Pure uncut violence ...
Two of the most destructive Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight up-and-comers do battle this Sunday evening (May 29, 2016) when Thomas Almeida pits his Muay Thai stylings against Cody Garbrant's vicious power punches in the main event of UFC Fight Night 88.
In addition, the FOX Sports 1-televised co-main event, which will take place inside Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, will see former Bantamweight champion Renan Barao make his first Featherweight appearance against Jeremy Stephens, while Jorge Masvidal battles Lorenz Larkin up at Welterweight.
UFC Fight Night 88 will feature just six "Prelims" undercard matches this time around, with four airing live on FOX Sports 1 and the first two streaming online via Fight Pass beforehand. Let's start with the Internet line up:
135 lbs.: Aljamain Sterling vs. Bryan Caraway
Aljamain Sterling (12-0) had a rougher go than expected in his debut against Cody Gibson, but has looked utterly unstoppable since. In his most recent bout, "Funk Master" dominated the Nova Uniao striking standout Johny Eduardo before ultimately tapping him with a second-round guillotine.
He will give up two inches of height to the 5’9" Bryan Caraway (20-7).
Caraway -- formerly of Team Alpha Male -- came up short in his stiffest test to date against Raphael Assuncao two Octobers ago. In his sole 2015 appearance, however, he upset Eddie Wineland in one of his best Octagon performances to date.
Seventeen of his 20 wins have come by submission.
There is a very high possibility of some wicked ground exchanges in this bout -- both men are capable wrestlers who excel in scrambles. That’s not to say said exchanges will necessarily be competitive, however. "Funk Master" is a prodigious talent who has really come into his own in UFC, demonstrating tremendous skill and exponential improvement. Very, very few people in the 135-pound division could do what he did to Takeya Mizugaki.
Caraway, while capable of surviving most of what Sterling can dish out, is just a couple of steps behind in almost every facet of the game. Sterling continues his rise with a dominant performance.
Prediction: Sterling via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Chris De La Rocha vs. Adam Milstead
Chris De La Rocha (4-1) made his Octagon debut in Glasgow last year, replacing Konstantin Erokhin against Daniel Omielanczuk on the card’s opening bout. He didn’t get much of a chance to show his stuff, as the Pole knocked him out just 48 seconds in.
He has stopped three opponents in the first round, including journeyman D.J. Linderman.
Adam Milstead (7-1) lost via technical knockout in his professional debut, but has yet to lose or even see the judges since. He’s stopped each of his last three opponents via knockout in less than two minutes.
Overall, "The Prototype" has knocked out five opponents and submitted another two.
Ah, Heavyweights -- the guys who you want to watch as little as possible. These two don’t look likely to break the "immediate knockout or God-awful slop fest" mold anytime soon, but this could be fun while it lasts.
Milstead’s got big power and a decent wrestling background, which ought to nullify De La Rocha’s grappling and force him to exchange. There, De La Rocha’s pretty much entirely limited to a decent one-two combination and isn’t durable enough to withstand "The Prototype’s" power punches. Milstead takes him out midway through the first.
Prediction: Milstead via first-round technical knockout
Four more UFC Fight Night 88 "Prelims" undercard matches to preview and predict tomorrow, featuring a Bantamweight showdown between two women in desperate need of a win.
Same time tomorrow, Maniacs!
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 88 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET, before the FOX Sports 1 main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.