The UFC continued their current string of struggle announcements late to the week, and also the newly-revealed bouts are listed 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. Nolan King of all FloCombat broke the information. Safarov (8-2) has been finished by Gian Villante and Tyson Pedro in his first two UFC fights and he has not fought in over a year today. Negumereanu (9-0) is an undefeated 24-year-old prospect fighting out of Romania who has completed all of his pre-UFC competitions inside the space. Despite taking the fight on short notice and making his Octagon introduction, I like Negumereanu to win this fight. It’s a pure fade about the chinny Safarov, that I hope to get cut from the UFC when he loses this fight. The chances are already out for this one, and really the UFC newcomer is a 2-to-1 favorite to receive his hands raised.
Marlon Vera vs. Frankie Saenz, UFC Fight Night 148 The UFC has re-booked that the bantamweight bout between Marlon Vera and Frankie Saenz that has been 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 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 at the UFC and defeated Henry Briones and Merab Dvalishvili in his last two bouts by choice. I don’t find the line changing much from where it shut before Saenz got hurt. Start looking for the line to be equal to that which it finished it, with Vera as a close 2-to-1 favorite.
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 rather Lauren Mueller is shooting the battle. The card has been set for April 13 in State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Botelho (7-2) is 2-1 in the UFC but dropped by submission 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 fight between two faulty fighters that may go either way, but based on title worth I’d anticipate Botelho to be preferred 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) lost 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 on the Russian regional arena in January. However, at 36 years old he does not have any upside and the UFC is bringing him in here to lose. I would not trust laying the juice on Hardy after what occurred in his UFC debut, but I fully expect him to become a monster favored yet again for this fight.
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