On August 6th the UFC will touch down in Salt Lake City where Yair Rodriguez and Alex Caceres will lock horns inside the Octagon. Let’s review this matchup as well as a few others and cash in our UFC picks.
Yair Rodriguez (8-1, 2 KO's, 1 Sub) vs. Alex Caceres (12-8, 2 KO's, 5 Subs)
Yair Rodriguez is coming off the most impressive performance of his career which came courtesy of a flying head kick that resulted in a knockout of his most recent opponent, Andre Fili, at UFC 197 in April. That spectacular victory earned him a Fight of the Night performance and the TUF Latin American winner is now starting to make noise in the featherweight category.
Alex Caceres never had any formal martial arts training growing up but you would never know it when he showcases his skills inside the cage. Caceres is a charismatic fighter with a flashy arsenal of weapons at his disposal ranging from spinning heel and axe kicks to back fists and even Superman punches. The 28-year-old showman also has a decent grappling game and has the capacity to lock in submissions when the opportunity presents itself.
The issue with Caceres, besides his eight losses, is that he lacks the knockout power to accompany those silky smooth karate techniques. Here he will face off against an opponent at 145 pounds that is actually an inch taller than the 5'10” Miami native and boasts his own brand of striking skills but with more power behind them. Though the grappling advantage may go to Caceres I believe Rodriguez has too much overall skills to succumb to Caceres' takedown attempts and will win the day standing up. Caceres appears to be a stepping stone towards greater things for Rodriguez which is why we will include him in our UFC picks on August 6th.
UFC Pick: Rodriguez (No line available)
Dennis Bermudez (16-5, 4 KO's, 3 Subs) vs. Rony Jason (14-5, 5 KO's, 8 Subs)
This co-main event has the markings of the Rodriguez/Caceres fight in that it appears to be a match made to pad the record of the rising fighter. Rodriguez is the No. 8 ranked featherweight in the organization and appears to have a considerable edge over his opponent Rony Jason.
But I say, not so fast. Although Jason has but one win in his last four fights (one of which was a first-round submission that was overturned due to a banned diuretic) I believe he is giving up far less than public opinion would lead you to believe. Jason is a dangerous BJJ black belt who should mitigate the wrestling chops of Bermudez to a large degree and looked sharp in his last contest, which was the aforementioned first-round submission.
Both fighters have been battle-tested in the UFC and both were starched by knockout artist Jeremy Stephens. This fight is a coin flip in my opinion and we will side with the underdog when the UFC odds are released.
UFC Pick: Rony Jason (No line available).
Thales Leites (25-6, 4 KO's, 14 Subs) vs. Chris Camozzi (24-10, 7 KO's, 7 Subs)
The 34-year-old Thales Leites is a submission specialist with 14 tapouts to his credit. He had an eight-fight win streak before dropping his last two to middleweight champ Michael Bisping (split decision) and Gegard Mousasi (unanimous decision). He will now step down in class to face the ever-dangerous Chris Camozzi who has been triumphant in five of his last six matches.
Camozzi boasts a granite chin and has never been knocked out. I highly doubt that Leites is the man who will end that streak. Despite Camozzi's better than average ground game I don't believe it is on par with Leites. This should be an interesting tactical bout with Leites getting the decision.
UFC Pick: Leites (No line available).
UFC Record: 3-2