The UFC continued their recent series of fight announcements late to the week, and the newly-revealed bouts are listed below in the MMA odds and ends.
UFC Fight Night 147 vs. Nick Negumereanu, saparbek Safarov Due to an injury 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. Nolan King of FloCombat broke the information. Safarov (8-2) was completed by Gian Villante and Tyson Pedro in his first 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 who has completed all his pre-UFC opponents within the space. Despite taking the fight on short notice and creating his Octagon introduction, I enjoy Negumereanu to win this fight. It is a pure grin about the chinny Safarov, who I expect to get cut from the UFC if he loses this battle. The chances are already out with this one, and indeed the UFC newcomer is a 2-to-1 favorite to receive his hand raised.
Marlon Vera vs. Frankie Saenz 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 conquered Henry Briones and Merab Dvalishvili in his last two bouts by choice. I don’t see the lineup changing much from where it closed before Saenz got hurt. Start looking for the line to be equal to that which it finished it, with Vera as a near 2-to-1 favourite.
Poliana Botelho vs. Lauren Mueller, UFC 236
Due to an arm injury, Paige VanZant is from 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 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Botelho (7-2) is 2-1 at the UFC but lost by submission to Cynthia Calvillo in her final struggle. Mueller (5-1) is 1-1 in the UFC but has been submitted by Yanan Wu in her last fight. It is another battle involving two faulty fighters who could go either way, but according to title 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 currently set for April 27 in 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 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 over the Russian regional scene in January. But at 36 years of age he does not have any 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 favored yet again for this particular fight.
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