UFC 170 Fight Breakdown: Mike Pyle (-190) vs. TJ Waldburger (+165)

Mike Pyle One of the main card bouts at UFC 170 is an exciting welterweight contest between Mike “Quicksand” Pyle and TJ Waldburger. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Pyle as a -190 betting favorite (bet $190 to win $100) while Waldburger is a +165 underdog (bet $100 to win $165). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Pyle at -165 and Waldburger at +125, indicating there has been some early action on the favorite. I agree with the early line movement as I am also picking Pyle to win this fight. Here’s why. Pyle (25-9-1) is one of the gatekeepers of the UFC welterweight division. The 38-year-old striker and BJJ brown belt is 8-4 in the UFC with wins over Rick Story, John Hathaway, and Ricardo Almeida, just to name a few, and he also holds a notable career victory over Jon Fitch. As well, most of his career losses have come to top-ranked fighters such as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Jake Ellenberger, Jake Shields, and Rory MacDonald, although once in a while he has a flakey fight like when he was submitted by Brock Larson in his UFC debut. However, Pyle has really become more consistent in recent years, and at 38 appears to be the best version of “Quicksand” that we’ve ever seen. The owner of three knockout wins over his last five outings, Pyle’s muay Thai attack has improved tenfold and as long as the UFC doesn’t book him against top-10 talent on the rise, the fighter/actor seems to come through with the win more often than not. That bodes well in his fight this weekend against Waldburger, who is about as middle-of-the-pack in the UFC as one can be, and whose main strength (BJJ) is something Pyle also excels at (he has 16 career wins by submission) Waldburger (16-8) is one of the top submission artists in the UFC welterweight division, as 13 of the 25-year-old’s 16 career victories have come via submission, including three tapout wins in the UFC. With a 4-3 overall record in the Octagon, Waldburger hasn’t lit the world on fire since making his big-show debut in 2010, but most of his fights — win or lose — have been exciting and that’s why the UFC keeps giving him solid opponents on big cards. Coming off a brutal KO loss to Adlan Amagov in his last outing at UFC 166, Waldburger desperately needs a win over Pyle to keep his spot on the UFC roster, and not only that, but he needs to avoid getting knocked out, as he’s been KOed six times in his young career, a scary-high number for such a young fighter. Although Waldburger is improving in all facets of the game, this is a very difficult matchup for him stylistically against Pyle and he is rightfully the underdog heading into it. I see Waldburger trying to get Pyle down to the ground, but he will use the clinch to attempt to do so and fail miserably. Pyle has excellent muay Thai and is strong in the clinch, so I see what happened to Waldburger against Amagov happening once again, as Pyle wins the fight via T/KO to hand Waldburger yet another knockout loss on his record. And if Waldburger’s chin somehow holds up and the fight does go to decision, Pyle has the advantage as the fight takes place in his hometown of Las Vegas. At -190, I see slight value on Pyle as I capped him a bit higher than that in this spot. I know that Waldburger is a lot younger than Pyle and he has a wicked ground game, but his chin is too big of a question mark at this point to put any sort of money on him and considering Pyle is not only the better striker but nearly just as effective in the grappling, this really is his fight to lose. I do like Pyle by T/KO in this spot so when the line for that prop comes out take a look at it. Also take a look at Pyle wins fastest KO of the Night when that prop comes out.

Written by Adam Martin.

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