The UFC has staged four previous cards in Germany, but Saturday will be the first time the organization will hold an event in Hamburg. It’s UFC Fight Night 93 from the Barclaycard Arena in that city and is headlined by a heavyweight bout between former champions Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett, with Barnett the favorite on Sports Interaction MMA odds. The main card is expected to get underway around 3 p.m. ET and can be seen on UFC Fight Pass.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett
Records: Arlovski (25-12), Barnett (34-8) Division: Heavyweight UFC odds: Barnett -150, Arlovski +120 Prediction: Arlovski by KO, TKO or DQ at +250
These two were scheduled to meet way back in 2008 in an Affliction-promoted event but that card was canceled. Arlovski is a 37-year-old from Belarus who enters on a two-fight losing streak in the Octagon. He was beaten by Alistair Overeem in May via second-round TKO (front kick and punches) and by current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in January by first-round TKO (punches). Prior to that, Arlovski had won six straight fights, including over big names such as Frank Mir, Travis Browne and Antonio Silva. Arlovski, nicknamed “the Pit Bull” is ranked by the UFC as the No. 6 heavyweight. Arlovski usually wins by KO or TKO has 17 of his victories are by that route.
Barnett is a 38-year-old American ranked as the No. 9 heavyweight. “The Warmaster” has lost two of his past three fights. He was submitted by Ben Rothwell via guillotine choke in Round 2 of their fight in January. Barnett also lost by first-round KO (elbows) in December to Browne. Barnett then had a long break in the Octagon, beating Roy Nelson by unanimous decision in September 2015. A total of 20 of Barnett’s wins have been by submission.
Jan Blachowicz vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Records: Blachowicz (19-5), Gustafsson (16-4) Division: Light heavyweight UFC odds: Gustafsson -625, Blachowicz +400 Prediction: Gustafsson by KO or TKO
Even though he comes off back-to-back losses, the 29-year-old Swede Gustafsson is ranked as the No. 2 light heavyweight by the UFC. But that’s because those defeats were to the two guys ranked ahead of him. At UFC 192 last October, Gustafsson lost a controversial split decision to current light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier — so it has been a long layoff. And in January 2015, Gustafsson lost to current No. 1 contender Anthony Johnson by first-round TKO (punches). The “Mauler” also took on former pound-for-pound king Jon Jones in September 2013 and fought well in a unanimous decision loss.
Not a lot is known about Blachowicz, a 33-year-old from Poland. He has fought four times in the UFC and is 2-2. He comes off a unanimous decision win over Igor Pokrajac in April. Blachowicz does have a common opponent with Gustafsson as Blachowicz lost a unanimous decision to Jimi Manuwa in April 2015. Gustafsson beat Manuwa by second-round TKO in March 2014.
Ryan Bader vs. Ilir Latifi
Records: Bader (21-5), Latifi (13-4) Division: Light heavyweight UFC odds: Bader -210, Latifi +160 Prediction: Bader by decision
Bader, a 33-year-old American, is the No. 4 light heavyweight who comes off a disappointing first-round knockout loss to No. 1 contender Anthony Johnson in January. Bader’s takedown attempt in the opening seconds landed him in immediate trouble. “Darth” Bader, the winner of the Ultimate Fighter Season 8, had won five straight entering that fight, including over former champion Rashad Evans. He might have gotten a title shot with a win over Johnson. His title chances likely evaporate for good with a loss here.
Latifi is a 33-year-old Swede ranked 12th in the division. “The Sledgehammer” beat Glen Villante by unanimous decision in March for his third straight win. Latifi’s last loss was to another guy on this card, Blachowicz, by TKO in October 2014