UFC 184In the span of a month, UFC 184 went from one of the best cards on paper in 2015 to one of the worst. Chris Weidman and Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ had to pull out of their respective bouts, also removing Vitor Belfort and Yoel Romero from the card. Frank Mir and Antonio Silva were moved from the event to headline a flagging Fight Night 61 card. Even a fight that seemed like a tailor-made PPV opener in Tony Ferguson vs. Yancy Medeiros had to be scrapped. The remaining slate of fights is hardly as inspiring. Holly Holm now makes her UFC debut in the night’s co-main event against 5-4 Raquel Pennington. Josh Koscheck hasn’t competed since 2013, has lost his last three bouts, and finds himself on the main card. The other two main card bouts are Richard Walsh vs. Alan Jouban, and Tony Ferguson taking on noted excitement machine Gleison Tibau. Yes, the UFC will be asking you to part with somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 for this card. No, that’s not a joke. Luckily for bettors, you can bet on fights that are good, bad, or indifferent, which means UFC 184 brings opportunities like any other card. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for every bout except for the headliner between Ronda Rousey (-950) and Cat Zingano (+625). All lines were first released at 5Dimes Sportsbook. ——————– MAIN CARD (PPV, 10PM ET) Ronda Rousey -1300 Cat Zingano +700 Holly Holm -505 Raquel Pennington +335 Jake Ellenberger -165 Josh Koscheck +125 Alan Jouban -385 Richard Walsh +265 Tony Ferguson -210 Gleison Tibau +160 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1, 8PM ET) Mark Munoz -280 Roan Carneiro +200 Kid Yamamoto -210 Roman Salazar +160 Tim Means -140 Dhiego Lima +100 Derrick Lewis -385 Ruan Potts +265 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7PM ET) James Krause -160 Valmir Lazaro +120 Masio Fullen -170 Alexander Torres +130 – Brad’s Analysis: Does “Yikes” count as suitable analysis for this card? The co-main event is between a boxer (and kickboxer) who has never faced anyone of note in MMA, and a fighter who has lost to everyone of note she has faced. Not the most riveting stuff, even if a title shot is on the line. I expect Holm to win, as Pennington isn’t much of an offensive wrestler and is clearly outgunned on the feet. If Holm allows Pennington to push her against the cage repeatedly, that’s about the only way I see this fight being close, but physically it’s hard to imagine Holm letting that happen. I think Josh Koscheck outwrestles Jake Ellenberger, and the layoff and threat of Ellenberger’s KO power only make me think he’s going to turn to his wrestling even sooner. Koscheck’s success against guys like Johny Hendricks and even Georges St-Pierre (in their first fight, even though that was forever ago) in the wrestling make me think he can deal with Ellenberger even at this advanced stage of his career. Obviously the KO threat is there, but that’s all Ellenberger presents at this point. Alan Jouban fits that same bill of being primarily a KO threat, but it may be enough against Richard Walsh. Jouban is a solid striker who has the chin to absorb some shots in order to give some back. That shouldn’t be too much a of problem against the Aussie. Physically, Walsh fits right in at the welterweight division. The problem is I’m not sure he has the skill set to back it up at this point. His best way to win this fight is to make it a dirty bout up close, but even then I think Jouban has enough firepower to pull off the win. After watching the bonehead performance Tony Ferguson put on against Danny Castillo, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he goes out and loses a decision to Gleison Tibau. However, he absolutely should not lose this fight. He’s a far better, more active, more powerful striker. He has the wrestling to defend the majority of Tibau’s takedowns (so long as he chooses to try to defend them rather than rolling for kneebars), and his submission game should match the Brazilian’s. Add in his significant cardio and reach advantages, and he has the paths to victory, it’s just a matter of whether he chooses to take them. Skill-for-skill, Roan Carneiro is probably the superior fighter to Mark Munoz. He’s definitely a better submission artist, and may have a slight striking advantage too. There’s one catch: he’s not a middleweight, and Munoz is extremely strong for 185lbs. It’s hard to see much happening here other than Carneiro getting muscled around, but Munoz’ chin is enough on its own to keep me from betting him. I saw the fight announcement a long time ago, but whenever I see that Kid Yamamoto is somehow still fighting (and still fighting in the UFC), I’m shocked all over again. Kid hasn’t won a fight in over four years, and hasn’t fought in nearly three. Add in his injury history, and it’s impossible to bet on Kid these days. He may still be able to beat Salazar however, but my money would be on the younger, fresher fighter, even if the older man would have blown his doors off in his prime. Dhiego Lima is perfectly willing to take a fighter down and have a less than enthralling performance in order to pick up a win. Tim Means is perfectly willing to be taken down and put on a less than enthralling performance in a loss. I think that recipe adds up rather nicely. Means will win if it stays on the feet, but I’m really not thinking it does. Someone is getting knocked out here, and it’s probably going to be Ruan Potts. As far as South African heavyweights go, Neil Grove probably could have made a better run in the UFC over the past 12 months than Potts, who just doesn’t belong. Lewis’ hype train got a bit out of control for a while, but he’s capable of sticking around in the UFC due to his power alone. That’s exactly what he’ll use to get the job done here. Valmir Lazaro looked like a far lesser version of himself in his UFC debut, and I’m not sure if it was jitters or due to the step up in competition, but it doesn’t get much easier for him this time around, as James Krause is just as technical a striker as James Vick, if not more. Lazaro may actually resort to takedowns here in order to steal rounds, and I believe it will be close enough that he may need to. This seems like the type of fight where the dog could be the right side regardless, because I do believe it will be a competitive striking battle for 15 minutes. I only watched the parts of TUF Latin America that I needed for the Mexico City card, and haven’t looked up either of these guys since. If you’re really dying for a take on this fight later in the week, ask me on twitter.


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