The UFC continued their recent pattern of announcing fight matchups over the weekend as a number of new bouts were confirmed by the organization, some of which have the potential to be in the year-end conversation for “Fight of the Year.” Here’s all the recently-announced fights, along with my initial thoughts on all of them. Jamie Varner vs. Pat Healy, UFC on FOX 9 The first fight announcement that I want to draw everyone’s attention to is a fantastic lightweight bout between Jamie Varner and Pat Healy ,which will take place at UFC on FOX 9. This card is already stacked as it is, so to add a fight like Varner vs. Healy to it is just icing on the cake. It’s an excellent, closely-matched bout but I would have to give Healy a slight edge in this one, so I’d probably open him around -150 or so with the comeback on Varner at +120. But realistically I could see either guy winning the fight. Look for this fight to be in contention for “Fight of the Night” at the stacked event, so consider playing that prop a few months from now. Siyar Bahadurzada vs. John Howard, UFC 168 The UFC added a welterweight matchup between Siyar Bahadurzada and John Howard to the year-end UFC 168 card, and this fight should be an absolute barnburner between two of the most powerful strikers in the division. Each of these men prefers to keep their fights standing and look for the KO, so I think if anyone wins here it’s the fans, as they are sure to get a nice, bloody brawl. Bahadurzada has no ground game but Howard doesn’t really have much of one himself so I really see this fight staying standing for however long it lasts. Since I give the Afghan an edge on the feet, I believe he should open as the favorite here, perhaps -175 to a +135 comeback on Howard, but those are just my initial thoughts and I could change my mind as we get closer to December. Shane Del Rosario vs. Guto Inocente, UFC 168 As well, the UFC added a heavyweight fight between Shane Del Rosario and Guto Inocente to UFC 168. This will be Inocente’s UFC debut and he’s moving from 205 to 265 for some reason to do it. I’m not exactly sure why he’s moved up to heavyweight, but this is actually a decent fight to make the move with as Del Rosario is a one-round fighter as he has horrible cardio which we saw in his fights with Pat Barry and Stipe Miocic. This is a very tricky line to set but based on the fact he’s established at heavyweight, look for Del Rosario to open as a slight favorite here, perhaps -140 or so to Inocente at +110, although I will personally be looking to fade Del Rosario in this spot against a faster opponent with a better gas tank. Fight Scratches Two fights were scratched by the UFC this past weekend. They are: 1) Hacran Dias vs. Rodrigo Damm, UFC Fight Night 29 — Damm got kidney stones from cutting weight and the fight, which was set to take place this Wednesday, was cancelled completely. 2) Charles Oliveira vs. Jeremy Larsen, UFC 166 — Oliveira pulled out with an injury and it appears as though Larsen won’t be getting a fight at UFC 166 now after both his original opponent Matt Grice and replacement Oliveira were forced to pull out.
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