UFC 156: Flyweight Breakdown & Prediction
Joseph Benavidez vs. McCall
A pair of flyweight title contenders will square off at UFC 156 as Joseph Benavidez takes on Team Oyama’s Ian Mccall.
Surprisingly, after initially opening at -185 on the UFC odds boards, Benavidez has been on a rapid climb at the sportsbooks, reaching -300 over at 5dimes within the first week of release.
Seeing as how overpriced Benavidez turned out to be in his last fight, where he was a -250 betting favorite over Demetrious Johnson, I see a similar occurrence here against someone like Mccall who’s quite capable of matching him skill for skill in this match.
In fact, from what I’ve seen, he not only throws the more effective combinations, but also stays busier with an active kicking game. These are two advantages that are easily capable of being the difference in a close decision if this fight makes it to the cards.
Benavidez’s issue on the feet stems from his tendency of excessively falling in love with the power in his right hand. He tends to leave the more glaring opening and gets caught with his hands out of his position a lot more than he should. And while he may have the better wrestling on paper, it’s hard to envision either guy having much success with their takedown game. In fact, you can argue Mccall actually did a superior job of stuffing a common opponent, Demetrious Johnson’s, takedowns.
Once again I think we’re faced with an opening line that was fairly accurate but has since been heavily swayed the wrong way by faulty public opinion. At +229, look for Mccall to keep it close for all 3 rounds and possibly steal a close split decision.
UFC Pick: Ian Mccall +229
Tyron Woodley vs. Jay Hieron
Former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tyron Woodley is set to make his UFC debut against long time MMA veteran, Jay "The Thoroughbred" Hieron.
Despite losing his belt this past July against Nate Marquardt , Woodley’s performance in that fight suggests at a bright future going forward in the UFC. At this stage of his career, his biggest issues appear to be trusting the power and speed in his own hands, and staying defensively cautious when he does throw more than a single shot at a time.
From his KO over Marcos Galvao to dropping Marquardt with a punch in the 3rd round, the potential for Woodley to evolve into an elite striker have been clearly demonstrated in the past.
However, the biggest concern for Woodley against Jay Hieron is dealing with his opponent’s superior range and boxing technique on the feet.
While his recent matches with Rick Hawn, Jake Ellenberger and Ben Askren were all close decisions, there’s actually a strong case to be made for Heiron being undefeated over the last 7 years. Though his last fight with Ellenberger was fairly underwhelming, all three rounds were extremely competitive- a clear feat considering he closed as a +266 underdog in that match
If either fighter in this match-up opens as a +130 or higher underdog, I think you almost have to side with the dog with your UFC picks. However, until an official line is released, I’m siding with Woodley’s youth and power by a slim margin in this match-up.UFC Pick: Tyron Woodley