The UFC today announced a number of changes to next week’s UFC on FOX 8 card, some good, and some bad. The first change the UFC announced that that the heavyweight matchup between Matt Mitrione and Brendan Schaub has officially been scratched from the event after an injury to Mitrione left Schaub without an opponent. Instead of finding a replacement on short notice to fight Schaub, the UFC instead decided to just scrap the match and they’ll likely re-book the fight for an upcoming card before the end of the year. As well as the scratch of Schaub vs. Mitrione, three other fights were changed today as a result to injuries to numerous fighters. The first new matchup takes place in the welterweight division, as Siyar Bahadurzada pulled out of his fight with Robbie Lawler and now Lawler will take on Bobby Voelker. This should actually be an entertaining scrap but there’s no doubt Bahadurzada vs. Lawler was a more intriguing matchup because of Bahadurzada’s one-punch KO power. Although Voelker is a durable fighter, he lacks in experience against high-level fighters and Lawler is arguably the best fighter he’s ever fought. This is a very difficult matchup for Voelker on one weeks’ notice and I don’t give him too much of a chance here. Look for Lawler to open up around -300 with the comeback on Voelker at +250, and at that price Lawler is likely worth a play in a parlay. The next switcheroo came in the lightweight division, as Bobby Green is injured and out of his matchup against Danny Castillo. Now it’s Castillo vs. Tim Means, and although I would have loved to have seen this matchup if Means had a full camp, the fact that he’s taking on a wrestler on just one weeks’ notice spells trouble for him. Although Means is by far the superior striker, he was easily taken down by Jorge Masvidal in his last fight and Castillo is a better wrestler than Masvidal. If Castillo fights smart and goes for takedowns he should win this fight. I’d peg Castillo around -200, with the comeback on Means at +150. And the last change also affected a lightweight matchup as Spencer Fisher is out of his fight against Yves Edwards and now Edwards will take on Daron Cruickshank. The fight between Edwards and Cruickshank should be exciting and it’s a difficult one to call, because even though Cruickshank is taking it on short notice Edwards is definitely getting into the latter stages of his career and is always a threat to be knocked out. I would peg this fight around a Pick ’em but I would have to see Cruickshank on the scale first before I even considered making a play on him. It’s definitely disappointing that these scratches were made but injuries happen in MMA and fortunately the UFC booked, for the most part, some solid replacement matchups.
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