There are a couple intriguing new bouts which have been shown for upcoming battle cards, and below are my first 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 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) looks like he is the next huge thing at 205lbs. The Brazilian is about an eight-fight win streak 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 chance to beat a ranked fighter and leap in the division’s top-10. Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-1 in the UFC with all of his wins coming from 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 need to think 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 last fight. Stamann (17-2) is currently 3-1 at the UFC and is coming from a submission loss to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an awesome record but stylistically Stamann poses matchup problems for him. I think Perez is going to 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 at Bridgestone Arena at Nashville, Tennessee. Rodney James broke the information. Pena (5-1) is 1-1 at the UFC and lost a split decision to Michael Trizano his last time out. Peterson (17-7) is 1-1 at the UFC as well and is coming off of a split decision win over Matt Bessete. Close battle here between two guys who must find more consistency, but depending 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 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 at 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 great win series for a while but the two knockout losses he’s from the UFC concerns me. I would have to favor Hermansson in this one only according to his momentum as well as the fact he’s the younger and larger fighter in this matchup.
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