The UFC was busy announcing new fights. Following are a few of the newest upcoming bouts set for spring UFC cards, and my first thoughts on them.
Michel Prazeres vs. Ismail Naurdiev, UFC Fight Night 145
Because of an injury to Ramazan Emeev, Ismail Naurdiev has taken a short-notice fight against Michel Prazeres in UFC Fight Night 145, occurring February 23 in The O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. MMABrasil broke the information. Prazeres (26-2) is 10-2 at the UFC overall and will be riding an eight-fight win series at the moment. He had trouble making the lightweight limit of 155lbs and since moving up to welterweight has looked even better with back-to-back wins over Zak Cummings and Bartosz Fabinski. Naurdiev (17-2) is making his UFC debut on the potency of back-to-back knockout wins. He’s experience fighting in ACB, and the majority of his wins have come by stoppage. However he has also fought a very low amount of competition and Prazeres is a significant step up. I anticipate Prazeres for a good favorite here, and he deserves it after the current run he’s went on inside the Octagon.
Enrique Barzola vs. Kevin Aguilar, UFC on ESPN 2 Featherweights Enrique Barzola and Kevin Aguilar are set to match at UFC on ESPN two, occurring March 30 at Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The news broke. Barzola (15-3-1) is 5-1 in the UFC and is currently riding a four-fight win streak together with all his wins coming by choice. Barzola’s record is impressive, but his lack of finishing instincts could hurt him as he progresses up the featherweight ranks. Aguilar (16-1) is coming from a successful UFC debut when he won a unanimous decision over Rick Glenn, and overall he is riding an eight-fight win series. His only career loss came from Leonard Garcia back in 2013, but he’s been perfect in his MMA career. This is a fairly solid matchup between two guys on win streaks but based on his capacity to really finish a fight I would have to favor Aguilar to receive his hands raised.
Tom Breese vs. Ian Heinisch, UFC Fight Night 147
Because of an injury to Cezar Ferreira, Ian Heinisch is stepping up as an injury replacement to take on Tom Breese in UFC Fight Night 147, taking place March 16 at The O2 Arena in London, England. Breese (11-1) is 4-1 at the UFC and is coming from a TKO win over Dan Kelly in his middleweight debut. Heinisch (12-1) is now riding a four-fight win series and is coming off of a successful UFC debut when he conquered the aforementioned Ferreira by decision. His only career defeat came against Markus Perez, who only filed Anthony Hernandez at UFC Fight Night 144. This looks like a really good matchup between two middleweights with prospective name aspirations. The two Breese and Heinisch are extremely well-rounded fighters and this will be a close battle. I would have to prefer Breese just based on the fact the struggle is in England, however I anticipate Heinisch to be somewhat competitive in this matchup and that he could be well worth looking at as a puppy.
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