A number of new UFC bouts were announced over the weekend, and here are my thoughts on these new bouts in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Ian Heinisch, UFC Fight Night 140
An injury to Tom Breese has left Cezar Ferreira with a short-notice opponent as he now takes on Ian Heinisch at UFC Fight Night 140, which takes place November 17 at Estadio Mary Teran de Weiss in Beunos Aries, Argentina. Ferreira (13-6) is 9-4 in the UFC and has won five of his last six bouts. Heinisch (11-1) has won three straight fights prior to making his UFC debut including a knockout win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Tough one to call as Heinisch is a great prospect but Ferreira is a proven UFC veteran. I expect Ferreira to be favored but I will be keeping my eye on the line for Heinisch.
Nad Narimani vs. Anderson dos Santos, UFC Fight Night 140
Nad Narimani has a new opponent for UFC Fight Night 140 as he will now take on Octagon newcomer Anderson dos Santos. Narimani (11-2) is on a four-fight win streak including a decision win over Khalid Taha in his UFC debut. Dos Santos (19-6) is coming off of two straight wins on the regional circuit as he makes his UFC debut. The odds are already out and Narimani is a big favorite.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Alex Perez, TUF 28 Finale
A pair of top flyweights meet at the TUF 28 Finale when Joseph Benavidez takes on Alex Perez at the event, which goes down November 30 at Pearl Theatre at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Benavidez (25-5) is 12-3 in the UFC and is coming off of a split decision loss to Sergio Pettis. Perez (21-4) is riding an eight-fight win streak and in his last fight he knocked out Jose Torres in devastating fashion. This is a terrific fight, and possibly one of the last flyweight fights we ever see in the UFC. Benavidez has more experience an is more proven but Perez has looked amazing in the UFC and I expect the betting line to be very close.
Trevor Smith vs. Zak Cummings, UFC on FOX 31
Middleweights Trevor Smith and Zak Cummings are set to fight at UFC on FOX 31, which takes place December 15 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Smith (15-8) is 5-5 in the UFC overall and in his last bout dropped a decision to Elias Theodorou. He’s a decent gatekeeper but has no wins over a fighter currently in the UFC. Cummings (21-6) is 6-3 in the UFC and coming off of a split decision loss to Michel Prazeres. He is moving up to 185 for this bout. I think you continue to fade Smith here against a well-rounded fighter in Cummings, who I believe will be favored at the books despite the new weight class.
Glover Teixeira vs. Ion Cutelaba, UFC on ESPN+ 1
Light heavyweights Glover Teixeira and Ion Cutelaba are scheduled to throw down at UFC on ESPN+ 1, which takes place January 19 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Teixeira (27-7) is 10-5 in the UFC and is coming off of a decision loss to Corey Anderson. Cutelaba (14-3, 1 NC) is 3-2 in the UFC and coming off of back-to-back finishes over Gadzhimurad Antigulov and Henrique da Silva. Teixeira is obviously the more proven vet but Cutelaba has looked really good lately. I expect Teixeira to be the favorite based on name value, but Cutelaba is definitely live to win this bout as the far younger fighter.
Alonzo Menifield vs. Vinicius Alves, UFC on ESPN+ 1
Also at UFC on ESPN+ 1 is a light heayweight bout between Alonzo Menifield and Vinicius Alves. Menifield (7-0) is one of the top prospects at 205lbs in the UFC and in earned his contract following a KO win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Alves (9-1) is on a five-fight win streak and all of his pro wins have come by stoppage. Great fight here between two solid prospects but I really believe Menifield is the future of the division and he should be favored here.
Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw, UFC 233
And finally, the crown jewel of this weekend’s fight announcements is confirmation that UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw will move down in weight to take on UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo in the main event of UFC 233, which takes place January 26 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Combate reported the news. Cejudo (13-2) is 7-2 in the UFC and in his last bout won the flyweight title with a split decision win over Demetrious Johnson. Dillashaw (16-3) is 12-3 in the UFC and is coming off of consecutive KO wins over Cody Garbrandt. What a great fight between two of the best to ever do it in the lighter weight classes. I’m expecting a very close betting line here in what is a very difficult fight to call. If I had to guess, the line will be released this week.