The biggest weekend in all of sports so far in 2022 is finally here.
This Friday, less than 48 hours before Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals take on Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI in LA, the MMA weekend begins with action from the LFA, which sets up shop in Phoenix.
Former UFC Fighter Jussier Formiga Begins Comeback Journey in LFA 124 Main Event
LFA 124 takes place this Friday night on UFC Fight Pass from the Arizona Federal Theatre and is slated to feature (barring any late postponements) 11 bouts and the return to competition for a former UFC stalwart after being cut from the promotion late in 2020.
Jussier Formiga (23-8 MMA) will be making his LFA promotional debut in the LFA 124 main event this Friday night against Felipe Bunes (11-5, LFA debut) in a three-round fight at five minutes per round to close the show at flyweight.
LFA 124 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the LFA 124 main event on Friday night, Felipe Bunes is the taller man at 5-foot-7, with Jussier Formiga countering with a 5-foot-5 frame.
In addition, the UFC veteran owns a 67-inch reach, with no information available for Felipe Bunes going into this headlining bout this weekend.
Jussier Formiga Enters LFA 124 Main Event With Chip on His Shoulder
Jussier Formiga has gone 2-3 in his last five MMA fights and is currently on a three-fight losing streak.
A little more than five and a half months later, Jussier Formiga was among the first of 75 competitors who found himself out of the UFC, despite being the No. 7 contender at flyweight the week before his release from the promotion and being on the shortlist for a possible fight before 2020 ended.
“They contacted my manager again last week and said they were going to cut 75 fighters, and I was one of them,” Formiga said at the time. “What am I going to do? If they decided to cut me, there’s nothing I can do.”
In that same interview with MMA Fighting, Formiga mentioned that he felt underappreciated by the UFC.
“I can’t complain; I can’t be ungrateful to the UFC,” he mentioned. “The UFC was great for me, even though I never felt truly valued in the UFC. But it was a great opportunity in my life, a good time. Everything in life has a beginning and an end.”
The 36-year-old Jussier Formiga comes into the LFA 124 main event on Friday night in the twilight of his career as a fighter– and although he never got his opportunity at a UFC Flyweight Championship (the UFC could not give Formiga an interim championship at flyweight when he was on a four-fight win streak due to Henry Cejudo’s status as champion)– Friday’s fight could be a stepping stone toward a potential return if he is successful.
At the same time, however, Jussier Formiga could be experiencing his last ride in the LFA 124 main event on Friday night.
Felipe Bunes Aims to Make Good on LFA Debut in LFA 124 Main Event
In the other corner, Felipe Bunes enters the LFA 124 main event on Friday night having gone 2-3 in his last five MMA appearances, seeing a three-fight losing streak snapped last time out thanks to a second-round submission via triangle armbar vs. Mikael Silander in ACA 128 last September.
Before that three-fight losing streak, Bunes had won eight fights in a row dating back to March of 2015– but what version of Felipe Bunes will Jussier Formiga meet up within the cage this Friday night in the LFA 124 main event?
If it’s the Felipe Bunes who dropped three fights in succession prior to submitting Silander late last summer, consider Jussier Formiga to be in the catbird’s seat, but if it happens to be the Felipe Bunes who rattled off an eight-fight winning streak earlier in his career, then Jussier Formiga will be in deep trouble.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the LFA 124 main event on Friday night seems to favor Jussier Formiga, who holds black belts in both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Judo, with Felipe Bunes countering with a BJJ background of his own.
Look For Jussier Formiga to Try and Submit Felipe Bunes in LFA 124 Main Event
One aspect of Jussier Formiga’s fight game that stands out on video is his efforts to try and win the fight by submission, something that Ben Nguyen found out painfully during the UFC 221 undercard almost four years ago.
During the third and final round of the bout, Jussier Formiga sent Ben Nguyen down with a spinning back fist, immediately going to work with rapid ground and pound shots as a means of softening him up when the time came for a submission attempt.
From there, Formiga took to the back mount and scored with more ground and pound before finally ending the fight by sinking in on a rear-naked choke for the technical submission.
If Formiga’s strikes are on-point, it could be the opening he needs to capitalize on a submission in the LFA 124 main event.
Felipe Bunes Can End the Fight by Submission in His Own Right
In the other corner, don’t count out Felipe Bunes in the LFA 124 main event.
He, too, can end this fight by submission if it comes to that– something that Silander found out the hard way back in September.
During the second round of a scheduled three, Bunes connected on a pair of kicks, including a side kick to the body, to knock Silander down and almost immediately took Silander’s back.
After that, he grappled with Silander to try and get a submission hold, but Silander got back to his feet, returning the favor with kicks of his own– an offensive surge that proved to be ill-fated– as Bunes dumped Silander down again, establishing dominant position and landing ground and pound to finally soften him up for the submission to close the show.
If Bunes’ ground game is on the money in the LFA 124 main event on Friday night, it could be a short road to a submission victory.
In conclusion, the LFA 124 main event could be the last ride for a legend– so this fight should not be missed.
Prediction: Jussier Formiga by Unanimous Decision.