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Postado em 10 de setembro, 2019
The UFC recently announced the initial batch of spells 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 initial thoughts on the two title fights at the top of the bill containing 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 onto an intriguing light heavyweight matchup between Luke Rockhold and Jan Blachowicz.
It seems the UFC would like to truly have a special card for this year’s International Fight Week event, since according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, two exciting conflicts are booked 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 ideas on the fights
Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal, UFC 239
Welterweight contenders Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal meet at UFC 239 using a potential title shot on the line. UFC president Dana White originally told reporters after UFC 235 that the advertising planned a rematch between Askren and Robbie Lawler, but after Lawler was reserved at a rematch against Tyron Woodley at UFC on ESPN 4 it opened the door for Askren to fight a fresh face. Many figured the UFC could take the bait and book Masvidal against Leon Edwards following their backstage scuffle at UFC London, however, the advertising has instead decided to match Askren and Masvidal up in a potential No. 1 contender’s bout.
Askren (19-0, 1 NC) had an odd UFC debut against Lawler, but finally did end up getting his hand raised. After living a hard slam and an early onslaught of ground punches, Askren was able to place Lawler at a bulldog choke, coaxing a ghost tapout from referee Herb Dean. Fans did not want to see a rematch, however, along with the UFC ultimately listed, providing”Funky” a new opponent. The former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight champion is undefeated in his career and is now riding a five-fight win series that includes four successes via stoppage. Together with his ability to talk a big game, Askren has quickly becoming fan favorite amongst UFC lovers, and the advertising has taken notice.
Masvidal (33-13) is 10-6 overall in the UFC and is coming off of arguably the biggest win of his career, a brutal KO victory over Darren Until in the main event of UFC London. Masvidal had become a gatekeeper at 170lbs and had no fought in over a year after back-to-back decision losses to Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia. But we all know MMA is a”what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” sport and the win over Till raised Masvidal’s inventory to the maximum degree it has his entire career. He had been due for a huge fight, along with the UFC believes this matchup against Askren is your best fight possible.
I adore this matchup, and I’m thankful the UFC decided to reserve it since it’s an intriguing battle involving two veterans of the game who are seeking to get a title shot. Given Askren’s undefeated record and his impressive wrestling pedigree, I believe you need to give him the status of betting favorite going into this bout. But with Masvidal having solid takedown defense and a superior striking attack, he will be a live dog once again.
Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos, UFC 239
At the same time, a heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos is slated for UFC 239, with the winner probably stepping into the part of No. 1 contender to champion Daniel Cormier’s belt.
Ngannou (13-3) is 8-2 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back knockout wins over Curtis Blaydes and Cain Velasquez. After two awful 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 now riding a three-fight win streak over Lewis, Blagoy Ivanov and Tai Tuivasa. The former UFC heavyweight champ is starting to seem just like his old self once again, and at this stage could be in contention for a UFC Hall of Fame place.
Both guys are on a roll at the moment, however given the fact Ngannou has taken much less damage in his profession and has the hype train behind him again, I’d venture to guess he’ll be a small favorite here.
Great fight, and UFC 239 is beginning to form up as the best card of the year without Conor McGregor accessible to fight.
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