Welterweight bout: Neil Magny (+105) vs Sergio Moraes (-115) Fight Breakdown: The UFC 163 preliminary card on FX features a welterweight contest between TUF season 16 semi-finalist Neil Magny and TUF: Brazil season 1 finalist Sergio Moraes. The betting odds for this bout are at a near coin-flip, as Magny is barely an underdog at +105 ($100 to win $105) with Moraes being a slim favorite at -115 ($115 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Neil Magny (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will be fighting outside of the United States for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career as he travels to Brazil to take on the biggest challenge of said career — in countryman Sergio Moraes. This is Magny’s second official bout in the UFC, coming off a Unanimous Decision victory over fellow TUF 16 semi-finalist Jon Manley. Magny’s run on TUF was halted when he suffered a knockout loss to now-lightweight Mike Ricci, which makes his chin a concern for me. Sergio Moraes is not a technical striker a la Mike Ricci, so I’m not too worried about Magny getting knocked out here; the real concern lies on the ground. Neil Magny will be a fish out of water on the ground with Moraes; he wants to avoid the fight hitting the mat, at all costs. Magny has spectacular takedown defense and great cardio. He likes to keep the fight standing and outstrike his opponents with his constantly improving stand-up game. Sergio Moraes (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) of Sao Paulo, Brazil will be making his third appearance in the UFC, which is also his third UFC appearance in his home country of Brazil. He lost a Unanimous Decision to middleweight Cezar Ferreira in the TUF: Brazil season 1 final, then dropped back down to welterweight where he bounced back with a second round rear-naked-choke victory over fellow TUF: Brazil season 1 contestant Renee Forte. Moraes is a very poor striker, yet he manages to his own in the department. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace; if he takes you down, it’s over. If he takes your back, even on the feet, it’s over. All he needs to do is get a hold of his opponent to call it a night. The most important thing about Sergio Moraes; every time he steps into the cage, he fights with all his heart. Fight Prediction: It’s a classic striker vs grappler match-up; Moraes will be looking to take the fight to the ground, and Magny will be looking to keep it standing. Magny will defend takedowns, keep moving on the feet, and putting his jab to work. Moraes won’t find success with his takedowns, so he will try to beat Magny up against the cage, in attempt to steal a decision. Moraes finished his last fight with a second round submission, but he was looking tired, so I think his cardio is a big question mark. He was out of shape for that bout, but he showed up to this fight in shape. Frankly, he looked to me like he is on the juice. If he gasses, I think Magny can stop him with strikes (I could even see Magny scoring an early KO) but I think more than likely this goes the distance and he does enough to earn a Unanimous Decision in front of the Brazilian crowd. Gabe’s Pick: Neil Magny by TKO (knee and punches, 0:44 round 3) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Neil Magny +105 — I think the odds are right in indicating that this is a close fight, but I personally think Magny should be the small favorite, anywhere from -115 to -135. There’s a little value in the line, but the fight is in Brazil and could go to the judges scorecards where they award hometown/fan favorite Sergio Moraes a hometown Split Decision, therefor I am only recommending a small play.
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