UFC Atlantic City gets clash of ranked middleweights, ranked light heavyweights

David Branch returns at UFC Atlantic City

On April 21, the UFC will return to Atlantic City, New Jersey’s Boardwalk Hall for the first time since June of 2005. This UFC Atlantic City card is already shaping up to be a good one.

On Tuesday night, the promotion announced to new bouts for the card: one, a clash of ranked middleweight contenders, the other, a collision of top-15 light heavyweights.

The aforementioned middleweight bout will pit former two-division World Series of Fighting champion David Branch against rising Brazilian knockout artist Thiago “Marreta” Santos.

Branch, who is ranked eighth at middleweight, will enter this fight having gone 1-1 since rejoining the UFC ranks in 2017. In his first fight back with the promotion, he outpointed Krzysztof Jotko. In his next fight, he was stopped by former champion Luke Rockhold. Though he was briefly linked to an Orlando fight with Yoel Romero, this plan was altered when Romero was reallocated to fight Luke Rockhold at UFC 221.

Thiago Santos

The 15th-ranked Santos, meanwhile, recently won big with a thrilling stoppage of Anthony Smith at last weekend’s UFC Belem card. With this win, the rising knockout artist moved onto a four-fight win-streak, all of which have come by knockout.

UFC Atlantic City’s newly announced light heavyweight bout will pair eighth-ranked fighter Corey Anderson with fellow wrestling specialist Patrick Cummins, who occupies the division’s 11th slot. This bout was originally expected to occur at UFC 217, but was postponed when Cummins was hit with a “mutant” staph infection.

This bout will mark Anderson’s opportunity to rebound from two fairly brutal knockout losses. The first was dealt by British KO specialist Jimi Manuwa, while the second came courtesy of an Ovince St. Preux head kick.

Cummins, meanwhile, will enter this fight on a two-fight streak, having recently captured decision wins over Jan Błachowicz and Gian Villante.

With these new bookings, here’s the UFC Atlantic City lineup as it currently stands:

  • Aspen Ladd vs. Leslie Smith
  • Merab Dvalishvili vs. Augusto Mendes
  • Magomed Bibulatov vs. Ulka Sasaki
  • David Branch vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos
  • Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins
  • Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Luan Chagas

This card will air on Fs1. At this time, the main event is not yet known.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/7/2018.