Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business tonight (Fri., June 1, 2018) to stage UFC Fight Night 131 from inside Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York on FOX Sports 1. The event features a Bantamweight showdown that will see Jimmie Rivera take on Marlon Moraes. Meanwhile, Gregor Gillespie and Vinc Pichel will face off in the co-main event.
Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Moraes have been at each others throats for some time now, but now they will get the chance to settle it all with their fists and feet in a bout that could have major title implications. Rivera has won 20 in a row and has been on a tear so far inside the eight-sided cage. Plus, he recently made it seem as if he and UFC have an understanding he will be next in line for a title shot should he defeat Moraes. It won’t be easy, as the former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) champion is as tough as they come and is riding high after scoring back-to-back wins against John Dodson and Aljamain Sterling. I really like this fight, and I could really see it living up to the billing.
Gregor Gillespie has been flying under the radar despite staying undefeated (11-0, 4-0 UFC). He’ll look to step out of the shadow and further into the spotlight thanks to his co-main event slot against Vince Pichel. Vince, meanwhile, has turned it around since losing his Octagon debut by winning four in a row.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Ben Saunders stepped in to face Jake Ellenberger after Bryan Barberena was forced out with an injury. David Teymur was booked to face Nik Lentz after Nik’s original opponent, Leonardo Santos, came down with an injury. Jose Torres got his call up to the big leagues to face off against Jarred Brooks after Hector Sandoval was removed from the card for undisclosed reasons.
Aside from Bryan Barberena and Leonardo Santos getting struck down by the injury bug, Niko Price was removed from his fight against Belal Muhammad for undisclosed reasons and replaced by Chance Recountre.
Chance Recountre will make his UFC debut and put his four-fight win streak after a short stint under the Bellator MMA umbrella to face Belal Muhammad. The former Oklahoma wrestler will prove to be a stiff test for the Octagon veteran. Also, Nathaniel Wood -- the former Cage Warriors champion — will make his Octagon debut when he faces off against Johnny Eduardo. And finally, Jose Torres will make his long-awaited debut against Jarred Brooks. Torres -- the undefeated (7-0) former Titan FC Flyweight title holder -- will look to make a splash in his Octagon debut when he faces off against Jarred Brooks
How The Prelims Look:
Longtime Octagon veteran Gleison Tibau and Nik Lentz will fight on the underbelly of the event against Desmond Green and David Teymur, respectively. Also, an intriguing women’s strawweight fight between Jessica Aguilar and Jodie Esquibel will occupy some space on Fight Pass. Also, former Titan FC flyweight champion will make his much-anticipated debut against Jarred Brooks in what will be the first fight of the event.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Jake Ellenberger has been a staple for UFC for quite some time, but the last few years haven’t been so fruitful for him. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak after dropping bouts to Jorge Masvidal and Mike Perry. But his struggles don’t end there, as he has lost four of five dating back to 2015. He needs to collect a win a against Ben Saunders to avoid the dreaded hammer.
Interest Level: 5/10
It’s just not that a good a card. Plus, it’s on a Friday. What’s that all about? I see a card like this and I think to myself: What’s the point of this? Some of these bouts could have easily been placed on other events. But, it is what it is and maybe the event might surprise even the harshest of critics. I do, however, look forward to Rivera and Moraes settling their beef in a 135-pound scrap that has major title implications
Full Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 131 Main Event on FOX Sports 1:
135 lbs.: Jimmie Rivera vs. Marlon Moraes
UFC Fight Night 131 Main Card on FOX Sports 1 (10 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Gregor Gillespie vs. Vinc Pichel
265 lbs.: Walt Harris vs. Daniel Spitz
170 lbs.: Jake Ellenberger vs. Ben Saunders
145 lbs.: Julio Arce vs. Daniel Teymur
205 lbs.: Sam Alvey vs. Gian Villante
UFC Fight Night 131 Prelims on FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Sijara Eubanks vs. Lauren Murphy
145 lbs.: Nik Lentz vs. David Teymur
170 lbs.: Belal Muhammad vs. Chance Rencountre
155 lbs.: Desmond Green vs. Gleison Tibau
UFC Fight Night 131 Prelims on UFC Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Jessica Aguilar vs. Jodie Esquibel
135 lbs.: Johnny Eduardo vs. Nathaniel Wood
125 lbs.: Jarred Brooks vs. Jose Torres
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