The UFC was busy announcing new fights. Following are a few of the new upcoming bouts set for spring UFC cards, and my first thoughts on them.
Michel Prazeres vs. Ismail Naurdiev, UFC Fight Night 145
Due to an accident to Ramazan Emeev, Ismail Naurdiev has taken a short-notice struggle against Michel Prazeres at UFC Fight Night 145, occurring February 23 in The O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. MMABrasil broke the news. Prazeres (26-2) is 10-2 in the UFC entire and is riding an eight-fight win streak right now. He had difficulty 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 vast majority of his wins have come by stoppage. However he’s also fought an extremely low level of rivalry and Prazeres is a significant step up. I expect Prazeres for a solid favorite here, and he deserves it after the current run he’s went on within the Octagon.
Enrique Barzola vs. Kevin Aguilar, UFC on ESPN two Featherweights Enrique Barzola and Kevin Aguilar are set to meet UFC on ESPN 2, taking place March 30 in Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The news was broken by mMAWeekly. Barzola (15-3-1) is 5-1 in the UFC and is now riding a four-fight win series with all of his wins coming from 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 off of a successful UFC debut when he won a unanimous decision over Rick Glenn, and overall he is riding an eight-fight win streak. His only career loss came against Leonard Garcia back in 2013, but otherwise he’s been flawless in his MMA career. This is a pretty solid matchup between two guys on win streaks but according to his ability to actually complete a fight I would have to prefer Aguilar to get his hand raised.
Tom Breese vs. Ian Heinisch, UFC Fight Night 147
Due to an injury to Cezar Ferreira, Ian Heinisch is stepping up as an injury replacement to carry on Tom Breese in UFC Fight Night 147, taking place March 16 at The O2 Arena in London, England. Breese (11-1) is currently 4-1 at the UFC and is coming off of a TKO win over Dan Kelly in his middleweight debut. Heinisch (12-1) is currently riding a four-fight win series and is coming off of a successful UFC introduction when he defeated the above Ferreira by decision. His only career defeat came against Markus Perez, who just submitted Anthony Hernandez at UFC Fight Night 144. This looks like a really good matchup between two middleweights with prospective title ambitions. The two Breese and Heinisch are extremely well-rounded fighters and this will be a close battle. I’d have to favor Breese only based on the fact the struggle is in England, but I expect Heinisch to be somewhat aggressive in this matchup and he is well worth looking at as a dog.
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