MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Kennedy Draws Natal At UFC Fight Night 31

Tim Kennedy The UFC last night announced that Tim Kennedy’s replacement opponent in the main event of UFC Fight Night 31 will be Rafael “Sapo” Natal, who was pulled from his UFC 167 match against Ed Herman so he could fill in for Lyoto Machida, who last week was pulled to fight Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30 after Michael Bisping withdrew with an eye injury. Phew, that was a mouthful. Anyways, Kennedy vs. Natal is a decent fight but it’s laughable that the UFC is going to make this a main event. Again, I understand injuries happen and the UFC’s original matchup of Kennedy vs. Machida was way more high profile, but Natal is a midcard guy and not deserving of a main slot. And I know the card is a Fight For The Troops event, but even though one of their own in Kennedy is fighting, I feel as though he should have been paired with someone else. To be honest, I would have preferred Kennedy vs. Herman instead, as at least Herman has a decent following from his nearly decade-long stint in the UFC. But there’s no point of complaining at this point as Kennedy vs. Natal has been booked and this is the fight that is going down. And it’s a pretty interesting fight between two grapplers who are tough… but that’s about it. These guys are pretty evenly matched up, but I would have to assume Kennedy is the favorite here, perhaps opening at 2-to-1. Then again, he got little respect against Roger Gracie in his UFC debut and Gracie isn’t as good an MMA fighter than Natal, so perhaps the line will go down, but I think -200 would be a fair price to pay for Kennedy in this spot as I do expect him to grind out a win in front of the troops. Pettis vs. Lee Added To UFC 167 Early yesterday it was reported that Sergio Pettis had signed with the UFC and the promotion made it official later in the day, announcing the younger brother of UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will debut against bantamweight Vaughan Lee at UFC 167 in November. Lee is a tough guy but he’s just barely clinging on to a UFC roster spot at this point and I believe this fight is going to end up looking like a mismatch, with Pettis showing off his elite striking skills for the knockout win. Pettis is new to the UFC, but don’t be surprised at all if he opens at -300 or higher here given the amount of public hype behind him and his brother these days. As for Lee, he’s going to be the underdog in this fight but if he can use his underrated grappling skills it’s possible he could do better than most expect. I’m doubting that, though, as I don’t think he’ll get much of a chance to show off much as I really do think Pettis is going to finish him early — and it will likely be in highlight-reel fashion.

Written by Adam Martin.

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