This Saturday, Stephen Thompson finds a match with a former UFC champion, but probably that's not what he expected.
After a few unsuccessful bid winnings two years ago, "Wonderboy" has a lot of work to do while fighting with former title holders Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos for bouts, making no bookings, allowing Thompsons Now, Thompson has surprisingly come together with former lightweight king Anthony Pettis for the main event of UFC Nashville, and it is still unclear what a victory for Thompson's title hopes will mean.
Pettis has never been a welterweight Fought in the UFC In seven bouts, he alternated between victories and defeats in the 1
The co-headliner comes up with two heavyweights, the na I'm looking for respect. Curtis Blaydes has lost a 45-second defeat to Francis Ngannou, while Justin Willis wants to continue a four-fight winning streak, which has flown under the radar heads of most fans.
John Makdessi and Jesus Pinedo meet in a battle of strikers flyweights Jussier Formiga and Deiveson Figueiredo collide, Luis Pena aka "Violent Bob Ross" fights Steven Peterson in a 148.5-pound Catchweight fight and Maycee Barber and JJ Aldrich face flyweight debuts.
What: UFC Nashville
Where: Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee
When: Saturday, March 23rd. The preliminary ESPN + card will begin at 5 pm ET, and the event will continue on ESPN + with a six-card fight starting at 8 pm. ET.
Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis
This is an entertaining matchup if you do not reconsider the stakes. Stephen Thompson, one of the leading UFC technicians on his feet, kicks Anthony Pettis, one of his most creative all-round fighters. As proud as Pettis is of his jiu-jitsu, he is also a fan of unorthodox blows, and Thompson must be careful that Pettis takes some risks.
Whether one of these attacks lands on the evasive "Wonderboy" is another question altogether. He is a master in building the reach and in a fight where he has expected him to have the size and the advantage, it will be even easier for him to keep Pettis at bay and keep him with everything he has on Thompson Throws air to snap. The ever-patient Thompson will set off on Pettis' body and leg kicks and carry Pettis down the first few laps.
For Pettis, he can increase his chances of making spectacular landings with all sorts of unorthodox moves. Even the best defensive fighters can be thrown out of rhythm with a skillful use of feint and controlled aggression. The threat of a takedown is also useful for Pettis, as it is more of a submission threat.
In the dispute, however, the economies of scale of Thompson are even more pronounced. Against the sheer strength of Tyron Woodley, Thompson struggled to keep the former master away from him. But his defensive defense is constantly improving, and he's good at not crawling around with the tricky Pettis.
Should he do so, Thompson will, I expect, make a decision victory or even finish in the later rounds
Curtis Blaydes Vs. Justin Willis
Regarding Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes was caught in his last outing. And if he does not respect Justin Willis' finishing ability, he might get caught again.
Blaydes will want to shoot Willis early and often, an aspiring striker with a pop in his left hand. All it takes is a mistake Willis makes to cut off Blaydes and finish him like Ngannou. At least Blaydes has to stand up as a threat while standing, even if he does not intend to stay there.
Because on the mat Blaydes can earn his money. He has an excellent wrestling pedigree and both the technique and the muscles to tie up the burly Willis and put him on his back. The ground and pounds will soften Willis and drain his fuel tank, giving Blaydes control over the actions as the fight progresses.
But Blaydes can not trade with Willis, even if he has a considerable success early on. Willis will gladly invite Blaydes to deal with him, and if that happens, Blaydes will essentially leave the outcome of the fight to fate. We hope for him that he is smart enough not to do that.
John Makdessi vs. Jesus Pinedo
John Makdessi's heart should be better on the right path because he has to chase Jesus Pinedo for 15 minutes. You could call Pinedo's movements "nervous," and I mean that in the most complementary way.
It will be fascinating to observe Makdessi's attempt to capture Pinedo, a 22-year-old Prospect from Peru, who changes his attitude from defense to attacking the drop of a hat. Makdessi has a significant downside to the range, so he has to be tactical to get Pinedo into an area where he feels comfortable. If he finds his rhythm, Makdessi can be a reckless kickboxer, and he has an arsenal of spinning spins to punish Pinedo.
I tend to the experience and precision of Makdessi, although young fighters here like Pinedo are always hard to count. Makdessi by decision.
Yussier Formiga Vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
This looks like a worrying match for Yussier Formiga, who has long had problems with opponents who can not avoid being controlled by his opponent and rework him on his feet. Deiveson Figueiredo adapts to this form.
Although Figueiredo's Jiu-Jitsu is not Formiga-level, he is an aggressive ground fighter himself and can do damage to Formigas guard if he decides to interfere with some takedowns. When he hits, he accuses throwing single punches as opposed to combinations, but since Formiga usually spends very little, this should not be a problem. Figueiredo will have time to gauge Formiga before he starts the straight right and left hook he loves so much.
Formiga has a chance in every fight if he can bring his opponent to the ground, so Figueiredo has to be more careful than it is usual to avoid being the next victim caught by the flyweight veteran. Still, this is Figueiredo's chance to make a serious statement, and I think he wins a knockout win on Saturday.
Luis Pena vs. Steven Peterson
It's a shame that Luis Pena's bad weight missed Friday because this would have been a great opportunity for him to show off what he's in a new department can do. Considering that "Violent Bob Ross" stands at 6ft-3 and his opponents are already towering at lightweight, it's not surprising that he had trouble making the cut.
Nevertheless, this greatness will be a blessing for him matchup with Steven Peterson. Pena's long limbs make him a serious threat on the ground, and although Peterson does not have any fish down there in the water, it will take a lot of work to navigate the shunter Pena down there. Peterson is well rounded, but has not been tested in the Grappling Department since joining the UFC.
What Peterson can do is fight. He is amazing. Pena, on the other hand, refused to pull the trigger on his feet, and if his chin was actually reduced by a poor weight loss, he might see stars if Peterson managed to secure him and attack him with a whirlwind. It remains to be seen if Pena will be able to turn his jab into a legitimate weapon, or if he will become the Stefan Struve of the lighter weight classes.
If he relies on his weapon, Pena should be the first fighter to line up Peterson.
Maycee Barber vs. JJ Aldrich
The modest JJ Aldrich develops a reputation as a dirty underdog. Can she stand up to the confident 20-year-old Maycee Barber?
Barber's Standup is still in the works, and Aldrich is more self-confident in every aspect of the show. In her last assignment, she has put together submission specialist Polyana Viana, and if Barber is not careful, she might find that her hype train is quickly derailed.
In other words, the aggression Barber showed in her UFC debut, and her stubborn determination when it comes to attacking land, makes her such a fascinating talent. Although the beating is not going in the right direction, she has the stamina to try Takedowns in the final stages of the competition.
This is one of the more difficult main card fights. Barber has looked great so far, but Aldrich is a legitimate step forward and could represent the first speed-down of Barber's career.
Bobby Moffett def. Bryce Mitchell
Marlon Vera def. Frankie Saenz
Alexis Davis def. Jennifer Maia
Angela Hill def. Randa Markos
Chris Gutierrez def. Ryan MacDonald
Eric Shelton def. Jordan Espinosa