UFC ON FOX 10: HENDERSON VS. THOMSON Date: Jan. 25, 2014 Location: Chicago, Il. Broadcast: FOX UFC Heavyweight Stipe Miocic (-210) Profile: Ohio native Stipe Miocic (10-1) was bred for MMA. A former Golden Gloves champion, Miocic supplemented his stand up skills with NCAA Division I wrestling, and started his MMA career 10-0 with nine knockouts, blazing a path through the lower ranks of the UFC heavyweight division. His winning streak was broken when he met with Stefan Struve in a Fight of the Night effort in September 2012, ending in Miocic getting knocked out late in the second round after a brutal series of strikes to the head. Miocic may not have many fights relative to his age, but he’s a skilled competitor who is a sort of ‘next big thing’ at heavyweight if he can string another few wins together. His hands are deadly, he can nullify very good ground games, and he has improved his gas tank immensely. Miocic looked reborn as a new class of fighter when he dominated Roy Nelson at UFC 161, and if he can defeated Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC on FOX 10 he will be near a title shot. UFC Heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga (+160) Profile: Known outside of his UFC title run and elite grappling credentials mostly for his knockout of the decade over Mirko Cro Cop in 2007, Gabriel Gonzaga (16-7) has been an on-and-off force in the heavyweight division. After losing three out of four fights from 2009 through 2010 in the UFC, Gonzaga called it quits on his MMA career for a while for a while, then reignited his fire to compete and was welcomed back into the organization in 2012. The 34-year-old Brazilian submitted Ednaldo Oliveira at UFC 142 via rear-naked choke in his return and followed that up by submitting Ben Rothwell by guillotine choke a year later. Gonzaga was riding a huge wave of confidence, returning to the UFC 2-0, but his path of destruction would hit a speedbump in the form of current title contender Travis Browne, who would knock out Gonzaga in the same fashion he knocked out Josh Barnett, with elbows to the side of the head in rapid fashion, while his opponent attempted a takedown against the cage. Gonzaga would bounce back in hugely impressive fashion, however, knocking out Dave Herman in 17 seconds at UFC 162, then knocking out Shawn Jordan at UFC 166 in 93 seconds as ‘Napao’ finished 2013 strong. Opening UFC Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Miocic a -210 betting favorite (bet $210 to win $100), while Gonzaga opened as a +160 underdog (bet $100 to win $160) at Several Bookmakers. Miocic is coming off the biggest win of his career over Roy Nelson and many thought he’d open as a bigger favorite over Gonzaga in this spot, but “Napao” matches up relatively well with Miocic and it makes sense the line is around 2-to-1 for the opener. Having said that, I believe that Miocic’s combination of a long reach and a superior gas tank, plus Gonzaga’s poor chin, will help him pull off the victory, but Gonzaga has been counted out quite a bit lately and has come through with flying colors almost every single time. This is going to be a good fight, and like most heavyweight fights I think it will ultimately come down to who connects on their opponent’s chin first,and if I had to pick that fighter it’d be the younger, faster Miocic.