Date: July 7, 2016 Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena City: Las Vegas, NV Heavyweight bout: Roy Nelson (-135) vs Derrick Lewis (+115) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event for UFC Fight Night 90 will be a heavyweight showdown between Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Derrick “The Blaat” Lewis, with Nelson being a slight -135 ($135 to win $100) betting favorite and Lewis being a small +115 ($100 to win $115) underdog at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Roy “Big Country” Nelson (21-12 MMA, 8-8 UFC) snapped a three fight losing streak at UFC Fight Night 82 five months ago with a unanimous decision victory over Jared Rosholt and he aims to make it two in a row against Texas’ Lewis. “Big Country”is known for his hard right hand, which is a vicious weapon that has put out the likes of Matt Mitrione, Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, Mirko Cro Cop, Dave Herman and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Nelson and his right hand are always a threat against anyone in the UFC’s heavyweight division. The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 winner is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and owns five wins by way of tapout, though he has not submitted an opponent since 2006. He does not possess the best takedowns, but when able to take opponents down and gain top position on the mat, he does a great job of remaining heavy and obtaining position. Training out of his home gym in Las Vegas,, NV, Nelson’s cardio seems to be hit or miss, but he is generally able to tough it out for 15-minutes, even if he is fatigued. Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (15-4-1 NC MMA, 6-2 UFC) last saw action nearly three months ago at UFC Fight Night 86, where he scored a first round knockout of veteran Gabriel Gonzaga, arguably the biggest victory of his professional mixed martial arts career. The win puts him at three in a row in the UFC’s heavyweight division, following a pair of TKO victories over Viktor Pesta and Damian Grabowski, respectively. He had long been wanting the “Big Country” fight, and he finally gets his wish and hopes to make it four straight with another highlight-reel finish. Lewis has arguably the most vicious ground-and-pound in all of mixed martial arts. In fact, five of his six T/KO victories inside of the Octagon have come via ground and pound stoppage. Gonzaga was the only opponent he finished standing. “The Black Beast” likes to implement kicks into his striking attack, often attempting a variety of them. While powerful on the feet, he does most of his damage in the clinch and on the mat. The Bellator and RFA veteran has solid boxing, and more importantly, melon-busting, bone-smashing, fear-instilling knockout power, as was evident with his aforementioned knockout of Gonzaga. His hands are the equivalent of Edson Barboza’s kicks, as they are amongst the most dangerous weapons in the UFC. Training out of the Silverback Fight Club in Houston, TX, I think Lewis’ cardio will be in check for a full three rounds of action, should this fight reach the judges’ scorecards for a decision. Gabe’s Call: Nelson by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Thoughts: This is a heavyweight fight between two heavy hitters so pretty much everyone expects it to end in the first round, likely in the first minute. Yes, I do believe that is a very likely outcome, but I do also think there is a good chance one or both of these guys opt to play it safe, which will result in a slower fight than many expected. I slightly favor Nelson to get his hand raised in this contest, either by T/KO or decision, but do not think there is betting value in him at his current offering price of -135. I think the betting value in this fight is in the Total of Over 1.5 rounds at +170, as I think that line should be set closer to coin-flip odds. Gabe’s Recommended Play: Over 1.5 rounds (+170) 1.5u to win 2.55u
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