One of the main card bouts at UFC Fight Night 60 is a three-round lightweight bout between Kevin Lee and Michel Prazeres. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Lee is a -170 favorite (bet $170 to win $100) while Prazeres is a +150 underdog (bet $100 to win $150). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Lee at -230 and Prazeres at +170 and the public is so far backing the dog Prazeres. I disagree with the action coming in on Prazeres as I like Lee in the matchup. Here’s why. Lee (9-1) is quickly emerging as one of the top prospects in the UFC lightweight division. The 22-year-old American is 2-1 in the UFC with decision wins over Jesse Ronson and Jon Tuck and a decision loss to Al Iaquinta. Lee comes from a wrestling background and his grappling overall has looked quite good in the UFC. He hasn’t secured a finish yet in the Octagon, but with four career submission wins to his credit he definitely has the capabilities. Lee is young in the sport and has only been competing in MMA since 2012, but he’s one of those fighters who gets better and better every time out and I’m sure we’ll see more improvements in his game against Prazeres. It’s possible he could look to outwrestle Prazeres, but it’s likely this is a fight where both fighters’ grappling techniques will cancel each other out, forcing both men to stand and trade, and since Lee is the better striker with the better cardio, it makes sense he enters this fight as the favorite. Prazeres (18-1) is 2-1 in the UFC with decision wins over Jesse Ronson and Mairbeck Taisumov and a decision loss to Paulo Thiago. The 31-year-old Brazilian is a strong grinder who is able to bully his opponents around the cage and get them down to the mat. Although he hasn’t achieved getting a finish in the Octagon yet, he does have eight submission wins from earlier in his career, so he is definitely capable of stopping opponents. However, while his grinding has been effective so far in the UFC, his wrestling-heavy style is very taxing on him and as his fights go into the deep waters, his cardio definitely falters, and it certainly won’t improve in the high elevation of Colorado. Going up against Lee, Prazeres is going to look to grind his opponent out, but Lee is a capable wrestler in his own right, and if Prazeres if forced to stand — he has very average striking, maybe even below average — he is going to lose this fight, and thus it’s no surprise he is the underdog heading into the match against his much younger opponent. I think this is a fight that is going the distance, and while you can’t sleep on Prazeres and his takedown-heavy style, I think you have to lean with Lee to pick up a decision win in this one. He is nine years younger, he has a 10-inch reach advantage, and with his constant improvement he could be a future top-10 lightweight fighter. I believe he holds an edge in striking and cardio in this fight, and while Prazeres is a slightly better wrestler and may be able to land some takedowns, I don’t think he will be able to hold Lee on the mat long enough to pick up enough points to win the fight. I think Lee is going to be able to stuff the takedowns, keep it standing, and outpoint Prazeres en route to a decision victory. At -170, Lee is definitely someone to consider as the first leg of a two-team parlay at UFC FN 60.
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