The Octagon’s return to Sweden is starting to shape up. UFC Fight Night 152 takes place June 1 at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, and the following four bouts have been added to the card that is expected to be headlined by Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Smith.
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Ilir Latifi, UFC Fight Night 152
An exciting light heavyweight bout between Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi is the most notable of the new bouts added to UFC Fight Night 152. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the news. Oezdemir (15-4) is 3-3 in the UFC but is currently mired in a three-fight losing skid including a split decision loss to Dominick Reyes at UFC London just over a week ago. Clearly, he wants to get back in there and put that close loss behind him. Latifi (14-6, 1 NC) is 7-4 in the UFC and most recently dropped a decision to Corey Anderson. Both guys are just below the elite level of the top light heavyweights but are better than gatekeepers, making this a close one to call. Despite his losing skid I slightly lean towards Oezdemir, but Latifi fighting at home in Sweden could be the difference in this fight and I expect a very close betting line.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Aleksandar Rakic, UFC Fight Night 152
Another exciting light heavyweight bout will see Jimi Manuwa take on Aleksandar Rakic. Manuwa (17-5) is 6-5 in the UFC and is currently riding a three-fight losing skid. He was one of the most dangerous light heavyweights in the world at one time, but the sport seems to have passed him by and at age 39 he looks to be on the downside of his career, though he can still surprise with a violent knockout. Rakic (11-1) is 3-0 in the UFC and is coming off of a huge knockout win over Devin Clark. Just 27, Rakic looks like a force at 205lbs for years to come, and I would expect hm to be a big favorite to win this fight.
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Chris Fishgold, UFC Fight Night 152
Featherweights Makwan Amirkhani and Chris Fishgold are set to clash, and the UFC has made the bout official. Amirkhani (14-3) is 4-1 overall in the Octagon and is coming off of a split decision win over Jason Knight. At one point in time he looked like a future featherweight contender, but injuries and long layoffs have halted his career. Fishgold (18-2, 1 NC) was finished by Calvin Kattar in his UFC debut but rebounded with a submission win over Daniel Teymur his last time out. I expect Amirkhani to be favored as he is a popular fighter, but I give Fishgold a good chance of winning this bout.
Nick Hein vs. Luigi Vendramini, UFC Fight Night 152
Nick Hein takes on Luigi Vendramini in a lightweight bout. Combate broke the news. Hein (14-4, 1 NC) is 4-3 overall in the UFC but has lost back-to-back fights to Damir Hadzovic and Davi Ramos. Vendramini (8-1) was undefeated with all of his wins coming by stoppage before getting knocked out by top contender Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in his UFC debut. Moving down a weight class and getting a full camp should be beneficial to Vendramini, who should be a slight favorite here.
Bea Malecki vs. Duda Santana, UFC Fight Night 152
And finally, women’s featherweights Bea Malecki and Duda Santana meet. Malecki (2-0) is a Sweden native who appeared on TUF but didn’t fare well on the show as she lost. Santana (3-0) has won all three of her pro bouts but hasn’t fought since 2017. Flip a coin for this one as both women have plenty of question marks surrounding them.