The UFC announced one new bout over the weekend, and it’s a good one. And for Monday’s MMA Odds and Ends I’ll give my thoughts on the new matchup. Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader, UFC on FOX 14 A three-round light heavyweight bout between top-10 contenders Phil Davis and Ryan Bader is the latest addition to UFC on FOX 14, which is set to take place January 24 at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. With the addition of Davis vs. Bader, UFC on FOX 14 is now looking at a four-fight main card of Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Johnson, Dan Henderson vs. Gegard Mousasi, Davis vs. Bader, and either a mystery fight that hasn’t been announced yet or possibly a bout between up-and-coming welterweights Albert Tumenov and Nico Musoke — either way, it’s a stacked free card. Getting back to Davis vs. Bader, this is a fight that I called for on a recent edition of The Parting Shot Podcast, as I think it makes total sense. Both Davis and Bader are coming off of big wins, with Davis decisioning Glover Teixeira at UFC 179 and Bader decisioning Ovince St-Preux at UFC Fight Night 47. With both men coming off of wins against top-10 opponents, and with both fighters in need of a new opponent, the timing made perfect sense to match these two wrestlers up to see who the better man is. It’s a tough fight to call, in my opinion, because in totality both men have been quite impressive in the Octagon. I would argue that Davis, with notable wins in the UFC over the likes of Gustafsson, Teixeira and Lyoto Machida, has been a little more impressive during his UFC career, but losses to Johnson and Rashad Evans, two fights where he was basically dominated, have held him back in the division. Similarly for Bader, wins over the likes of OSP, Rampage Jackson and Rafael Cavalcante have been big for his career, but losses to guys like Tito Ortiz and Teixeira have stopped him from taking that next step in the division. But now, with both fighters on a bit of a roll, the timing is perfect to pit Davis and Bader against one another, and I think it’s going to be a great fight. As far as the betting lines go, I am expecting a very closely-lined fight with a slight edge to Davis, just because he almost always gets tons of respect from the betting public. Personally, I am having a very hard time leaning one way or the other here. I give Davis an ever-so-slight edge in the grappling department as I think he’s a bit more effective transitioning to submissions from his takedowns, but in the striking I would have to favor Bader, just because of his knockout abilities. But it’s a very close fight either way, and unless for some reason the betting public goes crazy favoring one fighter over the other, I can already tell this is a spot to pass on as far as a bet goes. Regardless of the betting line, though, this should be a very intriguing matchup and its addition to UFC on FOX 14 makes the card even stronger on paper. Now let’s hope everyone stays healthy, knock on wood.
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