One of the prelims at UFC Fight Night 59 is a three-round featherweight bout between Charles Rosa and Sean Soriano. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Rosa is a -135 favorite (bet $135 to win $100) while Soriano is a +115 underdog (bet $100 to win $145). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Rosa at -175 and Soriano at +115 and the early action is on the dog Soriano. I disagree with the action on Soriano as I’m picking Rosa to win this fight. Here’s why. Rosa (9-1) made his UFC debut on short notice against Dennis Siver last year, dropping a competitive decision in UFC Fight Night 53’s “Fight of the Night.” The 28-year-old showed an excellent ground game in the fight and although he did lose, he showed a lot of promise going forward. The loss to Siver was the first setback of Rosa’s career so far, and it was also the first time in his career he went to decision. He has nine wins in his career with three coming by T/KO and six coming by submission, which shows he is undeniably a finisher. His level of competition coming up wasn’t high, but he showed in the Siver fight that he can compete with the best guys in the world. Training at American Top Team, Rosa is always improving all facets of his MMA game and he has been doing some training in Holland to work on his muay Thai. A Massachusetts native, Rosa will have homefield advantage for this fight with Soriano and I expect him to put on a good show for his fans and pick up his first win in the Octagon. Soriano (8-2) is 0-2 so far in the UFC with a submission loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri and a decision loss to Chas Skelly. The 25-year-old American entered the UFC as a highly-touted prospect but he hasn’t looked very good in the Octagon and he desperately needs a win over Rosa to save his job with the UFC. In both of Soriano’s fights in the UFC he showed poor takedown defence and poor submission defence and he will need to drastically improve on those facets of his game if he is to ever reach his full potential. Before coming to the UFC he was undefeated on the Florida regional circuit, showing off a well-rounded game, but he hasn’t fared as well in the UFC against a higher level of competition. He definitely has some solid striking skills training under Henri Hooft and the Blackzilians, but if he can’t keep his fights on the feet he can’t use those skills. I am expecting Soriano to have improved takedown defence for this bout, but 15 minutes is a long to stop Rosa’s takedowns, and this is not an easy matchup for Soriano at all. Rosa showed excellent grappling skills in his UFC debut against an underrated wrestler in Siver and Soriano has shown in both of his UFC bouts with Skelly and Kawajiri that his defensive grappling and submissions defence are his weaknesses. If Soriano can keep this fight on the feet he should have the edge, but based on what I’ve seen from him in the UFC so far, Rosa should be able to get him down to the mat and he’ll have a huge advantage there. I could see Rosa securing a submission, probably a rear-naked choke, but Soriano is tough and could manage to defend for 15 minutes. Either way, I think Rosa is going to win this fight with his grappling, and considering the line is now only -135, the odds look good enough to make a small value play on the favorite here.
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