Gray Maynard vs TJ Grant – Breaking Down The Lightweight Contenders Bout

TJ GrantThis weekend’s UFC 160 card coming from Las Vegas, Nevada puts the focus on the Heavyweights as champion Cain Velasquez defends his belt and former champ Junior dos Santos is in the co-main event, however a main card bout in the Lightweight division bears watching because it will produce the next challenger to Benson Henderson’s crown. Perennial contender Gray Maynard takes on TJ Grant in a bout that UFC President Dana White labelled a title qualifier at a recent press conference. Right now, Several Bookmakers has Maynard favored at (-210) with Grant returning (+175). Let’s take a look at the fight. Maynard has been absent from the octagon for a year now, as we last saw him winning a decision against Clay Guida in June of last year. He wasn’t particularly impressive in that outing, and he was coming off two title shots where he went 0-1-1 against Frankie Edgar. In that time frame, Maynard flirted with the idea of going to the Featherweight division, and he has gone through a change in training environment that has left him confident sticking at 155. When he is at his best, ‘The Bully’ is able to use his strength to manhandle and rough up opponents. TJ Grant may not be the right fighter for Maynard to return to. While Maynard was flirting with going to 145 lbs, Grant was coming to the Lightweight class from Welterweight, and his resume includes going the distance against some very skilled Welterweights (Johny Hendricks among them). It is unlikely that Maynard’s strength and physicality will be too much for Grant, who has weathered storms from much bigger men. What is more likely if Maynard comes out with a rush is that he will tire himself out and be susceptible to Grant in rounds two and three. Like Grant, Maynard has also faced and had success against fighters who have competed in the Welterweight division. However, Nate Diaz and Kenny Florian are hardly comparable in size to fighters like Hendricks or Dong Hyun Kim. For TJ Grant, Maynard is the best of the 155lbers he has faced, and he does need to beat a top guy like Maynard. Though as a welterweight Grant has fought several big names and gone the distance, he has failed to get that top notch, signature victory that people look for. Maynard gives him a former #1 contender and lines up a title shot for Grant, so expect the Canadian to be motivated. He has been flying under the radar so far in his UFC career, not getting a lot of attention, but at 29 years old entering his prime, he must feel that his time is now. Neither fighter is going to want to risk leaving the fight to the judges scorecards. Based on track record alone, Grant has finished a lot of fights by submission earlier in his career, while Maynard has never finished anybody with anything but punches. Both men can end the fight on their feet, but the submission game favors Grant as well. Before making a bet I want to wait and watch the weigh ins, to see if there is a difference in stature between the two. If it is noticeable that Grant is bigger, I would have to look at a last minute bet on the underdog.

Written by Miguel

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UFC 160 Opening Odds Breakdown: Lightweights Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant

UFC 160 Picks: Gray Maynard (-210) vs. TJ Grant (+175)