UFC 168 Bet: Gleison Tibau (-160) vs Michael Johnson (+120)

ufc-155UFC 168 Date: December 28, 2013 Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena City: Las Vegas, N.V. Lightweight bout: Gleison Tibau (-160) vs Michael Johnson (+120) Fight Breakdown: The UFC 168 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 will feature a lightweight bout between the veteran Gleison Tibau, and The Ultimate Fighter season 12 finalist Michael Johnson. Tibau is currently the favorite in this match-up at -160 ($160 to win $100), with Johnson being an underdog at +120 ($100 to win $120) at Several Bookmakerss. GLEISON TIBAU (28-9 MMA, 13-7 UFC) is returning for his 21st appearance inside the Octagon, coming off of a split decision victory over former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner nearly four months ago. The win over Varner makes it two in a row for Tibau, who has been a bit of a journeyman in the UFC’s lightweight division. He has been steadily winning some and losing some; not putting many streaks together, be it by winning or losing. It may not sound like much, but that is saying quite a lot. For a fighter who has 20 UFC fights under his belt to be riding a two fight win streak certainly speaks volumes. The Brazilian has only suffered seven losses inside the Octagon. He has only been finished once, and that was by Joe Stevenson via his famous guillotine choke. Tibau has only lost to very talented fighters; Joe Stevenson and Tyson Griffin in 2008, when both were in their prime, he dropped a split decision to Melvin Guillard a year later, and then a unanimous decision to Jim Miller a year after that. Most recently, in two out of his past five bouts, he has dropped two controversial decisions to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Evan Dunham. It could be argued that he is currently on an eight fight win streak, since many feel he deserved the nod against both Nurmagomedov and Dunham. Tibau is a skilled fighter, all-around. His stand-up is solid, as is his ground game. He has a great submission game and is always a threat when the fight hits the mat. If he doesn’t find a submission, he settles for raining down heavy punches. Training out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, F.L., Tibau is very durable with decent cardio, a solid chin, and excellent submission defense. MICHAEL JOHNSON (13-8 MMA, 5-4 UFC) will be making his tenth appearance inside the Octagon, coming off of a very impressive performance against Joe Lauzon just over four months ago. Johnson dominated Lauzon for all three rounds of action, earning a convincing unanimous decision from the judges. Johnson’s offensive wrestling is average at best, but he showed great improvement in his defensive wrestling against Lauzon. His takedown defense has become very good, and even though he was submitted by Paul Sass and Reza Madadi, he has pretty good submission defense, as well. His best display of submission defense was in the third round in his fight against veteran Shane Roller. He spent the entire round with Roller on his back, but defended all submission attempts until the fight was over, and he went on to win a unanimous 29-28 decision, as he had clearly won the first two rounds. He was an underdog who upset Roller, and then again an underdog who upset Lauzon. Johnson has drastically improved his striking since Henri Hooft became his striking coach at the Blackzilians camp in Boca Raton, F.L. His footwork has improved, as well. He showcases excellent movement on the feet, uses his range well, and works a solid jab. Johnson is a well-conditioned athlete with a good chin who will be ready to go hard for all 15 minutes against the Brazilian veteran. Fight Prediction: You can never be too sure which Gleison Tibau will show up; the Tibau who coasted through his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov and lost a decision, or the Tibau who ran through John Cholish. Granted, different level opposition, but the point is one day he showed up to fight, and another day he didn’t. If he does show up, there is a chance he could convincingly beat Johnson, possibly even submit him. That said, I think Johnson will be very competitive in this fight, and could very likely outpoint Tibau. Regardless of who ends up getting his hand raised, I think more often than not, this fight will play out for all three rounds en route to a judges’ decision. Gabe’s Pick: Michael Johnson by Split-Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Over 2.5 rounds (-160) 3.2u to win 2u Make sure you are following me on Twitter @GabeKillianMMA, as I will likely have at least one more play for this fight after the props are released.

Written by Gabe Killian

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