UFC Fight Night 106 Play: Michel Prazeres (-245) vs Josh Burkman (+205)

Josh BurkmanUFC Fight Night 106: Belfort vs. Gastelum Date: March 11, 2017 Arena: Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste City: Fortaleza, Brazil Lightweight bout: Michel Prazeres (-245) vs Josh Burkman (+205) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 106 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 is set to kick off with a battle in the UFC’s lightweight division, in a rare “winner versus loser” matchup, as red-hot Brazilian Michel “Trator” Prazeres welcomes Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman to his home country in an effort to make it four straight wins for himself while handing Burkman his third consecutive defeat. Prazeres is a -245 ($245 to win $100) betting favorite heading into the contest, with the return on the underdog Burkman being +205 ($100 to win $205) at Several Bookmakers. Michel “Trator” Prazeres (21-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) last saw action at UFC Fight Night 96 nearly half a year ago, where he scored an upset unanimous-decision win over Gilbert Burns, making it three straight wins for himself inside the Octagon. He will aim to make that four on Saturday night when he squares off against Burkman. Prazeres is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and he is quite skilled in the submission game, owning eight of his 21 professional MMA victories by way of tapout. He works pretty good takedowns, especially his single legs and body locks. He really goes after the takedowns and is relentless in his efforts to cash in on them. “Trator” is not a skilled striker by any stretch of the imagination, so he relies on his grappling to win fights. However, he does swing heavy leather and does pack great power in his hands. He has a decent overhand right and is capable of stopping fights with his hands, despite owning only one career victory by T/KO. He will likely look to take this fight to the mat from the get-go, where he will try to initiate his offensive submission game. He is very strong and likes to control opponents on the mat, using his high level BJJ and incredible strength. Prazeres remains active on the mat, as he constantly searches for submission opportunities, especially chokes. He showed cardio issues early in his 155-pound career but has made improvements in that department, so I expect him to be ready for a full three rounds of action, if necessary. Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman (28-14-1 NC MMA, 6-9-1 NC UFC) was released from the UFC after going 5-5 in his first stint with the promotion and riding a three-fight losing streak. He went on a 9-2 run since his release, including posting a 4-1 record under the WSOF banner with wins over Jon Fitch, Gerald Harris, Aaron Simpson and Tyler Stinson. Burkman was brought back to the UFC for his second and current stint when the promotion was having trouble getting a welterweight on the roster to fight Hector Lombard. Burkman jumped in and lost the bout via unanimous decision, though the result of the bout was later turned into a No-Contest for a post-fight positive drug test by Lombard. He got his foot back in the door with that bout but has gone on an unfortunate 1-4 run since, with the lone victory coming at 155 pounds against Strikeforce veteran KJ Noons. Heading into this bout and coming off back-to-back losses, Burkman certainly has his back against the wall. He has no easy task ahead of him either, as he is traveling to enemy territory in Fortaleza to take on a Brazilian on a three-fight winning streak. The UFC and WSOF veteran throws heavy leg kicks and likes working both the inside and outside of his opponents legs. He also loves to employ his knees, especially when he has his opponents against the cage, and he is very vicious with them, always looking to do damage and earn a TKO stoppage. Burkman has a good chin, and likes to switch stances. The former middleweight is effective on the feet, but he tends to throw one strike at a time, and rarely puts together any combinations. Burkman has solid takedown defense, and when his back his put against the cage, he is very good at reversing positions and putting his opponents there, using a combination of strength and technique. He works solid takedowns of his own, including a nice double leg, and he does an excellent job of setting them up. He is also well-versed in the submission department, both offensively and defensively. The Salt Lake City native trains in high altitude at Pit Elevated in Orem, UT under the tutelage of John Hackelman, and he is generally well-conditioned, so he should be ready for 15 minutes of action against Prazeres, should this bout reach the judges’ scorecards for a decision. Gabe’s Call: Prazeres by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Thoughts: I think this lightweight contest hits the judges’ scorecards for a decision more often than not, where I think Prazeres takes the nod, especially in Brazil, more often than not. I think Burkman has a fair chance at scoring an upset decision in this spot, as I think he could potentially win two out of three rounds, and for that reason, I think the Total of Over 2.5 rounds at -225 is a safer option to Prazeres at -245, as well as the option with more value. I think Prazeres should be a -250 betting favorite, whereas I think the Total of Over 2.5 rounds should be -350. Both of these fighters are durable and tough to put away, so I think the judges will get to have a say in the outcome here. Gabe’s Recommended Parlays: Over 2.5 rounds (-225)

Written by Gabe Killian

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