It will be the first time a flyweight not named Demetrious Johnson will headline a card as rising stars Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno will do combat inside of the Octagon as both will jockey for the inside track to a title shot against Mighty Mouse.
After a fully loaded UFC 214, things come back down to earth when the Ultimate Fighting Championship heads to Mexico City for UFC Fight Night. Although there isn’t a ton of star power on the card, there are a few intriguing lines that may be worth wagering. Let’s take a look, shall we?
The main event is intriguing from a fan’s perspective. Both Moreno and Pettis are looking for their fourth consecutive win and have been extremely impressive during their respective UFC flyweight runs. Moreno has been the apple of everyone’s eye as of late as he has registered wins against Dustin Ortiz, Ryan Benoit and Louis Smolka during his tenure in the UFC. He’s a submission specialist and has registered 10 wins out of 17 fights via submission during his pro career. As for Pettis, dropping down to flyweight has proven to be the right move considering that he has three straight victories over John Morage, Chris Kelades and Chris Cariaso during his four fight run. Though not as eye opening as Moreno’s run, it still proves that the 23-year-old is finally finding his footing as an MMA fighter.
Moreno is the rightful favorite at -170. However, the line is a bit too wide to generate any real interest. Pettis is a live underdog at +150 but this fight is a difficult one to pick a winner. Pettis has yet to register a submission or KO/TKO victory during his current run in the division while Moreno has, for the most part, given the judges a night off. They do have a common opponent in Ryan Benoit — Moreno won by split decision while Benoit TKOed Pettis — but MMA math never really adds up. I like Moreno here but not enough to take him at -170. But it may be worth a look at picking this fight to finish inside of 2.5 rounds. The line is currently at +140. You may be wise to pair Moreno winning and the fight going less than 2.5 rounds if you’re interested in doubling down on the white hot Moreno. Otherwise, play it safe and bet Moreno and the over as Pettis should be fairly cautious and look to weather the early storm.
Also of interest is unbeaten Niko Price coming in as a +145 underdog against Alan Jouban (-165). It’s a serious step up in competition for Price, who saw his last KO victory against Alex Moreno overturned when Price tested positive for marijuana. He’s only gone the distance once in 10 professional fights and has a pair of heavy hands. Oddsmakers are likely siding with the experience of Jouban but I’ve gotta go with Price on this one. Jouban was recently submitted by Gunnar Nelson and has struggled with top tier competition. Price may not have the name recognition of his opponent, but he'll likely put the division on notice with an impressive victory.
Rashad Evans has been backsliding for the past couple of years and is looking to end his three fight losing streak when he faces Sam Alvey in a middleweight showdown. Although Evans is at +115 and Alvey is around -135, your best bet here is that this fight goes the distance. Evans' striking hasn't looked sharp so it is likely that he'll look to simply secure a victory and utilize his wrestling against Alvey. As for Alvey, he isn't a devastating finisher so expect this fight to go over 2.5 rounds at -175.
Keep a very close eye on the Dustin Ortiz vs. Hector Sandoval flyweight bout. Ortiz has struggled lately with a 2-4 record in his last six fights. However, despite his spotty showings, he still enters the fight with Sandoval as a -230 favorite. Sandoval doesn’t have a recognizable name but he certainly comes from a gym everyone knows in Team Alpha Male. Sandoval may not hold a victory over a top ten flyweight (he lost to Wilson Reis at UFC 201) but Ortiz simply hasn’t impressed in his past few fights, albeit against tougher competition. Nevertheless, a +190 line for Sandoval is very tempting here and worth a wage