Brandon Vera has decided to move back up to the heavyweight division and in his return to the UFC’s 265-pound weight class he’ll face off against Ben Rothwell at UFC 164, which takes place August 31 at Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI. MMAjunkie.com was first to report the fight, which has yet to be made official by the UFC. This is a curious move by Vera, who is coming off of what many believe to be the best performance of his light heavyweight career in a “Fight of the Year” candidate against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC on FOX 4 last August. Sure, he ended up losing that fight via fourth-round TKO, but he fought his heart out against a former champion and finally showed off some of the potential that he’s always possessed but never shown off in the cage. After going 4-4, 1 NC as a light heavyweight I’m curious as to why he decided to move back up to heavyweight, where he started his UFC career, but I’m intrigued by the move and also this fight against Rothwell. Rothwell is like Vera in that he’s another fighter who has always had potential but who has never displayed it fully in the Octagon. The former IFL star is a poor 2-3 in the UFC and except for a brilliant KO win over Brendan Schaub at UFC 145 he hasn’t really shown anything in the UFC, most recently losing via submission to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC on FX 7. This is a big fight for Rothwell because he’s been very up-and-down and he really needs to pick up a victory to make sure he keeps his spot on the roster. With Vera in the same boat, I expect both fighters — who have often come into their fights out of shape — to show up very hungry and motivated and try to earn a big win to stay ‘in the mix.’ From a betting perspective this is an especially interesting fight because it’s hard to peg how Vera will fare at heavyweight. Since Rothwell will have a significant size and weight advantage in this fight and since he has an iron chin, I’d have to say that Rothwell opens up as a favorite in the -150 range, with the comeback on Vera being around +110, but that’s just a guess. The line will ultimately depend on how the public views Vera’s move back to heavyweight, though. UFC on FX 8 Lines Released 5Dimes Sportsbook today released the remaining betting lines for this weekend’s upcoming UFC on FX 8 card, and you can see what the lines opened at by clicking here. As you can tell from the lines there are a lot of heavily-juiced favorites on this card and also a number of big underdogs. Honestly, although it will be tempting to put cash on some of the big dogs on the board, I would say this is a card where you need to pick your spots because, even though the odds may seem good, there is a reason for that and it’s because none of the big favorites (Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Rafael “Sapo” Natal, Yuri Alcantara) are likely to lose. One guy who I would say stay away from, though, is Francisco Trinaldo, who is currently sitting at -350 against Mike Rio’s +250. I think that the line is out of whack on this fight so even though Trinaldo may seem like parlay filler I would strongly recommend a pass. Keep checking the website all the week long for continued UFC on FX 8 betting coverage.
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