UFC on FOX 9 Fight Breakdown: Urijah Faber (-145) vs. Michael McDonald (+125)

UFC-London One of the “Fight of the Night” contenders at UFC on FOX 9 is a bantamweight bout between “The California Kid” Urijah Faber and Michael “Mayday” McDonald. The current betting line for this bout at Several Bookmakers sees Faber as a -145 betting favorite (bet $145 to win $100) and McDonald as a +125 dog (bet $100 to win $125). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Faber at -160 and McDonald at +120, meaning the public is so far split on the outcome of this fight. I can see why the public is split on this bout because it should be competitive, but I am picking the underdog McDonald to pick up the victory. Here’s why. Faber (29-6) is one of the legends of the lighter-weight divisions. The 34-year-old California native is the former WEC featherweight champion and is arguably the biggest star that promotion ever produced. Ever since coming over to the UFC in 2011, Faber has gone 5-2 with wins over Scott Jorgensen, Eddie Wineland, Ivan Menjivar, Brian Bowles and Yuri Alcantara, with his only losses coming to UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao. Faber is an excellent wrestler with extremely slick submissions and solid standup. He is also extremely fast and athletic. In short, he is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC bantamweight division and that’s the reason he keeps getting these No. 1 contender fights. After picking up three wins so far in 2013, if Faber gets a fourth over McDonald, he will surely be next in line to fight the winner of UFC 169’s Cruz vs. Barao. And fighting in front of his hometown of Sacramento this weekend, you know he’s going to be motivated to beat McDonald and prove beyond a doubt that he is indeed the No. 1 contender. McDonald (16-2) is one of the most powerful knockout artists in the UFC bantamweight division. Only 22 years of age, McDonald has already racked up a 5-1 UFC record with big wins over Brad Pickett, Miguel Torres, Chris Cariaso, Alex Soto and Edwin Figueroa, with his only loss coming to the interim champion Barao. Armed with a ridiculously powerful punch and a strong submission game, McDonald is dangerous anywhere the fight goes. If there’s any flaw to his game, it is his wrestling, as he’s been placed on his back before, but considering he is only 22, he is improving at a rapid clip and thus one cannot assume that Faber will be able to plant him on his back consistently. And that’s exactly what Faber is going to look to do in this matchup, as surely he won’t want to stand and bang with a powerful striker like McDonald. What McDonald will have to do is either stuff Faber’s takedowns or threaten enough with submissions off his back that it scares Faber into standing and trading with him. If Faber chooses to do that, it could be a big mistake. I wouldn’t be surprised if Faber wrestled his way to a victory here, but I see edges for McDonald in power and youth, and I believe he can get the job done this weekend and continue to work his way up to another bantamweight title shot. So even though I think Faber is a great fighter and a legend of the sport, my pick is going to be the underdog McDonald, and I believe he will win this fight via KO. At +125, I see some value in McDonald as I am expecting him to get the win here, but I won’t go crazy on it since it’s a close fight and it wouldn’t shock me if Faber pulls off the win in his hometown of Sacramento. But I do think McDonald’s power will be the difference here, and since he is a dog, I’ll have to make a small play on “Mayday.” I will also be looking at the prop on McDonald wins via T/KO.

Written by Adam Martin.

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