UFC on FOX 8 Bet: Aaron Riley (+210) vs Justin Salas (-230)

Justin SalasLightweight bout: Aaron Riley (+210) vs Justin Salas (-230) Fight Breakdown: The Facebook prelims portion of UFC on FOX 8 brings a lightweight match-up between the veteran Aaron Riley and former NCAA Division I wrestler Justin Salas. Riley has risen to big underdog status at +210 ($100 to win $210), while Salas has become the favorable favorite at -230 ($230 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Aaron Riley (30-13-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) returns after nearly a two-year layoff due to a broken jaw he suffered against Tony Ferguson at UFC 135. It was the second broken-jaw of his UFC career; the first of which came at the hands of Spencer Fisher nearly eight years ago. Suffice to say, his chin, or jaw, if you will, is a concern. After two broken jaws, the third is likely one power-shot away; lucky for his jaw, he isn’t facing Ross Pearson or Takanori Gomi but instead a grinder who will likely be looking to take the fight to the ground. Aaron Riley has good takedown defense and can be threatening with his submissions. He doesn’t posess much power but he is a technical striker who can do damage. He throws good combinations and likes to trade punches. Riley is durable and although not an aggressive fighter, he is a real gamer. His most impressive career win came against former UFC featherweight Michihiro Omigawa at Pride Bushido 7 in Japan eight years ago; Omigawa is a fighter who is known for his solid chin and Riley was able to knock him out. Having the upper hand in fight experience and with coaches Greg Jackson and John Winkeljohn (of Jackson-Winklejohn MMA in Albequerque, NM., where Riley trains) in his corner, Aaron Riley will enter this bout confident in himself. Justin Salas (10-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is back after suffering his first UFC loss; a first round knockout at the hands of Tim Means at UFC on FX 6. A two-time All American and two time State Champion high-school wrestler, Justin continued his successful wrestling career at the University of Wyoming, where he was an NCAA Division I wrestler, until 2003, when he decided to quit school and wrestling and become a professional mixed martial artist. It proved to be a wise choice, as he’s made it to the big show with impressive performances on the regional circuit. Justin followed a three fight win streak with a string of victories over Joe Ellenberger (brother of Jake) and former UFC lightweight Rob Emerson, turning it into a five fight win steak and earning a call from Sean Shelby and the UFC. Salas has solid wrestling skills and great cardio, but a questionable chin, and not the greatest striking; he works to imrove his all around game at the Grudge Training Center in Denver, CO. Fight Prediction: Riley will try to keep this a technical stand-up fight, while Salas will be looking to hurt Riley in the clinch and against the cage, but mostly on the mat as he looks for takedowns. I don’t think Salas will find much success with his takedowns but he will probably get one or two. Riley will use his solid takedown defense to keep it standing for the majority of the fight, where he should have the edge. — Riley is one year older than Salas but has 44 pro fights under his belt to Salas’ 14. Only a year older and more than three times the fights. (40 more fights!) Salas started at 24 years of age, while Riley had a nine year head start, as he went pro at the very young age of 16. Some might say Salas is the fresher fighter and Riley has wear-and-tear, and others might say Riley has the experience advantage which benefits him. We’ll see who is right tonight when Riley & Salas step foot in the cage. — I can see Salas keeping up with Riley on the feet, but I don’t see him hurting Riley. If there is a knockout in this fight, I think it will be Justin Salas getting knocked out, likely from a head-kick. Gabe’s Pick: Justin Salas by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Over 2.5 rounds -140. I think this fight goes to the scorecards more often than these odds indicate. — I also recommend a small play on Riley +3.5 +125, and a little stab at Riley by KO/TKO +1200.

Written by Gabe Killian

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