Zviad Lazishvili Opens as Betting Favorite Despite Taking Fight on 3-Days Notice

  • Zviad Lazishvili has opened as the -170 betting favorite and Jonathan Martinez as the +140 underdog in their UFC Vegas 41 bout on Saturday night.>
  • Martinez was supposed to fight Aaron Philips but after the latte withdrew, Lazisvili took the fight on 3-days notice.
  • Lazishvili and Martinez were supposed to fight separate opponents last September 4th but both were forced out of their bouts due to different reasons.

Barring any last minute changes, Zviad Lazishvili will be finally making his UFC debut and according to the best UFC betting sites, he will be the -170 betting favorite when he enters the Octagon for the first time:

Lazishvili Steps in on Very Short Notice

The former Georgian and Russian grappling champion was supposed to make his UFC debut against Jack Shore at UFC Fight Night 141 last September 4th. However, he was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an undisclosed injury. With Aaron Philips unable to make it to this weekend’s event, Lazishvili has agreed to replace Philips and fight Jonathan Martinez on three days’ notice.

The 29-year old from Tbilisi, Georgia has long waited to fight in the UFC. He called out Sean O’Malley after Louis Smolka pulled out from a fight with O’Malley at UFC 264 but didn’t get noticed. He was however placed in the UFC pool and later booked to fight fellow unbeaten bantamweight Shore in the September 4 event. There were reports that Lazishvili was cut after withdrawing from that bout but apparently, those rumors are not true.

Lazishvili fought in his native Georgia and Russia during the early part of his MMA career. He moved to the United States in 2018 and signed with LFA, hoping to make the UFC roster someday. He defeated veteran John Huber in his promotional debut and then won the LFA bantamweight title as a +190 underdog against former TUF 27 veteran Ricky Steele last September 2020.

Bad Weight Cut

Martinez was also supposed to fight in the UFC’s September 4th event. The 27-year old from Los Angeles, California was supposed to meet Marcelo Rojo but Martinez weighed-in two pounds over the bantamweight limit and was forced to withdraw due to complications from the weight cut. He was then booked to face Kris Moutinho for this weekend’s affair, but Moutinho was replaced by Phillips who withdrew due to undisclosed reasons. Now he is set to face an opponent more dangerous than the previous two he was supposed to fight.

A veteran of XFL, Legacy FC, Fury Fighting, Combate Americas, and Fist Fight Night 2, Martinez joined the UFC in 2018 and has posted a promotional record of 4-3 with two knockouts. Martinez is coming off a KO loss to Davey Grant that ended a two-fight winning streak. Overall, he has a record of 13-4 with seven knockouts and two submission victories.

Two out of Martinez’s last three wins have come as the betting underdog. He was a +180 bottom dog when he knocked out Liu Pingyuan in July 2019 and was also the +120 underdog when he defeated Thomas Almeida on points in a featherweight bout in October 2020. Martinez opened as the -350 betting favorite to beat Philips but with Lazishvili stepping in, Martinez will have to win from the familiar underdog role on Saturday night.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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