A number of new UFC bouts have been revealed for upcoming fight cards, and I’ll give my thoughts on them in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Damir Hadzovic vs. Marco Polo Reyes, UFC Fight Night 145
Lightweights Damir Hadzovic and Marco Polo Reyes are set to fight at UFC Fight Night 145, taking place February 23 at The O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. Hadzovoc (12-2) is 2-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a decision win over Nick Hein. Reyes (8-4) is 4-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a KO win over Matt Frevola. Another exciting booking here by the UFC between two fighters on the rise. I tend to lean Reyes just because we have seen more variety in his ability to finish a fight, but it’s definitely close.
Gian Villante vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk, UFC Fight Night 145
Light heavyweights Gian Villante and Michal Oleksiejczuk will also meet at UFC Fight Night 145. Villante (17-10) is 7-7 in the UFC and defeated Ed Herman by split decision in his last fight. Oleksiejczuk (12-2, 1 NC) fought to a No Contest against Khalil Rountree in his UFC debut after being suspended for PEDs. Originally he had won the fight by decision and showed off some solid wrestling chops in the fight. Even with the PED issues, I’d still have to favor Oleksiejczuk here as I expect most bettors will try and fade Villante.
Alejandro Perez vs. Song Yadong, UFC 235
An intriguing bantamweight bout between prospects Alejandro Perez and Song Yadong is set for UFC 235, taking place March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Perez (21-6-1) is 7-1-1 in the UFC and is currently on a seven-fight unbeaten streak that includes a decision win over Eddie Wineland in his last outing. Yadong (13-3, 2 NC) is 3-0 so far in the UFC and at only 21 is one of the top young fighters in the division. This is a great fight, and both guys have bright futures in the sport. But based on all of the hype I’d expect Yadong to be a slight favorite here at opening.
Maryna Moroz vs. Sabina Mazo, UFC on ESPN 2
Women’s strawweights Maryna Moroz and Sabina Mazo will meet at UFC on ESPN, which takes place March 30 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Moroz (8-3) is 3-3 in the UFC and lost a decision to Angela Hill in her last bout. Mazo (6-0) is making her UFC debut and at only 21 is one of the youngest fighters in the division. Though Moroz has more experience in the Octagon, Mazo is a super prospect and I’d expect her to be the favorite here.
Paul Craig vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu, UFC on ESPN 2
And finally, light heavyweights Paul Craig and Kennedy Nzechukwu will meet at UFC on ESPN 2. Craig (10-3) is 2-3 in the UFC and was submitted by Jim Crute in his last outing. Nzechukwu (6-0) is making his UFC debut after a successful TKO win on the Contender Series. Anytime you can fade Craig you have to do it, and I expect Nzechukwu to be a huge favorite here as a result of that.