The UFC recently announced its return to Sacramento, California, set for July 13 at Golden 1 Center. A number of new bouts have been added to the card, and my initial thoughts on them are below.
Nicco Montano vs. Sara McMann, UFC Fight Night 155
Former UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano will return to the Octagon as she moves up to the bantamweight division when she takes on Sara McMann. Montano (4-2) won TUF 26 with a decision win over Roxanne Modafferi back in December 2017 but hasn’t competed since then due to a USADA violation and numerous issues making weight. She ran through the competition on TUF, but so far hasn’t done anything in the UFC. Perhaps moving up in weight will help her out, but it’s hard to say at this point. McMann (11-5) 5-5 overall in the UFC and has not won a fight since a 2017 submission win over Gina Mazany. Since then she has dropped back-to-back submission defeats to Ketlen Vieira and Marion Reneau and looks like a shell of her former self. This is good matchmaking here and an intriguing style matchup, but with bettors surely looking to fade McMann I’d expect Montano to be a slight favorite in this one.
Ryan Hall vs. Darren Elkins, UFC 155
Featherweights Ryan Hall and Darren Elkins are set to fight. Hall (7-1) won TUF 22 and has since gone 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Artem Lobov, Gray Maynard, and in his last outing, a beautiful heel hook submission win over BJ Penn. He barely fights, but when he does he has showed some great potential. Elkins (24-7) is 14-6 overall in the UFC but has lost back-to-back fights to Ricardo Lamas and Alexander Volkanovski. Still, he’s one of the toughest fighters at 145lbs there is. Although Hall is an excellent grappler, Elkins should be able to neutralize him, and given all of his success in the UFC he should be the favorite in this fight.
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Livia Renata Souza, UFC 155
An intriguing women’s strawweight bout between Cynthia Calvillo and Livia Renata Souza is also set for this card. Calvillo (8-1) is 5-1 in the UFC and has won back-to-back fights over Poliana Botelho and Cortney Casey since her lone career loss to Carla Esparza. Souza (13-1) is currently riding a four-fight win streak and has won both of her UFC bouts over Alex Chambers and Sarah Frota. This is a really good fight between two of the best strawweights in the world. If I had to guess, Calvillo will be a small favorite due to having more UFC experience and a bigger name, but Souza absolutely is a live dog to win this fight.
Benito Lopez vs. Martin Day, UFC 155
And finally, bantamweight prospects Benito Lopez and Martin Day are set to clash. Lopez (9-1) is 1-1 in the UFC with a decision win over Albert Morales and a submission loss to Manny Bermudez in his last outing, the first loss of his MMA career. Still, he’s only 25 and remains a top prospect at 135lbs. Day (8-3) lost a split decision to Pingyuan Liu in his UFC debut last year. Although Day is a solid fighter, Lopez has far more upside and should be the favorite here.