Here we go ... a Middleweight rematch more than five years in the making.
It’s off to Charlotte, N.C., for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) this Saturday evening (Jan. 28, 2018), where the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion’s twenty-seventh show on FOX goes down inside Spectrum Center.
UFC on FOX 27’s main event pits Ronaldo Souza against the surging Derek Brunson, who fell to “Jacare” in Strikeforce back in 2012. The four-fight main card will also feature Dennis Bermudez vs. Andre Fili and top Lightweight prospect Gregor Gillespie against Jordan Rinaldi, as well as a 155-pound battle between Drew Dober and the always-fun Frank Camacho.
Things are a little lopsided this week, with six of seven “Prelims” undercard matches taking place on FOX Sports 1 and just a single opener on Fight Pass. Here it is in all its lonesome glory.
170 lbs.: Niko Price vs. George Sullivan
Though a failed drug test scratched his brutal knockout of Alex Morono, the beatdown Niko Price (10-1) laid on Alan Jouban had no such asterisk, leaving him free to collect his “Performance of the Night” bonus. There would be no such breaking of the bank against Vicente Luque, who dropped and stopped Price late in the second.
He will have three inches of reach on “The Silencer.”
George Sullivan (17-5) — a former CFFC champ — earned three victories in his first four UFC appearances, including an upset of Mike Rhodes and knockout of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Igor Araujo. This success made him the favorite against Alexander Yakovlev, who nonetheless put him to sleep with punches late in the first round.
This will be his first fight in almost exactly two years thanks to run-ins with United State Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Price was a bit shaky against Luque and Sullivan’s got some solid boxing, but the circumstances around this fight are so weighted in his favor that it’s hard to pick against “The Hybrid.” Not only is he eight years younger than Sullivan, he looks like the larger man and packs quite a bit more power. This would be a rough match up for Sullivan even if he wasn’t coming off a 24-month layoff and the first knockout loss of his career.
This early in Price’s career, I expect the Luque fight to be an ultimately positive development. So long as he learns from it and maintains his confidence in his power, expect him to find Sullivan’s chin early.
Prediction: Price via first-round knockout
Six more UFC on FOX 27 “Prelims” undercard matches remain to preview and predict tomorrow, including the return of Mirsad Bektic and what looks like a loser-goes-home showdown at Lightweight. Same time as always, Maniacs!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 27 card this weekend, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" match online, which is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 4 p.m. ET before the FOX main card action kicks off at 8 p.m. ET.