MMA Odds and Ends for Thursday: Soto vs. Birchak Added To UFC Fight Night 68

Joe Soto A bantamweight fight that was supposed to go down last summer has been re-booked for a summertime event this year. The UFC announced late Thursday that 135lbers Joe Soto and Anthony Birchak have agreed to fight each other at UFC Fight Night 68, which takes place June 6 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. The bout is expected to take place on the preliminary card. This is a fun fight between two scrappy bantamweights, and it’s actually a re-booking as these two were set to throw down last summer at the ill-fated UFC 177 event. But after Renan Barao pulled out of his main event title fight against TJ Dillashaw, Soto was then pulled from the bout to fight Dillashaw in the main event for the title, and while he fought valiantly, he ended up getting knocked out in the fifth round with a head kick and punches. As for Birchak, he ended up getting pulled from the card completely and was later booked for a fight against Ian Entwistle at UFC on FOX 13, a fight he lost via first-round submission. I’m pretty happy the UFC decided to re-book this scrap because it’s a fun one. Both Birchak and Soto are always game, always come to fight, and after both men lost in their respective UFC debuts I’m expecting both fighters to have a much better showing in their sophomore efforts as neither will be dealing with the so-called “Octagon jitters” this time around. As for who I think will win this fight, it’s definitely a tough one to call but it’s hard not to lean towards Soto here based on his performance against Dillashaw on just one day’s notice. Yes, he did get knocked out in that fight, but he still looked pretty good considering the circumstances, and especially considering he was a massive underdog heading into that matchup. As for Birchak, it’s hard to take much away from his fight against Entwistle since it was so quick, and I expect him to have a much better performance against Soto, but at the same time based on what we’ve seen it’s hard to pick him in this spot. As for a betting line, it should be competitive but I assume bettors will be giving Soto more respect after the Dillashaw fight and I full expect him to enter this fight as the favorite, perhaps at around 2-to-1 or a bit less.

Written by Adam Martin.

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