A couple new matchups have been revealed for upcoming fight cards, and I’ll give my thoughts on these new matchups in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Glover Teixeira vs. Ion Cutelaba, UFC on ESPN 3
A light heavyweight bout between Glover Teixeira and Ion Cutelaba, which was originally set to take place back at UFC Fight Night 143, has been rescheduled for UFC on ESPN 3, taking place April 27 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Combate broke the news. Teixeira (28-7) may be 39-years old now but he showed age doesn’t mean anything to him when he finished the younger Karl Roberson in his last bout at UFC Fight Night 143. All-time Teixeira holds a 11-5 record in the Octagon and although he may not be a true title contender anymore, he’s still a tough gatekeeper and the perfect test for rising light heavyweights to take on as they look to move up the ranks. Even late in his career, he can still finish fights.
Cutelaba (14-3, 1 NC) is 3-2 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back knockout wins over Gadzhimurad Antigulov and Henrique da Silva. Only 25, Cutelaba is one of the top young light heavyweights in the UFC, but he’s still very much unproven. After seeing Teixeira come back from being down early and finish Roberson, I think you have to favor him here to get the win against Cutelaba, although I do think Cutelaba will be more competitive than Roberson was.
Martin Day vs. Chris Gutierrez, UFC Fight Night 148
Bantamweights Martin Day and Chris Gutierrez are set to meet at UFC Fight Night 148 (UFC on ESPN+ 6), which takes place March 23 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Day (8-3) suffered a split decision loss to Pingyuan Liu in his UFC debut but had won three straight fights on the regional circuit prior to making his ill-fated UFC debut. Gutierrez (12-4-1) is coming off of a submission loss to Raoni Barcelos in his own UFC debut but had won three straight fights on the regional circuit prior to that as well. This looks like a really close fight and I expect the opening number to be near a Pick ’em given how even it looks on paper. I’d slightly lean towards Day to get his hand raised, but it’s very close.
Boston Salmon vs. Khalid Taha, UFC 236
Bantamweights Boston Salmon and Khalid Taha will meet at UFC 236, taking place April 13 at an undisclosed venue (rumored to be in Las Vegas, Nevada). These two were previously set to meet at the TUF 28 Finale before the fight was scrapped. News of the rebooking comes from Shawn Bitter. Salmon (6-1) picked up a decision win over Ricky Turcios on the Contender Series back in July 2017 but hasn’t fought since due to injuries. Taha (12-2) dropped a decision to Nad Narimani in his UFC debut last summer. Given Salmon’s long layoff, it makes sense to slightly lean towards Taha here, but given that Taha is far from a top prospect, don’t be surprised is Salmon comes through and gets the win. I’d expect a close line either way.