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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 5 June, 2020

Uncaged: It’s been a long time coming, but UFC 152 is finally here

With the highly anticipated event almost upon us, Brian Kirk guides you through the fascinating match-ups due to take place.

Vitor Belfort will be one of those competing at UFC 152.
Vitor Belfort will be one of those competing at UFC 152.

THERE IS FINALLY some action to talk about, as the events outside the Octagon can be put to bed once and for all.

Remember what it used to be like in UFC days of old, when there was only an event once every month and the time in between was spent counting down the days and hours until the next event eventually trundled along?

UFC fans got the chance to re-live some of those old-school feelings in the past number of weeks and with the debacle of UFC 151 still lingering, the action this weekend should all but erase the negative thoughts built up recently.

Although the co-main event was jigged and re-jigged a number of times, Dana White has settled on a very strong card with two championship belts on the line as well as a mouth-watering clash between Michael Bisping and Brian Stann to appease the fans.

Jon Jones faces the original “Phenom”.

Jon Jone’s explosion to the top of the MMA ladder has many similarities to Vitor Belfort’s start in the sport. Belfort burst onto the scene at UFC 12 in 1997, knocking out his first three opponents and wowing everyone was his incredible hand speed.

That led him to being regarded as the next big thing in MMA and he received the nickname “The Phenom” as a result. More recently, Jon Jones has been labelled a phenomenon, as he breezed to the light-heavyweight championship in just three years.

Now, aged 35 and 8 years since he won the belt first time round, Belfort has one last shot to try and dampen the hype around Jon Jones, but that chance may have come too late in his career.

While he still possesses lethal hand speed and one-punch KO power, his Achilles heel just happens to be the biggest strength of “Bones” – wrestling.

In his last fight against an overweight Anthony Johnson, the Brazilian was taken down too readily and easily and coming up against the skill set that Jones possesses, it’s a matter of “when” and not “if” the fight goes to the floor. This neutralises Belfort’s biggest tools, his hands, and could lead to this being quite a short affair.

YouTube Credit: Ilyaz Mamadaliyev

First UFC flyweight champ to be crowned.

A little bit of history will be made on Saturday night as Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez face off to see who will become the UFC’s inaugural flyweight champion.

This division was a big hit in the WEC, as the fights were always extremely fast-paced and exciting, and it is not before time that the UFC have introduced this weight class.

Benavidez is strong and fast for his weight, so expect him to utilise his movement, as he will look to stick and move. Johnson has shown an ability to produce great gameplans coming into fights, so this could be a very tactical bout.

Favour has to lay on the side on Benavidez, as the only two loses of his career have come at the hands of Dominick Cruz, and he will look to push his win streak to 5 on his way to becoming the new flyweight champion.

YouTube Credit: MMAKettleBellGuy

While Anderson Silva is playing around in the light heavyweight division, his most likely next opponent at middleweight will be the winner of the Brian Stann and Michael Bisping match-up.

Both men have been beaten by Chael Sonnen recently, but Bisping’s loss was via a close decision, while Stann was choked out by him. Bisping is the slight favourite in this close fight and may have the edge if the fight stays standing.

“The Count” does have a much underrated ground game however, and this fight could come down to who has the stronger chin, as both men will definitely come out swinging.

Matt Hamill emerges from retirement has he faces Roger Hollett, while Cub Swanson and Charles Oliveira make up the main card.

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Brian Kirk

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