The UFC has announced a number of new bouts over the last few weeks for its upcoming pay-per-view cards this summer. Below are my thoughts on these new matchups.
Talita Bernardo vs. Melissa Gatto, UFC 237
Due to an injury to Jessica Rose Clark, Talita Bernardo will now meet UFC newcomer Melissa Gatto in a women’s bantamweight bout at UFC 237, taking place May 11 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Bernardo (6-3) is 1-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a decision win over Sarah Moras. Gatto (6-0-2) is undefeated in her MMA career fighting on the Brazilian regional scene. Bernardo hasn’t looked very good in the UFC and considering Gatto is just 22-years-old she is definitely someone to keep your eye on when the odds for this fight come out. If she’s the underdog she could be worth a punt.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Alexa Grasso, UFC 238
A women’s strawweight bout between Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Alexa Grasso is set for UFC 238, which takes place June 8 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The card features five women’s bouts in total, including this fight.
Kowalkiewicz (12-4) is just 5-4 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back losses to Jessica Andrade and Michelle Waterson. She is making a quick return to the Octagon as the fight against Waterson took place just a few weeks ago, and she is likely in a must-win situation in this fight against Grasso at UFC 238. Grasso (10-2) is 2-2 in the UFC but hasn’t fought since last May when she was submitted by Tatiana Suarez. Both Kowalkiewicz and Grasso are solid-yet-flawed fighters, but based on her experience I’d guess Kowalkiewicz would be a slight favorite at open.
Diego Sanchez vs. Michael Chiesa, UFC 239
Welterweights Diego Sanchez and Michael Chiesa are scheduled to fight at UFC 239, taking place July 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sanchez (29-11) is 18-11 all-time inside the Octagon and is one of the longest-tenured fighters on the UFC roster and a future Hall of Famer. He moved up to welterweight last year and has since gone 1-2 with a knockout loss to Matt Brown followed by back-to-back wins over Craig White and Mickey Gall, who he just finished in devastating fashion. Chiesa (15-4) is 8-4 in the UFC and submitted Carlos Condit in his welterweight debut in his last bout. Both Sanchez and Chiesa looked amazing in their last fights, but given that Sanchez is 37 and has taken a ton of damage throughout his career, you have to lean towards Chiesa here.
Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Jack Marshman, UFC 239
Middleweight prospect Edmen Shahbazyan returns at UFC 239 when he takes on Jack Marshman.
Shahbazyan (9-0) is just 21-years-old and is already 2-0 in the UFC with a knockout win over Charles Byrd and a split decision win over Darren Stewart. He is one of the top young prospects at 185lbs and all but one of his career victories has come by knockout. Marshman (23-8) is 3-3 in the UFC and is coming off of a controversial split decision win over John Phillips. Although Marshman is a solid gateekeeper at 185lbs, Shahbazyan is the future of the division, and he’ll undoubtedly be a massive favorite heading into this bout.