Fight Breakdown: Welterweight contenders Jake Ellenberger and Nate Marquardt clash in a featured matchup on the UFC 158 PPV card, with the winner of this bout taking a serious step up the 170lb ranks. Ellenberger is currently sitting a a -165 favorite (bet $165 to win $100), while Marquardt is a +145 underdog (bet $145 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Ellenberger (28-6) is coming off a victory over Jay Hieron to bounce back from a brutal KO defeat at the knees of Martin Kampmann at the TUF 15 Finale, a loss that cost Ellenberger the chance to fight for the UFC welterweight title. But with a 7-2 record overall in the promotion, with the only losses coming to Kampmann and top-ranked Carlos Condit, the 27-year-old Ellenberger is still in the mix and with a victory over Marquardt, he’ll definitely jump back into title contention. The owner of 22 stoppage victories in his career (17 T/KOs, five submissions), Ellenberger is definitely one of the most dangerous welterweights in the world, and if he can finish a tough vet like Marquardt, he’ll be making a serious statement that the fight with Kampmann was an aberration and that he’s ready to take the next step in his career.
Marquardt (32-11-2) is returning to the UFC after a 1-1 stint in Strikeforce where he knocked out Tyron Woodley to win the Strikeforce welterweight title last July, only to lose it in his first title defence to Tarec Saffiedine. But despite the loss to Saffiedine, Marquardt still remains a high-level fighter and if he can defeat Ellenberger, he’ll be right in the title mix himself. The owner of nine T/KO and 15 submission wins, the 33-year-old holds notable career victories over Kampmann, Demian Maia, and Rousimar Palhares, and adding a name like Ellenberger to that resume would be a huge statement, but there’s no doubt he’s going to be in for a war on Saturday night in Montreal.
Fight Prediction: I see this fight playing out similarly to a lot of Ellenberger’s fights, and that’s with him going for the kill against Marquardt in round one, only to tire himself out and become susceptible in the later rounds. And considering Marquardt’s experience going into the fourth and fifth round in championship-level fights, I think Ellenberger’s cardio concerns will play a factor in this fight as I see Marquardt being able to withstand the early onslaught, only to come back with a stoppage of his own in either late round two or early round three to pick up a huge win.
Adam’s Pick: Marquardt via TKO (click for latest UFC 158 odds)
Adam’s Recommended Play: To me this is a coin-flip fight, so I’ll take a stab at Marquardt and the + money to come through here with the slight upset. I wouldn’t recommend a big bet on this fight because I honestly could see it play out in many different ways, but a small bet on a veteran the calibre of Marquardt at +145 is a decent value play. Also take a look at the inside the distance prop, which is about +450.
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