The main event of the TUF Nations preliminary card is a three-round welterweight bout between Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout and KJ “King” Noons. The current betting line for the fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Stout as a -115 favorite (bet $115 to win $100) while Noons is a- 105 underdog (bet $105 to win $100). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Stout at -165 and Noons at +125, meaning the action has come in on the dog Noons. I disagree with the action coming in on Noons as I’m picking Stout to win the fight. Here’s why. Stout (20-9-1) is one of the longest-serving veterans of the UFC lightweight division and is surprisingly only 29 years of age. Known for his fan-friendly style and ability to win “Fight of the Night” awards (six FOTN awards in his career, plus a “Knockout of the Night”), Stout has kept his spot on the UFC roster for eight years despite being very inconsistent and never having won more than two fights in a row. Over his last six fights Stout is 3-3 and has alternated wins and losses over Cody McKenzie (win), James Krause (loss), Caros Fodor (win), John Makdessi (loss), Spencer Fisher (win), and Thiago Tavares (loss), and and seems to be on the decline. However, credit should be given to Stout for overall changing his approach to fighting as he integrates more takedowns to his game now more than ever before, although obviously the results have been inconsistent so far. Still, he’s a talented fighter with fast hands, good kicks, and an iron chin and he’ll always have a spot on the UFC roster as long as he keeps putting on bangers for the crowd. Noons (12-7) is the former EliteXC welterweight champion and boxer who has carved out a decent career for himself despite having a relatively poor record. The 31-year-old is an exciting striker with excellent boxing and knockout power, and he also has a great chin. Since joining the UFC last year he has gone 1-1 overall with a loss to top-ranked Donald Cerrone and a win over George Sotiropoulos. However, he’s only won two of his last seven fights overall and obviously is on a pretty big decline. Still, he does have those hands and he has some underrated takedown defence as well, so as long as Noons can keep fights standing he’ll always have a chance to win them. Against Stout look for Noons to try to stop the takedown, keep the fight standing and either outpoint or knock Stout out, but against a fighter who is equally gifted on the feet and who has a good chin like Stout, that’s easier said than done. Look for the fight to be closely contested on the feet, but Stout’s ability to mix in takedowns and have a more varied offensive output should get him the nod on the judges’ scorecards in his home country of Canada. At -115, I do lean towards Stout but the fact this fight was changed to a welterweight bout is a huge red flag for me and scares me off of betting him. However, I do like the OVER 2.5 rounds total, which is currently at -320. That’s a high price to pay but I do think it’s a winner and should be a good parlay piece. Also, look for the props on Stout by decision and Noons by decision when the lines come out. And look for the “Stout vs. Noons Wins Fight of the Night” prop too.