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Dublin: 4°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Uncaged: The UFC midweek action continues with Fight Night 31

Dana White has an interesting looking bill for the Fight For The Troops event.

UFC kingpin Dana White.
UFC kingpin Dana White.
Image: David Becker/AP/Press Association Images

THIS WEDNESDAY SEES the fourth instalment of the UFC’s ‘Fight for the Troops’ series which takes place on the military base Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The crowd will be made up of US military personnel who will witness a packed card of fights with one of their own, full-time serviceman Tim Kennedy, topping the bill in a middleweight matchup against Rafael Natal.

Former US Marine Liz Carmouche does battle against Alexis Davis in the women’s bantamweight division while Colton Smith, another active member of the US army, takes on Michael Chiesa.

You can also look out for the likes of Ronny Marks, Dennis Bermudez and Yves Edwards who, amongst others, are all in action on this potentially action-packed midweek card.

All action hero

The Fight for the Troops events are a way for the UFC, they say, to give something back to the people who defend their country but behind all the celebrations lies a pretty decent looking card.

Former Strikeforce middleweight star Tim Kennedy was due to face Lyoto Machida before he stepped in for Michael Bisping but in Rafael Natal he faces another dangerous Brazilian coming off a fight of the night performance over Tor Troeng last time out.

Kennedy has previously proven his worth in Strikeforce, losing out on the middleweight belt to Luke Rockhold and out-struck Roger Gracie to claim a decision victory in his UFC debut back in July. Natal is on a three fight winning streak but has never really been anything more than a journeyman and this fight seems to be set up to give the fans something to cheer about.

While there is no such thing as a sure thing, especially in MMA, it would be very surprising if Natal won this fight. Kennedy is much better on the feet and possesses a good submission defence game which neutralizes Natal’s most dangerous tool and given the extra motivation of fighting in front of his troops, Kennedy should take this one.

Here come the girls

Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis are cut from the same ilk. Both are gritty, well rounded and determined fighters who always give their all inside the Octagon. The onus will be once again on Carmouche in this bantamweight fight as the former marine fights in front of her peers.

The recent emergence of women in the UFC has been huge and has produced some cracking fights and this one promises to be no different as both have no qualms about throwing down.

Davis enters the fight off the back of a hard fought decision victory over Rosi Sexton, a fight in which she displayed a lot of heart while Carmouche viciously dispatched Jessica Andrade inside two rounds when they fought in July.

Carmouche holds the advantage on the feet while the BJJ black belt of Davis has the advantage on the ground so the result of the fight depends on who can impose their will on their opponent. Carmouche’s greater experience gives her the edge so expect more patriotic cheering at the end of this bout.

YouTube credit: TvJohannLemoine

Best of the rest

In the lightweight division Michael Chiesa will look to put his first career loss behind him but faces not only Colton Smith but is up against the crowd as they will be cheering on one of their own. The two former TUF contestants face off with Chiesa the strong favourite to win this one.

Brazilian middleweight prospect Ronny Markes wants to continue to progress up the ranks with a win over the former Olympian Yoel Romero while the former Russian Sambo World Champion Rustam Khabilov should have the better of Jorge Masdival.

Away from the main card there is a strong preliminary set up with some hidden gems of fights that may get overlooked with Dennis Bermudez versus Steven Siler and Yves Edwards versus Yancy Medeiros the standout bouts.

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About the author:

Brian Kirk

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