Friday night sees the UFC make its second appearance in the state of New York since the ban on professional MMA was lifted back in March. With UFC206 taking place in Toronto on Saturday, Fight Night: Albany will kick start the weekend with some hefty encounters in both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight divisions on the main card.
Derrick Lewis v Shamil Abdurakhimov
The main event sees #10 ranked Derrick Lewis square off against the #15 ranked Russian, Shamil Abdurakhimov. Currently on a winning streak of 4 fights, Lewis would surely be in contention to square off against a top five fighter if he was to see off Abdurakhimov. However, with nine first round finishes in his professional record of 17-3, the Dagestan based fighter will prove a stern test for Lewis.
Francis Ngannou v Anthony Hamilton
Staying in the heavyweight division, we see Francis Ngannou take on Anthony “Freight Train” Hamilton. With an 8-1 professional record, the Cameroonian has a fearsome reputation and is steadily working his way up the heavyweight rankings. With his last 4 victories coming by way of KO/TKO, Ngannou has a reputation as a big hitter and will look to add a 8th consecutive win to his stats with a victory over the 36 year old Hamilton.
Corey Anderson v Sean O’Connell
Next up we have the #9 ranked light heavyweight, and TUF19 winner, Corey Anderson take on fellow American, Sean O’Connell. Coming off the back of a unanimous defeat to Maurício Rua at UFC198, Anderson will look to get back to winning ways against the durable O’Connell, who has lost 4 of his 6 UFC fights. Anderson would fully expected by many to beat O’Connell, but don’t let the 17-8 record fool you. This should make for an intriguing match.
Gian Villante v Saparbek Safarov
With Albany only being 175 miles north of Vilante’s home town of Wantagh, support for the Long Islander will no doubt be in abundance on Friday night. Up against UFC debutant, Saparbek Safarov (8-0), the #15 ranked light heavyweight, Villante will be entering the octagon with caution against the relatively unknown Russian. Stepping in as a last minute replacement for the injured Patrick Cummins, Safarov has won all 8 of his fights with a stoppage (6 KO’s and 2 submissions) and will be looking to impress on his UFC bow.