The UFC is changing things up this coming weekend. Rather than do two events in one day, they decided to throw a gap between them and do events on consecutive days in the same arena, as part of their international fight week celebration. Both cards have some serious drawing potential, with names like Weidman, Machida, Rousey and Faber at UFC 175, while Penn and Edgar highlight the TUF 19 Finale, but the odds for those bouts have already been released. Today it’s time to look further down the card and see what to make of the undercard bouts at UFC 175. Urijah Faber has been put in the headlining spot on the Fox Sports 1 prelims — no doubt in an attempt to grab a few impulse PPV buys — and he is a massive favorite over Alex Caceres. The line opened at -735 (bet $735 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbook, but public action has pushed the former WEC champ to nearly -2000 as of Monday morning. The remainder of the preliminary card is hardly as star-studded, although it could provide some fun moments. Kenny Robertson can be especially fun to watch when he gets a chance to grapple, and against Ildemar Alcantara that may be what we’re in store for. The bantamweight clash between the resurgent George Roop and UFC newcomer Rob Font could prove very interesting as well. The proverbial curtain jerker is another AXS TV super fight, as former RFA middleweight champion Kevin Casey returns to a sufficiently warned UFC following a three-fight win streak in that promotion to take on Legacy FC middleweight champ Bubba Bush. Both of these fighters are excellent examples of guys who have earned their way into (or back into) the UFC, rather than simply being plucked from obscurity. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the UFC 175 preliminary card at 5Dimes Sportsbook today. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (Pay-Per-View, 10pm ET) UFC Middleweight Title Chris Weidman -150 Lyoto Machida +110 UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title Ronda Rousey -735 Alexis Davis +445 Stefan Struve -140 Matt Mitrione +100 Uriah Hall -425 Thiago Santos +305 Marcus Brimage -140 Russell Doane +100 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1, 8pm ET) Urijah Faber -750 Alex Caceres +450 Ildemar Alcantara -125 Kenny Robertson -115 Guillherme Vasconcelos -170 Luke Zachrich +130 George Roop -180 Rob Font +140 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7pm ET) Chris Camozzi -260 Bruno Santos +180 Bubba Bush -140 Kevin Casey +100 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: The last time Ildemar Alcantara faced an opponent who was capable of grappling he ended up losing a decision to Igor Araujo. Kenny Robertson isn’t the same time of grappler as Araujo as he is far more aggressive, but he should still be capable of outscrambling Alcantara. On the feet, Alcantara has a size and reach advantage, but isn’t particularly effective with his striking in terms of his pace or accuracy. I lean towards Robertson to make this a grappling match and control enough to win a decision if he doesn’t catch a submission. Bruno Santos’ UFC debut consisted of many failed takedown attempts and a whole lot of pushing his opponent against the cage. I anticipate this fight to play out in similar fashion, as Chris Camozzi has decent takedown defense, a big size advantage, and is a far better striker. Santos fights are rarely exciting because of his style, and I don’t expect this one to be much different, unless Camozzi really puts it on him. This bantamweight bout is probably the most intriguing fight on the undercard. George Roop has looked surprisingly good down at 135, and Rob Font has shown some good skills on the regional circuit, with his only loss coming to Desmond Green in his second MMA bout. Font has dealt with longer fighters in the past and used his solid jab and good timing to erase the deficit, so I don’t see that being much of an issue for him here, but he does circle the wrong way often in his fights and Roop may be able to steer him into some of his power kicks because of it. Also, this will be Font’s first cut down to 135, so pay close attention to the scales. Decent plus money on either fighter could be worth a shot here, and I’m still on the fence as to who to pick until I see weigh-ins. The first fight of Vasconcelos’ that I watched on tape, I ended up watching the wrong fighter for the majority of the bout because he was getting beaten up so badly I thought there was no way that guy was going to be the winner. Needless to say, he didn’t impress much. His striking defense is bad and his wrestling isn’t particularly good, but he does have solid grappling once things get to the mat. This may be a winnable fight for him though, as Luke Zachrich isn’t anything special either. I lean towards the much bigger Zachrich, but this is not a fight to bet. I quite like the opening bout here. Kevin Casey takes a lot of crap because of his rap video (which is awesome) and his poor cardio which causes him to check out of fights (not so awesome). However, he’s actually made some serious improvements since being cut from the UFC. His cardio is better, his striking is much better, and he’s still a very good grappler in the early part of fights. Bubba Bush also favors the grappling, but he’s a bit better in the wrestling department than Casey, and his cardio is superior. Casey should win the first half of the fight, but if he doesn’t get a stoppage I expect this to be basically a coinflip after the later rounds. The lack of respect Casey normally gets at the betting window means this line will likely be inflated in Bush’s favor however, which could make a small Casey play viable.
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