One of the prelims at UFC Fight Night 59 is a three-round bout between Patrick Holohan and Shane Howell. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Holohan is a -265 favorite (bet $265 to win $100) while Howell is a +225 underdog (bet $100 to win $225). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Holohan at -285 and Howell at +205, and the odds has basically held steady as the lines have tightened. I agree with the line as I think Holohan deserves to be the favorite heading into this fight. Here’s why. Holohan (10-1-1) was a cast member on season 18 of TUF, losing to Josh Hill via decision on the show. Since coming to the UFC, the 26-year-old Irishman is 1-1 with a submission win over Josh Sampo and a decision loss to Chris Kelades. Holohan looked sensational in the fight with Sampo, and the loss to Kelades, who took that fight on one week’s notice, was extremely disappointing. However, the UFC is giving him a winnable fight here with Howell. Holohan is one of the bigger flyweights and he uses his long limbs to his advantage on both the feet to land long-range strikes and the ground to set up submissions, which is the bread and butter of his game (eight career submission wins). His tall base is good for offensive attacks but it leaves him open to getting taken down, and overall he has poor wrestling. If he intends to beat Howell he will have to stop the takedowns, because if he gets taken down he can be controlled quite easily. It’s hard to trust Holohan considering how bad he looked against Kelades, but if he looks anything like the fighter from the Sampo fight he can definitely defeat Howell, and he is a deserved favorite in the matchup. Howell (13-8) made his UFC debut last year, getting choked out by Ray Borg in the first round. The 31-year-old American used to fight at bantamweight and featherweight but has dropped down to flyweight in the UFC and he is pretty big for the weight class. He is a pretty scrappy and high-paced fighter and is a solid finish (11 career stoppage wins). However, defensively he is flawed and he has been submitted five times in his career so far. Going up against another submission fighter in Holohan, that’s obviously a dangerous proposition, and Howell will have to work hard to keep away from Holohan’s long limbs on the ground. And on the feet, Howell isn’t anything to right home about, so it’s hard to see him winning this fight. He’ll basically have to outlast Holohan and not get submitted before the Irishman tires, but that won’t be easy as Holohan is dangerous in the first round. But if he can, he’ll have a chance to outlast him, although it won’t be easy, and that’s why he is the underdog in this bout. Based on what I have seen, Holohan has a very good chance of collecting a first-round submission win here, and that’s the outcome I am going to pick. However, Howell seems like a bit of a wild card and if Holohan can’t get the finish in the first round, he could gas and tire like he did against Kelades and Howell could possibly outwrestle him in rounds two and three and steal a decision. I am not counting on that to happen, but it’s possible. I do think Holohan should get his hand raised but it’s hard to trust him given what happened in his last bout. I am picking Holohan here, but he isn’t a lock to win this fight by any mean, so parlay him with caution.
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