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

This Wednesday night the UFC will serve up another helping of mid-week fights when UFC Fight Night 35 takes place live from Duluth, Georgia.  It’s not a super stacked card, but for a Fight Night event it should be pretty entertaining.  The bantamweight matchup between TJ Dillashaw and Mike Easton is the one I’m most looking forward to, yet the main event between Luke Rockhold and Costa Philippou promises to be a good scrap.  So here are the predictions.

 

Cole Miller vs. Sam Sicilia

Miller has the hometown advantage in this one as he hails from Augusta, Georgia.  I really wish Miller would stop talking so much, especially about Conor McGregor, and just focusing on fighting.  Because when he puts his mind to it, Miller is a very talented competitor.  He definitely has a stiff test in front of him at UFN 35 when he faces Sam Sicilia.  The TUF 15 veteran is a legitimate knockout artist and has power in his hands.  If anything is going to give Sicilia trouble it will be the height and reach advantage that Miller brings with him into the octagon.  Cole Miller has also faced the much tougher competition and I think all of this will give him a victory on Wednesday night.

Prediction: Cole Miller via Submission Round 2

 

John Moraga vs. Dustin Ortiz

The last time we saw Moraga compete he was being submitted by UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.  It was only the second loss of his career and the first time he lost he came back to win seven straight fights.  The 25-year-old Ortiz is making his second appearance in the UFC and he’s coming off a TKO victory over Jose Maria Tome in his debut.  These two guys have very similar records, Moraga is 13-2 and Ortiz is 12-2.  I think Moraga has a slight edge, but I haven’t seen enough of Ortiz to be sure, so I’m guessing on this one.  I like Moraga for the TKO victory and it should put him back into title contention in a still very slim flyweight division.

Prediction: John Moraga via TKO Round 1

 

Derek Brunson vs. Yoel Romero

This should be a solid fight.  I’m not going to waste any time getting to the point.  I’ve loved what I’ve seen from Romero so far in his UFC career and I think he continues his impressive run with an early finish of the very game Derek Brunson.

Prediction: Yoel Romero TKO Round 1

 

TJ Dillashaw vs. Mike Easton

This is my choice for fight of the night.  Easton has lost two straight and is hoping to get back into the win column in impressive fashion.  Meanwhile, Dillashaw is coming off of his first loss since losing in the TUF 14 Finale to John Dodson.  This bout will be fast paced and obviously whoever can establish their game plan first will win this one.  Although Dillashaw has shown he can stand with his opponents, I expect he’ll look for a takedown against Easton.  Once this fight hits the mat it’s going to be all Dillashaw in my opinion.

Prediction: TJ Dillashaw via Submission Round 2

 

Lorenz Larkin vs. Brad Tavares

The co-main event is a middleweight clash between rising stars Lorenz Larkin and Brad Tavares.  When Larkin came over from Strikeforce in 2013 he had a perfect record of 13-0-1NC, but that came to a halt when he was stifled by Francis Carmont in his UFC debut.  Tavares on the other hand is riding a 4 fight win streak.  However those wins have come against less than stellar competition.  Even though Brad Tavares has more UFC experience, I think Larkin’s Strikeforce appearances were against tougher competition.  The UFC brass seems be grooming Tavares for bigger fights down the road, but I think they are all in for a surprise on Wednesday night.  Larkin will come in ready for a battle and get a hard fought unanimous decision victory.

Prediction: Lorenz Larkin via Unanimous Decision

 

Luke Rockhold vs. Costa Philippou

This is not exactly a title eliminator in the middleweight division, but it does carry significant importance in regards to the divisional rankings.  A win for both of these guys would be huge as they are coming off of losses in their last fights.  Philippou was out-grappled against Francis Carmont while Rockhold was knocked out by a spinning heel kick from Vitor Belfort.  Although Philippou is probably the more talented boxer, I think Rockhold is much more dynamic with his attacks.  I won’t go on too long about this one, in my books Rockhold will be bigger and stronger and will get a unanimous decision for his first UFC win.

Prediction: Luke Rockhold via Unanimous Decision

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer