Over the weekend UFC officials announced several fights that will be a part of UFC Fight Night 88, which takes place May 29th, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao is making the move up to the featherweight division and his first assignment is not an easy one.  He’ll be facing off against Jeremy Stephens.

A former lightweight, Stephens will be making his 8th appearance as a featherweight and is a big power puncher.  He’s had mix results at 145lbs, going 4-3 since dropping down but he still remains a tough out for anyone.  “Lil’ Heathen” has good takedown defense and is usually able to keep his fights standing.  Over the course of his career he’s had notable victories over Rafael dos Anjos, Sam Stout and more recently Dennis Bermudez.  However he is on a 1-3 stretch and in desperate need of a win.

Renan Barao was once the most feared bantamweight in the world. His reign of destruction included wins over Michael McDonald, Eddie Wineland and he’s twice defeated Urijah Faber.  Barao first beat Faber at UFC 149 and won the interim bantamweight championship.  After multiple injuries to then champion Dominick Cruz, the UFC made Barao the official bantamweight champion.  He defended the title three times but after losing to TJ Dillashaw in 2014 he’s seemed to have lost a step.  Jeremy Stephens is going to be a really good test for Barao to see where he stands in the featherweight division.

Barao vs. Stephens will likely be part of the main card for UFC Fight Night 88 taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 29th, 2016.  The main event features a bantamweight clash between rising stars Cody Garbrandt and Thomas Almeida.  Broadcasting information is not yet available.  Keep checking back with profightingfans.com for more updates.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Over the weekend UFC officials announced that a bantamweight bout between Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt will be headlining UFC Fight Night 88. The event is set to take place May 29th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The winner of this fight could find themselves in a bantamweight title fight before the end of 2016. They both have perfect records, Almeida is 20-0 while Grabrandt is 8-0, so someone will be tasting defeat for the first time.

It will be Almeida’s fifth fight in the UFC and he has wins over veterans Yves Jabouin and Brad Pickett. In the fight with Pickett, Almeida had to survive an early barrage before he was able to get the TKO in the 2nd round by flying knee.  He’s a very dangerous striker and possibly the best prospect in the UFC’s 135lb division.

Garbrandt is coming off his third straight UFC win and eight overall. He was supposed to face John Lineker in his last fight but the Brazilian dropped out at the last minute due to injury.  Instead Garbrandt faced UFC newcomer Augusto Mendes and he got the win in the first round by TKO.  He trains with Team Alpha Male, led by bantamweight title challenger Urijah Faber, so Garbrandt is definitely well rounded and would be a tough fight for Thomas Almeida.

Along with the main event several other bouts have been announced for the UFC Fight Night 88 card, including, Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens at featherweight, Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story and Lorenz Larkin vs. Jorge Masvidal. It looks like a stacked card, for more coverage of this fight card and everything UFC, check out profightingfans.com.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

After every UFC event we here at Pro Fighting Fans love to play matchmaker. In this column we’ll tell you who we think the winners and losers of each fight should face next.  So check back with Pro Fighting Fans after a UFC event to see what we think the next step is.

Donald Cerrone (29-7-1NC)

Who he should face next: Thiago Alves (21-10)

Donald Cerrone made a successful welterweight debut, but the one thing we must keep in mind when thinking about who he should face next is just that, it was his debut in a new weight class. Cerrone was a longtime lightweight contender, however he could never seem to win the big and one get that belt around his waist.

So let’s be realistic, he beat Alex Oliveira, a guy who is nowhere near the top ten in either of the weight classes he fights in, lightweight or welterweight. That being said Oliveira was a short notice opponent and that should mean something, plus Cerrone is always to fight anyone. The UFC should give him someone in the top 15 in the welterweight division and Thiago Alves seems like a perfect candidate. The Brazilian returned last year after a long layoff and lost an exciting fight to Carlos Condit. If he and Cerrone met in the octagon it would probably be a standup war, and neither guy has ever backed away from one of those.

