MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Varner/Trujillo, Martins/Caraway Booked

Bryan Caraway The UFC yesterday announced two new bouts for upcoming fight cards, and for today’s MMA Odds and Ends I’ll give my initial thoughts on both of them. UFC 169: Jamie Varner vs. Abel Trujillo The first new matchup is a lightweight bout that will kick off the UFC 169 PPV card between Jamie Varner and Abel Trujillo. Varner is taking the fight on short notice following the withdrawal of Bobby Green due to injury. Although I loved the Green vs. Trujillo matchup, I really like Varner vs. Trujillo as well and I believe that “C4” is the perfect test for “Killa” at this point of his UFC career and if Trujillo can win, he’ll get a top-10 opponent his next time out. Trujillo showed massive improvements in his standup in his last fight against Roger Bowling at UFC on FOX 9, and if he can bring that sort of striking into the fight against Varner, he’ll have a very good chance at stopping the tough former WEC lightweight champ. As for Varner, his best path to victory will be to utilize his wrestling and get Trujillo to the mat, where he’s at his weakest. Trujillo showed very poor takedown defence in his fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, and though I’d rate Varner as a lesser MMA wrestler than “The Eagle,” he still has some decent takedowns. As for the line, I’m thinking that Trujillo opens as a slight favorite here due to all the hype surrounding him following his huge win over Bowling. It won’t be much, perhaps -150 or less, but I would be pretty surprised to see Trujillo at dog money in this matchup. UFC 170: Lucas Martins vs. Bryan Caraway The second new matchup is a bantamweight bout between Lucas Martins and Bryan Caraway that will take place on the UFC 170 card in February in Las Vegas. I really like this matchup and it will tell us a lot about Martins, who looked absolutely outstanding in his bantamweight debut against Junior Hernandez, rocking him with strikes before taking him to the ground and submitting him with a rear-naked choke. However, that fight only lasted a few minutes, and we still don’t know how Martins’ cardio will hold up over the course of a three-round fight, especially against someone with strong cardio like Caraway. Even though a lot of people dislike Caraway because of his personality, I think he’s a great fighter and deserves respect for his skills inside the cage. He’s an excellent submission artist and overall pretty well rounded, and I think he’ll be really hungry to get in the W column after seeing his girlfriend Miesha Tate lose to Ronda Rousey at this past weekend’s UFC 168 event. As far as the line goes, I think Caraway has to be the favorite here, but the line will likely be pretty tight since overall Caraway gets little respect from bettors while Martins gets a lot. So I’m thinking around -180 or so as my initial guess as to what the line will be. Either way, two great new matchups, and I’m really looking forward to MMA in the new year.

Written by Adam Martin.

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