One of the prelims at UFC 189 is a three-round welterweight bout between Cathal Pendred and John Howard. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Pendred is a -120 favorite (bet $120 to win $100) while Howard is a +100 underdog (bet $100 to win $100). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Pendred at -190 and Howard at +150, and money has come in on the underdog Howard. I disagree with the action on Howard as I believe Pendred will continue his winning ways and defeat Howard in this fight. Here’s why. Pendred (17-2-1) was a cast member of TUF 19, losing to Eddie Gordon on the show before being signed to the UFC anyways. The 27-year-old Irishman has taken the UFC by storm with a 4-0 record inside the Octagon with wins over Augusto Montano, Sean Spencer, Mike King and Gasan Umalatov. His victory over Spencer was highly controversial, however, and many consider that he lost that fight, but he did bounce back nicely against Montano his last time out. He took no damage in that fight and is filling in against Howard on short notice for Brandon Thatch, who was moved to a different part of the card. Pendred is a good grinder who knows how to win fights. He’s currently riding a 12-fight unbeaten streak in MMA and even though he’s been the underdog in most of those fights, he still finds a way to win. He has good wrestling, a good chin, and a big heart, and it’s getting him through the middle tier of the UFC welterweight division so far. As he moves up in weight he’s likely to get outstruck by elite strikers, but training with Conor McGregor as SBG Ireland he is working with a great striker who is helping him with his striking defence. Against Howard he will be looking to grind his opponent out, and despite the short notice I fee like Pendred is up for the challenge, and I expect him to improve to 5-0 after this fight is over. Howard (22-11) is 6-6 overall in the UFC including 2-3 in his second stint in the promotion, with wins over Uriah Hall and Siyar Bahadurzada with losses to Lorenz Larkin, Brian Ebersole an Ryan LaFlare. Howard was once a darkhorse contender at 170lbs but in recent years has really fallen off the map. He’s been outstruck and outwrestled in his last few fights and at this point it’s a question of whether or not her has anything left in the tank. He is currently riding a three-fight losing streak and with another loss will be cut from the UFC. Still, even with his regression you can’t take him lightly. He has knockout power, he has decent wrestling, and he’s always game. He was knocked out for the first time in his last fight against Larkin but otherwise in his career he showed a solid chin. He can still beat some welterweights in the UFC, but going up against a guy with as much momentum as Pendred, this just looks like a tough spot for Howard, and unless he has a perfect performance it’s hard to imagine him pulling off the upset in this one, making the line movement for this fight somewhat surprising. I think a lot of bettors are betting against Pendred in this spot because they just don’t like him. I know his style isn’t the most fun to watch, but the fact is the guy is a winner and gets his hand raised very often. Pendred has won four-straight fights in the UFC while Howard has lost three in a row. Momentum is key in this sport and right now Howard doesn’t have any while Pendred has a ton of it. Pendred fought a month ago and took no damage in his fight and wanted to get right back in there. Considering he had been training in Mexico, I’m not at all worried about his cardio despite taking this fight with Howard on short notice. I believe Howard is on his way out while Pendred is going to be a solid gatekeeper for a while. Based on Howard’s last few fights, he’s very susceptible to being outwrestled right now and Pendred is a decent wrestler. I beleive Pendred can grind on Howard and win at least two of the three rounds for a decision victory. I like Pendred in this fight and at -120 I do see enough value to make a play on him as I believe he should be a bigger favorite against a declining Howard.
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