There are a few fascinating new spells which have been revealed for upcoming battle cards, and here are my initial reactions to these bouts in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Johnny Walker vs. Misha Cirkunov, UFC 235
An injury to Ovince Saint-Preux has knocked him out of his UFC 235 matchup from 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 this replacement matchup. Walker (16-3) looks like he is the next big thing at 205lbs. The Brazilian is about 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 into the branch’s top-10. Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-1 in the UFC with all his wins coming from stoppage, but he himself has been knocked out twice. Cirkunov was arguably the best prospect at the light heavyweight division at one stage, but Walker is currently, and I’d have to think Walker will be a big favorite to win this fight.
Alejandro Perez vs. Cody Stamann, UFC 235
Due to an injury to Song Yadong, Alejandro Perez will 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 3-1 in the UFC and is coming from a submission reduction to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an wonderful record but stylistically Stamann presents matchup problems for him. I believe Perez will be the favorite due to 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 at UFC Fight Night 148, taking place March 23 in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Rodney James broke the news. Pena (5-1) is 1-1 in the UFC and lost a split decision to Michael Trizano his last time out. Peterson (17-7) is currently 1-1 at the UFC as well and is coming off of a split decision win over Matt Bessete. Close fight here between two men who must find 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 two, occurring March 30 in Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Branch (22-5) is 2-2 in his most recent stint at the UFC but is coming off of 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 great win series for a while but the two knockout losses he has from the UFC worries me. I would have to prefer 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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