A number of new UFC bouts were revealed over the weekend. Here they are, along with my initial thoughts on them.
Donald Cerrone vs. Alexander Hernandez, UFC on ESPN+ 1
A lightweight matchup between Donald Cerrone and Alexander Hernandez has been added to UFC on ESPN+ 1, which takes place January 19 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. MMAjunkie.com broke the news. Cerrone (34-11, 1 NC) is 21-8 in the UFC and submitted Mike Perry in his last fight. Hernandez (10-1) is 2-0 in the UFC and just beat Olivier Aubin-Mercier by decision. Cerrone has way more experience but Hernandez looks like the real deal and I’d favor the youngster in this one.
Thomas Almeida vs. Cory Sandhagen, UFC on ESPN+ 1
Bantamweights Thomas Almeida and Cory Sandhagen will also meet at UFC on ESPN+ 1. Farah Hannoun broke the news. Almeida (21-3) is 5-3 in the UFC and has lost back-to-back fights to Rob Font and Jimmie Rivera. Sandhagen (9-1) is 2-0 in the UFC and has won four straight fights by knockout. Almeida was a top prospect at one point but just isn’t the same guy he once was. Sandhagen has knockout power and Almeida has a questionable chin, so I’d have to favor Sandhagen in this one.
Manny Bermudez vs. Benito Lopez, UFC 233
A bantamweight bout between Manny Bermurdez and Benito Lopez has been added to UFC 233, which takes place January 26 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. FloCombat reported the news. Bermudez (13-0) is 2-0 so far in the UFC with submission wins over Davey Grant and Albert Morales. Lopez (9-0) is 1-0 so far in the UFC with a decision win over Morales. Two very good prospects go head-to-head in this one. It looks like a close fight but I’d lean towards Lopez slightly in this one.
Johnny Walker vs. Justin Ledet, UFC on ESPN+ 2
Light heayweight prospects Johnny Walker and Justin Ledet will meet at UFC on ESPN+ 2, which is set for February 2 at Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil. MMAFighting.com broke the news. Walker (15-3) is on a seven-fight win streak and had a brilliant UFC debut with a KO over Khalil Rountree. Ledet (9-1, 1 NC) is 3-1 in the UFC and lost a lopsided decision to Aleksandar Rakic in his UFC debut. This could be a better style matchup for Ledet as the fight is likely to stay standing, but I’d still have to favor Walker to get the win here considering how amazing he looked against Rountree.
Kai-Kara France vs. Raulian Paiva, UFC 234
Flyweights Kai-Kara France and Raulian Paiva meet at UFC 234, which goes down February 9 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Stuff.co.nz broke the news. France (18-7, 1 NC) is on a six-fight win streak and is coming off of a decision win over Elias Garcia in his UFC debut. Paiva (18-1) is on a 12-fight win streak and just picked up a win on the Brazilian Contender Series to get into the UFC. Paiva looks like a nice prospect but France looked great in his UFC debut and as the more proven fighter I would lean towards him here.
Lauren Murphy vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith, UFC on ESPN 1
A women’s flyweight bout between Lauren Murphy and Ashlee Evans-Smith is the newest addition to UFC on ESPN 1, which is set for February 17 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. MyMMANews.com broke the news. Murphy (10-4) is just 2-4 in the UFC and is 1-1 as a flyweight with a win over Barb Honchak and a loss to Sijara Eubanks. Evans-Smith (6-3) is 4-3 in the uFC and beat Bec Rawlings by decision in her flyweight debut. Should be a close fight but I’d lean slightly towards Murphy because she’s a bit tougher and more well-rounded.