Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to return later tonight (Sat., Oct. 27, 2018) after a week off to stage UFC Fight Night 138 in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. The FOX Sports 1 event will be headlined by an intriguing Light Heavyweight showdown between two rising stars in Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith, while Artem Lobov and Michael Johnson scrap in the co-main event.
Current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is set to retire, which means the 205-pound division is going to be ripe for the picking once “DC” leaves. Or, at the very least, be fighting to face either Jon Jones or Alexander Gustafsson. Smith and Oezdemir are two guys that fit the mold to become the next big thing at 205.
Volkan has already suffered defeat at the hands of “DC,” but then again, so has everyone else not named Jon Jones. So the loss didn’t hurt “No Time’s” stock too much, as he is still right up there. As for Smith, he has been on a legend-smashing tour, taking out the likes of Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua in rather violent fashion. This fight will determine who’s who; one will be a contender and while the other one wont be a pretender, he will take a huge fall down the ladder. The winner has a potential title fight to look forward to against either “Bones” or The Mauler” after UFC 232, so you know they are going to come in guns blazing.
Original Card vs. Actual Card:
Zubaira Tukhugov was pulled from his fight against Artem Lobov — which was set to serve as co-headliner — for his involvement in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl which saw him take a swing at Conor McGregor.
While Artem did his best to keep him on the card, UFC had other plans, and ultimately pegged Michael Johnson to serve as his replacement.
A late injury forced Gavin Tucker out of his fight against Andre Soukhamthath. UFC newcomer Jonathan Martinez was pegged to face Andre on a few weeks notice.
There are several newcomers making their Octagon debut at the event, including Jonathan Martinez, Chris Fishgold, Te Edwards and Don Madge. To get a more detailed look at their respective paths to the Octagon and what they bring to the table, I highly suggest you take the time read this highly-detailed "New Blood" piece from MMAmania’s very own Patrick L. Stumberg:
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Several of the newcomers making their UFC debuts will be fighting on the undercard, so it’s understandable if you’re not familiar or excited for the matchups. Calvin Kattar will welcome Chris Fishgold into the Featherweight mix, while Sara Mora takes on Talita Bernardo in women’s Bantamweight action. Thibault Gouti will face on Nasrat Haqparast in a very interesting 155-pound scrap.
Headlining the prelims, however, is a Welterweight showdown between Nordine Talib and Sean Strickland. Nordine is looking to get back on the winning track after coming up short against Claudio Silva this past summer. As for Strickland, he, too, looks to a much-needed “W” after losing to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos at UFC 224 via first-round knockout.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Misha Cirkunov was once considered a rising player in the light heavyweight division, but he has failed to live up to expectations in his last two outings, getting knocked out by Volkan Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira in the very first round. Another loss could be disastrous for Misha, who will look to get back on track against Patrick Cummins. Patrick parlayed his unexpected fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 170 into 10 more fights for the promotion, so he has plenty of experience under his belt. So if Misha isn’t on his game, he could very well leave Canada on a three-fight losing streak.
Interest Level: 6/10
The heavy-hitting showdown between Volkan and Smith is a pick em’ fight for me, as both posses the same skill set and both can end the fight in the blink of an eye. I don’t foresee this fight ending quickly, however, as I can seem them being cautious to start the fight. Still, this one should be a barn-burner for fans to enjoy.
Artem was adamant he was going to give Johnson his money after “The Menace” was deducted that from his fight purse for failing to make weight. Whether or not he makes good on his promise remains to be seen. Still, it’s kind of hard to get up for this fight, as it seems Artem doesn’t really care if he has a future in the UFC. He’s already asked for his release on two separate occasions, so a win or a loss doesn’t do much for his stock in the company. For Johnson, though, it’s a chance to get a win over Conor McGregor’s teammate and put him back in the 145-pound mix.
Gian Villante will look to turn his fortunes around when he faces off against longtime UFC veteran, Ed Herman, in a light heavyweight scrap. Court McGee and Alex Garcia will round out the six-fight main card in a welterweight bout.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Fight Night 138 Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 138 Main Event:
205 lbs.: Volkan Oezdemir vs. Anthony Smith
UFC Fight Night 138 Main Card on FOX Sports 1 (10 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Artem Lobov vs. Michael Johnson
205 lbs.: Misha Cirkunov vs. Patrick Cummins
135 lbs.: Jonathan Martinez vs. Andre Soukhamthath
205 lbs.: Gian Villante vs. Ed Herman
170 lbs.: Alex Garcia vs. Court McGee
UFC Fight Night 138 Prelims on FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Nordine Taleb vs. Sean Strickland
145 lbs.: Thibault Gouti vs. Nasrat Haqparast
145 lbs.: Calvin Kattar vs. Chris Fishgold
135 lbs.: Sarah Moras vs. Talita Bernardo
UFC Fight Night 138 Prelims on Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Te Edwards vs. Don Madge
265 lbs.: Arjan Bhullar vs. Marcelo Golm
155 lbs.: Stevie Ray vs. Jessin Ayari
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 138 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” undercard bout at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the FOX Sports 1 “Prelims” undercard bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.
To see the entire UFC schedule for 2018 click here.