The UFC is coming to Canada again, and it’ll bring along a matchup between two top welterweight contenders when it does. According to MMAjunkie.com, the UFC is planning on holding an event somewhere in Canada on June 15, and the card will have a welterweight matchup between Jake Shields and Tyron Woodley on it. The event is titled UFC 161, but it’s still unknown where the card will take place, although Calgary and Vancouver are amongst the rumored host cities. The battle between Woodley and Shields could either be a striking battle between two wrestlers or a wrestling match between two of the best grapplers in the division, but either way it’s expected that the winner will move into contention for the UFC welterweight championship. Woodley in particular could be in line for contention, as he looked fantastic in his UFC debut at UFC 156 when he KOed veteran Jay Hieron. Curran vs. Shamhalaev Set For Bellator 95 Main Event A day after Daniel Straus pulled out of his upcoming Bellator 95 title fight against Pat Curran, the promotion has found a replacement. According to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, who revealed the news on Twitter, Curran will now take on recent featherweight tournament winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev at the April 4 event, which takes place at Revel Casino & Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Shamhalaev is red hot at the moment, knocking out three fighters to win the promotion’s last 145-pound tourney. Curran, on the other hand, has won five-straight fights including a recent split decision win over Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. The line on Curran and Shamhalaev should be around -200 or so for the champion Curran, with the comeback on Shamhalaev being around +150, although it’s possible the early action could come in on the challenger. Stephens vs. Payan Featured at UFC 161 A featherweight contest between former Strikeforce fighter Estevan Payan and former UFC lightweight contender Jeremy Stephens will take place at UFC 160, promotion officials announced today. Stephens is currently riding a three-fight losing streak, but everyone knows how dangerous he is in the standup. As for Payan, he did pick up two wins in Strikeforce but Stephens is a huge step up in competition and this is going to be a tough fight for him to win, although not impossible. Despite the three-straight losses expect Stephens to be about -220 to open, with the comeback on Payan being around +170 or so. Lineker vs. Gashimov Set For UFC on FX 8 According to TATAME.com, and confirmed by MMAjunkie.com, flyweight John Lineker will meet Azamat Gashimov, who is dropping down from bantamweight, at UFC on FX 8, which takes place May 16 in Brazil. Lineker is coming off an impressive win over Yasuhiro Urushitani, while Gashimov lost in his UFC debut to Ivan Menjivar. This should be an interesting fight as Lineker is the smallest flyweight at 5’2″ while Gashimov will be the biggest at 5’9″. Still, expect, Lineker to open as a -170 favorite over Gashimov, who will likely be in the +130 range to start, although I suspect the public will go in on Lineker early. Volkmann Signs With WSOF Jacob Volkmann wasn’t without a job for long as the World Series of Fighting has signed the UFC veteran to a contract. The news is according to MMAFighting.com. Volkmann is one of the best grapplers at lightweight anywhere in the world, but a poor performance against Bobby Green at UFC 156 combined with a perceived boring fighting style led to his release from the UFC. Expect Volkmann to fight former UFC fighter John Gunderson in his first WSOF bout, with Volkmann coming in as a moderate -250 favorite.
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