The UFC is headed to a brand new country for an event in early 2019, and I’ll give my thoughts on this announcement in today’s MMA odds and ends.
UFC on ESPN+ 3 To Take Place In Czech Republic
The UFC will make its debut at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic on February 23, 2019. Marcel Dorff of MMADNL confirmed the news following the original report from SvetMMA. The UFC has promised to hold events in new countries in both Asia and South America next year, and it appears the Czech Republic is going to be one of them.
To this point, no bouts have been announced for the card, but we can guess at least a couple of the fighters who will be on the card. UFC women’s bantamweight Lucie Pudilova is 2-2 in the UFC and coming off of a split decision loss to Irene Aldana which won her “Fight of the Night” back at UFC 228. She’s only 24 and the native of Pribam makes a lot of sense to fight on this card as long as she’s healthy. I’d expect the UFC to give her a lay-up fight if this is indeed the case.
UFC light heavyweight prospect Darko Stosic is another fighter who will likely compete at this event, given that there have been rumors he will be returning in February. He’s a native of Serbia, but the 26-year-old slugger who is on a nine-fight win streak would be a great fit on this card. He defeated Jeremy Kimball via TKO in his UFC debut and is quickly turning into an elite prospect at 205lbs. From what I have been told, he’s almost definitely going to be on this card.
As far as fighters currently not in the UFC that could be on this card, there are two names that immediately come to mind. One of them is Jiri Prochazka, the 26-year-old native of Hosteradice who is 22-3, 1 NC in his MMA career. He is currently on a six-fight win streak with most of his fights taking place in RIZIN. He’s a guy with a lot of experience and he even has wins over the likes of the aforementioned Stosic as well as Vadim Nemkov, who recently beat Phil Davis in Bellator.
As well, former UFC light heavyweight Karlos Vemola has a good chance to be re-signed by the UFC to get onto this card. The 33-year-old native of Olomuc is on a seven-fight wins streak on the European regional circuit and he’s 14-1 overall since being cut by the UFC with his lone loss in that stretch coming against Jack Hermansson. Sure, he only went 2-4 in his first Octagon stint, but his record since then should be enough for him to get another crack in the Octagon.
With the UFC rapidly announcing new fights and cards for its 2019 events, I’d expect an offical announcement as to the initial lineup for UFC Czech Republic very shortly. The UFC has already committed to a card in London in March and it will be interesting to see what other European countries the Octagon will head to.