The main event of UFC Fight Night 53 is a five-round welterweight bout between Gunnar Nelson and Rick Story. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Nelson is a -330 favorite (bet $330 to win $100) while Story is a +270 underdog (bet $100 to win $270). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Nelson at -350 and Story at +250, and the action has generally been in Nelson’s direction as the lines have tightened. I agree with the odds as I believe Nelson is a very likely winner in this spot. Here’s why: Nelson (13-0-1) is one of the top prospects at 170 lbs and with a win over Story will emerge as a bonafide contender. The 26-year old native of Iceland is 4-0 so far in the UFC with wins over Jorge Santiago, Omari Akhmedov, Zak Cummings and DaMarques Johnson, with three of those wins coming by way of stoppage. An amazing ground fighter who is among the most decorated BJJ players the UFC has on their roster, Nelson also comes from a karate background and his elusive style on the feet is very similar to Lyoto Machida’s. However, like Machida, Nelson can be very inactive at times, which may eventually cost him in his career. But, like Machida, Nelson has the ability to end the fight at any time. Once he gets his fights to the mat, they’re pretty much over, and on the feet he’s not easy to deal with either. In short, he’s a nightmare matchup for most opponents in the division. I am a bit concerned about Nelson’s size as compared to other welterweights, but his technique makes up for him being a smaller 170-pounder. I believe Nelson is one of the best in the division already, and I think he has the potential to make a run for the title. And it all starts with a win over Story at UFC Fight Night 53. Story (17-8) is one of the gatekeepers of the UFC welterweight division. The 30-year-old American is 10-6 overall in the UFC with wins over Johny Hendricks, Brian Ebersole, Thiago Alves and Leonardo Mafra, to name a few, and most of his losses have come to the division’s top fighters. Story is a very aggressive, well-rounded fighter with good wrestling skills, knockout power on the feet, and an underrated submission game on the ground. His cardio is decent, although he does slow down in round three. He’s a tough out for anyone in the division, and a great test for Nelson at this point of his career. However, I believe the UFC wants Story to lose, and I think that’s what’s going to happen here. Unless Story can be a bully in this fight and completely take Nelson off his game, he’s going to lose. He is a good fighter for sure, but is too inconsistent for my liking, and I have a hard time seeing him pass this test against Nelson this weekend at UFC Fight Night 53. Nelson is a bit too inactive and passive in his fights for my liking, and it’s possible that could hurt him in a fight against an aggressive fighter like Story, especially if it hits the scorecards and Story was the one walking forward the whole time. That being said, I feel like Nelson is the more talented fighter here, and I believe in 25 minutes he will find a way to finish the fight in impressive fashion. As we saw in Story’s fight against Maia, a strong grappler will be able to get him down and he can be submitted if that fighter is good enough on the mat. Obviously, that’s exactly what Nelson is. Utilizing his strength in the clinch, I think Nelson’s going to be able to get this fight down at some point and finish it by submission. At -330 I do think Nelson is worthy of being put in a parlay as I have a hard time seeing him lose this fight. But the bet I like most here is the fight doesn’t go the distance at -205, as I just don’t see this fight going the full 25 minutes and at that price I see value in the prop.
Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links and MMA Odds Breaker will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links.