There are a couple intriguing new bouts that have been revealed for upcoming fight cards, and below are my initial reactions to these bouts in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Johnny Walker vs. Misha Cirkunov, UFC 235
An accident to Ovince Saint-Preux has knocked him out of the UFC 235 matchup against Misha Cirkunov, and 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) seems like he might be the next huge thing at 205lbs. The Brazilian is on an eight-fight win streak and is 2-0 at the UFC with back-to-back KOs over Justin Ledet and Khalil Rountree. He is a star in the making and this fight will give him the chance to beat a ranked fighter and jump in the division’s top-10. Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-1 in the UFC with all of his wins coming from stoppage, but he himself has been knocked out two. Cirkunov was arguably the best potential at the light heavyweight division at one point, but Walker is currently, and I would need to believe Walker will be a large favorite to win this fight.
Alejandro Perez vs. Cody Stamann, UFC 235
Due to an accident to Song Yadong, Alejandro Perez will now take on Cody Stamann in UFC 235. Perez (21-6-1) is 7-1-1 in the UFC and conquer Eddie Wineland in his final fight. Stamann (17-2) is 3-1 at the UFC and is coming off of a submission loss to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an awesome record but stylistically Stamann presents matchup problems for him. I believe Perez will be the favorite as a result of his win streak, but Stamann is very 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 news. Pena (5-1) is 1-1 at the UFC and also lost a split decision to Michael Trizano his last time out. Peterson (17-7) is 1-1 in the UFC too and is coming from a split decision win over Matt Bessete. Close battle here between two men who must obtain more consistency, but depending on his popularity Pena will be the betting favorite in this one despite making his 145lbs debut.
David Branch vs. Jack Hermansson, UFC on ESPN two Middleweights David Branch and Jack Hermansson are set to lock horns in UFC on ESPN 2, occurring March 30 in Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Branch (22-5) is 2-2 in his latest stint at the UFC but is coming from a surprising KO loss to Jared Cannonier. Hermansson (18-4) is 5-2 in the Octagon and is coming from back-to-back stoppage wins over Thales Leites and Gerald Meerschaert. Branch was on a fantastic win series for some time but both knockout losses he’s from the UFC worries me. I would have to prefer Hermansson within this one just based on his momentum and also the fact he is the younger and larger fighter in this matchup.
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