Before things head over to pay-per-view for one of the biggest fight cards of the year, UFC 175 will see six preliminary bouts air on Fox Sports 1 (8pm ET) and UFC Fight Pass (7pm ET) to get fans ready. Capping things off on Fox Sports 1 is a bout between the third-most marketable fighter on the entire card, Urijah Faber (30-7), in a clear attempt to boost last-minute PPV sales. Faber may no longer be the most marketable fighter under 155lbs – especially with BJ Penn dropping to featherweight – but his name still commands more attention than all but a few smaller fighters. The former WEC champion takes on Alex Caceres (10-5, 1 NC) who has found far more success than anyone could have envisioned with his drop to bantamweight. This is by far the biggest test of Caceres’ career however, and neither fans nor oddsmakers are giving him much of a shot to upset the man who has only ever felt defeat with a title on the line. The current betting line sees Faber as a -900 favorite (bet $900 to win $100) with Caceres a +700 underdog (bet $100 to win $700) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. The name value drops off drastically after Faber, as just below him on the card are welterweights Ildemar Alcantara (20-6) and Kenny Roberts (13-3) who are both looking to make it two wins in a row with a victory here. After an impressive debut at light heavyweight, Alcantara has seen mixed results at 170, but seems to be gaining a bit of consistency. Inconsistent would be a good word to define Robertson’s UFC career as well, he has shown flashes of spectacular grappling in his two submission wins, but not a whole lot else in his three losses. The odds reflect what a difficult fight this is to call, with Alcantara a slight -140 favorite and Robertson just +130 on the other side. A striker versus grappler battle is on tap when Chris Camozzi (19-7) looks to avoid being neutralized by the wrestling of Bruno Santos (13-1). After going on a four-fight win streak, Camozzi has dropped his last two against higher level competition in ‘Jacare’ Souza and Lorenz Larkin, so he’ll be looking to get back on track here. Santos has only fought once in the UFC, and he displayed his typical grinding style in that fight, despite not getting the decision. In fact, the last time Santos got a stoppage was September 2008, as his last eleven bouts have all seen the judges’ scorecards. That lack of stopping power is one of the reasons Santos finds himself a +210 underdog in this bout. The opening bout on Fox Sports 1 is an interesting bantamweight clash, with George Roop (15-10-1) looking to extend his bantamweight record to 4-1 with a win over the debuting Rob Font (10-1). Roop has made much better use of his physical tools since dropping to 135 for the second time, as his length has caused issues for many opponents, and he is able to find leverage in the wrestling game with his size. He’ll need to make sure both skills are ready for Font, who is the rare UFC newcomer in 2014 that actually seems prepared to step into the Octagon. Font has a well-rounded game and has dealt with long rangy fighters as he has spent his career at featherweight, so he may be more equipped to deal with Roop than many imagine. Those thoughts have kept this line somewhat close, with Roop sitting at -190 and the comeback on Font at +175. While a fighter like Font seems fully prepared to step into the UFC, the same cannot be said for Guilherme Vasconcelos (3-1) in his middleweight bout against Luke Zachrich (13-3), who ironically enough fell into that same category when he made his UFC debut in April. Both fighters don’t stand out in any particular area, but it would seem that Vasconcelos has a slight edge on the ground, with Zachrich being the better wrestler. Neither has shown a particular amount of skill on the feet, so it’s likely we’ll see the fight contested there as often happens with some of these fighters lower on the card. The public doesn’t really know what to do with this line as there hasn’t been much action on either side, and the current odds of -160 for Vasconcelos and +150 for Zachrich remain close to the openers. Kicking off the card is arguably the most intriguing of the preliminary bouts, as two former AXS TV title holders get things started. Bubba Bush (8-2) has held the Legacy FC middleweight title for the past year, defending it impressively twice. Kevin Casey (8-3) just captured the RFA middleweight title in June, picking up his third straight win since being cut from the UFC for the first time. Both fighters have shown consistent improvements in their game and certainly deserved a call from Joe Silva based on recent performances. Bush would seem to have the wrestling advantage, while Casey has always been a dangerous submission artist meaning their ground games could negate each other and this could end up a striking battle, where surprisingly, Casey has looked more dangerous of late. However, a big question mark for the former TUF contestant is always cardio, so it will be interesting to see how – or if – that comes into play. It certainly seems to be a worry for bettors, who have come in on Bush early to push a near pick em opening line to -170; Casey is +160. The UFC Fight Pass portion of the prelims starts at 7pm ET for two bouts, while things kick over to Fox Sports 1 at 8pm ET for the final four prelims. The odds for the entire UFC 175 card were released earlier in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook, and MMAOddsBreaker.com will have plenty of previews, picks, and analysis for the entire card.
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