The UFC is thinking about booking a fascinating lightweight bout between top-15 wrestlers. My thoughts on that new matchup and a few new bouts added to Nashville in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Kevin Lee vs. Gregor Gillespie, May UFC Event
The UFC is targeting a lightweight bout between Kevin Lee and Gregor Gillespie to headline a yet-to-be-announced occasion in May, according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. The fight is not finalized yet but is likely to be made official soon. Lee (17-4) is 10-4 in the UFC and in his last battle missing a five-round choice to Al Iaquinta. Before the Iaquinta reduction, Lee had put to a beatdown on Edson Barboza and even though a submission loss to Tony Ferguson before he remains one of the top lightweights in the game now. Gillespie (13-0) is a perfect 6-0 in the UFC and in his last fight picked up a TKO win over Yancy Medeiros. Lee is among the top-ranked lightweights in the UFC and is really the younger fighter in this matchup, but I really believe in Gillespie and think that he has the potential to be a winner in this game. It’s going to be a hard-fought struggle, but one I think Gillespie can win. I’m curious to find out what the gambling line is going to be with this one, but if Gillespie is a dog there will surely be value betting on him at plus money.
Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Jesus Pinedo, UFC Fight Night 148
An enjoyable lightweight bout between Chris Gruetzemacher and Jesus Pinedo will take place at UFC Fight Night 148, set for March 23 in Bridgestone Arena at Nashville, Tennessee. Gruetzemacher (12-4) is currently 2-2 at the UFC and is coming from a barbarous TKO win over Joe Lauzon. Pinedo (16-4-1) is riding a seven-fight win streak and defeated Devin Powell by conclusion within his UFC debut. Pinedo is a really wonderful prospect but Gruetzemacher has more experience against a high level of competition and based on the win over Lauzon he has to be at least slightly favored here.
Eric Shelton vs. Jordan Espinosa, UFC Fight Night 148
A rare flyweight bout between Eric Shelton and Jordan Espinosa is set for UFC Fight Night 148. Shelton (12-5) is 2-3 in the UFC and is coming off of a split decision win over Joseph Morales. Espinosa (13-5, 1 NC) is riding a four-fight win streak including a knockout win in Dana White’s Contender Series last summer. Shelton has not been anything special in the UFC while Espinosa looks like he has some solid potential. I’d expect a close line here, with a little lean to the dynamic Espinosa.
Chris Gutierrez vs. Ryan MacDonald, UFC Fight Night 148
Additionally at UFC Fight Night 148, bantamweight Chris Gutierrez will fulfill short-notice replacement Ryan MacDonald. Gutierrez (12-4-1) is coming from a submission loss to Raoni Barcelos in his UFC debut but had won three straight fights prior to that. MacDonald (10-0) is a undefeated prospect who’s coming off of a submission win in LFA. He’s carrying the fight on short notice to get a wounded Martin Day. This ought to be a competitive fight but despite the short notice, the fact that MacDonald hasn’t dropped could make him a small betting favorite at open here.
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