The UFC continued their current string of fight announcements late into the week, and also the newly-revealed bouts are recorded below in today’s MMA odds and ends.
UFC Fight Night 147 vs. Nick Negumereanu, saparbek Safarov Because of an injury to Gokhan Saki, light heavyweight Saparbek Safarov will now take on Octagon newcomer Nick Negumereanu in UFC Fight Night 147, set for March 16 in The O2 Arena in London, England. The news broke. Safarov (8-2) has been finished by Gian Villante and Tyson Pedro in his first two UFC fights and he hasn’t fought in over a year now. Negumereanu (9-0) is a undefeated 24-year-old prospect fighting from Romania who has finished all of his pre-UFC opponents within the distance. Despite taking the fight on short notice and creating his Octagon debut, I like Negumereanu to win this particular battle. It is a pure fade about the chinny Safarov, that I expect to get cut from the UFC when he loses this battle. The odds are already out with this one, and indeed the UFC newcomer is a 2-to-1 favorite to receive his hand raised.
UFC Fight Night 148 vs. Frankie Saenz, marlon Vera The UFC has re-booked the bantamweight bout between Marlon Vera and Frankie Saenz that was scrapped days before UFC 235 for UFC Fight Night 148, which takes place March 23 in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Tennessee. Vera (12-5-1) is 6-4 at the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back stoppage wins over Guido Cannetti and Wuliji Buren. Saenz (13-5) is 5-3 at the UFC and conquered Henry Briones and Merab Dvalishvili in his last two bouts by decision. I don’t find the line changing much from where it shut before Saenz got injured. Start looking for the line to be identical to what it ended it, with Vera as a close 2-to-1 favorite.
Poliana Botelho vs. Lauren Mueller, UFC 236
Because of an arm injury, Paige VanZant is out of her women’s flyweight bout against Poliana Botelho in UFC 236 and rather Lauren Mueller is shooting the battle. The card has been set for April 13 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Botelho (7-2) is 2-1 at the UFC but lost by entry to Cynthia Calvillo in her last fight. Mueller (5-1) is 1-1 at the UFC but has been filed by Yanan Wu in her final fight. It is another battle involving two flawed fighters who may go either way, but according to name worth I’d expect Botelho to be favored here.
Greg Hardy vs. Dmitry Smoliakov, UFC on ESPN 3
Controversial heavyweight Greg Hardy will return at UFC on ESPN 3 against Dmitry Smoliakov. The card is set for April 27 at BB&T Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Igor Lazorin broke the information. Hardy (3-1) dropped by DQ to Allen Crowder in his UFC debut as a huge favorite but had won his three former pro MMA bouts by knockout. Smoliakov (9-2) has been completed in bout of his UFC appearances before bouncing back with a submission win over the Russian regional arena in January. However, at 36 decades of age he has no upside and the UFC is bringing him in here to lose. I wouldn’t trust laying the juice on Hardy after what happened in his UFC debut, but I fully expect him to become a monster favorite yet again for this fight.
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