The fight cards on the UFC’s calendar continue to fill up, with new fight bookings being announced on a near-daily basis. Here are my thoughts on some of them… Marcus Brimage vs Russell Doane “The Bama Beast” will be dropping down to 135-pounds to take on the Hawaiian, Russell Doane in his divisional debut. Brimage has not seen action in 14 months, most recently being TKO’d in the first round by Conor McGregor. He certainly felt the size difference in that match-up against the Irishman who used to compete at 155-pounds, so Brimage wisely made the decision to drop down a weight class. Doane, however, will be no easy welcome into the division. The Hawaiian is a talented and well-rounded Mixed Martial Artist with incredible toughness to go with it. I am a fan of both of these bantamweights and would hate to see either of them lose. This is a match-up I would likely stay away from as far as betting is concerned. In regards to the odds, I imagine they will be close. I would not be surprised to see either fighter open as a slight favorite; in which case, I’d figure there would be slight value with the dog, though again, no bet for me on this fight. Though, if I like a play in the totals, I’ll go with that, rather than just picking a fighter straight up. This bout has been booked for UFC 175 in Las Vegas on July 5th, so either both fighters knew about this fight long before it was announced, or it’s short notice for both. That wouldn’t be good news for Brimage, considering he is making his debut at bantamweight. Matt Brown vs Robbie Lawler This is a fight many wanted, and we got it. I wrote about its potential in a previous matchmaking predictions article and was happy to see it announced. It didn’t take long for the UFC to put this one together, especially with Nick Diaz still playing cat-and-mouse with the promotion. Brown vs Lawler will be a five-round main event that will headline next month’s UFC on FOX card in San Jose, CA. This is one welterweight clash I am really looking forward to and excited for. I have no doubt we’ll see some great action, regardless of whether it’ll be a quick 25 seconds or a full 25 minutes. Lawler is currently a -280 favorite over Brown, with the return on the underdog brown being +200 at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Gray Maynard vs Fabricio Camoes After being knocked out in three of his last four fights, it appears the UFC is giving Maynard an opponent that isn’t a real threat to put him to sleep. Though, that was probably the thought process behind booking him in the Diaz match, but Diaz showed volume is as good as knockout power, as he almost-effortlessly used his superior boxing to put Maynard away on the feet within the very first round of action. Considering Maynard’s decline and Camoes’ improved striking, we could be in for another not-so-surprising upset in the form of a Camoes KO. The Brazilian last saw action at UFC 168 last December, dropping a first round armbar submission to Jim Miller. Both lightweights are now on two-fight skids and could likely be facing contract termination with a loss here. This bout will be on the main card for UFC 176 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. It will likely get the action started as the main card’s opening bout. Even with his decline, I think Maynard will open as a big favorite over Camoes, probably at -350 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit -500 within a 24 hour period. At those odds, I think the Brazilian would be the right side for a bet, but simply for a value play, as Maynard should cruise here as long as he doesn’t get knocked out by a fighter who is by no stretch of the imagination a knockout artist. Clay Guida vs Dennis Bermudez This is a match-up between a pair of top contenders in the UFC’s featherweight division that gets me really excited. I’ve been a fan of Guida for years, and a fan of Bermudez’s since his very first fight on season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter reality series. The winner of this match-up would likely earn a number one-contender bout for his next outing, and the winner of that match-up would get in line behind the winner of Swanson vs Stephens to take on the winner of Aldo vs Mendes for the division’s gold. (Still with me?) Needless to say, this is a very important fight for both 145-pounders. Guida was very impressive in his last outing in Abu Dhabi a couple of months ago, defeating a game veteran in Tatsuya Kawajiri by unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. Bermudez last saw action three months ago at UFC 171, taking out Jimy Hettes via TKO in the third round of action to earn his sixth straight victory inside the Octagon. I think fireworks are to be expected when these two touch gloves, and considering they own eight ‘Fight of the Night’ awards between the two, I expect this scrap to be a real contender for the bonus. Guida vs Bermudez will take place on the main card for next month’s UFC on FOX in San Jose, CA, which will be headlined by the aforementioned brawl that is Brown vs Lawler. My best guess is that the odds for this bout will open at a pick ’em, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see action come in either way. Mark Hunt vs Roy Nelson This is the fight MMA fans want to see in the UFC’s heavyweight division. When you think of an ideal opponent for Mark Hunt, the name Roy Nelson comes to mind – and vice versa. Not only are they two of the hardest hitters in the division, but they also have two of the best chins. They are very hard to put away, especially considering the weight class. I would expect this fight to take place on the feet, but wonder if either fighter would attempt a takedown I know Hunt has been working on his wrestling and Nelson is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and in my opinion has a very underrated ground game, especially considering it’s what he used to win season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter reality series, though he was more laying-and-praying than actually submitting his opponents. Regardless, he displayed dominant top control on the mat. I expect betting odds for this heavyweight tilt to be close, and wouldn’t be surprised to see either heavyweight open as the favorite. Though, my best guess would be that Nelson opens as a slight favorite of -130, with the return on the underdog Hunt being +110. I think it’s likely those odds could keep flipping back and forth all the way ’til fight time. This bout will be a five round main event for September’s UFC Fight Night in Saitama, Japan. It truly is one heavy weight scrap I cannot wait to see, though perhaps I would prefer it as a co-headliner on a PPV or FOX card. I’m not particularly excited to see these two engage for five rounds (brain damage and all), but what the hell, sign me up!
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