A couple of new UFC bouts have been announced, as has the passing away of a former Strikeforce fighter. I’ll give my thoughts on all the news in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Wuliji Buren vs. Jonathan Martinez, UFC 234
Bantamweights Wuliji Buren and Jonathan Martinez are set to do battle at UFC 234, which takes place February 10 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Buren (9-5) is 0-2 so far in the UFC with losses to Rolando Dy and Marlon Vera. The Chinese fighter does not have any notable victories in his career and a loss here would obviously lead to him being released by the world’s top MMA promotion. Martinez (9-2) is 0-1 so far in the UFC with a decision loss to Andre Soukhamthath in his Octagon debut. Prior to the UFC, his only other career loss was a DQ defeat to current top-15 ranked flyweight Matt Schnell. This is a fight between two bottom of the barrel bantamweights on the UFC roster but I would lean towards Martinez just due to his experience and also what I believe will be a superior wrestling game.
Jack Marshman vs. John Phillips, UFC on ESPN+ 5
A pair of middleweights will collide as Jack Marshman meets John Phillips at UFC on ESPN+ 5, which is set for March 16 at The O2 Arena in London, England. Marshman (22-8) is 2-3 so far in the UFC and is coming off of consecutive losses to Karl Roberson and Antonio Carlos Junior. 18 of his career wins have come by stoppage so he has fight-ending power, but as we’ve seen in the UFC he’s a bit of a glass cannon as he often gets finished in his losses as well. Phillips (21-8, 1 NC) has lost both of his UFC bouts to Charles Byrd and Kevin Holland by submission. Prior to the UFC he had finished all 21 of his pro wins by stoppage, so like Marshman he has fight-ending power, but his poor submission defense has really cost him so far in the UFC. Neither guy has been very impressive as of late but I would still favor Marshman to win this fight. He’s at least shown he knows how to get his hand raised inside the Octagon while Phillips appears to be a fighter who is out of his element in the Octagon.
Strikeforce Veteran Abongo Humphrey Dead
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight Abongo Humphrey has passed away at age 41. His obituary is available for anyone to read here. Humphrey (7-3) fought the likes of Ovince Saint-Preux, Brett Rogers and Mike Kyle in Strikeforce. He was also recently a stunt actor in the 2018 film “Black Panther.” We here at MMAOB give our thoughts and prayers to Humphrey’s family in this difficult time.
Lauren Murphy Injured
Just a small note here as women’s bantamweight Lauren Murphy is injured and out of her fight against Ashlee Evans-Smith at UFC on ESPN 1. The UFC will likely be able to find an opponent for Evans-Smith given there’s still two months until the card. Nolan King broke the news and Murphy confirmed the news.