A few new matchups have been revealed for upcoming fight cards, and I will give my thoughts on those new matchups in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Glover Teixeira vs. Ion Cutelaba, UFC on ESPN 3
A light heavyweight bout between Glover Teixeira and Ion Cutelaba, that was originally set to take place back at UFC Fight Night 143, has been rescheduled for UFC on ESPN 3, taking place April 27 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Combate broke the news. Teixeira (28-7) could be 39-years old now but he revealed age doesn’t mean anything to him when he finished the younger Karl Roberson in his last departure at UFC Fight Night 143. All-time Teixeira holds a 11-5 record in the Octagon and although he may not be a real title contender anymore, he’s still a tough gatekeeper and the ideal test for climbing light heavyweights to continue as they look to move up the rankings. Even late in his career, he can still finish fights.
Cutelaba (14-3, 1 NC) is 3-2 in the UFC and is coming from back-to-back knockout wins over Gadzhimurad Antigulov and Henrique da Silva. Just 25, Cutelaba is among the greatest young light heavyweights in the UFC, but he is still very much unproven. After viewing Teixeira return from being down early and complete Roberson, I believe you have to favor him to get the win against Cutelaba, though I really do think Cutelaba will be more aggressive than Roberson was.
Martin Day vs. Chris Gutierrez, UFC Fight Night 148
Bantamweights Martin Day and Chris Gutierrez are set to meet at UFC Fight Night 148 (UFC on ESPN+ 6), which takes place March 23 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Day (8-3) suffered a split decision loss to Pingyuan Liu in his UFC debut but had won three straight struggles in the regional circuit before making his ill-fated UFC debut. Gutierrez (12-4-1) is coming off of a submission reduction to Raoni Barcelos within his own UFC debut but’d won three straight fights on the regional circuit before that too. This looks like a very close fight and I expect the opening number to be close a Pick’em given how much it seems on paper. I had slightly lean towards Day to get his hands raised, but it’s very close.
Boston Salmon vs. Khalid Taha, UFC 236
Bantamweights Boston Salmon and Khalid Taha will meet at UFC 236, taking place April 13 at an undisclosed venue (rumored to be in Las Vegas, Nevada). These two were previously set to meet in the TUF 28 Finale prior to the battle was scrapped. News of the rebooking comes from Shawn Bitter. Steak (6-1) picked up a decision win over Ricky Turcios on the Contender Series back in July 2017 but has not fought because due to injuries. Taha (12-2) fell a decision to Nad Narimani in his UFC debut last summer. Given Salmon’s long layoff, it makes sense to lean towards Taha here, however given that Taha is far from a top potential, but don’t be surprised is Salmon comes through and gets the win. I would anticipate a close line either way.
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