The UFC has booked the main event for the upcoming UFC 238 card as well as the main event for an upcoming Fight Night event. Below are my thoughts on both of these newly-announced bouts.
Marlon Moraes vs. Henry Cejudo, UFC 238
The vacant UFC bantamweight title will be up for grabs when Marlon Moraes takes on Henry Cejudo in the main event of UFC 238, which is set for June 8 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The promotion has made the bout official.
Moraes (22-5-1) is the former WSOF bantamweight champion and he has looked incredible since joining the UFC, going 4-1 overall in the Octagon including three consecutive first-round finishes over Raphael Assuncao, Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling in his last three fights. Most wanted to see Moraes get a title shot against former champion TJ Dillashaw, but when the champ tested positive and gave up his belt it meant the UFC has to find a new opponent for him.
Cejudo (14-2) is the UFC flyweight champion and he got the call to fight for the bantamweight belt here against Moraes after the Dillashaw fight fell through. Cejudo is 8-2 overall in the UFC and is currently riding a four-fight win streak that includes back-to-back wins over Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson. He is clearly the best flyweight in the world, and it will be interesting to see if he can move up to bantamweight and become a rare double champion in his new division.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has already released the opening line for this bout. Moraes opened as a -185 favorite, with Cejudo as a +145 underdog. Click the link to read more of Kalikas’ rationale for why he opened the line the way he did.
Tyron Woodley vs. Robbie Lawler 2, UFC on ESPN 4
Former UFC welterweight champions Tyron Woodley and Robbie Lawler will rematch in the main event of UFC on ESPN 4, which takes place June 29 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. ESPN broke the news. This is a rematch of the pair’s previous meeting at UFC 201 in July 2016, when Woodley took the belt from Lawler after brutally knocking him out in the first round.
Woodley (19-4-1) is 9-3-1 overall in the UFC and is coming off of a decisive five-round decision loss to Kamaru Usman that saw him drop his belt. Prior to the Usman fight, Woodley was on a seven-fight unbeaten streak and he’ll look to get back on the horse with a second win over Lawler. If he wants to have any chance of staying in the title picture at 170lbs, he absolutely needs to win this fight.
Lawler (28-13, 1 NC) is 13-8 all-time in the UFC but has fallen on hard times as of late as he’s dropped three of his last four bouts, including a controversial submission loss to Ben Askren in her last fight. Most figured the UFC would book a rematch between Lawler and Askren, but they decided to book a rematch with Woodley instead. Like Woodley, if Lawler has any hopes of ever getting his belt back then he absolutely needs to win this fight.
The opening line for this bout has not been released yet, but it’s safe to say that Woodley will be the favorite this time around considering he knocked Lawler out in the first round the last time these two met inside the Octagon.