It’s like Christmas has come early. Ultimate Fighting Championship is heading to Brazil for UFC Fight Night 29, and despite there being four debuting fighters on the card, the only Brazilian name unfamiliar to fans will be that of Allan Patrick, which isn’t really Brazilian at all. There’s still plenty of Brazilian content on this card, however, as 13 men will be fighting on home soil on October 9th. The event is headlined by a pair of Welterweight bouts, as Demian Maia continues his quest to get a title shot in a second weight class in UFC while another former title challenger, Jake Shields, stands in his way. Dynamic Brazilian Erick Silva also looks to continue his rise up the 170 lb. ranks, but Dong Hyun Kim travels over from South Korea in an attempt to provide a road block to that plan. The lines for those two bouts had been released recently, as Maia opened a -245 favorite (bet $245 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers and has climbed up to -270. Shields opened at +175 (bet $100 to win $175) and is now +230, so the early action has been on the Brazilian. An even more drastic shift has taken place in the co-main event, as Erick Silva opened as a -175 favorite, with the comeback on Kim at +135. The line now stands -260 to +220 in favor of the Brazilian. Today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the remaining main card lines for UFC Fight Night 29 at Several Bookmakers. Take a look (new lines are in BOLD): ——————– MAIN CARD (Previously Opened) Demian Maia -245 Jake Shields +175 Erick Silva -175 Dong Hyun Kim +135 Thiago Silva -285 Matt Hamill +205 Fabio Maldonado -190 Joey Beltran +150 Mike Pierce -190 Rousimar Palhares +150 TJ Dillashaw -265 Raphael Assuncao +185 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Just Released) Igor Araujo +235 Ildemar Alcantara -315 David Mitchell +180 Yan Cabral -260 Chris Cariaso +120 Iliarde Santos -160 Garett Whiteley +225 Alan Patrick -305 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Normally I’m able to break down the betting angle on a fight before I even see the opening line, but the opening three fights on this card are a little befuddling. First, Raphael Assucano has historically been the more polished striker and the better submission grappler than TJ Dillashaw, but the Alpha Male product has shown vast improvement in his game since his time on The Ultimate Fighter, and has a slight wrestling edge over the Brazilian. The gap between these two fighters that would have been present a couple of years ago simply isn’t there anymore, and I think if there’s a high plus number on either based on public action it could be worth a play. At this point, I do like Assuncao. The Welterweight clash between Mike Pierce and Rousimar Palhares is a bit more clear, but Palhares is an enigmatic fighter, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he rips a leg off of Mike Pierce. More likely however would be Pierce making another fighter look startlingly bad and perhaps putting Palahares away late as the Brazilian fades from his first cut down to 170. If you can get Pierce at or near even money, I say jump on it. The strangest and most difficult of these fights to decipher is that between Fabio Maldonado and Joey Beltran. Neither fighter has any particularly impressive wins in the UFC, with Beltran’s victory over Igor Pokrajac (since overturned) probably being the best of the bunch. My lean is for Beltran to make this another ugly fight against the cage and wear Maldonado down over three rounds. These two men are two of the toughest fighters in the UFC, and I see a stoppage being unlikely, so Beltran and the fight going over 2.5 or the full distance could be viable plays. Finally, you have to think that the rejuvenated Thiago Silva should be able to get some serious work done against a man who is basically a part-time fighter in Matt Hamill. Silva’s three career losses have come against Alexander Gustafsson, Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida, and he has dispatched of almost all of his other opponents with relative ease. If Hamill has a path to victory in this fight, it’s pushing Silva up against the cage and grinding out a decision, but the Brazilian’s striking should be enough to keep the distance and damage Hamill when he tries to come in. At this point, I don’t like a bet on the fight, and I’ll probably stay away all together. ——————– Update: The most appealing line out of the prelim openers is Yan Cabral at -260 over David Mitchell. Both men are submission grapplers at heart, and neither has much of a skill set outside of that. The reason that Cabral looks good here is because he is the better grappler. His Judo base — and Mitchell’s willingness to fight from his back — should give him a slight advantage in terms of obtaining top position, and from there I don’t see him being threatened with subs from the bottom. Either a Cabral submission or wide decision is what I expect here. The other line of interest is in the Iliarde Santos/Chris Cariaso bout. To me, this fight depends on Santos’ gameplan. We saw against Ian McCall that he has serviceable striking, but Cariaso is a fighter who can give opponents serious issues with his angles and kicking game. If this stays on the feet, Cariaso at underdog money is an interesting play, but if Santos pursues a wrestling gameplan, he should be able to pick up the win. So how confident are you in Santos’ fight IQ?