One of the main card bouts at UFC Fight Night 67 is a three-round welterweight bout between Alex Oliveira and KJ Noons. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Oliveira is a -130 favorite (bet $130 to win $100) while Noons is a +110 underdog (bet $100 to win $110). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Noons at -125 and Oliviera at -115, and the betting public flipped the line with Noons now being the underdog. I agree with the line flipping as I’m picking Oliveira to win this fight. Here’s why. Oliveira (10-2-1, 1 NC) is 0-1 in the UFC with a heartbreaking third-round submission loss to highly-touted prospect Gilbert Burns. The Brazilian took the Burns fight on very short notice and yet was highly competitive in it, being well on his way towards a decision win before Burns pulled a rabbit out of his hat in the final round. Oliveira is a dangerous, long-range striker. He’s nicknamed “Cowboy” and he could very well be the Brazilian of Donald Cerrone as he’s just a very fun, exciting fighter to watch. He has very good muay Thai and with eight knockout wins in his career clearly he’s a finisher. Oliveira is taking this fight on short notice, filling in for an injured Yan Cabral. However, unlike the Burns fight, which was a lightweight affair, this fight will be at welterweight, meaning his weight cut shouldn’t be as bad. And with a full tank of gas, he very well may be able to outlast Noons and get the first win of his UFC career. Noons (13-7, 1 NC) is a veteran of the lightweight division. The 34-year-old American fought the majority of his career for Strikeforce and EliteXC and came over to the UFC following the end of Strikeforce. Since entering the UFC, Noons is 2-1, 1 NC with wins over George Sotiropoulos and Sam Stout, a loss to Donald Cerrone and a No Contest against Daron Cruickshank. Noons is known for his highly-technical boxing attack and also his knockout power. For some reason people don’t consider him a finisher, but he has nine knockouts in 13 career wins so he definitely likes to finish his fights. However, he’s one of those guys who if he doesn’t get the finish tends to lose a decision. Out of his seven losses, five have come by decision, with most of them being competitive fights. With his striking and solid takedown defence, Noons is a tough out for most mid-tier lightweights, and makes for a very solid gatekeeper for young prospects like Oliveira to overcome before they take the next step in their careers. This should be a good fight that primarily takes place on the feet. It could be a “Fight of the Night” contender as it’s sure to be a standup war between two very talented strikers. Noons is the better pure boxer in the matchup and has more knockout power, but Oliveira has a longer reach and mixes up his strikes better. I don’t think either guy goes for takedowns, so I expect it to take place on the feet where I think it will be a close fight, and that definitely favors the Brazilian Oliveira in Brazil. I do think he gets the win here, my only hesitation is the short notice. I’m assuming Oliveira is in decent shape (he showed up to the Burns fight in good shape on short notice) so he should be ok to go the full three, but that short notice does scare me a bit. Still, I think he wins. Laying juice on Oliveira doesn’t seem like a great idea, but if the line drops down towards even or plus money, there will be enough value for a bet. For now, though, wait and see where the line goes.
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