By Patrick DeMoss, 6/1/18–It has been an exciting week in the sport of MMA, and with the weeks ahead, I couldn’t be more excited as a fan to watch. First, we’ll take a look ahead to this weekend and explore cards and see what’s in store for us, then we’ll review last week’s fights and capitalize on the key moments.

This Week’s MMA Action

Ah, well after a what I’d call sub-par card in Liverpool, the UFC returns to TV action with UFC Utica tonight, airing 10PM ET on FS1 for the main card and 8pm for the prelims.

The card is headlined by a pivotal bantamweight between top contenders, Jimmie Rivera (21-1, MMA) and Marlon Moraes (20-5-1, MMA).

It’s an interesting fight to say the least, as these two have gone back and forth for quite some time. Jimmie Rivera is such a dominating figure inside a cage that its hard me not to picture him dominating Moraes for five rounds, but that’s the thing…This isn’t a three-round fight. Rivera knows how to control a fight, but twenty-five minutes with Moraes scares me a bit for him, considering Moraes’ evolution over just a few years.

Moraes’ last fight was quite impressive, KO’ing Aljamain Sterling in the first round. He’s explosive, Rivera’s explosive, so I expect fireworks the entire time.

These two are 135 lb ticking time bombs ready to go off, and I think whoever is able to control the distance more is who’s going to go off first.

This card actually features quite a bit of great bouts. You have Jake Ellenberger (31-13, MMA) returning to action to take on fellow veteran, Ben Saunders (21-9-2, MMA). For me, this is do or die for both fighters really, if they aren’t already too far deep into their career. Both have been on a skid, and really, I think whoever is more conditioned heading in will win. Both have had their chins tested lately, and they’ve been getting cracked, nonetheless though, a great welterweight bout between to pioneers of MMA.

Also, in the light-heavyweight division, “Smilin” Sam Alvey (32-10, MMA) takes on Gian Villante (16-9, MMA). Although they’ve both had their moments inside the Octagon, I find it disappointing when, if the fight goes past two rounds, these two seem to gas. Even though cardio has been an issue for Villante and Alvey in the past, hopefully these two are coming in well prepared and we get an exciting stand-up bout.

Finally, the last fight I want to highlight is the return of Jarred Brooks (13-1, MMA). For me, Brooks is one of the more promising flyweights in the UFC, and although coming off a narrow loss, I think he has a bright future ahead in the UFC, so be on the lookout when he takes on undefeated newcomer, Jose Torres, (7-0, MMA).

Finally, here’s a complete list of the fights at UFC Fight Night: Utica, if you want to check them out.

Last Week’s MMA Action

The UFC’s first trip to Liverpool seemed to prove one thing. No matter how exciting the fights are happening in the cage, the Liverpool crowd can hype up absolutely anything, and that’s what we saw in the main event.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching Darren Till (17-0-1, MMA) and Stephen Thompson’s (14-3-1, MMA) game of chess, truly.

I respect both of their high level of striking and actually enjoyed the fight quite a bit, but usually, anywhere else would have boo’d that fight halfway through the second round. Liverpool though, has to have one of the greatest crowds in the world, and I mean that.

Let’s get back to the main event though, shall we? Till and “Wonderboy” had an interesting fight of distance and octagon control throughout the five rounds. In the end, the decision went to Till. I’m not going to say Thompson got robbed, because really, you can’t blame the judges when really neither fighter pulled the trigger throughout 25 minutes. Till was able to land a huge bomb in the fifth though, that easily stole the round for him, and possibly the fight.

This win wasn’t without controversy though, as Till missed weight by nearly 5 pounds, and it shows, they guy looks like a true middleweight in there.

With one or two more wins and weight management, I can see Till challenging for the belt at the beginning of 2019. As for wonderboy though, it’s a setback, but a minor one, expect to see him in the coming months back in action.

Also, on the card, we saw Neil Magny show why he is still a big threat at 170, when he dominated and TKO’d Craig White in the opening round. The featherweight division also got some movement, as up-and-comer Arnold Allen (11-1, MMA) continued his hot streak with a submission over Mads Burnell (9-3, MMA). Makwan Amirkhani (14-3, MMA). returned after a hiatus to earn a split decision of veteran Jason Knight (20-4, MMA) in an absolute brawl that needed five rounds instead of three.

On the Bellator side of things, we say they’re 200th event be a success in terms of entertainment. Former Middleweight top contender, Gegard Mousasi (44-6-2) earned gold in the promotion, after dismantling then-champion, Rafael Carvalho (15-2, MMA) inside the first round. Afterwards, he called out current Bellator Welterweight champ, Rory MacDonald, for a superfight at 185. These are the types of fights Bellator really needs if its to compete seriously with the UFC.

The dynamic welterweight superstar, Michael “Venom” Page, (13-0, MMA) also made his return to MMA, when he simply embarrassed David Rickels (19-5-2, MMA), making Rickels just give up and quit in the second round. Although impressive, I’d really like to see Paige now take on some serious competition in the division…Paul Daley anyone?

The last fight to highlight has to be Phil Davis’s (19-4-1, MMA) spectacular head kick KO of Linton Vassell (18-7-1). This certainly helps Davis’s case of hopefully getting a third shot at Ryan Bader (25-5, MMA) for the LHW title, but with Bader tied up in the Heavyweight Grand Prix, who knows how long it could take for Bader to return to his natural division

Next week, we’ll be back to take a look ahead again, and review UFC Utica and any other exciting marks that may happen in the world of MMA!

Until next time!