UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Joe Silva have had a busy week booking new fights, and the fun didn’t stop Thursday as a number of new bouts were announced for upcoming fight cards. Here they are: Carla Esparza vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, UFC 185 The women’s strawweight title fight between champion Carla Esparza and challenger Joanna Jedrzejczyk will take place at UFC 185, which is set for March 14 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Esparza looked sensational in the TUF house and then in her title win over Rose Namajunas, while Jedrzejczyk recently picked up a controversial split decision win over Claudia Gadelha to get this title shot. Jedrzejczyk is the better striker and has solid takedown defence, but Esparza is the best wrestler in the division and she’s taken down pretty much everyone she’s fought to this point in the UFC. This is a really good fight that I could honestly see going either way, but Esparza should be the favorite because she is the champ and because she is the more proven fighter. Sam Stout vs. Ross Pearson, UFC 185 Following the cancelation of the doomed Windsor card, a rumored lightweight fight between Sam Stout and Ross Pearson has been moved to UFC 185. It’s a tough fight to call. Both guys are bangers who have had solid careers in the UFC, but both men are coming off of brutal knockout losses and you have to wonder how many fights each man has left. Stout has considered retirement in the past and if he gets KOed again, it wouldn’t shock me if he hangs his gloves up. As for Pearson, he has picked up some nice wins lately but after being viciously knocked out by Al Iaquinta, I don’t know how much longer he’ll be a top lightweight in the UFC. It’s a close fight, but Pearson is probably the right side here, and I think he should be a small favorite. Paul Felder vs. Jim Miller, UFC on FOX 15 A lightweight matchup between rising contender Paul Felder and veteran Jim Miller was added to UFC on FOX 15, which takes place April 18 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Felder looked amazing in his last fight, knocking out Danny Castillo with a spinning back fist. Miller, on the other hand, has long been ranked in the top 10 of his division but after taking a brutal beating by Donald Cerrone in his last outing, not to mention being in some other competitive fights in recent years, I think it’s fair to say he’s on a decline. Miller deserves to be the favorite because of his resume and because this fight will take place in his backyard of New Jersey, but I really like Felder and I think this is a winnable fight for him, so keep an eye on the line because he could be a live dog come April. Paige VanZant vs. Felice Herrig, UFC on FOX 15 A women’s strawweight bout between Paige VanZant and Felice Herrig was also added to UFC on FOX 15. VanZant is one of the brightest young stars in the UFC and I don’t think they would have booked her to fight Herrig if they think she will lose. Herrig is a good fighter and has fought a much higher level of competition than VanZant, but I think “12 Gauge” is a better fighter at this point of time, and I think she deserves to be favored here at around 2-to-1.
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