Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business tonight (Sat., April 21, 2018) for UFC Fight Night 128 featuring a main event scrap between top lightweight contenders Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza, which will go down from i…
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business tonight (Sat., April 21, 2018) for UFC Fight Night 128 featuring a main event scrap between top lightweight contenders Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza, which will go down from inside Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Coming off a loss to Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title, Kevin Lee is hungry to prove that he didn’t just stumble into a title shot, and deserves to be at the top of the championship hunt (unlike this guy). He has a tough task ahead of him in his return bout, as Edson Barboza is without a doubt the most technical and vicious striker in the 155-pound division. After getting worked over by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his previous loss (see it), the Brazilian bomber is looking to erase the memory of the one-sided beatdown and will attempt to insert himself back into the title picture with a win over a former championship challenger. Lee is predominantly known for his wrestling, but he isn’t afraid to keep the fight standing. Whether or not he actually lives up to this statement and dominates Barboza in every area, is another thing.
Frankie Edgar suffered the first knockout loss of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career just last month at UFC 222, getting taken out by Brian Ortega in Las Vegas, Nevada (highlights). The first stoppage loss of his storied career didn’t stop “The Answer” from picking up the phone a few weeks later when UFC dialed him up to rematch Cub Swanson in his own home state.
It’s an interesting move to say the least on behalf of Edgar, as one would assume he needs more time to gather himself instead of accepting a quick turnaround against a hungry Cub. Granted, Edgar already has a win over Swanson, but the 145-pound stalwart is out to prove he deserves the contract extension and pay raise he received to re-sign with the promotion. As for Edgar, he wants to show he isn’t done just yet. This one is tough to call.
Original Card vs. Actual card:
Augusto Mendes was set to face off against Merab Dvalishvilli, but was pulled from the fight and replaced by Ricky Simon after he was notified of a potential United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) violation. Paulo Costa was set to fight Uriah Hall at the event, but was forced out with an injury and the bout was re-booked for UFC 226. Furthermore, a day before fight night, Aspen Ladd was removed from her fight against Leslie Smith for failing to make weight. Apparently Smith wouldn’t accept the fight — even after getting offered plenty of financial compensation — since her opponent came in 1.8 pounds heavy.
In addition to Costa’s arm injury, Magomed Bibulatov was bounced from his scheduled scrap against Ulka Sasaki with a late back injury.
Simon will be the only fighter making his UFC debut after dominating the regional circuit over his last five bouts including wins under the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) banner and an appearance on Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series.” He will face Merab Dvalishvilli after stepping in for Augusto Mendes.
How The “Prelims” Look:
The “Prelims” undercard has some pretty noticeable and experienced fighters fighting to get back into the spotlight, including Patrick Cummins, who will face off against Corey Anderson in an interesting light heavyweight scrap. Siyar Bahadurzada had some pretty big hype early on in his UFC career, but after an injury forced him to the sidelines he’s kind of becoming a forgotten man in a welterweight division that has all of a sudden become stacked. He will look to collect his third-straight win against Luan Chagas.
Ryan LaFlare is another 170-pound combatant who lost a little bit of steam after beginning his Octagon career with four-straight wins. Going 2-2 in his last four bouts after going undefeated for seven years, the New York native looks to bounce back from a knockout loss to Alex Oliveira when he takes on Alex Garcia.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Jim Miller is one of the most hard-nosed and experienced veterans fighting under the UFC banner. But, 2017 was not kind for him, losing all three of his fights to Anthony Pettis, Dustin Poirier and Francisco Trinaldo. I don’t foresee the promotion parting ways with Miller should he drop his fourth straight when he faces Dan Hooker in the opening bout of the main card, but the 155-pound staple still needs to get back on track before he starts falling further down the mountain.
Interest Level: 8/10
This card is actually pretty damn good and has plenty of intriguing fights taking part on the main card. Aside from the main and co-main bouts, the other four bouts will add some spice to this free event. At heavyweight, Chase Sherman and Justin Willis will look to up their stock in the land of big men, which doesn’t exactly have a legit top contender to challenge current champion Stipe Miocic, who had to look at the 205-pound division for his next title defense.
David Branch didn’t make the splash he would’ve hoped for in his second UFC fight after getting finished by former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold and having his 11-fight win streak snapped in devastating fashion. Branch will have another tough test ahead of him as Thiago Santos has quietly won four straight via knockout.
After getting knocked out cold by Marlon Moraes in his last outing, Aljamain Sterling will make his return to action to face undefeated prospect Brett Johns in a highly-intriguing bantamweight bout. Their styles matchup perfectly, and this fight has my vote for potential ”Fight of the Night” winner.
We are in for an exciting night of fights.
Full UFC Fight Night 128 Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 128 Main Event:
157 lbs.: Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee
UFC Fight Night 128 Co-Main Event:
145 lbs.: Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson
UFC Fight Night 128 Main Card on FOX Sports 1 (10 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Chase Sherman vs. Justin Willis
185 lbs.: David Branch vs. Thiago Santos
135 lbs.: Brett Johns vs. Aljamain Sterling
155 lbs.: Dan Hooker vs. Jim Miller
UFC Fight Night 128 Prelims Card on FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Alex Garcia vs. Ryan LaFlare
135 lbs.: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Ricky Simon
170 lbs.: Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Luan Chagas
205 lbs.: Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins
UFC Fight Night 128 Prelims Card on Fight Pass (7:30 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Tony Martin vs. Keita Nakamura
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