A pair of upcoming fight cards have obtained upgrades to them, and I’ll give my thoughts on the new bouts in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Chance Rencountre vs. Kyle Stewart, UFC on ESPN+ 1 (UFC Fight Night 143)
We hopefully have the last fight card update for the UFC on ESPN+ 1 card this weekend, taking place Saturday at Barclays Center at Brooklyn, New York. Chance Rencountre finally has his competitor as he’ll take on Octagon newcomer Kyle Stewart at a lightweight bout on the card. ESPN first broke the news. Rencountre’s unique opponent Randy Brown was pulled from the card due to a rumored USADA flagging, while Dwight Grant was not cleared to fight because of an eye injury. Rencountre (12-3) lost a decision to Belal Muhammad in his UFC debut but had won four straight bouts prior to it. Stewart (11-1) has just lost once in his career, to high LFA potential James Nakashima, and in his last bout defeated Braden Smith by choice. I believe most will seem to fade Rencountre in this area, and I expect Stewart to actually be a slight favorite here despite making his UFC debut on short notice.
Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Rosa, UFC 234
Lightweight Lando Vannata recently reupped a new four-fight contract with the UFC, and that he returns to fight Octagon newcomer Marcos Rosa in UFC 234, taking place February 10 at Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne, Australia. ESPN broke the information. Vannata (9-3-2) only has a 1-3-2 album in the UFC, but almost every one of his battles has been exciting that is the reason why the UFC decided to bring him back. He is coming from a draw against Matt Frevola, and hasn’t really won a fight since a KO win over John Makdessi at December 2016. Rosa (6-4) is a veteran of the Brazilian regional circuit also has really won three of the last four bouts by stoppage. Ultimately it feels like the UFC has booked Vannata a winnable struggle, and I expect him to become quite a sizeable favorite to get his hands raised.
Dong Hyun Ma vs. Devonte Smith, UFC 234
And finally, Dong Hyun Ma (formerly known as »another » Dong Yun Kim) will return at UFC 234 if he chooses on Devonte Smith in what ought to be an action-packed lightweight bout. Ma (16-8-3) is 3-2 overall from the UFC and is now riding a three-fight win series including a remarkable TKO win over Takanori Gomi along with a decision win over Damien Brown. Smith (9-1) is 1-0 so much in the UFC with a ridiculous KO win over Julian Erosa. He has won his last five fights, and all nine of his pro wins have come by stoppage, together with his lone defeat a TKO loss to John Gunther. I very much like watching Ma fight and I must provide the UFC matchmakers props for reserving what’s sure to be a thrilling fight. But I’m very high on Smith and I think he’s going to come back in here and end Ma’s win streak. Look for Smith to be the favorite from the sportsbooks following his flashy UFC debut.
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