despite a four inch height disadvantage. Aldo has the check mark in almost every skill and would be a smart bet, however Holloway has the unquantifiable intangibles and finds a way to win. After he goes down three rounds he will pull off the dramatic come from behind knock out victory. Holloway Knockout 4th