The Octagon heads to Target Center at Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 29 for ESPN 4.
It’s been previously declared that the headliner will be a five-round welterweight rematch between former winners Tyron Woodley and Robbie Lawler, and we understand four of the other fights on the card, including a title eliminator in the flyweight division. These bouts are official according to the UFC. The new spells are recorded below, together with my initial thoughts on them.
Jussier Formiga vs. Joseph Benavidez, UFC on ESPN 4
The most essential of this new batch of struggle announcements is that a flyweight bout between Jussier Formiga and Joseph Benavidez, which is expected to garner the winner a title shot at 125lbs. Formiga (23-5) is 9-4 at the UFC and is now riding a four-fight win streak that contains a dominant win over Deiveson Figueiredo in his final outing. After several years as a gatekeeper, it finally looks like Formiga has turned the page and has entered competition status. Benavidez (27-5) is 13-3 at the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back wins over Dustin Ortiz and Alex Perez. Both men are tremendous fighters in the flyweight division, but given Benavidez’ resume and high quality of wins over the years, I would have to favor him heading into this fight.
Maurice Greene vs. Junior Albini, UFC on ESPN 4
Heavyweights Maurice Greene and Junior Albini are scheduled to battle. Greene (7-2) is currently 2-0 at the UFC with back-to-back wins over Jeff Hughes and Michel Batista. The win over Hughes was especially impressive as Greene was an underdog heading into the bout. Albini (14-5) is 1-3 in the UFC and has dropped three straight fights such as a TKO loss to Jairzinho Rozenstruik in his last outing. This is a weird matchup considering one fighter is about a win series and the other one is on a losing skid, but if you believe Greene is the hometown fighter, then it resembles that the UFC is throwing him a bone here to find an easy win before his supporters. Greene ought to be a huge favorite in this one.
Drew Dober vs. Marco Polo Reyes, UFC on ESPN 4
An exciting lightweight bout sees Drew Dober take on Marco Polo Reyes. Dober (20-9, 1 NC) is 6-5, 1 NC total in the UFC and is coming from a submission reduction to Beneil Dariush. Before this Dariush struggle, Dober had won three straight fights, but once again his lack of entry defense cost him his win series. Reyes (8-5) is 4-2 at the UFC and is coming from a TKO loss to Damir Hadzovic. He’s summoned electricity himself, but Dober includes a solid chin so that may not come in to play. Both men have been very inconsistent in the UFC, but Dober seems to be a bit more durable and that’s why I would slightly prefer him in what ought to be a stand-up struggle.
Vinicius Moreira vs. Roman Dolidze, UFC on ESPN 4
And finally, light heavyweights Vinicius Moreira and Roman Dolidze are set to fulfill. Moreira (9-2) is 0-1 in the UFC with a brutal KO loss to Alonzo Menifield in his Octagon debut which snapped a five-fight win series. Dolidze (6-0) is undefeated so far in his MMA career with all of his wins coming from stoppage. Moreira looked awful in his UFC debut and you have to fade him figure Dolidze should be able to finish him in catastrophic fashion.
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