The UFC got off to a big start in 2015 with Jon Jones defeating Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 182, and then making everyone forget about his performance when his positive drug test for cocaine was revealed a couple days later. Since then, it has been a PR maelstrom for the organization, but they finally have a chance to get back to fights this weekend with UFC Fight Night 59. “The Conor McGregor Show” will kick off a three-week stretch for the organization that will see Jones’ next title challenger determined, and then the return of Anderson Silva following his nasty leg injury in December 2013. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas had previously released the top two fights for next weekend’s UFC on FOX 14 card, and the main event between Silva and Nick Diaz for UFC 183. Today, he filled out both main cards at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Those bouts include a battle between two talented top 10 wrestlers (Phil Davis and Ryan Bader) for the FOX card. The co-main event from UFC 183 could produce a future welterweight contender (Tyron Woodley vs. Kelvin Gastelum), and the remainder of the card features some fights that seem destined to produce entertaining action. Without further ado, here are the six new lines for the remaining cards on the UFC’s January schedule. ——————– UFC on FOX 14 – January 24th ——————– MAIN CARD (FOX, 8pm ET) Phil Davis -215 Ryan Bader +165 Akira Corassani -140 Sam Sicilia +100 ——————– UFC 183 – January 31st ——————– MAIN CARD (PPV, 10pm ET) Kelvin Gastelum -150 Tyron Woodley +110 Al Iaquinta -135 Joe Lauzon -105 Thales Leites -270 Tim Boetsch +190 Jordan Mein -145 Thiago Alves +105 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Conventional wisdom might say that following Phil Davis’ dominant wrestling performance over Glover Teixeira, that he should be able to do the same against Ryan Bader, but I don’t agree. Davis’ wrestling hadn’t looked particularly impressive prior to the Teixeira bout, and I think he was fortunate to face Glover under the circumstances he did. Against Bader, I don’t think the takedowns will come as easily. That doesn’t mean Davis can’t win, because on the feet he’s a significantly better kicker than Bader, and may be able to win from range. In terms of boxing, Bader is better, but Davis has shown a solid chin, so I’d be surprised if the ASU alum can knock out the PSU one. This is a closer fight than most seem to think, but I do believe Davis has the slight edge and will pull out a victory. I see this being a somewhat similar matchup for Corassani as his bout with Robbie Peralta. Sicilia is a less talented striker than Peralta, but brings the same type of KO threat. Sicilia is also a better wrestler than Peralta, however I expect that Corassani will be able to use his movement to nullify the takedown threat, and his superior speed and technical striking skills to fight the bout on points, or perhaps even score a TKO of his own should Sicilia fade. Shifting to UFC 183, Gastelum/Woodley is a fantastic bout, and a tough one to call. Woodley’s bouts always are, as he has the physical tools and skills to deal with most fighters, but sometimes just doesn’t. He’s a more dangerous striker than Rick Story — who was able to hurt Gastelum — and a better wrestler than both Jake Ellenberger and Nico Musoke — who were both able to take Gastelum down. Gastelum could simply outwork Woodley, like Rory MacDonald and Jake Shields were able to do, but my initial lean is towards the more talented fighter in Woodley. This is the perfect opportunity for Al Iaquinta to show that he’s improved his fight IQ since his loss to Mitch Clarke… or show that he’s not (and may never be) able to take the next step. He’s a far more dangerous striker than Joe Lauzon, and has shown pretty solid takedown defense. Of course, that didn’t stop him from diving into a brabo choke against Clarke, and he held the same advantages over Michael Chiesa but also succumbed to submission. Lauzon will be extremely dangerous for Iaquinta in the first round, and could very well replicate the New Yorker’s TUF Finale loss, which is what I think he’ll do here. Iaquinta has proven that if fighters are able to get him in scrambles, he puts himself in poor spots and Lauzon’s aggression is excellent at creating scrambles. Of course, if Lauzon doesn’t get it done early he has a history of slowing in fights and Iaquinta could take advantage, but I have to side with the veteran given how the styles match up. Tim Boetsch’s record reads that he’s 4-3 in his last seven bouts, but a closer examination of that record reveals that he’s needed two miraculous comebacks and two undeserved (in my eyes) decisions to notch those four wins. I suppose there’s something to be said that he keeps pulling these victories out, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been impressed by him. On the other hand, Leites has done nothing but impress since returning to the Octagon, showing much improved striking and wrestling on his way to four consecutive UFC wins. He’s never been finished by strikes, so that method of victory is unlikely for Boetsch, and I believe Leites is the more effective striker and grappler in this bout. Leites still isn’t getting a ton of respect from bettors, so this line may get a bit closer before fight time, and if it does I might have to pull the trigger on the former title challenger. As far as exciting fights go, this one is at the top of the list. Both Alves and Mein are deadly strikers, and I don’t see this fight taking place anywhere but on the feet. Mein holds several advantages in this fight: six years of age, five inches of reach, and three inches of height, but Alves has often been able to get his deadly leg kicks off against longer fighters in the past. However, in his first fight back from a two-year layoff, he did allow Seth Baczynski to land quite a bit on him. Mein is a far more talented striker than Baczynski, and I think he can land enough to take a decision from Alves in this one.
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