The opening main card bout of UFC on FOX 12 is a three-round lightweight bout between Josh “The Punk” Thomson and Bobby “King” Green. The current betting line for the fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Thomson as a -260 favorite (bet $260 to win $100) while Green is a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Thomson at -260 and Green at +180, and the action has been steady as the lines have tightened. This fight is closer than the odds indicate but I have to go with Thomson to pick up the win as the favorite. Here’s why. Thomson (20-6, 1 NC) is one of the top lightweight fighters in mixed martial arts. The 35-year-old American is the former Strikeforce lightweight champion and holds notable career wins over the likes of Gilbert Melendez, Nate Diaz, Pat Healy and KJ Noons. He should also have a win over Benson Henderson on his resume, but the judges robbed him of a decision win in that fight, which was also the last time we saw Thomson in the cage. Thomson considered retiring from the sport after the Henderson bout, but he decided better of it and returns this weekend to fight in his home town of San Jose, California. Armed with an incredible striking attack plus exceptional wrestling and an incredible gas tank, Thomson is clearly one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division and a real handful for anyone at 155lbs. Most of his losses, save an early career defeat to Yves Edwards, came via close decision, and other than the Edwards fight he’s never really been blown out by anyone. He is still one of the top contenders at 155lbs, and if he beats Green this weekend, he will move one step closer to getting a shot at the UFC lightweight title. Green (22-5) is one of the top 15 lightweights in the UFC and is quickly closing in on the top 10. The 27-year-old American has won seven straight wins and is 3-0 since moving to the UFC with wins over Pat Healy, James Krause, and Jacob Volkmann. He has excellent boxing, has great footwork, solid cardio, a huge heart and underrated grappling. In short, he’s very well rounded but he just needs an opportunity on the big stage to prove his worth. After Michael Johnson pulled out of the fight with Thomson with an injury, the UFC called upon Green to take his spot and he stepped up to the plate, agreeing to fight Thomson on short notice. The short-notice factor will likely hurt him in this fight, although he did beat Healy in his last fight on short notice, which is something to keep in mind. With his rapid improvement from fight-to-fight, he definitely has a chance of pulling off the upset against Thomson, but on paper it makes sense he is the underdog heading into the contest. Although Green improves every fight, I believe Thomson is a more developed mixed martial artist and he is in his prime right now. Thomson is a strong wrestler and Green was given problems on the mat by Volkmann, so I believe if Thomson replicates that gameplan he can use his wrestling to outpoint Green and win a decision on the scorecards. That being said, I believe he is being overvalued in this spot at -260 and I don’t see much value in the line. If anything, there could be some value on the prop of the fight going the distance at -170, as I believe this fight is going to go the three rounds.
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