Not to be outdone by a wide variety of fight announcements on Monday, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) kept journalists very busy with a huge day of bookings, specifically the upcoming UFC Fight Night 77 event this November in Brazil. Here are the details and my thoughts: UFC Henry Cejudo vs Jussier Formiga, TUF Latin America Finale 2 Initially rumored to be taking on Joseph Benavidez at UFC 191, Henry Cejudo will instead take on former number one-ranked flyweight Jussier Formiga. Cejudo and Formiga are currently the two top-ranked flyweights who have yet to face champion Demetrious Johnson. Both men are currently on winning streaks as Cejudo has never been defeated while Formiga has won three straight. This is a perfect step up in competition for Cejudo, who’s been campaigning for a title shot. Formiga showed improved striking in his last bout against Wilson Reis and he’s an elite ground specialist. Cejudo will likely open up as the favorite, but he’ll be tested for sure considering Formiga’s overall well-roundedness. A strong showing by either fighter could cement a title shot. Glover Teixeira vs. Patrick Cummins, UFC Fight Night 77 Fresh off spectacular third round finishes, both Patrick Cummins and Glover Teixeira bounced back in a big way in the past month with wins over Rafael Feijao and Ovince St. Preux respectively. Cummins is an elite wrestler in the division, but one has to question his durability against one of the heaviest hitters in Teixeira. Teixeira should open as a decent favorite, but he has been outwrestled in the past by Phil Davis en route to a decision defeat. Look for Teixeira to try to use his wrestling in reverse to batter Cummins over the course of three rounds (if the fight lasts that long). Fabio Maldonado vs. Tom Lawlor, UFC Fight Night 77 Two veteran fighters moving in opposite directions will duke it out as Fabio Maldonado, fresh off a decision loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, takes on the recently returned Tom Lawlor, who knocked out Gian Villante in impressive fashion after a two-year layoff. Maldonado is the more experienced fighter against bigger, stronger competition, but you always have to be careful with a fighter that has one-punch fight-ending power like Lawlor. I would expect Maldonado to open as a small favorite, but if Lawlor can crack Maldonado’s granite chin, he could really build some momentum in his return to the lightweight division. Johnny Case vs. Yan Cabral, UFC Fight Night 77 Johnny Case has been campaigning to take on a Brazilian in Brazil and he got his wish. We’ll see if it was more than he bargained for in Yan Cabral. Cabral is an elite grappling wizard who looked tremendous in his lightweight debut against Naoyuki Katani last year, but Case will provide a much stiffer test. Case has gone 3-0 in the UFC thus far, but hasn’t faced elite competition yet. Cabral should be a solid test for him. I would expect Case to be the favorite in this contest, and this bout will hinge on whether or not he can avoid being put on his back. If Cabral can get on top of him, things will get hairy. If not, Case will likely win easily due to his superior striking. Gasan Umalatov vs. Viscardi Andrade, UFC Fight Night 77 Russian Gasan Umalatov finally returns after a long layoff following his robbery defeat to Cathal Pendred last year. He’ll be battling Viscardi Andrade, a tough Brazilian who has had an up-and-down career thus far in the UFC. Umalatov should be the more technical fighter, but Andrade will have the bigger threat of a finish. Also, Umalatov’s lack of urgency and reliance on counter-striking could hurt him. I think Umalatov will open as the favorite, but the Brazilian will definitely test him on his home turf and this one could go either way. Bruno Rodrigues vs. Matheus Nicolau, UFC Fight Night 77 I’m not too familiar with either fighter, to be honest, but flyweight Brazilian prospects Bruno Rodrigues and Matheus Nicolau will duke it out in their respective UFC debuts on this card. Nicolau is a Nova Uniao fighter with a 10-1-1 record and a well-rounded skillset while Rodrigues is undefeated at 4-0 with three submissions to his credit. I would expect Nicolau to open as the favorite due to his experience advantage as well as his superior training environment but we’ll learn a lot more about both men when they debut under the bright lights of the Octagon. Bellator Josh Thomson vs Mike Bronzoulis, Bellator: Dynamite Fresh off his signing with Bellator, Josh Thomson has already had his first fight announced with the promotion as he’ll take on former Fight Master finalist Mike Bronzoulis in his promotional debut at the combination Glory/Bellator Dynamite event later this year. Thomson lost his last three UFC bouts, although his fights against Benson Henderson and Bobby Greene were extremely close and could have gone the other way. That can’t be said about his last fight against Tony Ferguson, however, as Thomson was outworked, outlanded and pretty much dominated over the course of three rounds. Despite his recent skid, Thomson should open as a pretty hefty favorite against Bronzoulis. Bronzoulis is currently riding a three-fight win streak and recently captured the Legacy FC lightweight title, but he’ll definitely be taking on the toughest most experienced opponent of his career in Thomson.
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