There are a few fascinating new spells which were revealed for upcoming battle 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 injury to Ovince Saint-Preux has knocked him from the UFC 235 matchup against Misha Cirkunov, also filling in on short notice will be Johnny Walker. UFC 235 occur 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 might be the upcoming huge thing in 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 fight will give him the opportunity to beat a ranked fighter and jump in the branch’s top-10. Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-1 in the UFC with all his wins coming by stoppage, but he has been knocked out two. Cirkunov was arguably the best prospect in the light heavyweight division at the same stage, but Walker is currently, and I would have to think Walker will be a large 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 in UFC 235. Perez (21-6-1) is 7-1-1 in the UFC and beat Eddie Wineland in his final struggle. Stamann (17-2) is currently 3-1 at the UFC and is coming off of a submission reduction to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an wonderful record but stylistically Stamann poses matchup problems for him. I think Perez is going to be the favorite due to his win series, 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 at Bridgestone Arena at 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 out time. Peterson (17-7) is 1-1 in the UFC too and is coming off of a split decision win over Matt Bessete. Close battle here between two men who must find more consistency, but based on his popularity Pena will surely be the betting favorite in this one despite making his 145lbs debut.
David Branch vs. Jack Hermansson, UFC on ESPN 2 Middleweights David Branch and Jack Hermansson are set to lock horns at UFC on ESPN 2, taking place 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 sudden 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 fantastic win series for a while but the two knockout losses he’s from the UFC concerns me. I would have to favor Hermansson in this one only based on his momentum and also the fact he’s the younger and bigger fighter in this matchup.
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