 

Derek Brunson (15-3)

Who he should face next: Uriah Hall (11-6)

Derek Brunson has won five of six fights since joining the UFC, yet he is somehow still flying under the radar in the middleweight division. After a fourth straight win and third straight by stoppage, Brunson is oh so close to the top ten. That should mean that next time out he should get an opponent who is also close to or in the top ten.

Uriah Hall has been up and down in his UFC career. He’s coming off a loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC 193 but one fight before that he got the biggest win of his life, beating Gegard Mousasi by TKO. Sometimes Hall has been accused of lacking a killer instinct, Brunson is someone who would force Hall to bring his best if he wishes to come out on the winning side.

 

Cody Garbrandt (8-0)

Who he should face next: John Lineker (26-7)

Cody Garbrandt’s original opponent at UFC Fight Night 83 was supposed to be John Lineker. Unfortunately Lineker had to withdraw from the bout due to injury. There isn’t much need for an explanation, this fight should still happen. Garbrandt made it look pretty easy against short notice opponent Augusto Mendes, but he still needs a signature win before he’ll be taken seriously in the UFC’s bantamweight division. A win over Lineker would be a big statement, the UFC needs to make this happen.

 

Dennis Bermudez (15-5)

Who he should face next: Charles Oliveira (21-5)

After two straight stoppage losses to Ricardo Lamas and Jeremy Stephens, TUF 14 veteran Dennis Bermudez was in desperate need of a win against Tatsuya Kawajiri at UFC Fight Night 83. Bermudez wasn’t able to get a finish but it was still a dominant win and it keeps him around the top ten of the featherweight division.

Charles Oliveira is a UFC veteran and has faced a who’s who of top fighters in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions. Oliveira is coming off an impressive win over Myles Jury and is likely hungry to put together a winning streak. Bermudez tends to rely on his grappling when he’s in the cage against tough opponents, it would be interesting to see how he would handle a submission ace like Oliveira.

 

Chris Camozzi (23-10)

Who he should face next: Josh Samman (12-3)

In the fall of 2014 Chris Camozzi found himself being cut from the UFC roster after four straight losses. But when the UFC was looking for a replacement opponent for top middleweight Jacare Souza, Camozzi was willing to take a rematch with him on short notice. He lost the second fight with Souza faster than he did the first but because he stepped up the UFC gave him another shot. He’s since won two straight against Tom Watson and Joe Riggs.

Camozzi will likely never be a UFC champion, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be used as a measuring stick for up and coming fighters. Josh Samman is coming off his first UFC loss, to Tamdan McCrory, but he’s been impressive enough so far that job security isn’t an issue just yet. Samman should be put up against another veteran to see if he’s ready for bigger things, and Chris Camozzi is the perfect option.

 

James Krause (23-7)

Who he should face next: Alex Oliveira (12-4-1)

James Krause has finally put together a winning streak in the UFC after a unanimous decision victory over Canadian Shane Campbell at UFC Fight Night 83. He showed a lot of promise after a debut win over veteran Sam Stout but then stumbled against the likes of Bobby Green and Jorge Masvidal. A fight with Alex Oliveira would give Krause a legitimate chance at a three fight winning streak.

Oliveira did the UFC a huge favour by taking a short notice fight with Donald Cerrone in a weight class he thought he had left behind. It’s likely that “Cowboy” will move back down in weight now and Krause would present a well-rounded challenge for the Brazilian. It also doesn’t hurt that the two are on the same schedule after they both fought last week.
Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Thanks to a decent effort with our UFC Fight Night 82 predictions, BS Predictions is now 6-4 since returning to the world of MMA journalism. This week we have another opportunity to improve that record when UFC Fight Night 83 rolls into Pittsburgh with a main event featuring Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone taking on Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira. So let’s rustle up some predictions and see how we do!

Shane Campbell (12-3) vs. James Krause (22-7)

Canadian fighter Shane Campbell has an impressive kickboxing record of 62-9, but when he’s standing across the cage from James Krause at UFC Fight Night 83 it’s going to be a whole different story.

Krause has been inconsistent since joining the UFC however he’s coming off a submission victory over Daron Cruickshank and will be looking to keep the recent success going. Campbell won a unanimous decision over Elias Silverio this past August so he too will want to put together a winning streak.

