MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: UFC on FOX 9 Gets Replacement Bouts

Court McGee In yesterday’s Odds and Ends, I wrote about the UFC needing to finding replacement fighters for the upcoming UFC on FOX 9 after injuries to Jamie Varner and Kelvin Gastelum nixed their participation in bouts against Pat Healy and Court McGee, respectively. Well, the UFC worked quick because they found replacements for both fights, and now UFC on FOX 9 will continue on with 12 scheduled bouts. I hypothesized that Bobby Green, who recently picked up a TKO victory over James Krause at UFC Fight Night 31, would be a suitable replacement for Varner against Healy, and guess what? The UFC booked that fight, as Green will indeed face Healy on the UFC on FOX 9 prelims. I absolutely love this match-up and believe it’s a winnable fight for both guys. I believe that Green has extremely underrated stand-up skills and he has solid wrestling as well, but the thing about Healy is that he’s a big lightweight and if he’s able to impose his grinding wrestling game on Green, he will be able to win a decision. Still, I think Green is going to be underrated coming into this fight because the general perception is that he didn’t deserve the TKO win over Krause (I disagree). So even though Healy is coming off a disappointing performance in a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 165, I still expect him to open the favorite here, perhaps around -175 or so to the comeback on Green at +135. Again, those are just my initial thoughts, but that line seems about ballpark, and if I can indeed get Green at plus money like I think I’ll be able to, I’ll be placing a wager on “King” to continue his win streak. For the replacement opponent for McGee, I guessed that Brandon Thatch — who dominated Paulo Thiago en route to a submission via strikes win at UFC Fight Night 32 — would be the replacement. What I forgot about was that Thatch was medically suspended for 180 days after the Thiago fight, so the UFC couldn’t ask him to take on McGee next month. However, I was pretty close, because Ryan LaFlare — who defeated Santaigo Ponzinibbio via unanimous decision on the main card of UFC Fight Night 32 — got the call to fight McGee just a few days after winning his second-straight fight in the UFC. I really like this matchup between LaFlare and McGee and I expect it to be a high-paced, high-action affair. However, I do like McGee here because he’ll be fully healthy with no dings coming into the bout whereas LaFlare just fought for 15 minutes against Ponzinibbio and he got hurt in the fight. It’s a close fight, and based on a combination of McGee not getting much respect from the betting public and LaFlare coming off a recent win, look for McGee to open around -130 or so to the comeback on LaFlare on -110, or at least those are my initial thoughts. It’s a close fight, but at a Pick ’em price I’d definitely lean towards McGee for a small bet. All in all, the UFC did well to keep this card stacked and December can’t come soon enough.

Written by Adam Martin.

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