The UFC is thinking about booking a fascinating lightweight bout between top-15 wrestlers. My ideas on that new matchup and a few new bouts added to Nashville in the current 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 event in May, according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. The battle isn’t finalized yet but is very likely to be made soon. Lee (17-4) is 10-4 at the UFC and in his last fight lost a five-round choice to Al Iaquinta. Before the Iaquinta loss, Lee had set on a beatdown on Edson Barboza and even though a submission loss to Tony Ferguson before he remains one of the best lightweights in the game today. Gillespie (13-0) is a perfect 6-0 at the UFC and in his final fight picked up a TKO win over Yancy Medeiros. Lee is one of the top-ranked lightweights from the UFC and is actually the younger fighter in this matchup, but I truly think in Gillespie and believe he has the capability to be a winner in this game. It is going to be a hard-fought struggle, but one I believe Gillespie can win. I am curious to see what the gambling line is going to be for this one, but when Gillespie is a puppy there would definitely be value betting on him plus money.
Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Jesus Pinedo, UFC Fight Night 148
A fun lightweight bout between Chris Gruetzemacher and Jesus Pinedo will take place at UFC Fight Night 148, set for March 23 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Gruetzemacher (12-4) is 2-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a barbarous TKO win over Joe Lauzon. Pinedo (16-4-1) is riding a seven-fight win series and defeated Devin Powell by conclusion in his UFC debut. Pinedo is a really nice prospect but Gruetzemacher has more expertise against a high degree of competition and based on the win over Lauzon he needs 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 at 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 hasn’t been anything special from the UFC while Espinosa seems like he’s some good potential. I would anticipate a close line here, with a little lean to the more dynamic Espinosa.
Chris Gutierrez vs. Ryan MacDonald, UFC Fight Night 148
Also at UFC Fight Night 148, bantamweight Chris Gutierrez will meet short-notice replacement Ryan MacDonald. Gutierrez (12-4-1) is coming off of a submission loss to Raoni Barcelos in his UFC debut but had won three consecutive fights before that. MacDonald (10-0) is an undefeated prospect who’s coming from a submission win in LFA. He’s carrying the fight on short notice to get a wounded Martin Day. This should be a competitive struggle but despite the short notice, the simple fact that MacDonald has never lost may make him a small betting favorite at open here.
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