MMA Odds and Ends for Thursday: UFC 181 Gets Two Matchup Shakeups

corey-anderson The UFC 181 fight card — which takes place December 6 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada —  has been shaken up by injuries, with two matchups changing, although thankfully none of the two scheduled title fights were affected. Here are the two changes: Corey Anderson vs. Jonathan Wilson, UFC 181 An injury to Gian Villante forced him out of his matchup with TUF 19 winner Corey Anderson, and the UFC has called upon newcomer Jonathan Wilson to take on “Beastin’ 25-8” in a UFC 181 preliminary bout. Anderson was extremely impressive on TUF and in the finale, where he knocked out Matt Van Buren in the first round, but he only has three pro fights so he’s still extremely raw. The UFC was likely hoping he would get past a jourenyman like Villante so they could see just exactly where Anderson is in his development, but when he pulled out they have to find a replacement and they turned to Wilson, an undefeated Gladiator Challenge veteran who is 6-0 in MMA. Wilson’s record looks solid, but his level of competition has been extremely low. I actually feel kind of bad for him, because the only reason he’s getting this fight is because there was probably no one else willing to fight Anderson on just two weeks’ notice, well at least not anyone with a decent record. Wilson will probably get another fight because he’s doing the UFC a solid here, but I highly doubt he wins. Look for Anderson to run through him in this fight, and I fully expect the undefeated TUF winner to be a massive favorite when the betting lines come out. Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Raquel Pennington, UFC 181 After highly-touted newcomer Holly Holm was forced to withdraw from UFC 181, her opponent Raquel Pennington need a new opponent and the promotion called upon UFC rookie Ashlee Evans-Smith to take the fight on short notice. Evans-Smith is best known for TKOing controversial fighter Fallon Fox in brutal fashion last year. She has since picked up another victory in WSOF to push her pro record to 3-0, so she doesn’t have a ton of pro experience, although she does have quite a few amateur fights, including a win over Jessamyn Duke. I wouldn’t say Evans-Smith has a huge upside, but she is a solid women’s bantamweight and she deserves to be on the roster. As for Pennington, she is 1-1 in the UFC with a win over Roxanne Modafferi and a split decision loss to Jessica Andrade. She’s a tough fighter, but mostly best served in the role of gatekeeper. She likely would have been mauled by Holm, so she has a much better chance of collecting a pay check here against Evans-Smith. This should be a pretty good fight, and I expect a close betting line for it. I personally favor Pennington, but I could see the public leaning towards Evans-Smith.

Written by Adam Martin.

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