Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business tonight (Sat., March 17, 2018) for UFC Fight Night 127 inside O2 Arena in London, England featuring a Heavyweight bout between Fabricio Werdum and Alexander Volkov. In the co-main event, Jimi Manuwa will once again face off against Jan Blachowicz.
Fabricio Werdum has been on quite roll, winning two in a row since getting outscored by Alistair Overeem at UFC 213. The only problem is his victories haven't exactly come against big names, taking out the likes of Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura. But, it’s not his fault as one bout came due to an injury to Derrick Lewis, while his fight against Marcin came to be after “Vai Cavalo” stepped in to save an event. Now, the No. 3 ranked big man in the land will look to collect his third straight win against another man who’s name value isn’t exactly top notch, Alexander Volkov.
That said, Alex has been on a tear himself, winning all five of his fights inside the Octagon, which is good enough to put him in the top 10. A win for Werdum will assure him another crack at the title. For Volkov, a victory over a former champion such as Fabricio will definitely make people take more notice and make some ripples in the championship hunt.
Is there a rule that London cards have to be watered down? I get it, Michael Bisping couldn’t get locked down for this event, but come on, put a little bit more effort for the Brits. Those hardcore fans deserve it. I mean, Terrion Ware vs Tom Duquesnoy is on the main card. Nothing against them two, but they don’t exactly have the name value to be filling out a main card on a UFC event just yet, and they are each coming off losses. Then again, it is Fight Pass. But I do get baffled at time when I see the enormous roster UFC has at its disposal and this is the type of card they come up with.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
After Rustam Khabilov was forced out of the event with an injury, Kajan Johnson was paired up to face Stevie Ray. A fight between Jack Marshman and Brad Scott was cancelled a few days from fight night after Marshman ran into some weight-cutting complications, forcing officials to pull the plug on the bout. Also, Nad Narimani got the call up to face will Nasrat Haqparast after Nastrat’s original foe, Alex Reyes was forced out with an injury. Plus, Mark Goodbeer was originally set to face off against Dmitry Poberezhets before a late injury forced Dmitry out and was ultimately replaced by Dmitry Sosnovskiy.
Aside from Alex Reyes, Dmitry Poberezhets and Rustam Khabilov getting taken down by the injury bug, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos was removed from his scheduled bout against Jack Marshman with an in injury.
There are quite a new faces on this card, including the aforementioned Dmitry Sosnovskiy, who will put his undefeated (10-0) mark on the line to face off against Mark Goodbeer. After winning four straight, John Phillips will get his first taste of the UFC’s bright lights when he takes on Charles Byrd, who will be making his official Octagon debut after winning on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
After winning seven straight fights under the World Series of Fighting banner, Hakeem Dawodu will attempt to keep his undefeated streak going by facing off against Danny Henry on the under belly of the Fight Pass event. Magomed Ankalaev will also come into the Octagon for the first time unbeaten at 9-0 to face off against Paul Craig, who has lost two straight. As mentioned earlier Nad Narimani will make the jump up to the big leagues on short notice to face off against Nasrat Haqparast. Nad comes in with championship pedigree, as he was the former Cage Warriors Featherweight champion.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
As you can see in the previous section, there are a lot of new faces, so it’s really hard to get excited about the undercard. Stevie Ray will make his long-awaited return to action after a loss to face off against a streaking Kajan Johnson. Kajan has been one of the lesser-known fighters who have taken issue with UFC’s practices and payouts, so if he can score a win, he will get more attention and his voice can be heard a bit louder.
Also, Hakeem Dawodu is an exciting 145-pound prospect who tore it up at WSOF. If he can continue that success inside the eight-sided cage, he could be a great addition to the division.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Paul Craig has dropped two in a row and has acquired a 1-2 record since making his UFC debut back in 2016. Losing three in a row won’t be good for Craig, who has a stiff test ahead of him in the form of Magomed Ankalaev, an undefeated monster who is looking to make a splash in his UFC debut.
Interest Level: 5/10
We have the main event covered with Werdum and Volkov which is actually an interesting contest. Volkov has been on a rampage since bursting onto the UFC scene, taking out the likes of Roy Nelson and Stefan Struve in consecutive bouts. The towering Russian has shown a well-rounded arsenal so far inside the Octagon, but it’s obvious he prefers to stand-and-bang. Meanwhile, Werdum obviously has the best submission game in all the division, if not the sport, and once it goes to the ground the odds of him getting win increase dramatically. Getting there, though, will be half the battle as he has to get close enough for the takedown without eating several hard strikes from his lanky opponent.
As for Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz, I scratched my head when this fight was booked. Jimi already defeated in 2015. so booking them together, for me, had no rhyme or reason. Manuwa is coming off a loss while Jan has won two in a row. Perhaps the fact that “pussies” such as Glover Teixeira and Mauricio Rua turned down fighting “Poster Boy” had a lot to do with it, but I’d like to think any other top 10 foe would’ve been a more intriguing matchup for Manuwa. Nevertheless, taking out Jan once more will only get Jimi that much closer to a shot at the title.
Full UFC Fight Night 127 Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 127 Main Event:
265 lbs.: Fabricio Verdum vs. Alexander Volkov
UFC Fight Night 127 Main Card (5 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Jan Blachowicz vs. Jimi Manuwa
135 lbs.: Tom Duquesnoy vs. Terrion Ware
170 lbs.: Leon Edwards vs. Peter Sobotta
UFC Fight Night 127 Prelims (2 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Charles Byrd vs. John Phillips
170 lbs.: Oliver Enkamp vs. Danny Roberts
170 lbs.: Jack Marshman vs. Bradley ScottCANCELED — Full story HERE
145 lbs.: Hakeem Dawodu vs. Danny Henry
205 lbs.: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Paul Craig
155 lbs.: Kajan Johnson vs. Stevie Ray
155 lbs.: Nasrat Haqparast vs. Nad Narimani
265 lbs.: Mark Godbeer vs. Dmitry Sosnovskiy
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