A couple of new bouts have been added to upcoming fight cards, one of which is an important middleweight fight, and here are my thoughts on all of them in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Justin Frazier vs. Juan Francisco Dieppa, TUF 28 Finale
Heavyweights Justin Frazier and Juan Francisco Dieppa will face off in the finals at the TUF 28 Finale, which takes place November 30 at Pearl Theatre at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Frazier (10-2) defeated Anderson da Silva and Michel Batista on the show to advance to the finals. He is a Bellator veteran and has a notable win over former UFC fighter Kevin Casey. Dieppa (8-1) defeated Ben Sosoli and Maurice Green to make it to the finals. He’s 38 so he’s an older fighter but he won seven straight fights before TUF and his lone career loss came against former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov. Tough fight to call here as both men are talented yet generally untested at the UFC level. I’d give the slight edge to Dieppa but this fight could go either way.
Elias Garcia vs. Kai Kara France, UFC Fight Night 142
Flyweight Elias Garcia will step up on short notice to fight Kai Kara France at UFC Fight Night 142, which is set for December 1 at Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia. Nolan King of FloCombat broke the news. Garcia (6-1) lost for the first time in his career against Mark de la Rosa in his UFC debut but was undefeated before that and looking like a top prospect. France (17-7, 1 NC) is riding a five-fight win streak and has won 10 of his last 11 fights. Considering the short notice nature of the bout it’s hard not to favor France in this one.
Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva, UFC 234
The crown jewel of this weekend’s fight announcements is an intriguing middleweight bout set for UFC 234 between rising superstar Israel Adesanya and former long-time champion Anderson Silva. UFC 234 takes place February 10 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, and Adesanya vs. Silva is the co-main event under the headlining title fight between UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and challeger Kelvin Gastelum. ESPN first reported the bout.
Adesanya (15-0) had an incredible 2018 as he went 4-0 with a pair of high-profile wins over Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson. He is one of the best strikers the sport of MMA has ever seen and every time we see him fight he looks better and better. Silva (34-8, 1 NC) is 17-4, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming off of a decision win over Brunson. However, that fight was back at UFC 208 in February 2017 and Silva has been on the shelf since then facing a drug suspension from USADA. At age 43, there isn’t much time left in Silva’s career, and the UFC is doing him no favors by giving him such a brutal matchup here against Adesanya. Look for Adesanya to be a huge favorite in this fight as he looks to get a marquee win over a legend and possibly get the next middleweight title shot.