UFC on FX 4 – Preliminary Card Friday, June 22, 2012 at 6 p.m. (ET) on FUEL TV Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey Hatsu Hioki (-175) Profile: Former Sengoku and Shooto featherweight champ Hioki (26-4-2) is undefeated in his UFC career, but not without controversy. In his debut, the 28-year-old Japanese fighter won a close split-decision over WEC and TUF veteran George Roop at UFC 137 then later posted a solid victory in his home country against another WEC vet in Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144. Hioki uses a dominant smothering style, entangling his opponents like a smaller Shinya Aoki with almost as much finishing power. For years, Hioki was touted as the No. 1 featherweight on the planet and has been proving himself one opponent at a time. Ricardo Lamas (+145) Profile: Lamas (11-2) made his way to the UFC from the WEC’s lightweight division after experiencing mixed results with a 4-2 mark in the California-based promotion. The highlight of his WEC career may have been his first-round knockout of Bendy Casimir by flying knee at WEC 47 on March 6, 2010. In the UFC, Lamas decided to make the cut to featherweight and has been undefeated at 2-0 with impressive victories over Matt Grice and Cub Swanson, earning Submission of the Night against the latter. The 30-year-old Chicago area native trains with many notable martial artists at Team Top Notch in Elmhurst, Illinois. He was an All-American Division III wrestler at Elmhurst College and earned a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under world champion Daniel Valverde. Lamas’ standup should not be underestimated either, as he also has impressive Muay Thai skills. Opening MMA Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has installed Hioki as the -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) while Lamas opened as a +145 underdog (bet $100 to win $145) according to the MMA odds. Hioki is currently the No. 2 featherweight in the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings and was offered a title shot against UFC champion Jose Aldo but turned it down. That opportunity may not come around again for a while if he loses to Lamas, who is trying to make a name for himself and could jump into the mix with a big win here. With an injury to Aldo delaying his title fight against Erik Koch until at least later in the year, the winner of this bout figures to be one of the next top contenders for the belt.
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