December is traditionally one of the busiest months for the UFC, and 2016 is no different. After the TUF 24 Finale started the month off this past weekend, the Octagon heads to Upstate New York and then across the border to Toronto this coming weekend. The month will conclude with a FOX card, and the return of Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 to finish the year. Albany’s first UFC card, Fight Night 102, will kick the weekend off this Friday. While the card lacks name power in a big way, the organization is hoping that featuring its two heaviest divisions on the Fight Pass main card will result in some memorable finishes. Also, as a Fight Pass exclusive card, the fantastic pacing should make up for some of the concerns about the overall quality of this event. Derrick Lewis and Shamil Abdurahimov square off in a main event between a pair of Top 15 heavyweights on the rise. Lewis has won four straight fights and holds an overall record of 7-2 in the UFC. Abdurahimov has picked up victories in his past two after falling in his UFC debut. Another surging heavyweight is featured in the co-main event, as Francis N’Gannou puts his unblemished UFC record on the line against Anthony Hamilton. N’Gannou has quickly established himself as a heavyweight to watch in the division, with impressive TKOs in each of his UFC appearances. Hamilton has alternated losses and wins in his six UFC appearances, and he is coming off of a 14-second win in July. The other two main card bouts are in the light heavyweight division. The first of two TUF winners on the card, Corey Anderson (TUF 19) faces Sean O’Connell, while Gian Villante welcomes Saparbek Safarov to the Octagon. The prelims feature the other TUF winner, TUF 23’s Andrew Sanchez facing Trevor Smith. The other notable prelim fighter is Brit Marc Diakiese, who attempts to follow up on his impressive UFC debut against Frankie Perez. The odds for the main card were released over the weekend, and today MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas completed the full slate of lines for UFC Fight Night 102 at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check out those lines below: ——————– MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 9 p.m. ET)
——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 5:45 p.m. ET)
——————– Brad’s Analysis: After a two-year absence before her UFC debut, Kish only took 11 months off between her last bout and this one with Ashley Yoder. So… at least she’s getting less injury-prone. On the other hand, Yoder is taking this fight just three weeks after an impressive performance in Invicta that got her the UFC call. Kish is the better striker here, but I think this fight ends up on the ground at some point, and Yoder is extremely slick on the mat. Between that and another lengthy Kish layoff, I actually lean towards Yoder to pick up a win in her short notice debut, although I’m hesitant to bet it. Camozzi is a very interesting matchup for Brown, as he nearly matches him in height and reach, and we’ve seen that combination give Brown some trouble in striking battles previously. Camozzi also does excellent work in the clinch and has a dangerous guard should Brown decide he wants to switch things up, which has happened in both of his close striking battles thus far. Given Brown’s last performance, and Camozzi’s ability to make him pay on the ground (unlike Matt Dwyer or Erick Montano), I think the younger Camozzi could score a victory as an underdog in his UFC debut. Gigliotti was a big disappointment to me in his UFC debut. His cardio was terrible, and that led to easy takedowns for Trevor Smith, who went on to positionally dominate him. If that cardio isn’t drastically improved against Meerschaert, he’s going to suffer another loss. Meerschaert is extremely durable and has a good enough grappling game to replicate some of the success Smith had. I’m going to stay away from a side for a bet, but for two guys who have a lot of early finishes in their career I think there’s a lot of potential for this fight to go deep. Smith was in complete control for the majority of his last fight, so I’m not sure how much of his seemingly improved cardio should be chalked up to that. If he has actually improved his cardio, I think he beats Sanchez, who doesn’t offer much beyond his wrestling. Although Smith’s cardio hasn’t historically been great, his chin has been a bigger concern throughout his career and that’s something Sanchez shouldn’t really test. That means this turns into a grappling match, where even if Sanchez has a slight wrestling edge, Smith is the slicker and more dangerous submission artist. A decent dog price might actually convince me to bet him here. I’m always concerned about fighters who are tall for their weight class struggling with takedown defense, and that’s no different with Burgos. Luckily for him, Trator isn’t much of a wrestler, and Burgos should have an advantage on the feet. Being a former CFFC fighter, he’ll be comfortable fighting in the area while it will be a much longer trip than Trator has made previously in his career. It likely won’t be a bet for me, but I’ll lean towards Burgos. I feel like this is a good test for Diakiese. His takedown defense looked a bit shaky early in his UFC debut, but he was able to get back to his feet and eventually take over the fight. Perez has some grappling, but he’s not a particularly strong wrestler or top control artist. That should allow Diakiese to show off his striking a bit more in this fight, and perhaps even score some takedowns of his own if he needs to salt away rounds. It’s a fairly big line, which will keep me away, but I’m still quite high on Diakiese moving forward. Berish gets matched up with Robert Drysdale, loses to said juiced-out-of-his-mind Drysdale, tears his knee in the process, then gets injured again trying to come back, and two years after that original fight gets booked in the same type of matchup that just killed him. Janes obviously isn’t Drysdale, but he’s very dangerous on the ground, and more than capable of finishing Berish quickly, which is what I expect will happen. Tatiana Suarez was a horrible matchup for Juliana Lima, so it’s a good thing for Lima that Suarez suffered an injury and brought newcomer JJ Aldrich into the UFC as a replacement. Lima now has the ability to go to her wrestling in an attempt to grind Aldrich out for a win, which wasn’t an option at all against Suarez. At some point, Lima will fall off physically, and she doesn’t have the technique in her game to survive long in the UFC after that, but I’m just not sure Aldrich is the one to expose that.
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