Two high-profile matchups have been announced for upcoming battle cards, and my first thoughts on the two are below.
Kevin Lee vs. Rafael dos Anjos, UFC Fight Night 151
Kevin Lee is performed with lightweight as he will move up to welterweight and take on former UFC lightweight winner Rafael dos Anjos at the primary event of UFC Fight Night 151. The episode is set for May 18 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York.
Lee (17-4) is 10-4 in the UFC with all his previous bouts taking place in lightweight. After losing a choice to Al Iaquinta in his last bout, Lee hinted he would be moving up a weight class as at age 26 he’s grown out of his lightweight framework. Though he won’t have the size advantage he did down at 155lbs, together with his quality wrestling skills and enhanced striking Lee should still be a good contender at 170lbs, an the UFC is throwing him to the flame in his divisional introduction against a former title challenger in dos Anjos.
Dos Anjos (28-11) is 17-9 in the UFC and has turned out to be both a elite lightweight and welterweight. But at age 34, he’s finally showing signs of a decline with consecutive decision losses to Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Losing to these fighters on paper isn’t a massive deal, but the Usman struggle was a blowout and it is possible all the harm has really taken it’s toll on him now. Still, I’d give RDA a fantastic chance to beat Lee in this battle. With Lee’s popularity and youth advantage I expect him to be put as a decently-sized favored, making RDA an intriguing puppy play if that’s indeed true.
Luke Rockhold vs. Jan Blachowicz, UFC 239
The first bout added to UFC 239 is a good man, as former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will move up to light heavyweight to shoot on Jan Blachowicz. The card takes place July 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke news of the bout.
Rockhold (16-4) is 6-3 overall in the UFC, together with all his past spells coming in middleweight. He hasn’t competed because a KO loss to Yoel Romero in UFC 221 at February 2018, along with his final success was a TKO win over David Branch in September 2017. Despite the lengthy layoff, Rockhold remains a very intriguing addition to the UFC light heavyweight division. It wasn’t that long ago when Rockhold was the best middleweight on the planet when he won five consecutive fights by finish from the UFC over Michael Bisping, Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Costa Philippou and Tim Boetsch. His shocking KO loss to Bisping from the pair’s rematch at June 2016 will return among the game’s greatest all-time upsets and Rockhold has struggled since then. On the other hand, the thought process is that his chin ought to be sturdier going up a weight class, although that remains to be seen.
Blachowicz (23-8) is 6-5 in the UFC and also was recently knocked out by Thiago Santos at a potential light heavyweight title eliminator. Prior to this, Blachowicz had won four straight struggles by stoppage and was looking like a title contender. The loss to Santos shows his true place in the division, as a luxury gatekeeper who is not quite prepared to battle for the belt. That is why this is fantastic matchmaking from the UFC. Blachowicz is highly rated yet beatable, therefore there’s a fantastic opportunity Rockhold beats him and takes his spot from the top-five, which makes him an immediate competitor for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones if that occurs. Start looking for Rockhold to be a strong favorite heading into the particular bout.
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