The UFC continued their current string of struggle announcements late into the week, and the newly-revealed bouts are listed below in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Saparbek Safarov vs. Nick Negumereanu Because of an accident 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 FloCombat broke the information. Safarov (8-2) has been finished by Gian Villante and Tyson Pedro in his initial two UFC fights and that he hasn’t fought in over a year now. Negumereanu (9-0) is a undefeated 24-year-old prospect fighting out of Romania that has completed all of his pre-UFC opponents within the distance. Despite taking the fight on short notice and making his Octagon debut, I enjoy Negumereanu to win this particular battle. It’s a pure fade about the chinny Safarov, that I expect to get cut out of the UFC if he loses this battle. The chances are already out with this one, and really the UFC newcomer is a 2-to-1 preferred to receive his hand raised.
UFC Fight Night 148 vs. Frankie Saenz, marlon Vera The UFC has re-booked that the bantamweight bout between Marlon Vera and Frankie Saenz which 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 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 choice. I don’t find the line changing much from where it closed before Saenz got injured. Start looking for the line to be equal to what it finished it, with Vera as a close 2-to-1 favourite.
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 fight. The card has been set for April 13 in 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 was filed by Yanan Wu in her last fight. It’s another fight between two faulty fighters that may go either way, but based on name worth 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 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Igor Lazorin broke the news. Hardy (3-1) lost by DQ to Allen Crowder in his UFC debut as a massive favored but had won his three former pro MMA bouts by knockout. Smoliakov (9-2) was completed in bout of his UFC looks before bouncing back with a submission win on the Russian regional arena in January. But at 36 decades old he does not have any upside and the UFC is bringing him here to lose. I wouldn’t advocate putting 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 particular fight.
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