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Local talent looking to thrive at UFC Atlantic City

Will it be a big night for several local talent in Atlantic City?

When it comes to good fortune, Atlantic City is always a wild card. For several local fighters however, they will look to have the luck of the draw. In what could be one of the most stacked cards for the UFC this year, several fighters will be fighting in front of family and friends. Some to change their fortunes, while others attempting to get the one extra step they need to become true household names.

Boardwalk Hall is the place, and UFC Fight Night 128 is the card to watch tonight, according to many. In total, eight fighters will be hailing from around the NY, NJ, PHI and CT area. For some, its a true homecoming, while for others, a small drive like they used to do with their friends on the weekend.

To start things off, Doylestown’s Patrick Cummins will finally face off against Corey Anderson (fighting out of New Jersey) in a light-heavyweight bout. Cummins (10-4) has won two fights in a row, his last one a split decision win at UFC on Fox 25 against Long Island’s Gian Villante. He was supposed to face Anderson (9-4) at UFC 217 inside the Barclays Center, before backing out due to injury. The 37-year old Cummins will look to get as close as he can to title contention with a victory in Atlantic City.

Fighting out of Long Island, Merab Dvalishvili (7-3) will face Augusto Mendes (6-2 MMA, 58-26-1 grappling). The 27-year old won six fights in a row before losing his last bout at UFC Fight Night 123 against Frankie Saenz.

Up next, it will be a huge rebound fight for Ryan LaFlare, as he looks to top Alex Garcia. The Lindenhurst-born LaFlare (13-2) is looking to forget his last fight, a devastating KO loss to Alex Oliveira at the Nassau Coliseum at UFC on Fox 25. Garcia (15-4) is 3-3 in his last few fights, his last one a win over Muslim Salikhov at UFC Fight Night 122.

The last fighter to be a part of a show at Boardwalk Hall has returned in Jim Miller. He will be facing off against Dan Hooker. This will be Miller’s ( 28-11 (1) ) 29th walk towards the octagon, tying him with Michael Bisping for the most appearances in UFC history. A submission specialist, Hooker (15-7) has won two fights in a row, the last one being against Marc Diakiese at UFC 219 via guillotine choke. If there is one thing Miller is known for however, its how to dominate an opponent while on his back. He’s going to have to pull off a miracle here in order to break out of his 0-3 funk since early 2017.

From there, the classic hits just keep on coming. Fighting out of Uniondale, Long Island, Aljamain Sterling will face Brett Johns. Sterling (14-3) last fought at UFC Fight Night 123, where he was on a receiving end of a brutal knee to the head by Marlon Moraes. It was the first KO loss of the “Funk Master’s” career. Johns (15-0) is going to try and dominate Sterling with his submission ability. Winning three in a row since joining the UFC, the former Titan FC Bantamweight Champion wants to make an example out of Sterling, but the 28-year old has other plans in mind.

Fighting out of Brooklyn, NY, David Branch is looking to start a new streak against Thiago Santos. Branch (21-4) won 11 fights in a row before losing to Luke Rockhold at UFC Fight Night 116 last September. Santos (17-5) is looking to claim his fifth victim in a row in Branch, which will definitely be a tall task. Both are looking to gain some serious momentum after this fight. For all we know, it could end up being the fight of the night.

To top it all off, “The Answer” is finally getting a fight he can sink his teeth into. Frankie Edgar returns home to face Cub Swanson. After attempting to face Max Holloway, who backed out of a fight due to injury, Edgar (22-6-1) lost to Brian Ortega at UFC 222. This quick turnaround shows the commitment to the fight game by Edgar. Can history repeat itself against Swanson (25-8), who Edgar beat at UFC Fight Night 57 in 2014? On a 4-2 roll since that loss, Swanson is looking to crash any true homecoming and comeback by Frankie.

The main event of UFC Fight Night 128 will feature Kevin Lee against Edson Barboza. It is certainly going to be an intriguing Fight Night for all. Will the house win, or will the tourists take home all the chips?

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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