There are a few intriguing new bouts that have been shown 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 from his 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 the replacement matchup. Walker (16-3) looks like he might be the upcoming big thing at 205lbs. The Brazilian is on an eight-fight win streak and is 2-0 in the UFC with back-to-back KOs over Justin Ledet and Khalil Rountree. He is a star in the making and this battle will give him the chance to beat a ranked fighter and jump into the branch’s top-10. Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-1 at the UFC with all his wins coming from stoppage, but he has been knocked out two. Cirkunov was arguably the best potential in the light heavyweight division at one stage, but Walker is currently, and I’d have to believe Walker will be a large favorite to win this fight.
Alejandro Perez vs. Cody Stamann, UFC 235
Because of 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 conquer Eddie Wineland in his final fight. Stamann (17-2) is 3-1 at the UFC and is coming from a submission reduction to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an awesome record but stylistically Stamann presents matchup problems for him. I think Perez will be the favorite as a result of his win streak, however, Stamann is quite 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 in Nashville, Tennessee. Rodney James broke the information. Pena (5-1) is 1-1 in the UFC and also lost a split decision to Michael Trizano his out time. 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 battle here between two men who need to find more consistency, but depending on his popularity Pena will surely be the betting favorite in this one despite creating 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 two, occurring March 30 in Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Branch (22-5) is 2-2 in his latest stint in the UFC but is coming off of a sudden 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 great win series for a while but both knockout losses he has from the UFC concerns me. I’d have to prefer Hermansson within this one just based on his momentum as well as the fact he is the younger and bigger fighter in this matchup.
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