Melsik Baghdasaryan (6-1) looks to secure his second UFC win against Bruno Souza (10-1) who will be making his UFC debut. Baghdasaryan was scheduled to face T.J. Laramie. During training, Laraimie suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw. This fight will take place on the early prelims, which begin at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN News and ESPN+.
UFC’s Bright Lights Will Help
Souza Has Done Well on the Regional Circuit
It impacts both fighters when there is a short-notice opponent change before an upcoming PPV fight but this bodes well for Baghdasaryan. Laraimie presented a bigger threat on the ground as he is a better grappler than Baghdasaryan’s new opponent Souza.
MMA odds showed Baghdasaryan opening as a -265 favorite and is now -350 while Souza is +250. There are factors that are likely fueling this line. One is the short-notice point with Souza and the other is Souza’s grappling.
Souza making his UFC debut on short notice could certainly add pressure. He also poses less of a threat in terms of takedowns which is where Baghdasryan thrives. Baghdasryan possesses five wins via KO/TKO including the most recent win in his UFC debut win over Collin Anglin.
Factors that Make Prop Intriguing
You’ll never know what to expect from a fighter who’s given an opportunity to fight in the UFC because of good timing and a little luck. There’s no video of Souza in an octagon and there’s no telling how he’ll react to the bright lights of the UFC.
He did make weight on short notice which may say something about his conditioning. Regardless, the bright lights of the UFC can be draining. Baghdasryan will have the motivation to finish this fight with his striking and finish it quickly.
Despite Souza never fighting in the UFC, he does know what it takes to be a champion. He won the featherweight title at LFA which is a respectable MMA promotion.
You may not find much value betting online with Baghdasaryan being a -350 favorite so we head to the props department. He’ll bring just enough toughness to extend this fight past the first round. Baghdasaryan’s power striking may not get the job done early but he could face cardio issues if it gets to the third.