MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: UFC 166 Prelim Card Gets Shakeup

Charles Oliveira The UFC 166 card got a shakeup late last night, but don’t worry fight fans, none of the main card matchups were affected. As everyone has heard by now, featherweight Matt Grice was involved in a serious car accident earlier this week and it was just a matter of time before he was officially pulled from the UFC 166 preliminary card, where he was set to square off against Jeremy Larsen in the first fight of the night. Well, it turns out that Larsen will stay on the card as Estevan Payan has been forced to pull out of his matchup against Charles Oliveira, which was also set for the prelims, and now Larsen will take on Oliveira in a definite must-win fight for both men if they want to remain employed by the UFC. Since this is a new fight booking, I haven’t had much time to study the matchup yet but there’s absolutely no question that Oliveira is going to open up as a healthy favorite in the betting lines, despite the fact he’s on a two-fight losing skid (which Larsen is as well). I expect Oliveira to open around -300 or so with the comeback on Larsen at about +250, which would be a similar line to Larsen’s last match against Lucas Martins. Although I really liked Oliveira against Payan, I do believe that Larsen has the style to take Oliveira out and I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Larsen — who has underrated striking — could get the KO on Oliveira in this one. Still, most will likely lean Oliveira and his dynamic submission game in this fight, and that’s why I expect his line to get out of hand with parlays and such when the odds come out for UFC 166 in a month from now. Tavares vs. Mulhern Added To UFC Fight Night 32 Another fight announcement to bring to everyone’s attention, as reported a lightweight tilt between Thiago Tavares and Quinn Mulhern is the latest addition to November’s UFC Fight Night 32: Belfort vs. Henderson II card. This is the ultimate stay-away-from fight for me as Tavares is coming off a drug suspension — always a red flag — while Mulhern, who is 6’3″, is cutting down to 155 pounds for the first time. For me, there are just way too many question marks here on both guys, so, while it does depend on the line, I can already sense this is a matchup I’ll recommend people pass on. As for what I think the line will open at, I’d imagine that the hometown Brazilian Tavares will be around -220 or so with the comeback on the foreigner Mulhern at around +170.

Written by Adam Martin.

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