The Octagon heads to Target Center at Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 29 for ESPN 4. It’s been previously announced that the headliner will be a five-round welterweight rematch between former champions Tyron Woodley and Robbie Lawler, and now we know four of the other fights on the card, including a title eliminator in the flyweight division. These bouts are official as per the UFC. The new bouts are listed below, along with my initial thoughts on them.
Jussier Formiga vs. Joseph Benavidez, UFC on ESPN 4
The most important of the new batch of fight announcements is a flyweight bout between Jussier Formiga and Joseph Benavidez, which is expected to garner the winner a title shot at 125lbs. Formiga (23-5) is 9-4 in the UFC and is currently riding a four-fight win streak that includes a dominant win over Deiveson Figueiredo in his last outing. After many years as a gatekeeper, it finally looks like Formiga has turned the page and has entered contender status. Benavidez (27-5) is 13-3 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back wins over Dustin Ortiz and Alex Perez. Both guys are tremendous fighters in the flyweight division, but given Benavidez’ resume and quality of wins over the years, I’d have to favor him heading into this fight.
Maurice Greene vs. Junior Albini, UFC on ESPN 4
Heavyweights Maurice Greene and Junior Albini are scheduled to clash. Greene (7-2) is 2-0 in the UFC with back-to-back wins over Jeff Hughes and Michel Batista. The win over Hughes was especially impressive as Greene was an underdog heading into the bout. Albini (14-5) is 1-3 in the UFC and has lost three straight fights including a TKO loss to Jairzinho Rozenstruik in his last outing. This is a weird matchup considering one fighter is on a win streak and the other is on a losing skid, but if you consider Greene is the hometown fighter, it looks like the UFC is throwing him a bone here to get an easy win in front of his fans. Greene should be a big favorite in this one.
Drew Dober vs. Marco Polo Reyes, UFC on ESPN 4
An exciting lightweight bout sees Drew Dober take on Marco Polo Reyes. Dober (20-9, 1 NC) is 6-5, 1 NC overall in the UFC and is coming off of a submission loss to Beneil Dariush. Prior to the Dariush fight, Dober had won three straight fights, but once again his lack of submission defense cost him his win streak. Reyes (8-5) is 4-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a TKO loss to Damir Hadzovic. He has knockout power himself, but Dober has a solid chin so that may not come into play. Both guys have been very inconsistent in the UFC, but Dober seems to be a bit more durable and that’s why I would slightly favor him in what should be a stand-up fight.
Vinicius Moreira vs. Roman Dolidze, UFC on ESPN 4
And finally, light heavyweights Vinicius Moreira and Roman Dolidze are set to meet. Moreira (9-2) is 0-1 in the UFC with a brutal KO loss to Alonzo Menifield in his Octagon debut which snapped a five-fight win streak. Dolidze (6-0) is undefeated so far in his MMA career with all of his wins coming by stoppage. Moreira looked terrible in his UFC debut and you have to fade him here and figure Dolidze should be able to finish him in devastating fashion.