UFC Russia takes place April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the following bouts have been added to the card.
Islam Makhachev vs. Arman Tsarukyan, UFC Fight Night 149
Lightweight contender Islam Makhachev returns to the Octagon when he takes on UFC newcomer Arman Tsarukyan at UFC Fight Night 149. Igor Lazorin broke the news. Makhachev (16-1) has gone 5-1 overall in the Octagon and is currently riding a four-fight win streak that includes back-to-back stoppage wins over Gleison Tibau and Kajan Johnson. Tsarukyan (13-1) is only 22 and has already finished 10 fights, including a brutal head kick KO win over former UFC fighter Felipe Olivieri in his last outing. He has won 12 straight fights including victories over other former UFC fighters Junior Assuncao and Takenori Sato. Although Makhachev is a tremendous talent and will surely be a heavy favorite here, I was impressed looking into Tsarukyan and give him a decent chance of making this fight competitive.
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk , UFC Fight Night 149
Light heavyweights Gadzhimurad Antigulov and Michal Oleksiejczuk will meet in a fight that is unlikely to go three full rounds. Antigulov (20-5) is 2-1 in the UFC but was knocked out in brutal fashion by Ion Cutelaba in his last outing. Oleksiejczuk (13-2, 1 NC) recently returned from a year-long USADA suspension to score a TKO win over Gian Villante. Both guys are dangerous fighters, but I expect Oleksiejczuk to be heavily favored here.
Magomed Mustafaev vs Rafael Fiziev, UFC Fight Night 149
Lightweights Magomed Mustafaev and Rafael Fiziev are set to fight at this event. Mustafaev (13-2) won his first two fights in the UFC but was submitted by Kevin Lee back in November 2016 and hasn’t fought since. Fiziev (6-0) has finished all six of his pro bouts including a head kick KO win in Titan FC his last time out. Although Russian fighters always get respect from bettors, based on Mustafaev’s long layoff and Fiziev’s undefeated record, I expect Fiziev to be a big favorite here.
Movsar Evloev vs. Seung Woo Choi, UFC Fight Night 149
Bantamweight prospects Movsar Evloev and Seung Woo Choi are also set to clash. Evloev (10-0) was a champion in M-1 and looks to be on the Petr Yan fast-track to the UFC’s top-15 rankings. Choi (7-1) has won five of his pro fights by knockout and is making his UFC debut. Both guys appear to be solid prospects but given Evloev’s undefeated record he’s surely going to be the favorite here.
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Alen Amedovski
Middleweights Krzysztof Jotko and Alen Amedovski are set to fight. Denis Geyko broke the news. Jotko (19-4) was at one time an up-and-coming middleweight contender but has really fallen on hard times as of late with three straight losses, including consecutive TKO defeats to Brad Tavares and Uriah Hall. Amedovski (8-0) is fighting out of Macedonia and has won all eight of his pro fights by knockout with his last two wins coming in Bellator. Amedovski looks like a very promising prospect and given the deteriorating state of Jotko’s chin, I’d go with the newcomer here.