UFC Fight Night 29 Sneak Peak: Mike Pierce (-300) vs. Rousimar Palhares (+220)

Rousimar Palhares One of the more intriguing matchups scheduled for UFC Fight Night 29 is a welterweight bout between Mike Pierce and Rousimar Palhares. The fight will be “Paul Harris’s” 170lb debut. The current betting line at Several Bookmakers lists Pierce as a -300 favorite (bet $300 to win $100), while Palhares is a +220 dog (bet $100 to win $220). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened Pierce at -190 and Palhares at +150, meaning the public really likes Pierce in this fight and I have to agree with them, as I see the American winning as well. Here’s why. Pierce is one of the most underrated fighters in the welterweight division, if not the entire UFC. Although he is dreadfully boring to watch, his grinding wrestling style wins rounds and Pierce has won nine fights in the Octagon, including his last four in a row. It should also be noted his hands are coming along and he has two TKO wins over his latest winning streak, although I still believe he’s a below average striker. Regardless of how unpretty he is to watch, this man knows how to get his hand raised and he’s a guy who your money is usually safe with. And that’s a guy that I like to bet on. As for Palhares, he’s an enigma in every definition of the word. One of the strongest fighters in the UFC, Palhares will be making the cut to 170 pounds for the first time and that’s a huge red flag for me as he relied on his muscle and strength at 185 to get his signature heel hook and knee bar wins. Not saying his BJJ won’t be any good at 170, but I think he might be slightly less effective with his own style of jiu-jitsu since he is a leg lock specialist and his upper body strength was what allowed him to really crank the ankles, knees, and heels of David Branch, Mike Massenzio, and Tomasz Drwal. To make 170, I’m expecting Palhares to come in with less muscle, and against another strong wrestler in Pierce, I don’t think this is a favorable debut welterweight match for him. As well, Palhares is coming off of a drug suspension for PEDs which is always a massive red flag. I like to bet against fighters who have tested positive for PEDs, and going up against one of the most well-conditioned athletes in the division in Pierce, I think this is an even worse matchup for “Toquino.” This is an important fight for both men as the winner may very well be cut from the roster. In Palhares’ case, he’s lost his last two fights by knockout and a positive drug test is also a black mark against him, so a third-straight loss will likely see his exit from the UFC. As for Pierce, the UFC has gotten rid of grinders like Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami as of late so Pierce could definitely be on the hotseat if he loses to Palhares in boring fashion. However, I don’t think Pierce has much to worry about. I think he matches up well with Palhares and I see him winning this fight by either TKO or decision. At -300, I think Pierce is worth a spot in parlays, and I will play the TKO prop if it’s at over +200, as well.

Written by Adam Martin.

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