The UFC will take a week off following UFC 186 this Saturday, and make the long trek down to Australia once again for UFC Fight Night 65 on May 9th. The card will air on UFC Fight Pass starting at 7:45pm on Saturday evening, providing a Sunday matinee for the local Adelaide crowd. There is also some local flavor on the card as per usual. While not Australian, Mark Hunt is one of the more celebrated fighters from the Pacific region, and he looks to rebound from his second TKO loss in four fights as he faces Stipe Miocic, who impressed many in defeat against Junior dos Santos in his last outing. TUF Smashes winner Robert Whittaker is in the co-main event against Brad Tavares, and looks to continue to climb the ladder at middleweight after sputtering a bit at 170lbs. Tavares seems to be one of the overlooked fighters at 185, as his style isn’t the most appealing to a lot of people, but he has been effective against everyone outside of the top of the division. Australia’s most tenured UFC fighter, Anthony Perosh, makes his 11th UFC appearance taking on Sean O’Connell in a light heavyweight bout pitting Perosh’s grappling abilities against O’Connell’s striking. Rounding out the main card is a matchup featuring Australia’s youngest UFC fighter, Jake Matthews. The undefeated 20-year-old takes on another undefeated fighter in James Vick, and could be poised to make a splash if he can get past his toughest test thus far. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the full betting lines for UFC Fight Night 65 today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 11pm ET)
——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7:45pm ET)
——————– Brad’s Analysis: The biggest thing I like in this fight is the Over 1.5, as I think Miocic will have to wear down Hunt in order to score a stoppage, and Hunt will have trouble finding Miocic early in the bout while he’s fresh. What happens after they start to slow down a bit is anyone’s guess, as Hunt’s chin seems to be fading a bit and Miocic has slowed significantly in bouts to let them slip away. As far as a side, I’m really not confident either way, but I lean slightly towards the younger fighter in Miocic. Whittaker seems to look better at 185 in the limited footage we’ve seen, but this is a big step up for him in competition. Tavares has been in with better fighters, and generally hung in there (aside from the Romero bout). I think his more varied striking will keep Whittaker off balance, and he can control the grappling exchanges when they occur. I don’t think it’ll be the most exciting fight in the world, and I lean towards the over here, but think Tavares takes it regardless. It’s hard to have much faith left in Anthony Perosh these days. He’s 42 and he’s been knocked out several times in his career. Sean O’Connell isn’t the most devastating striker, but he’s steady with his pressure, has some power, and I think he has the wrestling to avoid Perosh’s ground game. I think O’Connell scores his second consecutive KO in this fight and cements himself in the UFC for a little while. Usually I’m not too high on Australian fighters, but Jake Matthews is the exception, he’s already extremely good at a very young age, and while James Vick is a big step up for him in competition, I think he can get the job done here. Matthews’ grappling game is very proficient, and despite giving up a striking edge to Vick in terms of an offensive arsenal, Vick is so flawed defensively that I think the youngster can make him pay enough to get in tight and get this to the mat, where he will dominate positionally if not find a finish.