A sterling card from top-to-bottom awaits MMA fans on Saturday night, as the UFC makes its debut on Fox Sports 1 with UFC Fight Night 26. While the card lacks a true elite-level main event, it more than makes up for it with the incredible depth and matchmaking which should bring us competitive and exciting fights. The past couple of weeks have seen odds opened on seven of the 13 fights on the card, as all the main card fights have been opened, along with the Lauzon/Johnson and McGregor/Holloway bouts. Today, MMA Oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the remaining lines for the card at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check out the full lines below (new lines are italicized): ——————– MAIN CARD (Fox Sports 1) Mauricio Rua -120 Chael Sonnen -120 Alistair Overeem -280 Travis Browne +200 Urijah Faber -210 Yuri Alcantara +160 Matt Brown -140 Mike Pyle +100 Uriah Hall -385 John Howard +265 Joe Lauzon -185 Michael Johnson +145 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1) Michael McDonald -215 Brad Pickett +165 Conor McGregor -190 Max Holloway +150 Mike Brown -190 Steven Siler +150 Diego Brandao -210 Daniel Pineda +160 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook) Cole Miller -130 Manny Gamburyan -110 Ovince St. Preux -305 Cody Donovan +225 Ramsey Nijem -210 James Vick +160 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: The fact that all of these new lines opened at 3-to-1 or less shows how good the matchmaking is throughout this card. Fights like Miller/Gamburyan and Brown/Siler are extremely close, and could play out any number of ways and the odds reflect that. Personally, I favor Miller and Brown in these fights, but the current lines are a pass for me, and it will be very difficult to lay money on Mike Brown at all given his long layoff, his age (37), and the fact that he is returning from “retirement”. I do think that Michael McDonald, Diego Brandao and Ovince St. Preux are all extremely likely winners in their bouts. McDonald and Brandao are essentially better versions of their opponents, while St. Preux is simply a superior technical fighter and athlete than Donovan. Some combination of these three fighters could be combined into a parlay, or they could be valuable as prop bets as each has a likely method to victory. McDonald is unlikely to KO or submit Pickett, so his line by decision could be juicy. Brandao will probably finish Pineda which could add some extra value on him. Finally, in what could be the best odds of the bunch, I expect St. Preux to stop Donovan with strikes, as Donovan doesn’t have the sturdiest chin or striking defense. The biggest red flag fight for me of the bunch is Nijem/Vick. There are two factors that make this fight nearly impossible to bet. First, James Vick hasn’t had an official fight since 2011, and even his stint on the Ultimate Fighter was nearly a year and a half ago. On the other hand, Vick has shown that he has some serious KO power and Nijem has been knocked out badly a couple times in his UFC career. I do favor Nijem because if his grappling, but this fight is definitely something I’m staying away from.
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