MMA returns to AXS TV this Friday night as Canada’s top MMA promotion, Maximum Fighting Championship, puts out their 37th offering, live from Edmonton, Alberta. The card’s main event was supposed to be for the vacant MFC Heavyweight Title between Smealinho Rama and Chris Barnett, but Barnett was unable to gain medical clearance and the bout was scrapped on Tuesday night. The headliner of the card will now be a bout between Bantamweight prospects Ryan Benoit and Anthony Birchak (it’s amazing what an interview on MMA Oddsbreaker can do to boost your stock). UFC veteran Jay Silva and former TUF contestant Sam Alvey will also square off, along with AXS regulars Mukai Maromo and Kurt Southern. Today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas released the opening lines for the main card over at Several Bookmakers. Check them out here: ——————– Anthony Birchak -125 Ryan Benoit -115 Jason Zentgraf -215 Luke Harris +165 Kurt Southern -135 Mukai Maromo +105 Sam Alvey -160 Jay Silva +120 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: The new main event on this card is extremely difficult to call, as both fighters have advantages in the bout, so it just depends on who can make the fight happen in their realm. Birchak should be the superior grappler, while Benoit will likely have a striking advantage. In the first two fights of the evening, the lines are close but I think both Southern and Alvey can use their wrestling and grappling games to carry themselves to victory over fighters who are more dangerous on the feet, but not as well-rounded. Southern and Maromo have actually fought previously, as the Canadian picked up a victory via first round triangle in that encounter. While Maromo has improved since that bout, his grappling still remains the biggest question mark in his game. Likewise, we briefly saw in the UFC the type of entertaining fighter Jay Silva can be when striking, but aside from that aspect of the game, he hasn’t offered a whole lot (submission victory over Kendall Grove or not). Alvey is in the mould of fighters who have given Silva problems throughout his career, and I expect that to continue here.