There are a couple intriguing new bouts which have been shown for upcoming battle cards, and below are my first reactions to those bouts in the current 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, and 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) seems like he is the next huge thing at 205lbs. The Brazilian is on an eight-fight win series and is 2-0 at 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 opportunity to beat a ranked fighter and leap into the division’s top-10. Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-1 in the UFC with all of his wins coming by stoppage, but he has been knocked out two. Cirkunov was arguably the best prospect at the light heavyweight division at the same stage, but Walker is currently, and I’d have to believe 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 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 3-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a submission loss to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an wonderful record but stylistically Stamann poses matchup problems for him. I believe Perez is going to be the favorite as a result of his win streak, but Stamann is quite 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 in the UFC and also lost a split decision to Michael Trizano his last time out. Peterson (17-7) is 1-1 at the UFC too and is coming from a split decision win over Matt Bessete. Close battle here between two guys who must obtain 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 at 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 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 fantastic win series for some time but both knockout losses he’s in the UFC worries me. I would have to favor Hermansson in 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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