Two of the middleweight division’s most effective grapplers collide when Demian Maia tests the rapidly improving skill-set of Chris Weidman. On the under card, find out which Heavyweight successfully implements their right hand between John-Olav Einemo and Mike Russow.
Who ever put together the card for UFC ON FOX 2 was not playing around. We have already shared our UFC picks for the main events, but the rest of the card is stacked as well and deserves some attention. See who we like in the rest of the night's fights.
Maia vs. Chris Weidman
After Rousimar Palhares declined what would have been a
dream match-up between him and Demian Maia, the UFC was forced to scramble for
an equally sensational opponent for the division’s top grappler.
In steps 27 year old Chris Weidman. In 2011 the former
wrestler from Hofstra kept his undefeated record intact by defeating veteran
UFC fighters Alessio Sakara and Tom Lawlor.
Although Maia is clearly the more
accomplished grappler, Chris Weidman has shown one of the more adaptable
submission games at middleweight. In fact, after only a few years of training he
was able to stifle a renowned grappler in Andre Galvao. Choking out Tom Lawlor in
only his third UFC fight gives you a better idea of how quickly this kid has
progressed over at the Serra-Longo fight team.
That kind of natural progression was
bound to create some volatility in the line. On one hand we have a clearly defined
opponent in Maia and on the other hand we’re looking at a rapidly evolving
fighter in Weidman. UFC odds opened with Maia at +175 but has since been bet all the way down
to +130 at many sports betting shops. I personally caught the line on the way down at +160 but still see
value in a line that should be priced a lot closer to a coin-flip.
The real question is what happens
if they’re able to negate each others grappling and this turn into a 3 round
From there, you almost have to
favor Maia. Over the last few years Maia has really advanced his straight right
into a legitimate weapon. At this stage in their careers, his distance and
timing is simply a lot more refined than Weidman’s’. Maia’s superior pocket awareness
could very well be the deciding factor n this fight. As long as he avoids
gassing in the third round expect him to edge out a razor thin 29-28 decision.
Free UFC Pick: Demian Maia +134 (@ pinnacle.com)
Evan Dunham vs. Nik "The Carny" Lentz
Evan Dunham will attempt to
continue his journey back to the top of the lightweight division by taking on
wall-and-stall specialist, Nik Lentz.
Just yesterday the line opened at
-260 before the early money immediately pushed the line over -330. However there’s
since been a buy back on the public’s initial overreaction to the opener-- right
now the line is sitting at -285 on Evan Dunham. Personally I think giving
Dunham a 75% chance to win is a fairly accurate percentage. If anything, I’d look
to maybe include him in a few parlays with Chael Sonnen once the line drops another
20 cents or so.
Lentz’s only real option here is
to relentlessly pursue the takedown. He’s outclassed just about everywhere
else. Dunham has the more fluid combinations, possesses the better footwork for
creating punching angles and fights behind a taller/ more outstretched posture
-- gets a lot better extension on his punches which could be key against the
short, lazy hooks that Lentz loves to throw.
I think Dunham will set too fast a
pace for Lentz in this fight. He should be able to maintain his preferred
distance while picking Lentz apart from the outside. This could end up looking
a lot like Charles Oliveira’s recent destruction of Lentz back in June.
Free UFC Pick: Evan Dunham -273 (@sportbet.com)
Einemo vs. Mike Russow
On the heel of his fight-of-the-night performance against
Dave Herman, Norwegian fighter John-Olav Einemo makes a return to the
octagon against the constantly underrated Mike Russow.
So far this fight has shown some of the most back-and-forth
line movement on the card. Russow quickly jumped from -169 to -280 within the
first few hours of being released. We’re
currently being offered -230 on Russow, which is right around where I see the
line closing – give or take 15 cents.
This is another fight that could very well turn into a
striking match-up despite both fighters having a strong grappling base. Einemo
is clearly the better grappler but trying to drag down Russow against the cage
is no easy task. Though he briefly secured a takedown against Herman he was
unable to keep him there for longer than a few seconds.
Looking at their striking you’ll notice just how similar
they really are. Both guys really like to zone in on their overhand and
straight rights without using much set-up from the outside. Russow has more of
a lunging right that he likes to initiate the clinch with and also counter with
on the inside. In the Madsen fight, his right hand completely closed John’s
left eye, leading to a doctor stoppage at the end of the second.
Einemo on the other hand varies his attack with leg clicks
and knees form the clinch. His right hand is still the focal point of his
attack but it’s a bit more measured and balanced. Russow makes the mistake of over-extending
at times, leaving himself open for the counter.
The two biggest assets Russow has going for him is his
durability and conditioning. Einemo was dropped and subsequently finished by a
left hand in his last fight with Herman. Russow, however, it thought to posses
one of the more densely structure skulls at heavyweight. If anyone gets
finished with strikes in this fight you have to think its Einemo.
Still though, I can see Einemo’s length giving Russow a lot
more trouble than the line indicates. Russow would be wise to wear him out
against the cage early before eventually swinging freely with his right hand.
However at current UFC betting odds (+167) the values rest with the Norwegian.
UFC Pick: Jon Olav
Einemo +167 (@ sportbet.com)