One of the main card bouts at UFC Fight Night 56 is a three-round welterweight bout between Warlley Alves and Alan Jouban. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Alves is a -240 favorite (bet $240 to win $100) while Jouban is a +180 underdog (bet $100 to win $180). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Alves at -210 and Jouban at +160, and so far the betting public is favoring Alves in this matchup. I agree with the action in Alves’ favor, as I am picking him to win this fight. Here’s why. Alves (7-0) won TUF Brazil 3 with a brutal submission win over Marcio Alexandre, a finish that earned him a Performance of the Night bonus in his official UFC debut. In the house, the 23-year-old Brazilian was a killer, defeating Wendell Oliveira, Ismael de Jesus and Wagner Gomes. In his pro career, he has five stoppage victories, including four coming by way of submission. Alves is young, talented, and rapidly improving every time out. He has a killer instinct which isn’t taught, and with his ability to mix in striking, wrestling, and submissions, he’s dangerous everywhere the fight goes. He oozes star power, and if he can win this fight against Jouban in devastating fashion, expect him to be hyped up as a rising contender going forward. It’s amazing to think he has only been competing in MMA for three years, because he’s already extremely good and with a bit more seasoning and experience, the hype train is sure to be in full force. Jouban (10-2) made his UFC debut this past summer, knocking out Seth Baczynski in brutal fashion in an upset. The 31-year-old American is a very adept striker who throws nice combinations with big-time power, and he is also a master of the rubber guard under Eddie Bravo. Seven of his 10 wins have come by knockout, although his only true big win is Baczynski so far. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have potential for bigger and better things, and I think Jouban will carve out a solid career for himself in the UFC when it’s all said and done. However, it really seems like the UFC is feeding him to Alves here in a fight that favors his opponent stylistically. While Jouban is a solid offensive striker, he gets hit way too much in his fights, and that’s likely to spell trouble against a talented striker like Alves, which is why Jouban enters this fight as the dog despite coming off of such an impressive UFC debut. Jouban is a solid, capable fighter, but Alves is one of the top prospects in the UFC’s welterweight division and a guy I think could be a future top-five fighter. Jouban may have his moments on the feet in this fight, but ultimately I see Alves winning, likely by stoppage. At -240, Alves makes a solid parlay piece.
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