The UFC’s newest free agent signing has his first fight in the Octagon booked, plus a couple of other notable new matchups to announce in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Sodiq Yusuff vs. Suman Mokhtarian, UFC Fight Night 142
A featherweight fight featuring Sodiq Yusuff and Suman Mokhtarian is the latest addition to UFC Fight Night 142, which takes place December 2 at Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia. Farah Hannoun broke the news. Yusuff (7-1) is coming off of a decision win over Mike Davis on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and has won all but one fight in his pro career. Mokhtarian (8-0) is undefeated as a pro with most of his wins coming via stoppage but lost on his stint on TUF. Two very solid prospects here but considering how good Yusuff looked on the Contender Series he probably has to be favored here.
Belal Muhammad vs. Geoff Neal, UFC on ESPN+ 1
A welterweight matchup between Belal Muhammad and Geoff Neal is set to take place at UFC on ESPN+ 1, which is set for January 19 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Newsday broke the news. Muhammad (14-2) is 5-2 in the UFC and is currently riding a four-fight win streak. Neal (10-2) is one a four-fight win streak as well and in his last fight had the best performance of his career when he brutally knocked out Frank Camacho. Muhammad is a great fighter but his KO loss to Vicente Luque scares me and this matchup against Neal seems like a similar fate could await him. Just based on how impressive Neal has been in the UFC so far I would have to favor huim to get the victory here.
Paige VanZant vs. Rachael Ostovich, UFC on ESPN+ 1
A women’s flyweight bout between Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich will also go down at UFC on ESPN+ 1. VanZant (7-4) is just 4-3 overall in the UFC and dropped a decision to Jessica-Rose Clark in her flyweight debut. Ostovich (4-4) is just 1-1 in the UFC and was submitted by Montana de la Rosa in her last fight. Another tough one to call here as both women are talented yet very inconsistent. I would have to give PVZ the slight edge here due to her experience in the Octagon, though she hasn’t looked impressive inside the cage in a long time.
Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler, UFC 233
A high-profile welterweight bout between Ben Askren and Robbie Lawler is being targeted for UFC 233, which takes place January 26 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. ESPN broke the news. Askren (18-0, 1 NC) is coming over to the UFC after previously being the welterweight champion in ONE and Bellator. Lawler (28-12, 1 NC) is 9-3 in his second stint in the UFC but lost a decision to Rafael dos Anjos in his last outing. Both guys are tremendous fighters and this should be a very interesting matchup. Askren has the wrestling advantage but Lawler should have the edge in striking, making it a tough one to call. But considering all the hype on Askren right now, I expect him to be the favorite.