Main Event: #2 Glover Teixeira (21-2) vs Ryan Bader (15-3):
A match-up between number two ranked Light Heavyweight, Glover Teixeira and unranked Ryan Bader. Teixeira is currently riding a 19 fight winning streak, dating back to 2006 and is 4-0 in the UFC. Bader on the other hand, is a former winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show and was an impressive 12-0 as a professional until he suffered his first loss at the hands of current UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. From that point, Bader would cool off going 3-3 in his last six, all three losses coming against UFC champions.
In this bout, Glover holds the advantage in all realms, except for in the wrestling department. I can only see Bader winning this fight in one of two ways, either wrestling Teixeira to a close decision or Teixeira let’s his guard down on the feet, which we have seen him do in the past (see Fabio Maldonado). Nevertheless, Glover can win this in many different ways. Knowing that Bader has lost two of three by guillotine choke and Teixeira is no slouch in the submission game, being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, it is very possible Teixeira wraps up a choke and finishes Bader. This one will show us if Glover is really the contender we believe him to be.
Favorite: Teixeira (-440) Underdog: Bader (+350)
Co-Main Event: #3 Yushin Okami (29-7) vs #5 Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (18-3):
The co-main event is a Middleweight bout between two of the very best in the division. Okami has never been submitted in his career and Souza is arguably the best BJJ practitioner in all of MMA, which should cause an interesting dynamic in this one. Okami has been able to use his smothering wrestling to win his recent fights, but that won’t be the best game plan when facing someone with the grappling prowess of “Jacare.” While I do believe that Okami will be a good test for Souza, I see Souza being able to control the fight wherever it goes. While there’s always a threat of the submission with Souza, I can see him possibly finishing Okami via KO/TKO.
Favorite: Souza (-265) Underdog: Okami (+225)
#1 Joseph Benavidez (18-3) vs #5 Jussier Formiga (15-2):
In this Flyweight bout we have two of the very best in the division competing, and once again we have the wrestling vs jiu-jitsu match-up. In this one I see the wrestler, Benavidez, being able to control the pace and dictate where the fight goes at any given moment. Formiga is a great jiu-jitsu practitioner and would look to take this one to the mat, looking to submit Benavidez, but I just don’t see that happening. Formiga won’t be able to take Benavidez down. The Team Alpha Male member Benavidez has had much improved striking, along with the rest of his team ever since head coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig took over. Look for Benavidez to keep it standing and possibly finish the fight on the feet.
Favorite: Benavidez (-525) Underdog: Formiga (+415)
Francisco Trinaldo (13-2) vs Piotr Hallmann (13-1):
Trinaldo has looked quite impressive in his last two fights, submitting both C.J. Keith and Mike Rio by arm-triangle choke. Trinaldo is a very well-rounded fighter and so is his opponent Hallmann. Hallmann is making his UFC debut in this one, Hallmann is a bit of an unknown fighting in various, smaller organizations, and Trinaldo will be the biggest test of his career so far. Trinaldo is the more experienced guy at this high level of competition, which will give him the edge over Hallmann. And remember, Brazilians tend to win in Brazil.
Favorite: Trinaldo (-320) Underdog: Hallmann (+260)
Rafael “Sapo” Natal (16-4-1) vs Tor Troeng (16-4-1):
Troeng impressed early on in the last season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, is a well rounded fighter, and is one of the highest ranked Swedish fighters in the world. However, again the UFC experience will play a role in this one. Natal is 4-1 in his last five and will be able to use his superior grappling to grind this one out.
Favorite: Natal (-260) Underdog: Troeng (+220)
Marcos Vinicius (20-5-1) vs Ali Bagautinov (10-2):
The Russian Bagautinov is another making his UFC debut. He has never been finished in his professional MMA career, holds an eight fight win streak and has finished his last two fights by TKO in a combined time of 52 seconds! Vinicius on the other hand was last knocked out by Johnny Bedford and is once again looking to drop weight classes to Flyweight to solve his problems, I don’t believe he will. Bagautinov will burst onto the Flyweight scene and finish Vinicius.
Favorite: Bagautinov (-280) Underdog: Vinicius (+240)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Yes, I do realize I picked all six favorites on the main card, which to all you betting folks is known as picking “chalk.” Normally, I don’t pick all favorites, but on this card it was definitely more than reasonable. And for anyone wanting under card picks I will be doing them on PPV’s and bigger cards.
Odds courtesy of 5Dimes