There are a few intriguing new bouts which have been revealed for upcoming battle cards, and here are my initial reactions to these bouts in the current 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, 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) looks like he might be the next big thing in 205lbs. The Brazilian is about 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 star in the making and this battle will give him the opportunity to beat a ranked fighter and jump in the branch’s top-10. Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-1 at the UFC with all 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 point, but Walker is now, and I’d need to believe Walker will be a large favorite to win this fight.
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 conquer Eddie Wineland in his final fight. Stamann (17-2) is 3-1 at the UFC and is coming off of a submission loss to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an awesome record but stylistically Stamann presents matchup problems for him. I believe Perez is going to be the favorite as a result of 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 at UFC Fight Night 148, taking place March 23 at Bridgestone Arena in 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 out time. Peterson (17-7) is 1-1 in the UFC as well and is coming off of a split decision win over Matt Bessete. Close battle here between two guys who must obtain some more consistency, but based on his popularity Pena will be the betting favorite in this one despite creating 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 streak for a while but both knockout losses he’s in the UFC worries me. I’d have to favor Hermansson in this one just based on his momentum and also the fact he’s the younger and larger fighter in this matchup.
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