Both the UFC and ONE Championship have announced some notable upcoming fights for cards in 2019, and I’ll give my thoughts on them in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Gregor Gillespie vs. Yandy Medeiros, UFC on ESPN+ 1
A lightweight matchup between Gregor Gillespie and Yancy Medeiros is set for UFC on ESPN+ 1, which takes place January 19 at Barclays Center in Brookyln, New York. Newsday broke the fight. Gillespie (12-0) is 5-0 in the UFC and in his last fight dominated Vinc Pichel for a finish. Medeiros (15-5, 1 NC) is 6-5, 1 NC and most recently was finished by Donald Cerrone. I really enjoy watching both of these guys fight but given Gillespie’s wrestling pedigree I would have to favor him quite heavily here to get the victory.
Danny Roberts vs. Claudio Silva, UFC on ESPN+ 5
Welterweights Danny Roberts and Claudio Silva will meet at UFC on ESPN+ 5, which takes place March 16 at The O2 Arena in London, England. Roberts (16-3) is 5-2 in the UFC and is coming off of consecutive wins over David Zawada and Oliver Enkamp. Silva (12-1) is 3-0 in the UFC with victories over Leon Edwards, Brad Scott and Nordine Taleb. Roberts is a solid fighter but Silva just seems to always find a way to win and you have to favor him here, though he may once again be available at underdog money because no one respects him.
Demtrious Johnson vs. Yuya Wakamatsu, ONE Championship: A New Era
Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will battle Yuya Wakamatsu in ONE Championship: A New Era on March 31 at Ryogoku Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, Japan. Johnson (27-2-1) is regarded as one of the top MMA fighters of all time and had a historic seven-year win streak prior to losing a split decision to Henry Cejudo in his last bout. Wakamatsu (10-3) lost his ONE debut and is 1-2 over his last three fights. This is a mismatch of epic proportions, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Johnson as a -2000 favorite.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Timofey Nastyukhin, ONE Championship: A New Era
Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez takes on Timofey Nastyukhin at the same event. Alvarez (29-6) fought out his UFC deal with a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in his last fight but he’s just one year removed from an amazing knockout over Justin Gaethje. Nastyukhin (12-4) is 5-3 in ONE but lost his last fight via strikes. Once again it’s a mismatch and I expect Alvarez to be at least a -1000 favorite here.
UFC Signs Deron Winn
Light heavyweight prospect Deron Winn announced on social media that he has signed a deal with the UFC. Winn (5-0) recently defeated Tom Lawlor by decision at Golden Boy MMA’s first event and many expected him to be signed by the UFC. It will be interesting to see who the UFC matchmakers pair Winn up with for his first bout inside the Octagon. How about a fight against scrappy veteran Sam Alvey?
Gegard Mousasi Injured, Out of Bellator 214
Devastating news hit Bellator as its middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi is injured and out of his scheduled title defense at Bellator 214 against Rafael Lovato, Jr. ESPN broke the news. As of right now there’s no indication if Lovato Jr. will stay on the card or not.