Two top contenders at bantamweight headline this weekend’s UFC card at Fight Island as Marlon Moraes takes on Corey Sandhagen. Sandhagen will rebound from his first loss in the UFC to Aljamain Sterling, while Marlon Moraes is coming off a somewhat controversial win over Jose Aldo. There are many exciting fights on the card, let’s take a look at some fighters to target.
There are two guys I’ll be targeting, first is Tom Aspinall at $9400. Aspinall is a guy with a wrestling and boxing background, and he possesses some serious power. He is coming off a 1st round TKO win over Jake Collier, which is somewhat a step-down in competition. No, some may see Alan Badout’s 8-0 record and think there’s a chance at an upset, but Baudot’s wins are against significantly less-skilled fighters in lower-level promotions. Yeah, anything can happen at heavyweight, but Aspinall should take care of business rather quickly here. The other guy above 9k I like is Tagir Ulanbekov, who is making his UFC debut. Ulanbekov is somewhat of a mix between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Zabit Magomedsharipov. Ulanbekov is a severe prospect with good striking and a solid ground game, and yes, he trains with the Dagestani crew like Makhachev and Khabib. Ulanbekov is better everywhere here, and I think he can score well with multiple takedowns or a possible finish.
Edson Barboza $8800 – I love Edson Barboza here, probably my favorite DK play. This is a HUGE step up in competition for Makwan Amirkhani, and the way I see this going is Amirkhani shooting for takedowns early. Edson was weathering the early storm and breaking him down in the second round with leg kicks and body shots. If Amirkhani does get this to the ground early on, it doesn’t concern me as Edson is a decent grappler and can hold his own on the mat. This is a complete mismatch on the feet, and I think we will get a very motivated fighter as he feels he got robbed in his fight against Dan Ige. I think this will be a one-sided ass beating.
Sandhagen/Moraes – I will have more lineups with Sandhagen, and I think the only path for Moraes here is a finish within the first two rounds. After that, I see Sandhagen pressuring Moraes and using his range and putting a lot of volume on the Brazilian. This will be a fun fight, but I think the winner scores well, and I’ll be on Sandhagen for the most part with some lineups with Marlon Moraes.
It gets tricky as usual below 8k, and while I’ll take shots with Chris Daukaus and Markus Perez, I’m intrigued by Joaquin Buckley at $7000. I think Buckley has a very functional striking game, and I believe there are some positives we can take out of his fight with Kevin Holland. He took the fight on short notice and put forth a solid effort even though he lost in the 3rd via TKO. Kasanguay is a solid prospect, and he’s improving, but I just think the odds are a little wide here, and I still think Kasanguay is a bit raw. I see no reason why Buckley can’t win this fight using solid combos and staying level headed. We’ll see, but I’ll take a shot with Buckley. I’m also going to have Ilia Tuporia at $7600 in some lineups as well. Zalal has looked good running off three straight wins in the UFC, but Tuporia brings a serious wrestling/submission game, which Zalal has not seen in his previous UFC encounters. Even though Tuporia is making his UFC debut, this might be the biggest test to date for Zalal. Tuporia is a guy that will fight for your money, and he’s extremely durable. I’ll have some Ilian in my lineups.