The preliminary card fight that I’m by far most excited for at UFC on FOX 10 is a bantamweight contest between Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis and Alex “Bruce LeeRoy” Caceres. The current betting line for this bout at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Pettis as a -215 favorite (bet $215 to win $100), while Caceres is a +170 underdog (bet $100 to win $170). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Pettis as a -245 favorite and Caceres as a +175 dog, meaning so far the public is slightly backing Caceres. I disagree with the current line movement as I’m picking Pettis to win his second fight in the UFC. Here’s why. Pettis (10-0) is the younger brother of UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and is considered one of the top prospects in the sport. After racking up nine-straight wins in the minors, the 20-year-old phenom started his UFC career off on the right note in his decision victory over Will Campuzano at UFC 167. In that fight he showed that he is an extremely technical striker with a sneaky ground game, but he did show he has some holes in his takedown defense. But fighting a guy like Caceres who has weak wrestling, I don’t really see his mediocre takedown defense coming into play. Instead, I see this fight staying standing and being more of a dog fight. I think both fighters are going to throw some radical, rarely-seen standup techniques and the fans are going to be in for a real treat, but I think Pettis has the striking edge and should take it if it stays standing, which is saying a lot as Caceres has slick standup as well. Caceres (9-5) was a competitor on season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and has since made his mark in the UFC as he’s posted a 4-3, 1 NC record in the Octagon including a 4-1 with one no contest mark as a bantamweight. That should actually be 6-0, but the judges robbed him at UFC 143 against Edwin Figueroa and his win over Kyung Ho Kang at UFC on FUEL TV 10 was ruled a NC after Caceres tested positive for marijuana. But he returned from his drug suspension clean and defeated Roland Delorme to get back in the win column at UFC 165. The 25-year-old is very tall and rangy for 135 and it allows him to stay away from his opponents with his long punches and kicks to outpoint them en route to decision wins. He also has a slick ground game when fights hit the mat. Against Pettis, Caceres will have to use his range to stay away from the 20=year-old’s power shots and use angles to land a higher volume of strikes than his opponent. Going in Caceres’ favor is a four-inch reach advantage, but he doesn’t pack power in his punches and standing for 15 minutes with Pettis might not end well for him. I do see a competitive fight here that mostly takes place on the feet but which also hits the floor at times for some entertaining ground work. Both Caceres and Pettis match up really well with each other, and ultimately this one is going to come down to who is able to do more work in the eyes of the judges. Because he has the edge in the technical striking, I believe the judges will reward Pettis at the end of three rounds with a decision, but if he’s inactive and Caceres throws a higher volume of strikes — even if they all don’t land — then the judges could blow it. At -215, I’m going to pick Pettis to win but I’m gong to hold off on recommending a bet right now. If you were lucky enough to get in on him when he for whatever reason hit -170 just after the opener, then I’d say great job because that was a great number. That being said, I’m still going to pick Pettis to win the decision (look out for that prop) because he is the better striking as far as technique and power go, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Caceres was able to outpoint him and win a decision based on his higher output and flashy striking style, and that’s why I have to pass at the current number.
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