I think Krause has faced the better competition and he’s superior in all aspects of the MMA game. Whether it’s on the feet or ground Krause wins this fight.

Prediction: James Krause

 

Chris Camozzi (22-10) vs. Joe Riggs (41-16-1NC)

Both of these guys are currently in their second stints with the UFC. Riggs had been away from the octagon since 2006 when he finally returned in 2014.  Camozzi was only gone for less than a year before he took a short notice fight against Ronaldo Souza last April and lost by first round submission.  He’s since bounced back with a unanimous decision win over Tom Watson. Riggs first fight back in the UFC was against Ben Saunders at UFC on FOX 13, he was on a six fight win streak before losing to Saunders that night.

Two of the three fights Joe Riggs has had in his UFC comeback have ended in odd fashion. The loss to Saunders was due to a neck injury suffered by Riggs, while his most recent win over Ron Stallings came via disqualification when Stallings used an illegal upkick.

This fight is not going to end in a weird way. Camozzi is the better fighter.  Riggs is at the end of a career that never quite reached its potential and he won’t have much to offer against Camozzi.

Prediction: Chris Camozzi

 

Dennis Bermudez (14-5) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (35-8-2)

Bermudez has won five post fight bonuses since he joined the UFC in 2011 as a member of the Ultimate Fighter 14 cast. He lost in the finale to Diego Brandao and then went on a 7 fight winning streak beating some solid competition including Max Holloway and Clay Guida.  Kawajiri on the other hand lost to Clay Guida via unanimous decision.  He’s since won two straight against Dennis Siver and Jason Knight.

I think that despite Bermudez’s wild striking style this could end up being a grappling heavy affair. Kawajiri might be the stronger of the two and if he can get top position he’ll likely grind out a victory against Bermudez.

Prediction: Tatsuya Kawajiri

 

Cody Garbrandt (7-0 vs. Augusto Mendes (5-0)

This will be a battle of young undefeated fighters trying to make an impression on the UFC brass. Cody Garbrandt UFCGarbrandt was expected to face John Lineker, a big step up in competition, now he’ll face UFC newcomer Augusto Mendes.

Mendes was supposed to make a short notice debut in January, but two days after taking the fight he dropped out due to an injury. Now he’ll make his first octagon appearance against Garbrandt, who is on the cusp of breaking into the UFC bantamweight division’s top 10.  Another factor in this fight is the fact that Mendes didn’t make weight for this bout.

Garbrandt will make quick work of Mendes and most likely he’ll get a top ten opponent the next time we see him.

Prediction: Cody Garbrandt

 

Derek Brunson (14-3) vs. Roan Carneiro (20-9)

This will be the second time Carneiro will step into the UFC’s octagon since being away from the organization for almost 8 years. In his return he took out Mark Munoz in the first round at UFC 184.  He’s now on a six fight win streak and Brunson has won three straight including two straight TKO victories over Sam Alvey and Ed Herman.

Derek Brunson is actually 5-1 since he became a member of the UFC, he might be ready to break through the fog and enter the top ten in the UFC’s middleweight division. Roan Carneiro will put up a good fight but Brunson should be able to keep the distance and keep the fight standing on his way to a decision victory.

Prediction: Derek Brunson

 

Donald Cerrone (28-7) vs. Alex Oliveira (14-2-1-1NC)

Originally Donald Cerrone was supposed to make his welterweight debut against Tim Means in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 83. Means was since dropped from the card due to a failed drug test so he’s being replaced by another “Cowboy”, Alex Oliveira.

I expect this to be a wild one, Oliveira loves to push the pace and Cerrone loves to stand and bang. Cerrone is one of the most exciting fighters on the UFC roster and he never disappoints. He’s looking to rebound after a failed title bid in 2015 when he lost to lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.  Oliveira has won three straight and seems to be ready for a bigger challenge.

Well Oliveira will definitely get a challenge against Cerrone but I don’t think he’s ready for this one. Donald Cerrone will be patient and calculated, one way or another he’ll finish this fight on the feet.

Prediction: Donald Cerrone

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer