UFC Fight Night 55 Date: November 7, 2014 Arena: Allphones Arena City: Sydney, Australia Lightweight bout: “Raging” Al Iaquinta (+145) vs Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson (-165) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event for UFC Fight Night 55 in Australia will see Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson take on “Raging” Al Iaquinta in what is expected to be a barn burner. Iaquinta is the betting underdog in this 155-pound scrap at +145 ($100 to win $145) and Pearson is the favorite to win at -165 ($165 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. “Raging” Al Iaquinta (9-3-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) rebounded from a second round d’arche choke submission loss to Mitch Clarke with a TKO victory over Rodrigo Damm at UFC Fight Night 50 just two months ago, and he will be looking to make it two in a row against the Brit. The 27-year old is a talented striker with solid boxing and exceptional Muay Thai skills. His skills on the mat are also great, as he owns a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under former UFC welterweight title holder Matt Serra. Iaquinta is a Long Island, N.Y.-based fighter training out of the Serra-Longo fight team under the tutelage of Serra and one of the finest striking coaches in MMA in Ray Longo. “Raging” is a training partner of current UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, so we know he works with the absolute best on a daily basis. He is a technical striker who prefers to stay calm and collected rather than engaging in a brawl. He has good footwork and moves well around the cage. He hits hard and he hits often. The Long Islander has excellent conditioning and will be ready to go all 15-minutes against Pearson, should the scrap go the three round distance. Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson (25-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is coming off a second round TKO victory over The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 veteran Gray Maynard, a win which put him back in the win column following a very controversial split decision loss to Diego Sanchez in Sanchez’s hometown of Albuquerque, NM; a loss which snapped his three fight undefeated streak. The Brit is a talented striker who is constantly making improvements in the department. He is a solid kickboxer with excellent Muay Thai skills and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. His footwork is fantastic, and he does a great job of moving around the Octagon and creating angles. While he has been dropped and knocked out previously, Pearson still has a good chin and is very capable of taking heavy shots. The 30-year old has tremendous takedown defense, which can be partially credited to his solid Judo base and background in the sport. He is a very well-conditioned athlete and I believe he will be game for all three rounds of action, if necessary. Gabe’s Thoughts: On the feet, this is a close one, but I actually favor Iaquinta to edge Pearson with what I believe is superior boxing. Both are very good kickboxers with great Muay Thai, but I think Iaquinta has the better hands, and on the feet, I feel that will prove to be the difference. “Raging” is the superior grappler of the two, owning better wrestling and without a doubt the better submission game. In fact, I think there is a decent chance he will be able to take Pearson down in this scrap, even considering the Brit’s noteworthy takedown defense. So, I feel if this fight hits the mat, Iaquinta will have a decent chance of submitting Pearson. He earned his first Octagon T/KO victory in his last outing against Damm, and I feel he may very well earn his first UFC victory by way of submission in this one against Pearson, who has previously been submitted, though he greatly improved his defensive grappling since his last submission loss four years ago. Submission aside, I think Iaquinta also has a chance of knocking Pearson out, as he is a heavy hitter with heavy volume and Pearson has been stopped via strikes before. I think Pearson’s only chance at winning this fight is via closely contested decision, which is a fairly good chance, while I think Iaquinta also has a good chance of taking home the decision, as well as a decent chance of stopping Pearson, either by T/KO or submission. I think the Serra-Longo product should be a 2-to-1 favorite in this lightweight match-up, so at the current underdog price of +145, I love him for a large wager. Gabe’s Call: Iaquinta by Submission (d’arce choke, 3:43 round 3) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Al Iaquinta (+145) 5u to win 7.25u
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