The UFC recently announced the initial batch of bouts for the upcoming UFC 239 blockbuster card which takes place July 6 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In last week’s MMA Odds and Ends, I gave my first thoughts on both title fights on peak of the invoice featuring Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos for the UFC light heavyweight title and Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm for your UFC women’s bantamweight title. I also gave my ideas on a fascinating light heavyweight matchup between Luke Rockhold and Jan Blachowicz.
Well, it seems the UFC wants to truly have a particular card for this year’s International Fight Week occasion, since based on ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, two more exciting conflicts have been reserved for UFC 239. One is a welterweight matchup between Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal, and the other is a heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos. Below are my initial thoughts on the fights
Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal, UFC 239
Welterweight contenders Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal fulfill at UFC 239 using an expected title shot on the line. UFC president Dana White initially told reporters after UFC 235 the advertising planned a rematch between Askren and Robbie Lawler, but once Lawler was reserved at a rematch against Tyron Woodley in UFC on ESPN 4 it opened the door for Askren to combat an original face. Many figured that the UFC could take the bait and publication Masvidal against Leon Edwards following their backstage scuffle in UFC London, however, the advertising has instead decided to match Askren and Masvidal up in a prospective No. 1 competitor’s bout.
Askren (19-0, 1 NC) had an odd UFC debut against Lawler, but ultimately did wind up getting his hands raised. After surviving a hard slam and also an early onslaught of floor punches, Askren was able to put Lawler in a bulldog choke, coaxing a phantom tapout out of referee Herb Dean. Fans did not wish to find a rematch, however, along with the UFC ultimately listed, providing”Funky” a fresh opponent. The former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight champion is undefeated in his profession and is currently riding a five-fight win series that includes four victories via stoppage. Together with his ability to speak a big game, Askren has quickly becoming fan favorite amongst UFC lovers, and the advertising has evidently taken note.
Masvidal (33-13) is 10-6 overall from the UFC and is coming from possibly the biggest win of his career, a brutal KO victory over Darren Until in the primary event of UFC London. Masvidal had turned into a gatekeeper at 170lbs and hadn’t any fought over a year following back-to-back decision losses to Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia. But all of us know MMA is a”what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” sport and the triumph over indefinitely increased Masvidal’s inventory to the highest degree it’s his whole career. He had been due for a big fight, along with the UFC considers this matchup against Askren is the best fight possible.
I love this matchup, and I’m thankful the UFC chose to reserve it as it’s an intriguing fight between two veterans of the sport who are seeking to acquire a title shot. Given Askren’s undefeated record along with his impressive wrestling pedigree, I think you need to give him the status of gambling favorite heading into this particular bout. However, with Masvidal having strong takedown defense and a superior striking assault, he’ll be a live puppy once again.
Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos, UFC 239
As well, a heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos is famous for UFC 239, with the winner probably stepping into the role of No. 1 rival to champion Daniel Cormier’s belt.
Ngannou (13-3) is 8-2 in the UFC and is coming from back-to-back knockout wins over Curtis Blaydes and Cain Velasquez. After two dreadful performances against Derrick Lewis and Stipe Miocic, it seems Ngannou has found his groove again in the heavyweight division.
Dos Santos (21-5) is 15-4 at the UFC and is currently riding a three-fight win streak over Lewis, Blagoy Ivanov and Tai Tuivasa. The former UFC heavyweight champ is starting to look like his old self once more, and at this stage might be in contention for a UFC Hall of Fame spot.
Both men are on a roll right now, however given the reality Ngannou has taken far less damage in his career and gets got the hype train behind him , I’d venture to guess he’ll be a small favorite here.
Fantastic fight, and UFC 239 is beginning to form up as the best card of this year without Conor McGregor accessible to fight.
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