UFC Fight Night 88 is set to go down live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is headlined by No. 7-Ranked bantamweight Thomas Almeida taking on fellow undefeated 135-pounder Cody Garbrandt.
Before we get to the main card, however, four fights are set to kick off the night on FS1, featuring a women’s bantamweight clash between two top-ten ranked opponents in Sara McMann and Jessica Eye. So let’s take a look at the four fights set to kick-off UFC Fight Night 88:
Fight 1: Erik Koch vs Shane Campbell
The first fight of the night takes place in the UFC’s deeply talented pool that is the lightweight division, between Erik ‘The New Breed’ Koch and Shane ‘Shaolin’ Campbell.
Koch (14-4) has been held away from the sport for a little over a year due to recurring injuries, with his last appearance in May of 2014 resulting in an upsetting first round finish at the hands of Daron Cruickshank at UFC Fight Night 40. Once upon a time, Koch was scheduled to fight Jose Aldo for the featherweight title, but both times the fight was cancelled due to injuries to both men. He’s now just 1-3 in his last 4 fights, in addition to his inactivity.
Campbell (12-4) was last inside the Octagon this past February on UFC Fight Night 83, where he dropped a unanimous decision defeat to James Krause. Campbell replaces Koch’s original opponent, Joe Proctor, who was forced to pull out of the bout citing an injury.
According to Best Fight Odds, Campbell is as much as a -190 favorite to take home the victory over Koch. Given Campbell’s extensive kickboxing career, that includes 62 professional victories, it’s hard to argue that ‘Shaolin’ won’t take home the win despite Koch being a longtime Tae Kwon Do black belt.
Fight 2: Jake Collier vs Alberto Uda
Next up is a middleweight clash between UFC veteran Jake Collier and undefeated Brazilian newcomer Alberto Emiliano ‘Uda’ Pereira.
Collier (9-3) comes off a second round TKO loss to Dongi Yang at UFC Fight Night 79 last November. Collier has won three of his last five bouts, winning two of them via submission. His only UFC win in three attempts is a split decision over Ricardo Abreu last June.
Pereira (9-0) is riding the momentum of a first round TKO victory over Thiago de Oliveira Perpetuo, to go along with an undefeated professional MMA career. ‘Uda’ makes his UFC debut against Collier, having finished all but one of his professional victories inside the cage.
The Brazilian is a -140 favorite over Collier in his UFC debut, and given the Brazilian’s tendency to finish his fights the odds are hard to argue against.
Fight 3: Abel Trujillo vs Jordan Rinaldi
Another lightweight bout is set to go down on FS1, when Abel ‘Killa’ Trujillo takes on yet another UFC newcomer in Jordan ‘All Day’ Rinaldi.
Trujillo (14-6) is currently on a two fight win-streak, with his most recent victory coming via guillotine choke against Tony Sims at UFC 195. The four-time NAIA All-American looks to put an end to Rinaldi’s five fight win-streak, while upsetting his UFC debut in the process. His fight against Gleison Tibau was listed as a controversial RNC loss, but because Tibau failed his drug test, Trujillo’s loss was overturned into a disqualification win, per the UFC’s new USADA rules.
Rinaldi (12-4) is set to make his UFC debut, coming hot off a second round armbar submission victory over Lashawn Alcocks. The Sergio Penha BJJ product has finished 58% of his victories via submission, giving the newcomer the edge in the jiu-jitsu department.
The longtime UFC veteran ‘Killa’ is a heavy -330 favorite over Rinaldi, and it’s for good reason due to his superior wrestling ability as well as his powerful standup game. Trujillo is going to have to be careful on the ground, however, because as previously mentioned ‘All Day’ has finished the majority of his cage wins with submissions.
Fight 4: Sara McMann vs Jessica Eye
The FS1 preliminary card closes out with a pair of top-ten women’s bantamweights, between No. 6 ranked Sara McMann and No. 7 ranked Jessica Eye.
McMann (8-3) has only one victory to show for her last three Octagon appearances, since suffering her first professional defeat to Ronda Rousey in 2014. Her most recent Octagon appearance saw her quickly submitted in the first round against Amanda Nunes in August.
Eye (11-4, 1 NC) has been on a downward spiral of her own, dropping her last two bouts via unanimous decision to both Miesha Tate and Julianna Pena. Eye’s last victory came just over two years ago at UFC 170, when ‘Evil’ took a second round TKO victory over Leslie Smith due to a doctor’s stoppage.
McMann is a former Olympic silver medalist wrestler and can dominate the ground game if Eye gives her the opportunity to take her down. While Eye holds the striking advantage in the matchup, McMann’s world-class wrestling ability may prove to be too much for ‘Evil’ to overcome, which is presumably why the Olympian is as high as a -165 favorite to take home the win.
UFC Fight Night 88 takes place on Sunday, May 29th in Law Vegas, Nevada, live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center on FS1 (FOX Sports 1)
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (9 p.m. ET)
FOX Sports 1 Prelims (7 p.m. ET)
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (6 p.m. ET)
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