Anthony Smith reacts after defeating Rashad Evans by TKO in the first round

The UFC is back in action after a post-UFC 229 break. I think we can all agree that it was much needed after the chaos that ensued during and after the main event, as well as the 24/7 coverage it received afterward. This weekend the premier MMA organization is live from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada for what will be the first of ten UFC events before the end of the year.

Also on tap is Brave 17, ONE: Pursuit of Greatness, AKA: Rite of Passage 5, Iron Tiger Fight Series 84 and Fight 2 Win 91 for all of my fellow “jits” lovers out there.

Let’s take a look at three “must watch” fights for across the MMA world for this upcoming weekend.

Michael Johnson vs. Artem Lobov

UFC Fight Night 138 – Saturday, October 27

This one might be a little bit of a stretch.

On paper, it seems that the 13-14-1 Lobov will have a tough task ahead of him against the superior striker, wrestler, and athlete in “The Menace.” In addition to the possibility of anything happening in an MMA fight, the storyline surrounding this one has me ever so intrigued.

The now well documented backstage altercation between Lobov and Khabib Nurmagomedov was the catalyst that intensified the flames of the already ignited rivalry between the aforementioned Nurmagomedov and Lobov teammate, Conor McGregor. Lobov’s original opponent, Zubaira Tukhugov, was pulled from the card after the now infamous UFC 229 brawl that saw Tukhugov attack Conor McGregor. Despite the fight not taking place this weekend, and the possibility of Tukhugov being released from the UFC for his involvement in the brawl, Lobov has vowed to follow Tukhugov to any promotion in the world to get a piece of the Dagestani.

I want to see it happen. If anything, it will add another wrinkle in the ongoing McGregor-Khabib beef that will undoubtedly result in a rematch resulting in boatloads of cash.

From a fight standpoint, Johnson is the better fighter and the superior athlete, so at the very least, you could be tuning in to watch a major upset should Lobov pull off the win.

Rodrigo Cavalheiro vs. Abdoul Abdouraguimov

Brave 17 – Saturday, October 27

This one is flying way under the radar.

The main event of Brave 17 on Saturday, live from Pakistan, will pit a menacing Brazilian vet against a highly touted, undefeated Russian prospect in the welterweight division.

Abdouraguimov looks the part of a future title contender in any organization he chooses to sign with. The undefeated Russian is still just 23-years-old and is 8-0-1 with all wins coming via stoppage. Like many of his countrymen, “Sinistro” has developed a devastating ground game, finishing all of his opponents on the mat including seven submissions. His last fight ended in the very first round after he absolutely pummeled a game Sidney Wheeler with ground strikes at Brave 14. “Sinistro” works relentlessly to get his opponent to the mat and often times you will have to defend five or six takedowns in a row to get him off of you for the time being.

His opponent, Rodrigo Cavalheiro, provides a style that perfectly contrasts his opponent. The Brazilian bruiser will have the height advantage and is coming off a two-fight win streak, all under the Brave banner. His last fight saw him viciously knockout fellow vet  Karl Amoussou with a devastating body kick followed up by a clean hook that knocked Amoussou stiff. With 19 of his 23 professional wins coming by finish via strikes, Rodrigo will be the toughest test “Sinistro” has faced to date, and can put him in a very sticky situation should the Russian’s previously successful ground game fail.

This is going to be a good one. Just make sure you set your alarms as this card kicks off at 7 am EST.

Volkan Oezdemir vs. Anthony Smith

UFC Fight Night 138 – Saturday, October 27

You knew this would be in here somewhere, right?

The main event of UFC Fight Night 138 is going to be an absolute banger for as long as it lasts. Former title challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir will take on Anthony “Lionheart” Smith in a what will be a striking fan’s dream. “No Time” is back for the first time since his UFC 220 title loss to Daniel Cormier. Prior to that letdown, Oezdemir had started his UFC career with three straight wins over Ovince Saint Preux, Misha Cirkunov, and Jimi Manuwa, finishing the latter two in quick and devastating fashion.

Across the Octagon from him will be the 30-year-old Smith making his third appearance for the UFC at 205lb. Despite having amassed 43 pro fights at the age of 30, the hype for Smith has never been higher. “Lionheart” may have to change his name to “Legend Killer” after viciously knocking out Shogun Rua and Rashad Evans respectively. Smith will look to prove that the moving up in weight has turned him into a true title contender and not just someone who has benefited from opponents who were at the end of their careers.

There won’t be a takedown in this one. Oezdemir lands a whopping 5.91 significant strikes per minute and proved in both the Cirkunov and Manuwa fights that he does not need a lot of space to end your night. On the other hand, the 6’4″ Smith has proven to be a diverse finisher, finishing his opponents with fists, elbows, knees, and legs.

Canada will be spoiled with two big, tall dudes who specialize in removing their opponents from consciousness. What’s not to love?

Empty your bladder and crack a fresh beer before these two enter the cage because this one could be over in an instant.

Enjoy the fights!

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