There are a few fascinating new spells that were shown for upcoming battle cards, and here are my first reactions to those 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 occur March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. MMAFighting.com broke the news of this replacement matchup. Walker (16-3) seems like he might be the next huge thing in 205lbs. The Brazilian is about an eight-fight win streak and is 2-0 in the UFC with back-to-back KOs over Justin Ledet and Khalil Rountree. He’s a superstar in the making and this fight will give him the chance to beat a ranked fighter and jump into the division’s top-10. Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-1 in the UFC with all his wins coming from stoppage, but he has been knocked out two. Cirkunov was arguably the best prospect in the light heavyweight division at one point, but Walker is now, and I would need 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 at 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 in the UFC and is coming off of a submission reduction to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an wonderful album but stylistically Stamann poses matchup problems for him. I think 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 at 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 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 fight here between two guys who must obtain more consistency, but depending on his popularity Pena will 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 2, 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 in the Octagon and is coming off of back-to-back stoppage wins over Thales Leites and Gerald Meerschaert. Branch was on a fantastic win streak for some time but both knockout losses he has in the UFC concerns me. I would have to favor Hermansson within this one just according to his momentum and also the fact he’s the younger and larger fighter in this matchup.
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