A number of new UFC bouts have been revealed for upcoming fight cards, and here they are along with my initial thoughts on them.
Nathaniel Wood vs. Andre Ewell, UFC 232
Andre Ewell has agreed to step up on short notice to take on Nathaniel Wood in a battle of bantamweight prospects at UFC 232, which takes place December 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wood (14-3) is on a six-fight win streak and submitted Johnny Eduardo in his UFC debut. He is one of the finest young fighters coming out of England. Ewell (14-4) is riding a five-fight win streak and beat Renan Barao via split decision in his Octagon debut. This is a close fight here between two well-regarded prospects but I’d slightly favor Wood as he had a full training camp for this date.
Jose Aldo vs. Cub Swanson 2, UFC 233
A featherweight rematch between former champion Jose Aldo and perennial contender Cub Swanson has been added to UFC 233, which goes down January 26 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Combate broke the news. The fight is a rematch as the pair previously fought in the WEC, when Aldo needed only eight seconds to knock Swanson out with a vicious double flying knee that shattered his face. Aldo (27-4) is 9-3 overall in the UFC and in his last fight turned back the clock with a brutal KO over Jeremy Stephens. Swanson (25-10) is 10-6 in the UFC and is on a three-fight losing skid at the moment. I don’t even understand the matchmaking here at all, but I fully expect Aldo to beat Swanson once again. Aldo will surely be a huge favorite in the rematch. UPDATE: Swanson says the fight will not take place at UFC 233, but the UFC has not made an official announcement one way or the other yet. It seems likely this fight will happen in early 2019, though.
Kron Gracie vs. Alex Caceres, UFC 233
Also added to UFC 233 is a bantamweight bout between Kron Gracie and Alex Caceres. ESPN broke the news. Gracie (4-0) has won all four of his pro fights via submission in RIZIN but he has not fought in two years. Caceres (14-11, 1 NC) is 9-9, 1 NC in the UFC and most recently bested Martin Bravo via decision. Caceres has more experience but Gracie is a high-level submission artist and based on the fact Caceres has traditionally been prone to submissions I’d have to favor Gracie in this bout. Even though it’s his UFC debut, this is absolutely a winnable fight for the latest Gracie to compete in the Octagon.
Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang, UFC 235
A key women’s strawweight bout between Tecia Torres and Weili Zhang has been added to UFC 235, which takes place March 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Torres (10-3) is 6-3 in the UFC but is coming off of back-to-back decision losses to Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade. She knows how to win a decision but has rarely shown finishing potential in the UFC and is being used as a gatekeeper in this fight. Zhang (18-1) is on an 18-fight win streak and is 2-0 so far in the UFC with a submission win over Jessica Aguilar in her last fight. Aguilar is at the end of the road so it’s hard to say how good Zhang really is, but that was clearly a key win for her. I still believe Torres will be favored at the betting window, but Zhang is a live dog here.