Fights To Look Out For On UFC 271

The UFC's return to Houston pits the rematch for the UFC middleweight championship between Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) and the former champion Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker (23-5 MMA, 14-3 UFC). After his UFC 243 loss to Adesanya, Whittaker took the path many avoid and earned his way back with 3 dominant decision wins over fellow contenders Kelvin Gastelum, Darren Till and Jared Cannonier to earn himself a chance to gain his title back. Since his title unifying bout with Whittaker, Adesanya defended the belt 3 times with defenses over Yoel Romero, a dominant win over Paulo Costa and a win in the rematch against Marvin Vettori and in between includes an attempt to earn double chance status to a decision loss to Jan Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight championship. The co-main slot is filled with an absolute banger with home town favorite and knockout extraordinary Derrick "The Black Beast" Lewis (26-8 MMA, 17-6 UFC) against the master of the shoey Tai "Bam Bam" Tuivasa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC). After his rough defeat in Houston for the interim UFC heavyweight championship against Ciryl Gane, he punched his way back into the win column against Chris Dauakuas and is now looking to make it two straight KO wins. Tuivasa has had stretches of real promise as of late, riding a 4 fight KO streak and taking his popularity to the next level with his friendship with the Nelk Boys and the Full Send brand sending him upwards to the co-main event slot on a pay per view. Most eyes are on the main event and co-main event slots with a potential title eliminator between Jared "The Killa Gorilla" Cannonier (14-5 MMA, 7-5 UFC) and Derek Brunson (23-7 MMA, 14-5 UFC) as well on the main card, the entirety of the fight card has fights people should keep their eyes on.

Bobby Green VS. Nasrat Haqparast

The main card on pay per view starts off with a bang with longtime UFC and Strikeforce veteran Bobby "King" Green (28-12-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) against Tristar Gym product under Firas Zahabi Nasrat Haqparast (13-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC). A member of the UFC roster since 2013, Green has fought a murderer's row of fighters through his career with fights against Dustin Poirer, Edson Barboza, Rashid Magomedov and Rafael Fiziev just to name a few. Ups and downs for most of his tenure, Green has won 4 out of his last 6 including a 1st round TKO against Al Iaquinta, his first stoppage victory since his 2nd fight in the promotion in November of 2013. Green's style is very boxing heavy and an unique defense rarely seen in MMA and more found in boxing called the shoulder roll. His hand speed and his head movement gives problems for anyone in the lightweight division. Nasrat Haqparast has shown flashes of a true contender with his KO win over Joaquim Silva and grinding decision wins over Marc Diakese and Rafa Garcia. However, whenever he has picked up momentum, he is met with tough losses with a TKO loss to Drew Dober and a unanimous decision loss to Dan Hooker in his last performance at UFC 266. The southpaw powerhouse has 9 KO/TKO wins and has a powerful left hand to match. The difference maker in this bout will be if Green decides to take this fight to the ground where Green has a sneaky submission game with 8 submissions on his record. In his last bout against Hooker, Haqparast showed a lack of takedown defense where Hooker, who is not known as a wrestling by any means, scored 3 takedowns and over 7 minutes of control time on route to a victory. Green is not the type of fighter to shoot however, he will stand and bang and go out on his shield so this has fight of the night written all over it.

Jeremiah Wells VS. Mike Mathetha

The UFC debut for City Kickboxing product and kickboxing extraordinary Mike "Blood Diamond" Mathetha (3-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is met with a tough and heavy opponent in Jeremiah Wells (9-2-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC). Despite only having 3 professional MMA bouts on his record but it is solid opponents and he has hundreds of kickboxing bouts and many titles won in his native country of New Zealand. An unorthodox style would be the best way to explain the striking of Blood Diamond. He uses his footwork to bait opponents in for heavy blows and lands said blows from weird angles, very faint but effective framing and timing on hos punches makes his standup almost a puzzle to figure out over the course of 15 minutes. However, kickboxing sometimes does not connect so greatly due to the glove size difference and someone with the power like Wells, it can be goodnight very quickly. With 7 of his 9 wins by stoppage, Wells has a knack for finishing fights and fights with an extremely high pressure and powerful shots in the first round. The key for victory for the Philadelphia native is to take Mathetha down and control him in a position where he lacks the MMA knowledge and win the fight there, but Mathetha has shown in his very limited MMA sample size that he has a decent ground game to match with his incredibly kickboxing ability with a rear naked choke win on his record. The path to victory may seem simple, but both Mathetha and Wells have never faced an opponent quite like each other and they bring danger wherever the fight may go.

Alexander Hernandez VS. Renato Moicano

Stuffed onto the early prelims is a bout that could lead to a potential ranking as Factory X product Alexander "The Great" Hernandez (13-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) faces off against long time featherweight prospect Renato Moicano (15-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC). At one point in 2018, Moicano was ranked as high as #4 in the world and main evented against Jose Aldo. The UFC has out Moicano through a line of fire facing names like Calvin Kattar, Brian Ortega, the aforementioned Aldo, Chan Sung Jung and Rafael Fiziev. Never able to break through the threshold of higher ranked competition, Moicano is looking to create a win streak with his submission offense shining through in his last fight against former Cage Warriors champion Jai Herbert by 2nd round rear naked choke. With Moicano being battle tested, Hernandez matches the same description with facing names like Donald Cerrone, Thiago Moises, Drew Dober and Beneil Dariush through his UFC tenure. Making his UFC debut on short notice against Beneil Dariush and knocked him out in a whooping 42 seconds to make a splash. Since the Darisuh fight, he has traded wins and losses since then but the striker has very clean boxing combinations and is posed in the pocket when trading. He is not too much of a kicker but his footwork and his movement makes his hands so much more deadly than normal. Moicano has more of a counter striking while leaving his chin a bit too high, and leading the dance with his rear body kick and solid leg kicks. With both men hungry to earn their way back into the rankings and Hernandez upset about his placement on the card, they will come out firing and looking for a finish to stake their claim in the undecided 155 pound division.

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