MMA Odds and Ends for Friday: Barao vs. Dillashaw Is Your UFC 173 Main Event

UFC-FUEL The UFC yesterday announced that the new main event for UFC 173 will be a five-round title fight between UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao and top contender TJ Dillashaw, who jumped over the injured Raphael Assuncao in the pecking order because the event is in May and Assuncao can’t fight until July. With the Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida fight moved to UFC 175 in July, the UFC had to scramble to find a suitable main event for their Memorial Day weekend card in May and they settled on Barao vs. Dillashaw, which is a fun fight between two exciting bantamweights, but which is doubtful to be a big draw on PPV. However, although it is a fun fight, and although Dillashaw is improving with each and every outing, he isn’t in Barao’s class just yet and this really looks like too big of a step up for the youngster at this point of his career. But the UFC was in a bad position and someone had to step up, so I have to give kudos to Dillashaw for being that guy. As far as the line goes, expect Barao to be a big favorite here, perhaps in the -400 to -500 range, but again that’s just my guess and not an official line by any means. Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera, UFC 173 To make the Barao vs. Dillashaw matchup, the UFC had to pull Dillashaw from his fight with Takeya Mizugaki, and today the promotion announced that Francisco Rivera would fill in for Dillashaw and fight Mizugaki on the main card. Mizugaki vs. Rivera is an excellent matchup and the winner of the fight will be very close to a title shot at 135 pounds. Although Rivera hits very hard, Mizugaki has shown a great chin in his career and if he can keep this fight technical he has a good chance to win. Still, it’s a close fight and I expect it to be around a Pick ’em when the odds come out. CB Dollaway vs. Francis Carmont, UFC Fight Night Berlin The UFC announced the co-main event of UFC Fight Night Berlin will be a three-round middleweight bout between Francis Carmont and CB Dollaway. This is a very fair matchup between two middleweights at similar positions in the division, although the fight itself is likely to be quite boring as both men are primarily grappling-based fighters. As far as the line goes, it’s hard to say what kind of respect the public will give Dollaway after his last win over Cezar Mutante, but I still feel like Carmont will be a slight favorite here, perhaps in the range of -175 to -200 or so. And if that’s the case, I’d say it’s a dog or pass situation. Mike Pierce vs. Demian Maia, TUF Brazil 3 Finale And finally, the UFC is targeting a welterweight bout between Mike Pierce and Demian Maia for the TUF Brazil 3 Finale. This is a solid matchup between two 170 pounders in need of a victory, but you have to favor Maia in this spot based on the styles. Look for Maia to be around -250 or so in this matchup, one he should win by submission.

Written by Adam Martin.

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