This weekend, the betting odds for the UFC Fight Night 67 main card were released on MMAOddsBreaker.com, and today oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the remaining betting lines for the card at 5Dimes Sportsbook. The preliminary portion of the card is headlined — for the second consecutive week — by a top five flyweight in the world. This time, Jussier Formiga takes on Wilson Reis in a bout that could have some title implications at 125lbs. Formiga has only dropped bouts to Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson in his UFC career, and a win here would mark his third consecutive victory. If Dodson’s performance didn’t inspire the confidence necessary to give him a title shot, Formiga would be the highest ranked flyweight on a good enough streak to warrant a title shot. On the other hand, if Reis gets his hand raised here, he would also find himself on a three-fight winning streak. While he doesn’t have the name or prior pedigree of Formiga, Reis would certainly position himself in the title picture should that be the case. Further down the card, original TUF Brazil winner Rony Jason looks to get back in the win column after a close decision loss to Robbie Peralta. His foe this time will be Damon Jackson, who dropped his first UFC bout back in August 2014 to Yancy Medeiros in highlight reel fashion. Other bouts of note on the preliminary portion of the card feature highly-touted prospects Mirsad Bektic, former Cage Warriors champ Nicolas Dalby, and former BAMMA champ Tom Breese. Check out the lines, which can be found at 5Dimes Sportsbook: ——————– MAIN CARD (Fox Sports 1, 10pm ET)
——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1, 8pm ET)
——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7pm ET)
——————– Brad’s Analysis: Wilson Reis is a consistently underrated wrestler, but very few fighters can grapple with Formiga and not end up wearing a backpack for the better part of three rounds (or until they get submitted). I think that will be the case here, especially since Reis doesn’t have a particularly potent striking game to discourage Formiga from closing the distance. In fact, Formiga may have a slight edge on the feet due to the kicking game he has subtlely improved upon over the years. It should be a competitive fight, and there may be some spells where Reis has top position, but I think those will be outweighed by Formiga consistently finding back control. Depending on how the line moves, Formiga may be a parlay piece, or I could end up looking at the over. Even though Damon Jackson was submitted in brutal fashion in his UFC debut, I think he has the wrestling and jiu-jitsu to get on top of Rony Jason and make life very difficult for the Brazilian. Jackson’s grappling was his calling card on the regional circuit, and Jason has mediocre takedown defense. I don’t think the sub Jackson got caught in is an accurate reflection of his overall grappling game, but I can see the public taking it as such and moving this line well beyond where it should be. If that’s the case, and I can get upwards of +200 on Jackson, that will likely be a play. I’m glad the UFC picked up Nicolas Dalby, as it would have been difficult for him to find quality fights on the European scene with the absence of Cage Warriors. He is somewhat reminiscent of Gunnar Nelson, but a version of Nelson that isn’t content with giving rounds away whenever possible. His opponent Elizeu Zaleski has the nickname “Capoeira”, and that is reflected in his style. I think Dalby’s karate will be more effective than Zaleski’s capoeira, and even if it isn’t, Dalby has the superior ground game. This should be a solid introduction to the UFC for Denmark’s best MMA product since Martin Kampmann. Lucas Martins has taken some steps forward in his last few performances, but he’s in extremely tough here. If he struggled with Darren Elkins’ grappling, he’s going to have nightmares about the much more explosive Mirsad Bektic. All of the spots where Elkins was unable to finish takedowns, Bektic will be able to, and once on top Bektic is a far better guard passer and much more damaging with his ground-and-pound than Elkins. I’m not entirely sure I understand the UFC booking this fight in Brazil where it seems like the local fighter will get beaten, but that’s the route they’ve gone. Perhaps that means the line on Bektic will be reduced, although his hype is significant, so anything short of -250 come fight time would be surprising to me. Julianna Lima has looked alright in her UFC tenure, and has only lost to a pair of the better strawweights on the planet in her MMA career, but I think this could be another case of a women’s bout where the younger fighter simply has too many skills for the older fighter to keep up. Lima’s game is getting fights to the ground and grinding them out, but Almeida is the more dangerous grappler, who will be dangerous even if she ends up on her back. I slightly lean towards Almeida here, but this isn’t a fight I’m interested in betting unless she ends up a big dog for some reason. Opening up the card is another undefeated European prospect, as Tom Breese will likely attempt to keep his streak of submissions going against Luis Dutra. Dutra is a fairly well-rounded welterweight, but Breese will have a significant size and grappling edge over him in this bout. Working with TriStar, Breese should also be improving the use of the reach his 6’3″ frame provides. Once the 23-year-old has refined those skills, he will be very difficult for welterweights to deal with, but what he has now may just barely be enough to dispatch of Dutra unless the Brazilian plays in his guard. It seems like the public fully expects that to be the case as well, as Breese is a popular pick and will likely be favored quite highly come fight time as well. I’m not that confident in him, but not sure how much I really want to have money on Dutra either.