We are finally within range of the first UFC fight card of the new year with UFC Vegas 67: Imavov vs Gastelum just 10 days away!
While most people will be thrilled just to have UFC fights return after a four-week hiatus over the holidays, the excitement was dampened a bit when it was announced that Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Geoff Neal was removed from the card.
Neal was apparently injured recently in the leadup and preparation for this fight, forcing him to withdraw.
The UFC has been unable to find a short notice replacement, despite Bryan Barberena offering to step in. It appears very unlikely that Rakhmonov will be added back to the card at this point.
Nassourdine Imavov and Kelvin Gastelum are still scheduled for a clash of ranked middleweights in the main event of UFC Vegas 67.
The changes to the lineup begin with the co-main event, which will now feature a featherweight battle between Dan Ige and Damon Jackson since the Rakhmonov/Neal fight was removed.
The rest of the main card consists of Punahele Soriano vs Roman Kopylov, Ketlen Vieira vs Raquel Pennington, and Umar Nurmagomedov vs Raoni Barcelos.
With those changes to the main card, Claudio Riberio vs Abdul Razak Alhassan becomes the featured prelim of the card.
Beyond the lineup changes, there are a couple of things worth noting as we approach this event.
Mateusz Rebecki will now be facing 6-0 Nick Fiore after Omar Morales was forced to withdraw from the originally scheduled fight. Fiore will be making his UFC debut on very short notice.
Secondly, there has been some pretty suspicious activity regarding the betting lines in the Jimmy Flick vs Charles Johnson matchup that is scheduled for the prelims.
Several people in the MMA community pointed out yesterday that the betting line had shifted from Johnson -134 at opening all the way to Johnson -550 in an extremely short span.
This wouldn’t be as notable if the action came in from one source in a large bet, however, it seems there are a large amount of people hammering Johnson’s moneyline even as it continues to rise.
Check back later in the week for my full breakdown of the fights for UFC Vegas 67 and in the meantime, you can check out three early bets that I recommend watching as the betting markets open.
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