Even Christmas Day wasn’t without MMA news, as several UFC bouts were announced. Here are my initial thoughts on the newly-revealed fights:
Michel Prazeres vs. Ramazan Emeev, UFC on ESPN+ 3
Welterweights Michel Prazeres and Ramazan Emeev are set to clash at UFC on ESPN+ 3, which takes place February 23 at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. MMABrasil broke the news. Prazeres (26-2) is 10-2 overall in the UFC and has won eight fights in a row. He’s a guy who would be perfect for the 165lbs division, but for now he has been having some surprising success even as an undersized welterweight, going 2-0 at his new weight class. Emeev (18-3) is on a seven-fight win streak and has won all three of his UFC bouts so far. This is a pretty tought fight to call as both men are very quality fighters on long win streaks. The UFC matchmakers must believe this is going to be a stylistically tough matchup for Prazeres, because I’m surprised he isn’t getting a ranked opponent given how much success he’s had inside the Octagon. I think this is a really tough fight to call as I typically like to pick both guys to win their fights, but I expect Emeev to be the favorite as bettors typically back the Russian prospects and tend to not give Prazeres as much respect as he deserves in the betting lines.
Macy Chiasson vs. Gina Mazany, UFC 235
A women’s bantamweight bout between recent TUF 28 winner Macy Chiasson and Gina Mazany will take place at UFC 235, which is set for March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Adam Hill of LVRJ revealed the news. Chiasson (3-0) recently won TUF as a featherweight with a finsh over Pannie Kianzad and will be moving down in weight for this fight. Mazany (5-2) is 1-2 in the UFC and most recently dropped a decision to Lina Lansberg. Chiasson is a very intriguing prospect and I expect her to be a massive favorite in this fight given how good she looked on TUF.
Gokhan Saki vs. Saparbek Safarov, UFC on ESPN+ 5
An exciting light heavyweight bout between kickboxing legend Gokhan Saki and Saparbek Safarov is the latest addition to UFC on ESPN+ 5, which takes place March 16 at O2 Arena in London, England. Red Fury MMA reported the news. Saki (1-2) knocked out Henrique da Silva in his UFC debut but was brutally finished by Khalil Rountree Jr. in his last fight. Saki is still one of the best kickboxers ever, but at age 35 and with a chin that looks questionable these days it’s hard to see him making a late run in MMA, even in a weak division like light heavyweight. Safarov (8-2) won the first eight fights of his MMA career by stoppage but has been finished by Tyson Pedro and Gian Villante in is UFC run so far. This is a tough fight to call as Saki is such a wild card and we haven’t seen the best of Safarov yet. I’d still lean towards Saki and expect him to be favored based on his name, but it’s hard to be confident in him.