Makhmud Muradov is a favorite Saturday after 14 straight victories and high-profile stoppages in two of his first three UFC fights.
However, the fact that Muradov (25-6 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is such a huge favorite over Gerald Meerschaert (32-14 MMA, 7-6 UFC) may come as a surprise. At Tipico, Muradov is the largest betting favorite on the card at -650, and that’s against the fighter with the most submissions in the UFC’s middleweight division.
Muradov stated he had been looking forward to his battle with Meerschaert for years.
“I know this guy,” Muradov told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day for UFC on ESPN 30 in Las Vegas. “Before I was in the UFC … I saw this guy and I told my manager, ‘Man, I need to go to the UFC and fight this guy.’ Three years (ago), I knew I could (beat) this guy. My style is good for this fight. I’m better in my striking. I have good footwork. My grappling is not bad. So we’ll see. Fighting is my life. I prepared hard for this one, and I’m ready for anything.”
Muradov stated that one significant advantage he will have over Meerschaert will be the benefit of a regular training camp rather than being called on short notice. Even though his three UFC fights thus far haven’t featured full camps, it doesn’t seem to have made a difference.
Muradov has received additional $50,000 in two consecutive fights for knocking out Trevor Smith in December and Andrew Sanchez in January.
“For the first time, I have a full camp,” he said. “Three fights in the UFC, I have only one week, eight days and Trevor Smith I had 20 days. Now I have a full camp.”
UFC on ESPN 30 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN+.
Source: USA Today