By Mathias Berbel
The MMA world is counting down for another fight card after being spoiled with three fight cards in a span of 8 days. After a weekend without MMA, many were left wondering where the next event will even take place. There were talks of Tyrone Woodley & Gilbert Burns headlining a UFC Fight Night on May 23 but the Nevada Athletic Commission did not feel ready to approve events in Las Vegas yet. Their decision changed just a few days later when the NAC approved the first MMA events in its jurisdiction since March. The UFC announced plans to hold events at the UFC Apex on May 30th and June 6th. NAC executive director Bob Bennett said the commission has been working “hand in glove” with the UFC and “everything is moving forward.”
Tyrone Woodley: (19-4-1)
Notable wins: Darren Till / Stephen Thompson
Gilbert Burns: (18-3)
Notable wins: Damian Maia / Gunnar Nelson
Tyrone Woodley & Gilbert Burns will headline UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. The winner of this fight may very well be fighting for UFC gold in their next fight. Woodley is the former UFC welterweight champion who claims to have a much better resume than Burns. Burns is on an impressive five fight win streak & was last defeated in July of 2018 when he was viciously KO’d by lightweight contender Dan Hooker. That loss pushed Burns up a weight class where he has had great success. Burns is a black belt in jiu jitsu and has proven to have power in his hands after his most recent victory against Damian Maia. This is a great comeback fight for Woodley who successfully defended UFC gold 4 times before being mauled by current Champion Kamaru Usman. Woodley has superb wrestling & has one of the most powerful right hands in MMA. Woodley carries an impressive resume with victories over monsters such as Wonderboy Thompson (twice), Darren Till, Damian Maia & Robbie Lawler. Nobody can feel safe when fighting Woodley but Burns brings a lot to the table that will challenge Woodley. Woodley comes into this fight as a (-185) favorite & Burns is the underdog at (+165). Woodley will have a 3 inch reach advantage heading into this fight.
Other fights to keep an eye on…
Louis Smolka: (16-6)
Notable wins: Ryan Macdonald / Su Mudaerji
Casey Kenney: (13-2-1)
Notable wins: Manny Bermudez / Ray Borg
The local boy Louis Smolka will look to start fast in his bout vs Casey Kenney on Saturday. Smolka has found new energy after being cut from the UFC in 2017. He has gone (2-1) after being called back to duty by the UFC. In his previous bout against Ryan Macdonald I believe we saw the best version of Smolka. Smolka had a much more aggressive approach and outclassed Macdonald on his feet rather than taking the fight to the ground where he is most comfortable. Smolka has improved his striking since joining team Oyama in southern California. With training partners such as Chito Vera & Alex Perez, Smolka has only became sharper and more powerful. Casey Kenney, the former LFA champion found quick success in the UFC going (2-0) against tough opponents like Ray Borg & Manny Bermudez. Kenney is looking to get back in the winners column after being handed his first loss by Merab Dvalishvili back in February. Kenney is coming into this fight as a (-270) favorite, and Smolka is the underdog at (+230).
Roosevelt Roberts: (9-1)
Notable wins: Alexander Yakovlev / Darrell Horcher
Brok Weaver: (15-4)
Notable wins: Kazula Vargas / Devin Smyth
Roosevelt Roberts & Brok Weaver just want to throw down! They are fighters that want to trade in the middle and put on a show to earn fight of the night. Both of these fighters earned their way into the UFC by performing on Dana Whites Tuesday Night Contender Series. Weaver, who proudly represents his background, is a member of the Mowa Choctaw Native American Tribe. Weaver is never afraid to show his colors, as he always shows up in war paint for the staredowns as if he is going to battle for his people. Roberts did not appreciate the red and black war paint worn by Weaver at the staredowns on Friday. They had to be separated by team members before things escalated further. Roberts has no fear and proved to be game after defeating Alexander Yakovlev in Moscow. Roberts is durable, loves to bring the pressure to the fight, and has tremendous cardio. Weaver will have to match his pace if he wants to win this fight. Weaver, who missed weight by a pound and a half, comes into this fight as the underdog at (+260) and Roberts is the favorite at (-320). Great value here for Weaver who will happily engage with Roberts for 15 minutes.