For today’s MMA odds and ends, I’ll give my thoughts on some updates to a couple of bouts that have been announced for upcoming UFC fight cards.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Ray Borg Cancelled
A flyweight bout between top contenders Joseph Benavidez and Ray Borg was supposed to take place this Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 139, but the bout is off the card due to a medical withdrawal by Borg. Here is the UFC’s full update on the situation. With rumors the UFC is slashing the flyweight division, you have to wonder if both guys will ever step foot in the Octagon again.
Antonina Shevchenko vs. Ji Yeon Kim, TUF 28 Finale
Due to an injury to Ashlee-Evans Smith, top-ranked flyweight prospect Antonina Shevchenko will now take on Ji Yeon Kim in her UFC debut at the TUF 28 Finale, which takes place Friday, November 30 at Pearl Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada. ESPN had the news. Shevchenko (6-0) will be making her UFC debut after getting a contract following a TKO win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Kim (8-1-2) is on a two-fight win streak, although both fights were close split decisions. This looks like a huge mismatch and I expect Shevchenko to be a huge favorite.
Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira 2, UFC on FOX 31
A lightweight rematch between Jim Miller and Charles Oliveira is set for UFC on FOX 31, which takes place December 15 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Miller (29-12, 1 NC) is 18-11, 1 NC overall in the UFC and is one of the most accomplished lightweights to ever compete in the sport. He is coming off of a submission win over Alex White that snapped his four-fight losing skid and saved his UFC career. Oliviera (24-8, 1 NC) is coming off of consecutive submission wins over Christos Giagos and Clay Guida and recently set the record for most submission wins in UFC history. This is a great fight and a rematch of the pair’s bout back at UFC 124 in 2010 which Miller won via submission. This time around I think the opposite happens and believe Oliveira by submission is the more likely outcome. I expect Oliveira to be the favorite here considering he’s the younger, fresher fighter.
Ariane Lipski vs. Joanne Calderwood, UFC 233
After Maryna Moroz suffered an injury and was pulled from UFC Fight Night 140, newcomer Ariane Lipski will now take on Joanne Calderwood at UFC 233, which goes down January 26 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. ESPN broke the news. Lipski (11-3) is making her UFC debut as the reigining KSW women’s flyweight champion. She is currently riding a nine-fight win streak. Calderwood (12-3) is just 5-3 in the UFC and has been a huge disappointment in the Octagon. Calderwood, is coming off of a submission win over Kalindra Faria that should help boost her confidence, but I still favor Lipski quite heavily in this one.
Marion Reneau vs. Yana Kunitskaya, UFC 233
Finally, a bantamweight bout between Marion Reneau and Yana Kunitskaya is slated for UFC 233. MMAnytt had the news. Reneau (9-4-1) is 5-3-1 overall in the UFC and in her most recent bout lost a decision to Cat Zingano. Kunitskaya (11-4, 1 NC) is 1-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a decision win over Lina Lansberg. Reneau is more proven in the UFC but is over 40 and won’t be able to keep it up forever. Kunitkaya is far younger and her youth alone likely will have her as the favorite in this bout.