UFC on FOX 9 Fight Breakdown: Court McGee (-120) vs. Ryan LaFlare (-120)

Court McGee The featured preliminary card bout at UFC on FOX 9 is an exciting welterweight bout between Court “The Crusher” McGee and Ryan LaFlare. The current betting line for this bout at Several Bookmakers is a Pick ’em, with McGee and LaFlare each listed at -120 (bet $120 to win $100). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up McGee at -160 and LaFlare at +120, meaning the betting public is so far leaning towards LaFlare. I disagree with the early action on this fight as I see McGee picking up the victory. Here’s why. McGee (16-3) won season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter and thus far has gone a solid 5-2 in the UFC, including a 2-0 mark since dropping down to the welterweight division. The 29-year-old used to be a grappler, but in recent years he has turned over to an exciting, volume-striking based style in the vein of the Diaz brothers and it’s sure worked out well for him as he’s picked up consecutive victories over Robert Whittaker and Josh Neer at 170 pounds. In both of those fights, McGee three over 300 strikes, which is an absolutely insane amount of strikes and the main reason why the judges gave him the nods in both of those bouts. A well-rounded fighter with solid striking, grappling, cardio and a good chin, McGee has what it takes to be a contender at 170, and if it can get past LaFlare, he will get a step up in competition. LaFlare (9-0) made his UFC debut earlier this year and has since gone 2-0 with decision wins over Santiago Ponzinibbio and Ben Alloway. The 30-year-old is a wrestling-based fighter with solid fighting, and just like McGee he uses a volume attack in order to overwhelm his opponents and pick up points on the judges’ scorecards. I actually really like LaFlare a lot and have been betting on him thus far in his UFC tenure, but I believe he may be taking a big risk by taking this fight against McGee after fighting Ponzinibbio just last month in what was a three-round war. That’s not to say he can’t win this fight — he certainly has all the tools to grind out a decision win — but a combination of a number of factors leads me to believe that he will not be successful in this particular matchup, and that he will end 2013 on a losing note. Although McGee and LaFlare are similar in many ways and this is a pretty even matchup on paper, I hate the fact that LaFlare took this on such short notice after his last fight. And so with the full camp, on top of his already excellent cardio, I think McGee is going to have a bit more gas in the tank in this one, and get the job done via decision. At -120, I believe there is a bit of value in McGee as I personally capped him at -130, and so I have to make a play on “The Crusher.” If for whatever reason he drops down to an underdog, I’ll have to make an even bigger play, but I don’t think we will get plus money on McGee. I am also considering a play on OVER 2.5 rounds, which is currently -210, as I see this bout hitting the judges’ scorecards most of the time.

Written by Adam Martin.

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