BISHOP’S BREAKDOWN: UFC Fight Night Moncton preview

By Chris Bishop, MMATorch Contributor

Volkan Oezdemir (15-2) vs. Anthony Smith (30-13)

This battle of light heavyweight contenders is sure to be a quick one. These two men are fierce strikers. Oezdemir’s last two wins have both ended in less than fifty seconds while Smith’s last two victory’s didn’t make it past ninety seconds. Oezdemir looks to get back on track after losing in his title fight to Daniel Cormier. That fight was a huge jump in class for him compared to some of the other wins he had on his record. He now gets back into the cage with someone he’s more comparable against and his climb back into title contention starts over again.  Anthony Smith is beginning to come into his own. He’s won five of his last six fights with all five of those victories coming via knockout. The last two coming against guys (Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua) with name recognition. However, most can agree that their best days are behind them. It will be interesting to see if whether or not this current run that Smith has been on is fraudulent or if he is the real deal. No matter what, Anthony Smith has never looked this good and has definitely never looked this dangerous.

Michael Johnson (18-13) vs. Artem Lobov (13-14-1)

These two featherweights will square off on Saturday night in another battle of two strikers. Both of these men are looking to solidify their spots on the roster as Johnson has lost five of his last seven and Lobov has lost four of his last six. For Johnson, it seems that has to do with his strength of competition with loses against the likes of Khabib, Nate Diaz and Justin Gaethje. On the other hand it just seems that Lobov has not shown the talent that we once thought he had.

Johnson steps in on short notice replacing Zubaira Tukhugov. Tukhugov was pulled from this fight after his involvement in the post fight scuffle between Khabib and McGregor at UFC 229.  Johnson is coming off a win against Andre Fili in August. The same Andre Fili that defeated Lobov in his last fight over a year ago. This will be Johnson’s third fight in the featherweight division after coming down from the crowded lightweight division.  It will be interesting to see where Lobov’s mindset is coming into this fight. He talked on Monnday about his frustrations not being able to fight Tukhugov. He even threatened to leave the UFC over this issue. That, along with the year layoff, leads me to believe that his mind is not at all on Johnson and may lead to a long night for The Russian Hammer.

Misha Cirkunov (13-4) vs. Patrick Cummins (10-5)

These two top 15 light heavyweight contenders will square off this Saturday. Curkunov who is a judo fighter will square off with a wrestler in Cummins. Cirkunov enters the cage for the first time in ten months. The layoff comes after two vicious knockout losses to Glover Teixeira and Volkan Oezdemir. He gets a little relief in competition here and looks to make his way back into the top rankings in the division. Cummins, who is a two time division 1 wrestling all american steps into this fight following a unanimous decision loss to Corey Anderson this April. Cummins was on quite a run a couple years ago but as he stepped up in competition, he looks to have not been up to the challenges. He’ll have another tough fight here in Cirkuov.  These two men are desperate for a win as they look to solidify their spots in the division.

Andre Soukhamthath (12-6) vs. Jonathan Martinez (9-1)

Jonathan Martinez steps in for Gavin Tucker on short notice and makes his UFC debut to square off with Soukhamthath in this bantamweight clash. Soukhamthath was criticized in his last fight after his opponent Sean O’Malley broke his foot at the end of round three and he chose to take O’Malley down to the ground and not capitalize on O’Malley’s injury. Joe Rogan called it the worst fighter decision in UFC history at the time. He looks to rebound in his fifth fight in the UFC and seeks his second UFC victory. Jonathan Martinez comes into this fight on a two fight win streak. Of his nine victories, seven have been finishes (5 KO’s, 2 submission). His lone loss came via disqualification for using illegal knees. The twenty four year old fights out of Plainview, Texas and seems to have a ton of potential.

Gian Villante (16-10) vs. Ed Herman (23-13)

These two light heavyweights will face off Saturday night in just an old fashioned brawl. Neither fighter has much potential to do much to move up the ladder in the division but it should be a fun fight. Villante’s last three fights have been split decisions in which he has won one and lost two of. This will be his third fight this year and he looks to stay in the top 15 ranking by earning the victory and ending 2018 with a winning record. Herman will enter this fight on a 15 month layoff. In 2017 he lost the tip of his left index finger while working on a plumbing project at his home. The former middleweight contender will make his third appearance in the light heavyweight division. He is coming off back to back loses to CB Dolloway and Nikita Krylov.

Alex Garcia (15-5)  vs. Court McGee (18-7)

Kicking off the main card will be Alex Garcia and Court McGee as they meet in this welterweight clash. Garcia is a kickboxer and will look to go toe to toe with McGee who usually doesn’t mind meeting in the center of the octagon and biting down on the mouth piece. Garcia is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Ryan LaFlare. However he did receive a fight of the night award after his fight with Mike Pyle back in December of 2016.  Court McGee comes into the fight losing three of his last four fights. After winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 11, McGee showed the talent was there as he holds a victory over the current middleweight champ Robert Whitaker but he has never realized the potential that much had for him. His personal life, including his battle with a heroin addiction are well known. He’s been clean since 2006 and being declared dead and then resuscitated. He’s been out of the octagon for nearly a year and comes back in fight which is sure to be fireworks and is my early pick for fight of the night status.


Preliminary Card

Nordine Taleb vs. Sean Strickland Welterweight

Thibault Gotti vs. Nasrat Haqparast Lightweight

Calvin Kattar vs. Chris Fishgold Featherweight

Sarah Moras vs. Talita Bernardo Women’s Bantamweight

Early Preliminary Card

Te’Jovan Edwards vs. Don Madge Lightweight

Arjan Bhullar vs. Marcelo Golm Heavyweight

Stevie Ray vs. Jessin Ayari Lightweight

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