MMA Weekend Preview : 2 Promotions and 25 fights

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Between Bellator and UFC, there are a combined 25 fights scheduled this Saturday. The first fight of the day starts in Bellator at 11:30 a.m. EST, and the final fight of the UFC card should end around 11:30 p.m. EST. Only one hour of the two promotion’s broadcasts will overlap. 

Bellator is holding its event in Paris, France. Mixed martial arts was legalized in France this January, and this will be the first major MMA event held in the country. In the main event, France’s own Cheick Kongo takes on Timothy Johnson in a heavyweight bout. This is a rematch of a fight in 2018, in which Kongo won by first-round knockout. Both fighters have found success in the cage since, and Kongo is listed as a slight favorite.  

Earlier in the event, Michael ‘Venom’ Page, one of Bellator’s top stars, takes on the undefeated Ross Houston. Houston signed with Bellator earlier this year and draws a tough challenge in his promotional debut. If one thing about Page is clear, it is that he brings must-watch entertainment every time he steps in the cage. In his 18 professional appearances, there have only been three fights where the judges were needed. Page has an electrifying highlight reel that he is always looking to make an addition to. 

On paper, this week’s UFC card looks a little more promising than last week’s forgettable card. But, interestingly enough, there are less ranked fighters on this week’s card — three compared to four last week. This card is filled with fighter’s either making their UFC debut or still on their first UFC contract. As a result, expect a majority of fights to end in finishes, as the newer fighters will look to make a splash in the UFC.  

In the main event, two top contenders in the bantamweight division take center-stage. Former title-challenger, Marlon Moraes, was last seen against Jose Aldo in December of last year. Moraes won the fight by split decision, but in a puzzling move by the UFC, Aldo was the one who earned a title shot from the result. In a title fight for the vacant bantamweight belt, the now champion, Petr Yan, defeated Aldo by a fifth-round knockout. With a win this weekend, Moraes will be the clear next opponent for the winner of Yan and Aljamain Sterling. 

Across the cage, Moraes will meet Cory Sandhagen, who has quickly risen to the top ranks of the bantamweight division. At 5-feet-11 inches tall, Sandhagen is one of the tallest bantamweights you will see in the Octagon. Sandhagen won his first five fights with the UFC before he was matched up against Sterling for a No. 1 contender fight. Sandhagen was quickly choked out 90 seconds into the fight, but the stars are still bright for his future. Sandhagen looks to get back in the win column this Saturday, but Moraes is a tough opponent. The two are listed at near even odds, but Sandhagen likely needs a career-best performance to emerge with a win. 

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