One of the preliminary bouts at UFC 169 that I’m most looking forward to is a bantamweight bout between Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso an Danny “The Gremlin” Martinez. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Cariaso as a -150 betting favorite (bet $150 to win $100) while Martinez is a +130 underdog (bet $100 to win $130). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Cariaso at -280 and Martinez at +200, meaning so far the betting public likes the underdog Martinez to come through with the win. I don’t understand the love for Martinez in this matchup and at -150 I really like Cariaso to pick up the win this weekend. Here’s why. Cariaso (15-5) is an excellent striking with fantastic cardio and a tremendous heart. The 32-year-old is one of the smaller flyweights in the UFC, but he makes up for his short stature with a heart as big as any heavyweight. In his last fight against Ilirade Santos, Cariaso was down early to a bigger opponent but he showed his cardio is fantastic as he started to come on strong in the second round and take out his bigger opponent via devastating T/KO. Prior to that, Cariaso fought Jussier Formiga and although he was put on his back for the first two rounds, he mounted a late comeback in round three and likely would have won that fight via T/KO had the fight gone one minute longer. Overall he’s 5-3 in the UFC including his stint at bantamweight before the flyweight division opened, which is a very solid mark considering his level of opposition. Cariaso’s one big issue is that he has weak takedown defense and can be put on his back, and that’s Martinez’ game. But will Martinez be able to do that for 15 minutes? I don’t know if he can. Martinez (16-4) is making his official UFC debut. The 28-year-old competed on TUF 18, but lost in the elimination round to eventual finalist Davey Grant via submission. However, he caught the eye of UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby and is getting his chance now to fight in the Octagon. A solid wrestler with knockout power, Martinez has struggled to find fights on the regional circuit which is why his only fight in the last 13 months is his TUF exhibition bout against Grant. However, the reason he has struggled to get fights isn’t because he’s a bad fighter, it’s because he’s too good for the regional circuit and guys don’t want to take a matchup against him. His four career losses are to solid fighters: Mark Hominick, Joseph Benavidez, Jussier Formiga, and Canadian standout Adrian Wooley. All of those losses were by decision, too, meaning Martinez has never been finished in a pro bout. He’s a good fighter and UFC caliber but I just think his back is up the wall here coming in on such short notice and facing a vet like Cariaso, and I just can’t back him in this spot. Martinez is a solid fighter and deserves his chance in the UFC, but he doesn’t have the experience in the big show that Cariaso does. He’s also coming off over a year-long layoff not including his TUF exhibition bout and he took this fight on very short notice after an injury to Cariaso’s original opponent Kyogi Horiguchi. If Martinez had a full training camp, I might give him a better shot than I do but considering he only had a few weeks to train for this bout I can’t see his cardio being up to par. I don’t think that Cariaso is a true title contender but he should be able to defeat Martinez this weekend, and I see “Kamikaze” getting his hand raised by unanimous decision. At -150, I like Cariaso for a bet. I capped him much higher in this matchup against Martinez and I don’t understand why so much action has come in on Martinez considering all the factors going against him. Like any MMA fight, it’s not a lock or anything but I think there’s a lot of value on Cariaso at the current line and I will be playing him this weekend at UFC 169.