Fri, Oct 26, 2:34pm by Staff Writer
Three weeks after the biggest event in its sport’s history, UFC 229, the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns this weekend for UFC Fight Night 138 at the Avenir Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Headlining the first ever event in New Brunswick, Canada will be a light heavyweight clash between number two ranked Volkan Oezdemir of Switzerland doing battle with tenth ranked Anthony Smith of the United States.
Oezdemir will be returning to the octagon for the first time since January where he did battle with Daniel Cormier at UFC 220 for Cormier’s light heavyweight title.
Cormier defeated Oezdemir by TKO two minutes into the round to retain his title. Since then, Oezdemir has had bouts with Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Alexander Gustafsson fall through, which sees his return against Smith.
Conversely to Oezdemir, come Sunday afternoons (ADST) main event, Anthony Smith will enter the UFC octagon for the fourth time this year.
After his defeat to Thiago Santos in February, Smith has notched up back to back wins over UFC legends Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua in June and July respectively to earn a main event bout this weekend.
Both victories were first round finishes with the win over Shogun earning him performance of the night. Despite the wave of momentum, Smith enters Sunday’s bout a $2.53 underdog with Oezdemir priced a $1.52 favourite.
Attention on the night will not only be focused on the main event, with the co-main certainly expected to get the MMA world’s attention. Close friend of Conor McGregor, Artem Lobov, will take to the octagon, however won’t be facing nemesis Zubaira Tukhugov, who was taken off the card after his involvement in the brawl following the Khabib Nurmagomedov – Conor McGregor bout at UFC 229.
The replacement opponent for Lobov in the featherweight division will be Michael Johnson, who coincidentally is a former opponent of Khabib’s. Johnson will enter the contest an overwhelming $1.14 favourite with Lobov a $5.75 chance to spring the upset.
Rounding out the remainder of the main card are fights between light heavyweights Misha Cirkunov ($1.18) and Patrick Cummins ($4.90), bantamweights Andre Soukhamthath ($1.48) and Jonathan Martinez ($2.67), light heavyweights Gian Villante ($1.35) and Ed Herman ($3.21) and welterweights Alex Garcia ($1.50) and Court McGee ($2.59).
There are 13 fights in total at the event.
In other MMA news, next weekend’s UFC 230 event at New York’s Madison Square Garden has seen a change in the co-main event, with Luke Rockhold ruled out of his rematch bout with Chris Weidman following a sprained knee and broken nose.
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza will replace Rockhold to fight Weidman in the bout which will retain its co-main event status.to the heavyweight title clash between champion Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis. Weidman is priced a $1.60 favourite to Souza at $2.35.
The year ending UFC 232 card at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has seen another title fight added to it, with Jon Jones set to make his return to the sport following his drug suspension to rematch Alexander Gustafsson for the light heavyweight title.
Current titleholder Daniel Cormier, will see his title go to one of the two fighters due to the fact he is also the reigning heavyweight champion in the organisation. Jones and Gustafsson first did battle at UFC 165 in September 2013, where Jones took a narrow decision victory in what is widely considered his most challenging fight in his career to date.
Whether Gustaffson can go better this time around remains to be seen. He is rated a $3.34 chance to Jones who is a $1.33 favourite.
Volkan Oezdemir v Anthony Smith is set to be an action packed encounter between two heavy handed light heavyweights. Neither fighter has fought the championship or UFC main event five round distance in their careers and given their clash of styles, it is unlikely this bout will go the full five rounds either.
Expect both fighters to have their moments and despite the odds leaning towards an early round finish, this bout may go longer than expected with Oezdemir to get the job done in the middle of the bout.
Suggested Bet: Volkan Oezdemir to Win in Round 3 @ $9.50
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