The UFC continued to announce a number of new bouts for its upcoming cards. Here are the new matchups, along with my initial thoughts on them.
David Teymur vs. Charles Oliveira, UFC Fight Night 144
Lightweights David Teymur and Charles Oliveira will fight at UFC Fight Night 144, taking place February 2 at Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil. Teymur (8-1) is 5-0 in the UFC and in his last outing defeated Nik Lentz. He’s had trouble getting opponents to fight him, as he’s super dangerous but not ranked in the top-15. Oliveira (25-8, 1 NC) is 13-8, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming off of a three-fight win streak, including a submission win over Jim Miller in his last fight. As good as Oliveira is on the ground, this looks like the type of matchup that is kryptonite for him against a much-better striker in Teymur who also has excellent takedown defense. For that reason, I’d actually favor Teymur in this fight.
Junior Albini vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik, UFC Fight Night 144
Due to an injury to Dmitry Sosnovskiy, Junior Albini will now take on short-notice replacement Jarizinho Rozenstruik at UFC Fight Night 144. DWT broke the news. Albini (14-4) is 1-2 in the UFC and lost to Aleksiy Oleinik via Ezekiel choke in his last fight. Rozenstruik (6-0) has won five of his fights by strikes except for his one appearance in RIZIN, which he won a decision in. Most bettors will look to fade Albini, but it’s hard to say if this is the right spot to fade him in as Rozenstruik is very unproven against a decent level of competition.
Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon, UFC 234
Bantamweights Rani Yahya and Ricky Simon are set to clash at UFC 234, taking place February 10 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Combate broke the news. Yahya (26-9, 1 NC) is 11-3, 1 NC in the UFC and has won seven of his last eight fights overall. He’s a very underrated fighter and with a win here should land a top-10 opponent. Simon (14-1) is 2-0 in the UFC and is riding a seven-fight win streak overall. Yahya has all the experience but Simon has plenty of upside and I would rather go with the younger fighter in this spot.
Sam Alvey vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov, UFC Fight Night 145
Light heavyweight action between Sam Alvey and Gadzhimurad Antigulov will take place at UFC Fight Night 145, on February 23 at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. Igor Lazorin broke the news. Alvey (33-11, 1 NC) is 10-6 in the UFC and was most recently knocked out by Antonio Rogerio Nogueria. Antigulov (20-5) is 2-1 in the UFC but suffered a KO loss to Ion Cutelaba in his last fight. This should be a real banger of a fight but I have to fade Alvey in this spot and go with Antigulov, though I’m expecting a close line either way.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Tom Breese, UFC Fight Night 147
Due to an injury to Alessio di Chirico, Cezar Ferreira has stepped up to fight Tom Breese at UFC Fight Night 147, which takes place March 16 at the O2 Arena in London, England. Ferreira (13-7) is 9-5 overall in the UFC but is coming off of a disappointing decision loss to Ian Heinisch. Breese (11-1) is 4-1 in the UFC and smashed Dan Kelly in his UFC middleweight debut. Ferreira is a solid fighter but I don’t trust his chin against a powerful puncher like Breese, who I expect to be heavily favored here in his home country.