This week’s UFC event takes place on Friday night, as UFC Fight Night 131 is in Utica, New York, with Jimmie Rivera taking on Marlon Moraes in the main event on FS1. The main card on FS1 will begin at 10 pm Eastern Time, while the prelims on FS1 begin at 8 pm Eastern. The UFC Fight Pass prelims start at 6:30 pm Eastern. There are six fights on the main card on FS1 and seven preliminary bouts, with four on FS1 and three on UFC Fight Pass. Let’s look at the event with a focus on Rivera vs. Moraes.
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Jimmie Rivera -115 vs. Marlon Moraes
Rivera has been very impressive in his career, winning 21 of his 22 fights including all five in the UFC. He has some good wins, as he took out Urijah Faber and Thomas Almeida. Moraes is 20-5-1 in his career, including 2-1 in the UFC. He is coming off good wins against John Dodson and Aljamain Sterling. Both fighters have shown an ability to finish, so this should be an exciting matchup.
Rivera has said to the media that he really doesn’t have much respect for Moraes, who is a former WSOF champion. “The whole thing with the rivalry, I think it came where they offered me to fight him when he was 1-1 and I said no, he’s got to win some fights. I’m 4-0 in the UFC at the time, why would I fight him? It doesn’t make sense. It could have been that, the fact that I turned him down because he wasn’t a worthy opponent,” Rivera said to MMA Weekly.
Rivera does have a bone to pick with Moraes’ manager Ali Abdelaziz, as the two got into it late last year. “One of the reasons I took this fight is his manager will hide behind his fighters but I’m going to go in there and whoop his fighter’s ass. All that animosity has been helping me train for this fight and I’m looking forward to fighting him,” Rivera said to the media.
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For most fight fans this bout between Rivera and Moraes is the only one of serious interest on the card. Both fighters are near the top of the 135 pound division. Moraes has a better finishing rate than Rivera, but Moraes has faced lesser competition in his career than has Rivera. The winner of this bout could end up getting a title shot against T.J. Dillashaw. Rivera wants to turn this into a striking battle and against Moraes that could be a mistake. Moraes has good power and he is a precise striker. I lean a little bit toward Moraes in this fight because of his striking ability and I also like the rounds to go under the total.
UFC Fight Night 131 takes place on Friday, June 1, 2018 at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York, featuring Jimmie Rivera vs. Marlon Moraes. There are six fights on the main card on FS1 and seven on the preliminary card, with four on FS1 and three on UFC Fight Pass.
Main Card (FS1)
Bantamweight – Jimmie Rivera -120 vs. Marlon Moraes
Lightweight – Gregor Gillespie -475 vs. Vinc Pichel
Heavyweight – Walt Harris -287 vs. Daniel Spitz
Welterweight – Jake Ellenberger -170 vs. Ben Saunders
Featherweight – Julio Arce -170 vs. Daniel Teymur
Light Heavyweight – Sam Alvey -135 vs. Gian Villante
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Women’s Flyweight – Sijara Eubanks -155 vs. Lauren Murphy
Lightweight – David Teymur -270 vs. Nik Lentz
Welterweight – Belal Muhammad -375 vs. Chance Rencountre
Lightweight – Desmond Green -255 vs. Gleison Tibau
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Women’s Strawweight – Jessica Aguilar -135 vs. Jodie Esquibel
Bantamweight – Nathaniel Wood -270 vs. Johnny Eduardo
Flyweight – Jose Torres -190 vs. Jarred Brooks
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