UFC Fight Night 137 goes down this Saturday at Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and this card wasn’t immune to late injury announcements as the card suffered several last-minute changes. I’ll give my thoughts on those changes in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Eryk Anders vs. Thiago Santos, UFC Fight Night 136
A late injury to Jimi Manuwa has forced him out of the main event of UFC Fight Night 136 opposite Thiago Santos, and stepping up on very short notice will be Eryk Anders, who will make his light heavyweight debut against Santos, who is also making his debut at 205lbs. MMAjunkie.com broke the news. Anders (11-1) is 3-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a brutal head kick KO over Tim Williams. The only loss of Anders’ career so far has been a controversial split decision defeat to Lyoto Machida at a card earlier this year in Brazil in a fight many thought he won. He’s one of the most athletically-gifted fighters on the UFC roster and I believe he still has championship potential, albeit at 185lbs. Santos (18-6) is 10-5 in the UFC and in his last fight he earned a hard-fought decision over Kevin Holland. Santos himself was an injury replacement for Glover Teixeira on this card and was expected to make his light heavyweight debut against a top-10 opponent in Manuwa, but now he’ll be taking on arguably an even tougher challenge when he fights Anders. This is a really good replacement matchup and a very difficult one to predict given the short-notice nature of the fight. Anders will likely be favored just because bettors have so much respect for him, but you can never count Santos and his KO power out of a fight. The fact the fight is taking place at light heavyweight throws another question mark into the equation, and I’m excited to see how this fight plays out in the Octagon this coming weekend.
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Luigi Vendramini, UFC Fight Night 136
An injury to Belal Muhammad has resulted in Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos getting a new opponent for UFC Fight Night 136 and newcomer Luigi Vendramini will now fight dos Santos in a welterweight bout. Dos Santos (19-5) is a solid 5-1 so far in the UFC and has solidified himself a top-15 welterweight. The Brazilian is coming off of his best win to date, a spinning wheel kick KO over Sean Strickland earlier this year. There aren’t many fighters at 170lbs willing to step up and fight someone as dangerous yet unknown as dos Santos, and that’s why he keeps fighting unranked guys. With another win, the UFC needs to find a way to get him a top-10 opponent. Vendramini (7-0) is undefeated as a pro with all of his wins coming by stoppage including a knockout win just a few weeks ago on the Brazilian regional scene. The line is already out for this fight and not surprisingly dos Santos opened up as nearly a 5-to-1 favorite as he should absolutely win this fight against a youngster making his UFC debut on short notice.