Charles OliveiraWe are now nearly three months into 2017, and the UFC’s calendar continues to fill up. Here are my thoughts on some recently booked matchups for March and April… Fight: Rani Yahya vs. Joe Soto Card: UFC Fight Night 106 Where: Fortaleza, Brazil When: March 11, 2017 Thoughts: I love this matchup, as it pits together arguably the two best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the UFC’s bantamweight division. This is a fun fight and a late addition to this card that makes me look forward to it even more. I am a fan of both Yahya’s and Soto’s, and generally I don’t like it when two guys I like square off, but this is one of the cases where I love it. I hope to see this fight hit the mat, where I believe we will be in for an excellent chess match between two of the best. Fight: Gunnar Nelson vs. Alan Jouban Card: UFC Fight Night 107 Where: London, England When: March 18, 2017 Thoughts: This welterweight co-main event is another great example of a fight I love that is between two fighters who I am a fan of. I always enjoy watching Nelson and Jouban scrap and consider them to be “appointment television” for me. I am greatly looking forward to seeing them square off against each other inside the Octagon in this London co-main event, which in my opinion is the people’s main event. Fight: Josh Emmett vs. Desmond Green Card: UFC 210 Where: Buffalo, NY When: April 8, 2017 Thoughts: Team Alpha Male’s Emmett looks to go 3-0 inside the Octagon following decision wins over Jon Tuck and Scott Holtzman when he faces former Titan FC featherweight champion Green, who makes his long-awaited UFC debut, now competing at 155 pounds. I think this will be a tough fight for both fighters, and this is another case of two fighters I like fighting each other, except I am not quite as thrilled about this particular pairing. I would have liked to see Green get a less difficult matchup for his Octagon debut. Fight: Will Brooks vs. Charles Oliveira Card: UFC 210 Where: Buffalo, NY When: April 8, 2017 Thoughts: Brooks is coming off his first UFC loss, which was a third-round TKO against Alex Oliveira, and he looks to break back into the win column by taking out another Oliveira in Charles, who is moving back up to the lightweight division after failing to make weight at 145 pounds on a number of occasions. Oliveira last suffered a second-round guillotine choke submission loss against Ricardo Lamas after a third-round guillotine choke submission loss to Anthony Pettis prior to that. “Do Bronx” is on a two-fight skid heading back up to 155 and will have his back against the wall heading into this contest. This is yet another scrap between two fighters I like, but this one I am really not looking forward to at all. I wanted to see both of them pick up wins and get back on track in their next bouts, but in this case, only one of them can be victorious.


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