MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Miller Out, Brandao Now Faces McGregor At UFC Dublin

Conor McGregor An injury to a UFC veteran has led to the scrapping of a highly-anticipated summer grudge match. The UFC yesterday announced that TUF 5 alum Cole Miller is out of his upcoming main event matchup at UFC Dublin against Conor McGregor, and the promotion has called upon TUF 14 winner Diego Brandao to be McGregor’s replacement opponent. The card takes place July 19 at The O2 in Dublin, Ireland, and the bout between McGregor and Brandao is set for five rounds. Miller, who has torn ligaments in his thumb, is expected to miss a month due to his injury, one that he told won’t allow him to close his fist. And without a closed fist to train with, there’s no way Miller could get prepared for a matchup against a dangerous striker like McGregor. Instead, McGregor will now face Brandao in a fight that’s arguably even more dangerous for him as Brandao is a scary fighter both on the mat and in the standup unlike Miller, who is really only a threat on the ground. However, the matchup is still quite favorable to McGregor as Brandao is a fighter with a very poor gas tank and McGregor showed in his second UFC fight against Max Holloway that he can go 15 minutes strong without ever slowing down (not to mention he tore his ACL in that fight). I’m okay with the McGregor vs. Brandao matchup because of the short-notice nature of the bout, but obviously like many others I was looking forward to McGregor vs. Miller as the two had exchanged trash talk for seemingly forever and their bout was expected to be one of the most anticipated of the summer months. But injuries of course happen in this sport and there’s nothing the UFC or McGregor could do once Miller got hurt other than to find a suitable replacement opponent, and based on the rankings Brandao is a fair second choice for the matchup, although I would have preferred McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier instead. As for the betting line between McGregor and Brandao, it should be somewhat competitive but if I had to guess McGregor will be about a 2-to-1 favorite here and possibly even a bit higher. That’s not to say he’s a lock to win the fight by any means, but considering he has all the hype behind him and that he’ll be fighting in his hometown I definitely think he’ll be the odds-on favorite in this bout. But of course, coming back from a year-long injury layoff is a major concern. Still, McGregor vs. Brandao should be a fun, action-packed fight and overall the UFC did well to book this fight on short notice to help satisfy the Irish fans’ craving for some McGregor-style violence.

Written by Adam Martin.

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