A pair of upcoming fight cards have obtained updates to them, and I will give my thoughts on the new bouts in the current MMA odds and ends.
Chance Rencountre vs. Kyle Stewart, UFC on ESPN+ 1 (UFC Fight Night 143)
We hopefully have the previous fight card update for the UFC on ESPN+ 1 card this weekend, taking place Saturday at Barclays Center at Brooklyn, New York. Chance Rencountre eventually has his opponent as he’ll take on Octagon newcomer Kyle Stewart in 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’d won four consecutive bouts prior to it. Stewart (11-1) has only lost once in his career, to high LFA prospect James Nakashima, and in his final bout conquered Braden Smith by decision. I think most will seem to fade Rencountre inside this spot, and that I expect Stewart to actually be a small favourite 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 now returns to fight Octagon newcomer Marcos Rosa at UFC 234, occurring February 10 in Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne, Australia. ESPN broke the news. Vannata (9-3-2) only has a 1-3-2 record in the UFC, but almost every one of his battles has been exciting which is why the UFC decided to bring him back. He’s coming from a draw against Matt Frevola, and has not really won a fight since a KO win over John Makdessi in December 2016. Rosa (6-4) is a veteran of the Brazilian regional circuit and has really won three of the final four bouts by stoppage. Ultimately it feels like the UFC has booked Vannata a winnable fight, and I expect him to become quite a big favorite to receive his hands raised.
Dong Hyun Ma vs. Devonte Smith, UFC 234
And finally, Dong Hyun Ma (formerly called”the other” Dong Yun Kim) will return at UFC 234 if he takes on Devonte Smith in what should be an action-packed lightweight bout. Ma (16-8-3) is 3-2 overall in the UFC and is now riding a three-fight win streak 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’s won his last five fights, and all eight of his ace wins have come by stoppage, with his lone defeat a TKO loss to John Gunther. I very much enjoy watching Ma fight and I have to provide the UFC matchmakers props for reserving what is guaranteed to be an exciting fight. But I’m very high on Smith and I think he is going to come back in here and end Ma’s win streak. Start looking for Smith to be the favorite from the sportsbooks after his flashy UFC debut.
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