One of the Fight Pass prelims at UFC on FOX 12 is a three-round featherweight bout between “Super” Steven Siler and Noad “Neo” Lahat. The current betting line for the fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Siler as a -230 favorite (bet $230 to win $100) while Lahat is a +210 underdog (bet $100 to win $210). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Siler at -290 and Lahat at +210, and so far there has been minimal action on Lahat as the lines have tightened. I like Siler here and I’m surprised the line on him isn’t higher. Here’s why. Siler (23-12) was a cast member on TUF 14 where he was knocked out by Diego Brandao in the house. Since then, the 27-year-old has improved quite a bit and has gone 5-3 overall in the UFC with wins over Cole Miller, Mike Brown, Joey Gambino, Kurt Holobaugh and Josh Clopton and his only losses coming to Dennis Bermudez, Rony Jason and Darren Elkins. He is a very long and rangy striker who throws a good mixture of punches, kicks, knees and elbows, and he also has some nice offensive submission ability. However, he has very bad takedown defence and he has been submitted five times in his career. He has made strides in his sub D and hasn’t been tapped out in over three years, but still, it’s a concern. His chin also isn’t the greatest as he’s been knocked out by strikes five times. But he definitely is an offensive machine, and when he keeps his fights standing he always has a chance to win them, which is why he’s the favorite against Lahat this weekend as most believe he will be able to keep the fight upright and win the striking exchanges. Lahat (7-1) was a top prospect coming into the UFC, but he suffered a brutal KO loss by flying knee to Godofredo Pepey in his debut and most are off his bandwagon now. In that fight he didn’t keep his hands up and he paid the price for it, but I expect him to be sharper in his sophomore UFC effort. At 30 years of age, Lahat is still improving his overall MMA game but he is primarily a grappler. He is excellent on the ground and teaches BJJ at American Kickboxing Academy for a reason. However, he doesn’t have a wrestling background and without a wrestling base it will be difficult for him to get UFC-caliber fighters to the ground, although he does have a judo base which could help him. Still, after seeing him get finished by Pepey in his UFC debut it’s hard to bet on him against a striker like Siler, and that’s why he is the underdog heading into the fight this weekend. I don’t believe Lahat has the wrestling to take advantage of Siler’s weak takedown defence. Look for Siler to keep this fight on the feet and outstrike Lahat en route to either a decision win or possibly even a TKO stoppage. At -230, there is potentially some value on Siler as the first leg of a two-team parlay. I also see value in the UNDER 2.5 rounds total, which pays out at +170 and which I believe has a good shot of cashing.
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