One of the prelims at UFC Fight Night 48 is a three-round bantamweight bout between Yuta Sasaki and Roland “Stunning” Delorme. The current betting line for the fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Sasaki as a -135 favorite (bet $135 to win $100) while Delorme is a +115 underdog (bet $100 to win $115). Sasaki opened at -140 and Delorme at +100, and overall the line has drew limited betting action and it’s reflected in the line, which has not moved much since the opener. Although the public seems a bit unsure about who wins here, I have a strong lean towards Sasaki pulling off the victory. Here’s why. Sasaki (17-1-2) is one of the top bantamweight prospects coming out of Asia. He is 24 years of age and is currently riding an 11-fight undefeated streak, although the lack of top-level competition is telling. Sasaki is the Shooto Pacific Rim bantamweight champion and he won that title with a number of impressive stoppage victories that were enough for UFC matchmaker Sean Shleby to come calling. He has improving submission ability on the ground and is working on his striking too, and he’s coming off of a 38 second TKO in the DEEP promotion. There isn’t much footage available on Sasaki but based on everything that’s out there and based on word of mouth, he could be a real player at 135lbs. The UFC is giving him a tough, but fair fight in his UFC debut against Delorme, and if he wins he will take a big step up in the UFC bantamweight division, and he makes his UFC debut as a small favorite to collect the victory. Delorme (9-3, 1 NC) was a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter season 14 and has since gone 3-2 with one No Contest in the UFC with wins over Nick Denis, Josh Ferguson and Edwin Figueroa and losses to Michinori Tanaka and Alex Caceres. He is 30 years old and fights out of Canada and this will be the first time in his career he’s went overseas to compete. The long flight to China could hurt Delorme, especially his cardio, and that could pose problems against Sasaki if his opponent pushes a high pace against him. Delorme is a solid fighter overall with decent grappling skills and good overall toughness, but his lack of wrestling is telling and the signs of a decline are there. He is coming off of two-straight losses and needs to beat Sasaki to save his UFC career, but that’s easier said than done which is why he’s the underdog in this fight. Delorme was a solid fighter at one point but his recent performances have left much to be desired. The blueprint for Sasaki to win this fight was already written by Tanaka in Delorme’s last bout and I think Sasaki will use pressure and aggression to do the same thing Tanaka did and wear out Delorme here over the course of three rounds to get the victory. Delorme is fading so to get a prospect on the upswing like Sasaki at -135 is pretty fair. I do like Sasaki for a bet here as I think he gets the win in impressive fashion.
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