UFC 192 Date: October 3, 2015 Arena: Toyota Center City: Houston, TX Flyweight bout: Chris Cariaso (+160) vs Sergio Pettis (-185) Fight Breakdown: The UFC 192 prelims on UFC Fight Pass will be featuring a flyweight contest between the veteran Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso and Duke Roufus product Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis. Both fighters are coming off six-month layoffs following sour defeats and now look to make the best out of an opportunity to return to the win column. The 34-year old Cariaso is a +160 ($100 to win $160) betting underdog heading into this scrap, with the 22-year old Pettis being favored to win at -185 ($185 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Chris Cariaso (17-7 MMA, 7-5 UFC) last saw action half a year ago, where he took a unanimous decision loss against Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, which followed a submission loss to UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in his bid for the gold. Now on a two fight skid, he looks to get back on track with a win over the up and coming Pettis brother. “Kamikaze” is a talented striker with very good kickboxing skills who puts together some solid combinations on the feet, including a nice 1-2. At times he is gunshy, but sometimes he is aggressive, which is when he’s most effective. He is not very quick on the feet, especially for a 125-pounder, so he will be at a speed advantage heading into this contest against Pettis. However, he does have excellent cardio and will surely have enough gas in the tank to go a full three rounds of action, if necessary. Cariaso has a good kicking game, prefering to attack the inside leg of his opponents, as well as delivering heavy shots to the body. He has a nice power kick off his back leg, which he is quite effective with. Despite generally being at a heigh and reach disadvantage, the 34-year old does an excellent job of finding his range and working it. He has a solid straight left and throws a beautiful right hook. The Strikeforce and WEC veteran is a tough fighter who isn’t afraid to take one to dish one. He is quite resilient and durable, and possesses a very good chin. His ground game is solid, as well, but nothing to write home about. He holds his own in the department, though prefers to keep things on the feet. His defensive wrestling skills have improved, so his takedown defense is solid, and when taken down, he does a good job of working his way back to his feet. Heading into this scrap tomorrow night on a two-fight skid, “Kamikaze” has his back against the wall and will look to leave up to his moniker, leaving it all inside the Octagon. Sergio Pettis (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) strung together two wins in a row in the UFC’s 135-pound division before dropping down to flyweight, where he was greeted by hometown underdog Ryan Benoit. Pettis was getting the better of “Baby Face” until getting knocked out during an exchange in the second stanza. Having now been out of action for half a year, he is eager to get back in the Octagon, then into the win column and start a run at 125-pounds. “The Phenom” is a talented striker with exceptional kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do skills. He works hard leg kicks, and loves going for the high kick, and does so with both his left and right. He is very effective on the feet in both southpaw and orthodox positions. Much like his brother, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, Sergio has a wide range of kicks in his arsenal; including some beautiful spinning attacks, like his spinning heel kick and spinning roundhouse kick. He uses a front-kick, as well, which I think is his weakest kick. Also like his brother, Sergio likes to improvise on the feet and often displays flashy maneuvers. He has good footwork, but does not always use it, though he does generally move around the Octagon pretty well. Pettis does a great job of cutting off the cage and he is very good at slicing angles and pressuring his opponents. He is very fast on the feet, but does not have very good head movement, and his chin is a bit of a question mark, however he does have good recovery. “The Phenom” has a nice uppercut, a solid straight right and an effective jab, which he often doubles up on. He puts together some great combinations on the feet, including a solid 1-2, which he used to knock-out Dillard Pegg at RFA 8, prior to signing with the UFC. He is a good counter-striker, however he has trouble getting on the inside of opponents who have a reach advantage over him. The 22-year-old’s takedown defense is average at best, but he is comfortable off his back. He has an excellent guard, and remains very active from the bottom position, attacking with strikes, as well as submissions. He makes great transitions on the mat and has an excellent submission game. Training out of Roufusport in Milwaukee, WI, under the tutelage of Duke Roufus, Pettis is a well-conditioned athlete who will be ready for 15-minutes of action tomorrow should, should the judges’ need to get involved. Gabe’s Call: Pettis by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Thoughts: I think Pettis is going to prove to be too much for Cariaso, whether the fight take place on the feet or on the mat. I think he is going to be too quick and too slick. I don’t like his chances of finishing Cariaso on the feet, but if Cariaso tries to grapple, I think Pettis has a decent chance of submitting him. I believe “The Phenom” should be a -400 betting favorite heading into this 125-pound scrap and love him for a play at his current offering price of -185. (It was -170 when I started working on this article, but -185 is still great) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Pettis (-185) 7.4u to win 4u
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