A couple new bouts were announced over the weekend for upcoming UFC and Bellator cards, and I’ll give my thoughts on these matchups in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Jessica Eye vs. Katlyn Chookagian, UFC 231
A women’s flyweight bout between Jessica Eye and Katyln Chookagian has been added to UFC 231, which takes place Saturday, December 8 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ariel Helwani of ESPN reported the bout first. With Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk fighting for the vacant UFC flyweight title in the co-main event of this card, both Eye and Chookagian will be first in line to step into that fight should an injury or bad weight cut happen. Even still, it’s very likely the winner of this Eye vs. Chookagian bout will be the No. 1 contender for the belt.
Eye (13-6, 1 NC) is just 3-5, 1 NC in the UFC overall but she has won both of her fights at flyweight. She first defeated Kalindra Faria via split decision in her debut at 125lbs then picked up a key unanimous decision win over Jessica Rose-Clark her last time out. Eye has not finished a fight since a doctor stoppage win over Leslie Smith in 2014 and could really use a stoppage to help strengthen her case for a title shot. Chookagian (11-1) is 4-1 overall in the UFC. Aside from a split decision loss to Liz Carmouche she has looked great in the Octagon and is coming off of back-to-back unanimous decision wns over Mara Romero Borella and Alexis Davis since moving down to 125lbs. On paper this should be a really close fight betwen two fighters who tend to go to decisions. It’s a tough one to call because the judges are likely going to come into play in what should be an even matchup on the feet but I would slightly lean Chookagian just based on her winning pedigree. I would expect close to Pick ’em odds for this bout.
Frank Mir vs. Javy Ayala, Bellator 212
A heavyweight bout between former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir and Javy Ayala has been booked for Bellator 212, which is set for Friday, December 14 at Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii. Bellator confirmed the bout during the Bellator 207 broadcast this past weekend. Mir (18-12) had an unsuccessful debut in the Bellator cage when he was brutally knocked out by Fedor Emelianenko in the quarterfinals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. He’s lost his last three fights overall, and hasn’t won a fight since knocking out Todd Duffee in 2015. Ayala (10-7) is 5-4 overall in Bellator and is coming off of back-to-back losses to Cheick Kongo and Roy Nelson. His KO win over Sergei Kharitonov in 2016 is looking more and more like a fluke as time goes on as Ayala hasn’t shown anything to think he’s actually a contender in his last few fights. Although Mir has a really bad chin and Ayala has a bit of power, I still think Mir wins this fight. He should have a monster advantage on the ground and I think he will be able to get it there and possibly pick up his first submission win since his 2011 kimura over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Mir will be the favorite here.