A couple of new bouts have been revealed for upcoming UFC cards, and USADA has suspended another fighter. I’ll give my thoughts on all of the news in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Mickey Gall vs. Diego Sanchez, UFC 235
A welterweight matchup between Mickey Gall and Diego Sanchez is official for UFC 235, which takes place March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gall (5-1) is 4-1 overall in the UFC with all of his wins coming by submission, including a tapout victory over veteran George Sullivan in his last bout. He also has a win over recent ONE Championship signing Sage Northcutt. Save for a decision loss to Randy Brown, Gall has looked like a legitimate welterweight prospect in all of his other UFC bouts and has a lot of potential being as he’s in his early 20s. Sanchez (28-11) is 17-11 overall in the UFC and is coming off of a decision win over Craig White in just his second fight back in the welterweight division. He’s 36, but he didn’t look his age in that fight. It was the best we’ve seen Sanchez in years, and it’s a performance that makes you think he could give Gall some problems in this bout. I still expect Gall to be favored here, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sanchez use his cardio and wrestling to grind out the win.
Tom Breese vs. Alessio di Chirico, UFC on ESPN+ 5
Middleweights Tom Breese and Alessio di Chirico will meet at UFC on ESPN+ 5, which goes down March 16 at O2 Arena in London, England. Sherdog broke the news. Breese (11-1) is 4-1 in the UFC and knocked out Dan Kelly in his first fight in the middleweight division. He had a very hard time cutting the weight to make 170lbs but looked big and strong at 185lbs and he could be a darkhorse contender if he can stay healthy. Di Chirico (12-2) is 3-2 overall in the UFC and he is coming off of wins over Julian Marquez and Oluwale Bambose in his last two bouts. He was supposed to fight Jared Cannonier back in November until Cannonier was pulled from the fight to take on David Branch, leaving di Chirico without an opponent. This should be a pretty competitive fight between two middleweights on the rise, but no doubt Breese is going to be favored. The big Brit always seems to get tremendous betting support at the window and I don’t see that being any different here.
USADA Suspension Announced
UFC featherweight Bharat Kandare was suspended by USADA for two years due to testing positive for banned substances. You can read USADA’s statement here. USADA caught Kandare with banned steroids in his system during an out-of-competition test back in July. His suspension will end in November 2020. Kandare (5-3) has lost two straight fights including a submission loss to Yadong Song in his UFC debut. Considering his shoddy record, there’s no doubt in my mind the UFC will straight-up release Kandare, although they could eventually circle back to him if they make inroads to India a couple of years from now.
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