UFC on Fox 31 will be taking place in Milwaukee tonight. The theme of this card should be all about rematches as we have Jim Miller taking on Charles Oliveira in a rematch from their 2010 matchup. We also have Kevin Lee and Al Laquinta running back their 2014 bout as well.
Sandwiched in between those are two terrific fights. Sergio Pettis makes his return to the Bantamweight division as he takes on Rob Font. We also have the flashy style of Edson Barboza as he looks to take out Dan Hooker. It should be a fun card to watch. Let’s preview the fights on the main card.
Al Iaquinta (+290) vs. Kevin Lee (-350)
Who doesn’t love a good rematch? That’s exactly what we have in our main event when Al Iaquinta (13-4-1) takes on Kevin Lee (17-3).
Their first bout which took place in 2014 ended in a unanimous decision victory for Iaquinta. The rematch however has a completely different feeling to it. They both have looked incredible in the bouts since then. However Lee just seems to have improved by leaps and bounds. The level of opposition along with the activity of Lee has been eye opening.
Laquinta has gone on to fight only seven more times since his 2014 matchup with Lee while counterpart has stepped in to the octagon 12 times. Lee has also faced a murderous row of competition. The likes of Francisco Trinaldo, Tony Ferguson and Edson Barboza is a tough route to go. Iaquinta has had his share of tough competition namely taking on current Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov on just a 24 hour notice. Although he lost that fight he gave the champion arguably his toughest fight which is saying a lot.
Both guys are familiar with one another. If they can string together a few victories they can vault themselves in to title contention. It’ll start tonight. One of these men could have a shot at gold in 2019 while the loser will head to the back of the line.
Edson Barboza (+105) vs. Dan Hooker (-125)
Edson Barboza (19-6) has been suffering through a bit of a losing skid as of late. For anyone else a losing streak would of course be considered a bad thing but for Barboza not so much. He has lost to some of the very elite of the Lightweight division.
In his last bout he was stopped in the fifth round by Kevin Lee and in his previous bout he lost a unanimous decision to current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He will have a chance to stop the bleeding tonight when he takes on Dan Hooker (17-7) tonight.
For Dan it’s all about taking the judges out of the equation. Of his 17 victories only once has he had to go to the scorecards. These two are going in the opposite directions right now in terms of their career but a win tonight for either man can either right the ship or sink it.
Sergio Pettis (+145) vs. Rob Font (-165)
With the entire Flyweight division seemingly being pushed out the door, Sergio Pettis (17-4) is returning back to the Bantamweight division. He won’t get any gift baskets for his return. Instead he’ll get the always tough Rob Font (15-4) for his first bout back.
Both men have been shaky as of late. They have both been alternating wins and losses in their recent fights. Pettis time at this division was a successful one as he went 3-1 in his four bouts at the weight. They both need this win to say the least.
A loss to Font in his first fight back at Bantamweight will lead many to believe that Pettis won’t become a major contender. A loss for Font would be his second straight. With so much on the line for both guys it should lead to a terrific contest.
Jim Miller (+260) VS Charles Oliveria (-320)
We have another rematch on the card as Jim Miller (29-12, 1 NC) will look for history to repeat itself again when he takes on Charles Oliveira (24-8, 1 NC). Since their first matchup which took place in 2010 (a matchup Miller won by submission) both men have gone on to have plenty of success. However as of recently Miller has been struggling mightily losing four fights in a row before grabbing a victory over Alex White in his last bout. Oliveira has managed to rack up two straight victories after having a series of losses of his own.
Both of these men will be looking for the same path to victory which would be a submission. Don’t get me wrong they are absolutely capable fighters on the feet but this one should produce plenty of submission attempts and clinch work.
Don’t peel away anything from their first matchup which took place over eight years ago. Their fight tonight should look completely different. The outcome will be determined by who can impose their will more. It’ll be interesting to find out if Miller at age 35 still has more to give or if the 29 year Oliveira will finally get his revenge.