A pair of upcoming fight cards have received updates to them, and I’ll give my thoughts on the newest bouts in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Chance Rencountre vs. Kyle Stewart, UFC on ESPN+ 1 (UFC Fight Night 143)
We have the last fight card upgrade for the UFC on ESPN+ 1 card this weekend, taking place Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Chance Rencountre finally has his competitor as he’ll take on Octagon newcomer Kyle Stewart at a lightweight bout on the card. ESPN first broke the news. Rencountre’s unique opponent Randy Brown was pulled in the card due to a rumored USADA flagging, while Dwight Grant wasn’t cleared to fight because of an eye injury. Rencountre (12-3) chose to Belal Muhammad in his UFC debut but had won four straight bouts before it. Stewart (11-1) has just lost once in his career, to high LFA potential James Nakashima, and in his final bout conquered Braden Smith by decision. I think most will look to fade Rencountre inside this area, and that I expect Stewart to actually be a small favourite here despite making his UFC debut on short notice.
Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Rosa, UFC 234
Lightweight Lando Vannata recently reupped a fresh four-fight contract with the UFC, and that he returns to fight Octagon newcomer Marcos Rosa at UFC 234, taking place February 10 in Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. ESPN broke the news. Vannata (9-3-2) just has a 1-3-2 album from the UFC, but nearly every one of his battles was exciting that is why the UFC made a decision to bring him back. He is coming off of a draw against Matt Frevola, also has not really won a fight as a KO win over John Makdessi in December 2016. Rosa (6-4) is a veteran of the Brazilian regional circuit also has actually won three of his last four bouts by stoppage. Ultimately it seems like the UFC has reserved Vannata a winnable struggle, and I expect him to be a big favorite to get his hand raised.
Dong Hyun Ma vs. Devonte Smith, UFC 234
And lastly, Dong Hyun Ma (formerly known as”the other” Dong Yun Kim) will return at UFC 234 when he chooses on Devonte Smith in what should be an action-packed lightweight bout. Ma (16-8-3) is 3-2 overall from the UFC and is now riding a three-fight win streak including a remarkable TKO win over Takanori Gomi along with a decision win over Damien Brown. Smith (9-1) is 1-0 so much in the UFC with a ridiculous KO win over Julian Erosa. He’s won his last five fights, and all eight of his ace wins have come by stoppage, with his lone defeat a TKO loss to John Gunther. I very much like watching Ma fight and I have to provide the UFC matchmakers props for booking what’s guaranteed to be a thrilling fight. But I am very high on Smith and I think he is likely to come back in here and end Ma’s win series. Start looking for Smith to be the preferred from the sportsbooks following his flashy UFC debut.
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