The UFC invades the Amway Centre in Orlando, Florida, for UFC fight night Thompson vs Holland. Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland returns to the Octagon to face Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.
The co-main event sees heavy-handed Bryan Barberena and former Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos meet in a Welterweight clash.
Amanda Ribas vs Tracey Cortez is now off the preliminary portion of the card, and Cortez had a medical issue after the weigh-ins. There has been no word if the fight will take place at a later date.
UFC Thompson vs Holland Preview
Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson vs Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland
Two men who are looking to move up the Welterweight ladder. Halland returned to the Welterweight division with a win over Alex Oliveira back at UFC 272. After another win over Tim Means, He hit a roadblock in the form of a Khamzat Chimaev. A loss here for the ‘Trailblazer’ is not the end of the world; it will help him rise the division’s ranks again.
It’s a different story for Thompson; he has back-to-back losses and needs a win. He has been a loyal worker for the company, but a loss here will not work in his favour. ‘Wonderboy’ is a lifelong martial; artist; there is no doubt that he will try and find a way to win.
Holland will need to stick to his game plan for this fight. He goes off script and fights the way his opponent wants to fight, and staying solid to what his coaches have said will get him the win.
Odd on Neds: Stephen Thompson $$2.20 Kevin Holland $1.55
Bryan ‘Bam Bam’ Barberena vs Rafael Dos Anjos
Barberena looks to add another former champion to his win column. He loves to throw down; his win over Robbie Lawler showed that, but Dos Anjos will not want to stand and bang with him. Barberena will want to fight smart here, stop Dos Anjos from getting the takedown, and then punish him in the standup.
Dos Anjos knows what needs to be done here; take Barberena down and submit him. If he wishes to stand and trade blows with ‘Bam Bam’, he must remember an old saying, “box a Brawler, Brawl a boxer”. He needs to be technical when facing Barberena, make him frustrated. At all costs, he can’t play into his opponent’s hands by trading with him.
Odds on Neds: Bryan Barberena $5.20 Rafael Dos Anjos $1.17
Matheus Nicolau vs Matt ‘Danger’ Schnell
After a brief stint outside the UFC, Nicolau will look to notch his fourth win inside the Octagon. The fact that he was released was a head-scratcher; he had only lost one fight in the promotion. This will motivate him when he walks into the cage on Saturday (Sunday in Australia).
Matt Schnell’s last fight was incredible. He was rocked on several occasions but always recovered quickly and got a submission win. He will need to on his game here; Nicolau will not give him the same openings that Su Mudaerji did.
Odds on Neds: Matheus Nicolau $1.25 Matt Schnell $4.00
Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa vs Sergei Pavlovich
This fight should be one of the fights to get a performance bonus. These are two Heavyweight fighters with knockout power who never take a backwards step.
Tuivasa showed that he belongs at the division’s top in his last performance. He did lose, but he came so close to beating Ciryl Gane when he dropped him, but for once, he was just a bit cautious. He can’t give Pavlovich a chance to recover and get back into the fight.
Pavlovich needs to be relentless from the beginning. By applying pressure and moving forward, he can frustrate Tuivasa, and the knockout will come. He is a ruthless fighter, and he will show no mercy.
Odds on Neds: Tai Tuivasa $2.85 Sergei Pavlovich $1.44
Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson vs Roman ‘The Caucasian’ Dolidze
It might be unfair to call Hermansson a gatekeeper; however, that is what he seems to be. He is a reliable name that if the promotion bigwigs want to see if a new fighter has what it takes to go to the next level, they will match that person up with Hermansson. He is a complete fighter, though. The Norweigan has good standup and can wrestle when he needs to. He doesn’t desperately need a win here, but getting two in a row would be good.
This is the fight that Dolidze needs to go to the next level. His only loss was at the hands of Trevor Giles, and beating an opponent the calibre of Hermansson will push him up the chain.
Odds on Neds: Jack Hermansson $1.52 Roman Dolidze $2.55
Eryk ‘Ya Boi’ Anders vs Kyle ‘The Darce Knight’ Daukas
Two men who need a win to stay in the promotion. Anders has lost his last two fights, and there is still room for a veteran like him on the UFC roster. He needs a convincing win over ‘The Darce Knight’ to stay around, preferably via knockout or submission.
This is a real danger fight for Daukaus, and he risks slipping to a 2-4 record with a loss. He needs to get Anders down and lock in a Darce choke for the win. He will be cut from the promotion if he doesn’t even win, whether convincing or not.
Odds on Neds: Eryk Anders $2.90 Kyle Daukaus $1.42
The fights start at 11 am AEDT on ESPN 2, which you can see on Foxtel or Kayo. You can also watch on UFC Fight Pass.