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UFC 216: Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee, Full Card Preview and Predictions


Former Bellator champ Will Brooks' UFC life may be on the line.
Former Bellator champ Will Brooks' UFC life may be on the line.Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz

It wasn't too long ago that Bellator champion Will Brooks was regarded as an elite-level lightweight. He twice upset posterboy Michael Chandler, and he defended the strap from Dave Jansen and Marcin Held before heading to the UFC in 2016. 

Unfortunately, he's struggled mightily since, losing his debut to Alex Oliveira and, most recently, getting choked out by Charles Oliveira.

That's a tough spot to be in, and the UFC is doing him no favors by matching him up with Nik Lentz at UFC 216.

While Lentz has flown under the radar for his entire UFC career, he is a tough veteran who tends to winand win ugly. If he gets the better of Brooks, which seems likely given his recent struggles, he might get cut loose.

                  

Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham

Beneil Dariush continues to soundly defeat anonymous jobbers while flopping against actual contenders. He is lining himself up to be the lightweight division's premiere gatekeeper...a spot that Evan Dunham may or may not have graduated from.

While Dunham has been up and down throughout his UFC career, he is riding a higher high than he's seen to this point, owning an active four-fight winning streak against strong competition. He has the chance to jump into the top 10 for the first time in years if he defeats Dariush. But that's a big "if."

                    

John Moraga vs. Magomed Bibulatov

The fact the UFC has Magomed Bibulatov on the roster can only be described as "problematic," but there's no denying the Chechen flyweight has looked very good to this point in his career. The UFC is giving him a big test, however, in the form of John Moraga.

While Moraga is a long way removed from his days as a serious contender, he is still a tough flyweight who should push Bibulatov in a big way.

If Bibulatov can get through him in impressive fashion, which is a fairly safe bet, he'll force the UFC into making some difficult decisions about who and how it promotes.

               

Thales Leites vs. Brad Tavares

Thales Leites and Brad Tavares have both been around in the UFC for a long time now and are riding some nice momentum after big wins over Sam Alvey and Elias Theodorou, respectively.

Of course, the UFC isn't keen on letting fighters break out of the middle of the pack and, as such, is matching them up against one another at UFC 216.

Leites should be the favorite here given his veteran smarts, but Tavares isn't an easy out. Either way, don't expect this one to end inside the distance as both men will look to ply their grappling en route to the scorecards.

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