There are a few intriguing new bouts which were revealed for upcoming fight cards, and below are my first reactions to those bouts in the current MMA odds and ends.
Johnny Walker vs. Misha Cirkunov, UFC 235
An injury to Ovince Saint-Preux has knocked him from his UFC 235 matchup against Misha Cirkunov, also filling in on short notice will be Johnny Walker. UFC 235 take place March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. MMAFighting.com broke the news of the replacement matchup. Walker (16-3) looks like he might be the next big thing at 205lbs. The Brazilian is about an eight-fight win series and is 2-0 in the UFC with back-to-back KOs over Justin Ledet and Khalil Rountree. He’s a star in the making and this battle will give him the chance to beat a ranked fighter and leap into the division’s top-10. Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-1 in the UFC with all his wins coming by stoppage, but he himself has been knocked out two. Cirkunov was arguably the best prospect at the light heavyweight division at one stage, but Walker is currently, and I would need to think Walker will be a big favorite to win this battle.
Alejandro Perez vs. Cody Stamann, UFC 235
Because of an accident to Song Yadong, Alejandro Perez will now take on Cody Stamann at UFC 235. Perez (21-6-1) is 7-1-1 in the UFC and beat Eddie Wineland in his final fight. Stamann (17-2) is currently 3-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a submission loss to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an awesome album but stylistically Stamann poses matchup problems for him. I believe Perez will be the favorite due to his win streak, but Stamann is quite live here.
Luis Pena vs. Steven Peterson, UFC Fight Night 148
Featherweights Luis Pena and Steven Peterson will meet UFC Fight Night 148, taking place March 23 in Bridgestone Arena at Nashville, Tennessee. Rodney James broke the information. Pena (5-1) is 1-1 in the UFC and lost a split decision to Michael Trizano his out time. Peterson (17-7) is 1-1 in the UFC as well and is coming off of a split decision win over Matt Bessete. Close battle here between two guys who must obtain some more consistency, but based on his popularity Pena will surely be the betting favorite in this one despite making his 145lbs introduction.
David Branch vs. Jack Hermansson, UFC on ESPN two Middleweights David Branch and Jack Hermansson are set to lock horns in UFC on ESPN two, occurring March 30 in Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Branch (22-5) is 2-2 in his most recent stint in the UFC but is coming off of a surprising KO loss to Jared Cannonier. Hermansson (18-4) is 5-2 at the Octagon and is coming from back-to-back stoppage wins over Thales Leites and Gerald Meerschaert. Branch was on a great win series for some time but the two knockout losses he’s from the UFC concerns me. I would have to favor Hermansson within this one only according to his momentum as well as the fact he’s the younger and bigger fighter in this matchup.
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