UFC Fight Night 53 Date: October 4, 2014 Arena: Ericsson Globe Arena City: Stockholm, Sweden Featherweight bout: Akira Corassani (+500) vs Max “Blessed” Holloway (-700) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event for UFC Fight Night 54 in Sweden will be a featherweight contest between a pair of talented strikers, and action is expected when Sweden’s own Akira Corassani takes on the Hawaiian Max “Blessed” Holloway. Corassani again finds himself as a massive underdog at the sportsbooks heading into this contest, being +500 ($100 to win $500), while his opponent Holloway is heavily favored at -700 ($700 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Akira Corassani (12-4-1 NC, 3-1 UFC UFC) had his first taste of Octagon defeat at the TUF Nations Finale back in April, getting knocked out by Dustin Poirier in the second round of action. He was a very big underdog heading into the fight and surprised many by getting the better of “The Diamond” in the early going of the first round. Unfortunately, things did not continue to go his way, as Poirier connected and broke his nose in the second frame, ultimately forcing a TKO stoppage. As soon as he realized his nose was broken, Corassani decided to quit. That was the first time I have ever seen a fighter completely break down due to a broken nose. It made me wonder what his training partner Frankie Edgar would think of that, considering he fights through a broken nose or worse in many of his fights. The Sweden native has drastically improved his all-around skill-set since moving to Edgar’s camp in New Jersey, training alongside the likes of UFC lightweight Edson Barboza and WSOF Bantamweight Champion Marlon Moraes. The most significant areas Corassani has made improvements in are his striking and his conditioning. His cardio used to barely be good enough for one round, but now he is capable of going all three rounds of action without having fatigue set in. The difference in his striking since his move to New Jersey has also been night and day, as working under the tutelage of boxing coach Mark Henry has done wonders for him. He has developed good speed, excellent footwork and solid boxing skills. The 32-year is capable of holding his own in the grappling department, as well. However, he prefers to keep things on the feet, and his solid takedown defense generally helps him achieve that goal. Max “Blessed” Holloway (10-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) will be stepping in on short notice as a late injury replacement for “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, who was forced to withdraw from the contest. This bout will mark Holloway’s 10th Octagon appearance, and the fifth fight in which he has stepped in as a late injury replacement. He is 2-2 in those bouts, with wins over Leonard Garcia and Clay Collard and losses to Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, respectively. Holloway is currently enjoying a three-fight winning streak inside the Octagon with all three victories coming by way of finish; two via T/KO and one by submission. The 22-year old is a very talented striker who moves well on his feet. His footwork is excellent, and he uses his range really well. He is good at moving in and out, and has fantastic striking technique. He likes to put all of his limbs to use, and puts together some great combinations on the feet. The Hawaiian, like most Islanders, is very durable and possesses a great chin. His submission game is decent, and constantly improving, as was evident with his guillotine choke submission of Team Alpha Male product Andre Fili at UFC 172. The nine-time Octagon veteran likes to work on his all-around game to be a full mixed martial artist, though he makes it no secret that he prefers to strike. Holloway has great takedown defense, and when taken down, he is active off his back, though not too effective. His cardio is also solid, even when he fights on short notice, so I expect him to be ready for a full three rounds of action against Sweden’s own Corassani, should the fight go the distance. Gabe’s Thoughts: Simply put, I think Holloway is going to connect early and find the right shot to shut Corassani down in front of his home crowd. I think as long as he starts out strong, instead of starting with a feeling-out process, I feel there is a very good chance he puts Corassani away early, and more impressively than Poirier did. I agree with Holloway’s current betting line of -700, but I don’t see enough value there to warrant a play, even as part of a parlay. However, I do think there is some value in the Under 1.5 total at +140, and feel it is worth a small wager. Gabe’s Call: Holloway by T/KO (punches, 4:39 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Under 1.5 rounds (+140) 1.25u to win 1.75u
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