Glover Teixeira (20-2, 12 KO’s, 5 Subs) vs. James Te Huna (18-5, 10 KO’s, 3 Subs)
Glover Teixeira has a winning streak as long as your arm, with his most recent conquest in the cage coming over an aging Rampage Jackson. Teixeira landed big blows that wobbled the former UFC Lightweight champ and took him down effortlessly throughout the fight. It was a significant win for Teixeira but one that doesn’t convincingly answer whether or not he has the chops to compete at the elite level of the division and if we should back hims as one of our UFC picks.
At 31 years of age Te Huna is two years Teixeira’s junior and has a four-fight winning streak on the line. His last two fights have been decisions over Joey Beltran (Fight of the Night) and Canadian Ryan Jimmo. Te Huna, like his opponent, is a big banger but as the competition has stiffened his ability to knockout talented, battle-tested veterans has diminished as evidenced by his last two fights.
Te Huna is one tough SOB, fighting through broken bones and emerging victorious against both Igor Pokrajac in his UFC debut and again in his bout with Joey Beltran at UFC on Fuel TV on July 11th of 2012.
Though Teixeira may not “out-tough” Te Huna he will match him blow for blow with an arsenal of devastating strikes. But Te Huna does not have the mat skills of the BJJ black belt master and that is where the fight will be won. I see Teixeira raining blows from the mounted position and cutting the Kiwi up en route to a TKO.
Play Teixeira -280 at 5Dimes betting odds.
Gray Maynard (12-1-1, 2 KO’s, 0 Subs) vs. TJ Grant (20-5, 3 KO’s, 13 Subs)
When I watch a Gray Maynard fight I think it’s probably a good time to go the bathroom and refresh my beverage because he has a frustrating habit of taking his matches to the ground and languishing there. Anyone who watched his most recent snooze-fest against Clay Guida where Maynard earned yet another split decision will no doubt agree. Maynard’s style has effectuated the hue and cry from some segments of the MMA community that feel rule changes must be imposed to keep the fighters on their feet and the action moving. I disagree but we can debate that at another time.
However, that’s not entirely fair to Maynard because he was Frankie Edgar’s dance partner in an historic fight that saw both combatants earn Fight of the Year honors in their epic draw at UFC 125 for the lightweight championship in January of 2011. But that fight aside, he can still be a bore to watch as he suffocates opponents with superior wrestling and little of anything else.
TJ Grant is kind of that same guy. He has tremendous skills on the mat but is more inclined to look for a submission opportunity than Maynard who seems content to control the fight through his dominating (and frustrating) wrestling skills. Grant alternated wins and losses when he moved into the major leagues of MMA but then dropped down in weight class which has spawned a four-fight winning streak. His last match against Matt Wiman opened up a few eyes when he unleashed a torrent of elbows and strikes to KO the UFC journeyman.
The long and short of this fight is that Maynard is simply too good on the ground but that may not be enough for me to back him as a 2 to 1 favorite. While Maynard has exceptional wrestling skills, a large part of that advantage is his dominating power. He’s a lightweight fighter with middleweight strength but Grant is a beast himself.
Another aspect of this fight that must be considered is that Maynard has been aptly labeled a boring fighter. And if it’s one thing Dana White has no patience for is a tedious fighter whose methodology evinces boos from the crowd. Maynard may realize he has to stand and trade a bit more if he wants to get another title shot. That will play to Grant’s advantage.
Play TJ Grant +170 at 5Dimes in your U picks.