Bookended by a pair of strange cards from the UFC and Bellator, Saturday night’s WSOF 28 completes what could be the busiest non-consequential MMA weekend of the year. Of course, bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes defends his title against the latest challenger the organization has plucked to step in to the buzzsaw of striking that holds their belt. Another seemingly one-sided Moraes fight aside, this card feels more like a WSOF undercard than the real deal. Russian prospect Timur Valiev — who should probably be the one facing Moraes in the main event — instead squares off with a fighter who could easily built up to title contention in Chris Gutierrez. Valiev has posted four straight wins since debuting in WSOF, including a brutal knockout of Bellator veteran Ed West. Gutierrez brings his own six-fight winning streak into the match, where his two most recent victories have come over Zuffa veterans Bendy Casimir (who fought at 145 in the WEC) and Aaron Phillips (who recently went 0-2 with the UFC). The other two fights on the main card are in the welterweight division. Ozzie Alvarez takes on Andrew Ramm, and TUF vet Jamie Yager faces Tom Gloudeman. With the odds already released for the main event (Moraes -855, Joe Barajas +485) MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas proceeded to open the remaining lines today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check them out: ——————– MAIN CARD (NBC Sports Network, 9pm ET) WSOF Bantamweight Title Joe Barajas +485 Marlon Moraes -855 Over 2.5 -150 Under 2.5 +110 — Chris Gutierrez +325 Timur Valiev -475 Over 2.5 -190 Under 2.5 +150 — Tom Gloudeman +335 Jamie Yager -505 Over 1.5 +150 Under 1.5 -190 — Andrew Ramm +170 Ozzie Alvarez -230 Over 1.5 -170 Under 1.5 +130 — ——————– Brad’s Analysis: I expect Marlon Moraes to once again piece up another overmatched foe on the feet. Barajas is 12-1, but much of that record was accumulated in Gladiator Challenge and Xplode MMA, so it’s safe to assume he hasn’t been facing the best competition. As soon as he stepped up his level of competition, he was submitted by Sirwan Kakai in Titan FC. Moraes is well beyond the threat Kakai presented him with, and anything other than a dominant win for the champ has to be seen as something of a disappointment. Valiev is definitely the real-deal as a prospect, but this is the most interesting challenge of his career thus far. Gutierrez has faced better competition than Valiev at this point, and looked impressive in doing so. He seems to have a well-rounded game, with the ability to strike from either stance, and break an opponent down with low kicks. Whether he’ll be able to find Valiev through all of the Russian’s movement to damage him is going to be the question, but he should at least make this fight interesting on the feet. Against most opponents, Valiev would be a simple parlay add, but not against Gutierrez. Here’s some superb technical analysis for you. Ozzie Alvarez has muscles and seems to hit hard. Andrew Ramm has all of his wins by submission. Neither is a prospect, and I have a hard time seeing why this fight is going to be nationally broadcast. Maybe we get something spectacular, but more likely it’s just a regional MMA level fight where one of these two does what he’s good at. I have no idea who that will be though. Probably Alvarez. Muscles. Jamie Yager is a fighter who struggles mightily if he can’t finish his opponent early. He also spells his nickname (“The Chosyn 1”) with a “y” and a number rather than proper words. He’s also coming off of a three-year layoff. That’s a lot to overcome. Luckily for him, Tom Gloudeman isn’t a world-beater, has been stopped in all five of his losses (four of those in the first round), and is a much smaller fighter. If there was a time for Yager to look impressive, this would be it. I have no faith in him though. If people want to get crazy, I’ll take a +300 or higher shot that Yager gasses and wants to get out of there though.
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