There are a couple fascinating new spells which have been revealed for upcoming fight cards, and below are my first reactions to these bouts in today's MMA odds and ends.
Johnny Walker vs. Misha Cirkunov, UFC 235
An accident to Ovince Saint-Preux has knocked him from the 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 the replacement matchup. Walker (16-3) looks like he is the next big thing in 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 superstar in the making and this battle will give him the chance 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 from stoppage, but he has been knocked out twice. Cirkunov was arguably the best potential in the light heavyweight division at one stage, but Walker is currently, 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 injury 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 currently 3-1 at the UFC and is coming from a submission reduction to Aljamain Sterling. Perez has an wonderful record but stylistically Stamann presents matchup problems for him. I believe Perez is going to be the favorite due to 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 in Nashville, Tennessee. Rodney James broke the news. 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 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 must obtain some more consistency, but depending on his popularity Pena will be the betting favorite in this one despite making his 145lbs debut.
David Branch vs. Jack Hermansson, UFC on ESPN two Middleweights David Branch and Jack Hermansson are set to lock horns at UFC on ESPN two, taking place 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 from a surprising KO loss to Jared Cannonier. Hermansson (18-4) is 5-2 at the Octagon and is coming from back-to-back stoppage wins over Thales Leites and Gerald Meerschaert. Branch was on a fantastic win streak for a while but the two knockout losses he's in the UFC worries me. I'd 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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