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Utica: Fight by Fight Preview

 

JIMMIE RIVERA VS MARLON MORAES
A good ol’ fashioned Jersey grudge match heads to upstate New York, and even without all that bad blood intrigue, this is still a great fight between two of the best bantamweights in the world. Jimmie Rivera has been on a long win streak that has him knocking on the door of a title shot, but will he be able to keep his emotions in check against Marlon Moraes, who has some of the best striking in the division? If Moraes can goad Rivera into a firefight, it’s the Brazilian who holds the edge, but if Rivera sticks to a versatile game plan, he’s got to be the favorite. A quality main event, for sure.

GREGOR GILLESPIE VS VINC PICHEL

LIGHTING 'EM UP HERE IN BUFFALO

The Upstate kid @Gregor_The_Gift returns to his turf at #UFCUtica. pic.twitter.com/wPe6jrcHxL
— UFC (@ufc) May 30, 2018

Two hard-nosed lightweights square off in this one, with Gregor Gillespie putting his unbeaten record on the line against Vinc Pichel. Pichel is living a pretty crazy story, returning from three-year layoff to win in a two in a row in the toughest division in the UFC. As for Gillespie, he’s lived up to all the hype that surrounded him before his Octagon debut, going 4-0 with three finishes in the big show. These two won’t have to look too far to find each other, and fireworks should ensue for as long as this one lasts.

WALT HARRIS VS DANIEL SPITZ
At 6-foot-7, Daniel Spitz is going to be a nightmare matchup for most heavyweights, but that’s only if he uses his height and reach to his advantage. If he doesn’t, and lets Walt Harris get close, “The Big Ticket” has the power and accuracy to make it a short night.

JAKE ELLENBERGER VS BEN SAUNDERS
Fight of the Night bonus checks may be going out to two of the UFC’s most seasoned welterweights, as Jake Ellenberger and Ben Saunders collide in Utica. Both fighters have run into some rough road in recent bouts, but given their styles, the winner of this one will likely emerge with some new life at 170 pounds and maybe a few extra bucks in the bank account.

JULIO ARCE VS DANIEL TEYMUR
Neither Julio Arce or Daniel Teymur got a full training camp for their short notice UFC debuts, but both left a positive impression, Arce defeating Dan Ige and Teymur getting Fight of the Night honors in a loss to Danny Henry. In Utica, they come in firing on all cylinders, with an exciting battle expected to ensue and perhaps establish the winner as a legit featherweight prospect.

GIAN VILLANTE VS SAM ALVEY

HEAVY HANDS. Will we see another spectacular KO from @SmileNSam at #UFCUtica? pic.twitter.com/StT8A3G1AA
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) May 29, 2018

Also expected to make a run for Fight of the Night honors is this light heavyweight clash between bangers Gian Villante and Sam Alvey. Alvey wanted this fight, and there’s little surprise why – he loves to counter an aggressive foe, and Villante is always moving forward. There shouldn’t be too many lulls in this one.

SIJARA EUBANKS VS LAUREN MURPHY

Ready to meet @SarJnCharge 2.0? #UFCUtica pic.twitter.com/QHDJYzxa45
— UFC (@ufc) May 30, 2018

With Sijara Eubanks and Lauren Murphy sitting at number two and three, respectively, in the rankings at 125 pounds, the winner of this bout should end up on the short list for a crack at champion Nicco Montano. And when you add in the rivalry the two TUF 26 vets have had since the show, expect a heck of a fight on Friday.

NIK LENTZ VS DAVID TEYMUR
David Teymur has had a nice run in the UFC, going 4-0 with two KOs. But he’ll have to get by veteran Nik Lentz to show that he’s ready for prime time at 155 pounds. Lentz is a tough out for anyone, and with an impressive Performance of the Night win over Will Brooks in his most recent bout, momentum is on the side of “The Carny,” whose goal should be simple – get Teymur to the mat.

BELAL MUHAMMAD VS CHANCE RENCOUNTRE
Welterweight up and comer Chance Rencountre makes his UFC debut on short notice against Belal Muhammad, and it will be a tough task for the Oklahoman, as Muhammad has won three straight in a tough weight class, showing a nice evolution of his game with the Roufusport gang in Milwaukee.

DESMOND GREEN VS GLEISON TIBAU
Desmond Green will try to snap the first two-fight losing streak of his career when he takes on Gleison Tibau, and he’ll get to do it close to home in upstate New York. That’s a lot of pressure on “The Predator,” but this is the perfect opportunity for him to show that he’s a threat in the 155-pound weight class.

JESSICA AGUILAR VS JODIE ESQUIBEL

The Action Starts Here on #UFCFIGHTPASS this Friday for #UFCUtica!

Featured Bout: Veteran @jagatt vs @InvictaFights standout @JodieEsquibel<br@JohnnyEduardoN vs @CageWarriors champ@TheProspectMMA@The_monkeygod (13-1) vs @TitanFighting champ @ShortyTorres125 (7-0) pic.twitter.com/3Txuo8Y6Az
— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) May 29, 2018

Two veterans of WMMA square off in Utica, and it’s going to be a classic matchup of striker vs grappler when Jodie Esquibel and Jessica Aguilar battle it out in search of their first UFC win.

JOHNNY EDUARDO VS NATHANIEL WOOD
They don’t call Nathaniel Wood “The Prospect” for nothing, and he’ll get a chance to live up to the hype when he meets Brazilian veteran Johnny Eduardo. A win here, and Wood may find himself an immediate place in the bantamweight top 15.

JARRED BROOKS VS JOSE TORRES
Speaking of hot prospects, Jose “Shorty” Torres has been on the radar of UFC fans for a long time, and Friday night, he meets the talented Jarred Brooks in a fight that should guarantee that everyone is on UFC FIGHT PASS for the start of this show.