The UFC is headed back to the City of Brotherly Love later this month, and a few fights have been inserted on short notice. UFC on ESPN two takes place March 30 in Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and my first thoughts on these new bouts are below.
Kevin Holland vs. Gerald Meerschaert, UFC on ESPN 2 Middleweights Kevin Holland Gerald Meerschaert are set to clash at UFC on ESPN 2 in what should be an enjoyable battle for the fans. The Philly Voice broke news. Holland (13-4) fell a choice to Thiago Santos in his UFC debut but rebounded nicely with a submission win over John Phillips. Overall, he has won five of his last six fights. Meerschaert (28-10) is 4-2 in the UFC but is coming from a entry loss to Jack Hermansson. Both Holland and Meerschaert are very underrated and exciting fighters in middleweight, but given Holland’s youth and physiological benefits in this particular fight, I’d make him the favorite here.
Ray Borg vs. Kyler Phillips, UFC on ESPN 2 Due to an injury to Pingyuan Liu, Ray Borg now meets short-notice replacement competitor Kyler Phillips in a bantamweight bout. Borg (11-3) is 5-3 overall from the UFC but has not fought as a submission loss to Demetrious Johnson in October 2017. He has dealt with a great deal in his young career and hopefully he could put the past behind him. Phillips (6-1) is making his UFC debut after picking up a head kick KO in LFA only a few weeks ago. He’s a veteran of the Contender Series and seems like quite a promising prospect, however, he lacks the UFC experience that Borg has. I believe Phillips has a chance to win this fight, but you still have to prefer Borg.
Alex Perez vs. Mark de la Rosa, UFC on ESPN 2 Moving upward from flyweight into bantamweight is Alex Perez, and he will take on Mark de la Rosa. Perez (21-5) won his first three UFC fights before getting knocked out by Joseph Benavidez in his last outing. Prior to this, he had been riding an eight-fight win series. De la Rosa (11-1) is 2-1 at the UFC and his wife Montana de la Rosa is having a lot of success in the Octagon, but the truth he fought in a narrow split decision win over Joby Sanchez was troubling. Like many bantamweight bouts, this should be aggressive, but I’d still favor Perez to get his hand raised.
John Makdessi vs. Jesus Pinedo, UFC Fight Night 148
Because of accidents Chris Gruetzemacher and Nasrat Haqparast, their original opponents John Makdessi and Jesus Pinedo will fight at UFC Fight Night 148, taking place March 23 in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Considering both guys are lightweights who just lost their opponents, this is the best way to maintain both guys on the card. Makdessi (16-6) is 9-6 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back wins over Ross Pearson and Abel Trujillo. Pinedo (16-4-1) is on a seven-fight win streak and beat Devin Powell by decision in his UFC debut. Makdessi has a whole lot of experience from the Octagon but Pinedo is just 22-years-old and seems like a great prospect. I’d anticipate a close lineup here but given Pinedo’s youth and upside he’s most likely the drama in this one.
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