One of the greatest fighters in MMA history is set to return to the Octagon later this spring. Plus, the UFC’s return to Ottawa receives a couple of new matchups in today’s MMA odds and ends.
BJ Penn vs. Clay Guida, UFC 237
A lightweight bout between BJ Penn and Clay Guida is slated for UFC 237, which is set for May 11 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. MMAFighting.com broke the news. Penn (16-13-2) is 12-12-1 all-time in the Octagon and is the former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion. However, he has really fallen on hard times as of late. Now age 40, he was just submitted by Ryan Hall via heel hook and is currently riding a six-fight win streak. He refuses to hang up the gloves, believing he can still hang in the UFC, but it’s clear his best days are years behind him. Guida (34-18) is 14-2 all-time in the UFC and most recently lost by submission to Charles Oliveira. However, he beat Joe Lauzon and Erik Koch in back-to-back fights before that. At this point, you simply can’t pick Penn to beat anyone on the UFC roster, and I’d label Guida as a big favorite to win this fight despite his own struggles..
Nordine Taleb vs. Siyar Bahadurzada, UFC Fight Night 150
An exciting welterweight bout between Nordine Taleb and Siyar Bahadurzada will take place at UFC Fight Night 150, set for May 4 at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Taleb (14-6) is 6-4 in the UFC and is coming off of consecutive stoppage losses to Sean Strickland and Claudio Silva. Bahadurzada (24-7-1) is 3-3 in the UFC and most recently dropped a decision to Curtis Millender. Both guys are on the downsides of their careers, but I view Bahadurzada as the more complete fighter and would favor him to win this one.
Alexey Oleynik vs. Walt Harris, UFC Fight Night 150
Heavyweights Alexey Oleynik and Walt Harris are set to clash at UFC Fight Night 150.Ariel Helwani broke the news. Oleynik (57-11, 1 NC) is 6-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a submission win over Mark Hunt. Though he’s 41, he’s still fighting at an elite level. Harris (12-7) is 5-6 in the UFC and just picked up the biggest win of his career, a split decision nod over Andrei Arlovski. Though Oleynik is getting up there in age, he’s looked fantastic as of late and has arguably the best submission game in the heavyweight division, period. Though Harris could cause Oleynik problems if this fight stays standing, Oleynik’s advantage on the ground should make him a big betting favorite in this bout.
Kyle Nelson vs. Matt Sayles, UFC Fight Night 150
Featherweights Kyle Nelson and Matt Sayles will also meet at UFC Fight Night 150. Nelson (12-2) lost to Carlos Diego Ferreira on short notice in his UFC debut, but that fight was up a weight class and he was on a six-fight win streak on the regional scene prior to that. Sayles (7-2) lost a decision to Sheymon Moraes in his UFC debut after a nice win on Dana White’s Contender Series earned him a UFC deal. This looks like a total coin-flip and I expect the line to be near a Pick ’em.