UFC 152: September 22, 2012 Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Igor Pokrajac (-205) Profile: Igor Pokrajac (25-8) was previously more widely known as Mirko Cro Cop’s training partner in the Eastern European MMA scene, but he has since turned himself into a mid-level light heavyweight striker in the last few years. After going 21-5 in Croatia, Poland and the Netherlands, Pokrajac made his UFC debut at UFC 103 against Vladimir Matyushenko, losing via unanimous decision. The 33-year-old Croatian lost again in his second UFC match, getting knocked out by James Te Huna at UFC 110. Pokrajac then put together a 4-1 run with his lone loss during that stretch coming against Stephan Bonnar before winning his last three fights heading into UFC 152. UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Vinny Magalhaes (+155) Profile: Do not let his record fool you, as Vinny Magalhaes (9-5-1) is a combat sport veteran to the highest degree. A BJJ black belt under Royler Gracie, the 28-year-old Brazilian has a potpourri of medals in both gi and no-gi competitions in ADCC and the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, ranging from gold to bronze. Magalhaes was a finalist in the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter, losing to Ryan Bader in the finale and then dropping another match to Eliot Marshall at UFC 97 before cutting cut from the organization. He was then picked up by M-1 Global, going 5-0 and winning its light heavyweight title. Magalhaes defended his championship there once before relinquishing it for another chance in the UFC. Opening UFC 152 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has made Pokrajac a moderate -205 favorite (bet $205 to win $100) against Magalhaes, who opened as a +155 underdog (bet $100 to win $155) according to the MMA odds. This bout is a golden opportunity for both fighters, who have each done a fine job recently and want to make a good impression on their bosses. Neither started out well in the UFC, but that will all be forgotten if they can continue to win and climb up the ranks. More than half of Pokrajac’s 25 career wins have come by way of knockout (13), including two of his last three. Meanwhile, Magalhaes has been more of a submission specialist, with three of his past five wins ending that way and the other two resulting in TKOs. These are two powerful men who have gone the distance just 10 times between them in 48 combined fights, so MMA bettors can expect to see a finish here.
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