A number of new UFC bouts were revealed over the weekend. Here they are, along with my initial take on each of the fights.
Marlon Moraes vs. Raphael Assuncao 2, UFC on ESPN+ 2
The main event of UFC on ESPN+ 2 will be a bantamweight rematch between Marlon Moraes and Raphael Assuncao. The card takes place February 2 at Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil. The pair first fought in June 2017, with Assuncao edging a split decision at UFC 212. Moraes (21-5-1) has bounced back nicely since the loss to Assuncao with three straight wins including back-to-back stoppage wins over Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera to improve to 3-1 overall in the Octagon. Assuncao (27-5) is 11-2 in the UFC overall and is on a four-fight win streak at the moment since losing to TJ Dillashaw back at UFC 200. Besides the Dillashaw loss, Assuncao has been perfect in the Octagon, but Moraes might be his kryptonite. We’ve seen these two fight once and the fight was extremely close but since then I’d argue Moraes has improved much more. It’s going to be a close fight but based on the way he’s finished his last few fights I’d have to favor Moraes slightly in this rematch.
Demian Maia vs. Lyman Good, UFC on ESPN+ 2
Welterweights Demian Maia and Lyman Good will also collide at UFC on ESPN+ 2. Maia (25-) is 19-9 in the UFC but has dropped three straight fights, albeit to top contenders in Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman and the champ Tyron Woodley. Good (20-4, 1 NC) is 2-1 in the UFC and just knocked out Ben Saunders in his last fight after a long layoff. Maia is a veteran of the Octagon and has God-like submissions, but Good is on fire right now and I’d have to favor him here just based on momentum and the fact Maia is 41.
Alexa Grasso vs. Marina Rodriguez, UFC on ESPN+ 2
As well, a women’s strawweight bout between Alexa Grasso and Marina Rodriguez takes place at this event. Grasso (10-2) is 2-2 in the UFC and recently lost by submission to Tatiana Suarez. Rodriguez (10-0-1) drew with Randa Markos in her UFC debut but is still undefeated as a pro. Grasso was once a top prospect at 115lbs but her recent performances have left a lot to be desired. Rodriguez is still unproven at this level of the sport but the fact she’s undefeated and fighting at home should be enough to make her a slight favorite in this fight.
Bryan Barberena vs. Vicente Luque, UFC on ESPN+ 2
UFC on ESPN+ 2 looks strong with the addition of a welterweight bout between Bryan Barberena and Vicente Luque. Barberna (14-5) is 5-3 in the UFC and most recently knocked out Jake Ellenberger, ending his career. Luque (14-6-1) is 7-2 in the UFC and all of his wins in the Octagon have come by stoppage. Luque has looked amazing in the UFC and if it wasn’t for the welterweight division being so stacked he would likely be in line for a top-10 opponent. As it stands, he’ll have to get through the underrated Barberena. I favor Luque in this fight, but it might be the first contest in the UFC that he’ll win by decision as Barberena in very durable.
Junior Albini vs. Dmitry Sosnovskiy, UFC on ESPN+ 2
Finally, heavyweights Junior Albini and Dmitry Sosnovskiy will collide at UFC on ESPN+ 2. Albini (14-4) is just 1-2 in the UFC and most recently was submitteed by an Ezekiel choke courtesy of Alexey Oleinik. Sosnovskiy (11-0) submitted Mark Godbeer in his UFC debut to keep his undefeated streak alive. The hulking Russian Sosnovskiy should be a massive favorite here as bettors will surely look to fade Albini.