Nik Lentz The co-main event of UFC Fight Night 67 is a three-round featherweight bout between Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Oliveira is a -270 favorite (bet $270 to win $100) while Lentz is a +230 underdog (bet $100 to win $230). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Oliveira at -210 and Lentz at +160, and the betting public is all over Oliveira. This is a very competitive fight, but I view it more as a Pick ’em-type of fight, therefore I have to go with the dog Lentz considering the odds. Here’s why. Oliveira (19-4, 1 NC) is one of the top featherweights in the world. The 25-year-old Brazilian is 7-4, 1 NC in the UFC including a 5-2 record at 145lbs with wins over Jeremy Stephens, Hatsu Hioki, Andy Ogle, Jonathan Brookins and Eric Wisely, with his losses at 145 coming to Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson. Oliveira is one of the most skilled submission fighters in the entire sport. He has out-of-this world Brazilian jiu-jitsu and 11 of his wins have come by tapout. He has underrated wrestling and is able to drag the majority of his bouts to the mat. He’s also improving his striking, and in his career he has six wins by TKO. He’s simply of the the finest featherweights out there. However, he has shown some flaws in his career, mainly in his striking defence as he’s been finished a few times. He’s also struggled with making weight. He previously fought Lentz in 2010, a fight he won by submission but that was later overturned to a No Contest as Lentz was hit with an illegal knee that set the submission up. However, that fight was five years ago and both men have changed as fighters since then. The same thing that happened in the first fight could happen in this rematch, but it’s more likely it’s a different fight, and that’s why you can’t read too much into what happened the first time. Lentz (25-6-2, 1 NC) is one of the most underrated featherweights in the UFC. The 30-year-old American is 9-3-1, 1 NC in the UFC including a 4-1 mark at featherweight, with wins over Manvel Gamburyan, Hacran Dias, Diego Nunes and Eiji Mitsuoka with a loss to Chad Mendes. A grinding wrestler, Lentz is just a tough out for anyone in the division. His pace and relentlessness is unmatched by many in the division, and he has the cardio to keep it up for a full three rounds. He is one of the best in the world at getting top control and holding his opponents on the mat. He is not the best finisher but he is improving his BJJ and his ground and pound. His striking isn’t great, but training at American Top Team it is always getting better. Overall he’s just a very solid fighter. He hasn’t fought in a year, but provided he doesn’t show too many signs of ring rust, he should be able to be competitive in this fight and make it a tough night at work for Oliveira. I see this as being a very close fight and it’s a tough one to pick for me as I rate both men very highly. Oliveira is the more dynamic fighter and a far better finisher, but he can be controlled by a better wrestler and his toughness has been questioned by some in the past. Lentz, on the other hand, has little in the way of finishing ability but he does have an effective, grinding style that more often than not gets the job done. Since I expect the majority of the bout to take place on the mat, I could see Oliveira winning this fight by submission, but I have a feeling Lentz will be able to wriggle out of any submission attempts and I think his top control will give him the slight edge if this hits the scorecards. I’m not super confident in Lentz but I view this as Pick ’em fight and he’s available at +230. Therefore, I have to take a shot on him as I just think the odds are too good to pass up. I would also look for a prop on Lentz by decision, as that’s likely how he wins this fight.


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