The UFC continued their recent string of fight announcements late into the week, and the newly-revealed bouts are listed below in today’s MMA odds and ends.
UFC Fight Night 147 vs. Nick Negumereanu, saparbek Safarov Due to an accident to Gokhan Saki, light heavyweight Saparbek Safarov will take on Octagon newcomer Nick Negumereanu at UFC Fight Night 147, set for March 16 at The O2 Arena in London, England. The news broke. Safarov (8-2) has been completed by Gian Villante and Tyson Pedro in his first two UFC fights and he has not fought in over a year now. Negumereanu (9-0) is an undefeated 24-year-old prospect fighting from Romania who has completed all of his pre-UFC opponents inside the distance. Despite taking the fight on short notice and making his Octagon debut, I like Negumereanu to win this particular battle. It is a pure grin on the chinny Safarov, who I expect to get cut from the UFC when he loses this fight. The odds are already out with this one, and indeed the UFC newcomer is a 2-to-1 preferred to get his hands raised.
Marlon Vera vs. Frankie Saenz, UFC Fight Night 148 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 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Tennessee. Vera (12-5-1) is 6-4 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back stoppage wins over Guido Cannetti and Wuliji Buren. Saenz (13-5) is 5-3 in the UFC and conquered Henry Briones and Merab Dvalishvili in his last two bouts by choice. I really don’t see the line shifting much from where it closed before Saenz got hurt. Look for the line to be identical to that which it ended it, with Vera as a close 2-to-1 favourite.
Poliana Botelho vs. Lauren Mueller, UFC 236
Due to an arm injury, Paige VanZant is out of her women’s flyweight bout against Poliana Botelho at UFC 236 and instead 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 dropped by submission to Cynthia Calvillo in her last struggle. Mueller (5-1) is 1-1 at the UFC but was filed by Yanan Wu in her final fight. It is another fight between two faulty fighters who could go either way, but based on name value I’d anticipate 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 in BB&T Center at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Igor Lazorin broke the news. Hardy (3-1) dropped by DQ to Allen Crowder in his UFC debut as a massive favorite but’d won his three former pro MMA bouts by knockout. Smoliakov (9-2) was finished at bout of his UFC looks before bouncing back with a entry win over the Russian regional scene in January. However, at 36 decades of age he does not have any upside and the UFC is bringing him in here to shed. I wouldn’t trust laying the juice Hardy after what happened in his UFC debut, but I fully expect him to be a monster favored yet again for this fight.
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