UFC on FOX 11 Play: Brad Tavares (-120) vs Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (+110)

Romero-YoelUFC on FOX 11 Date: April 19, 2014 Arena: Amway Center City: Orlando, FL Middleweight bout: Brad Tavares (-145) vs Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (+125) Fight Breakdown: Getting the action going for the UFC on FOX 11 main card is a bout between a pair of middleweights on hot win streaks, and fireworks are expected when Brad Tavares steps inside the Octagon against Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero. Tavares is currently the favorite in this scrap at -120 $120 to win $100), while Romero is an underdog at +110 ($100 to win $110) at Several Bookmakerss. Brad Tavares (12-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) is riding a five-fight winning streak into this nationally broadcasted main card bout, owning decision victories over Dongi Yang, Tom Watson, Riki Fukuda, Robert “Bubba” McDaniel, and most recently and most impressively, Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 11 veteran is tough and full of heart. He has tremendous cardio and is a gamer with absolutely no quit in him. Like many Hawaiian fighters, Tavares has a solid chin and loves to scrap. Before signing with the UFC, all his career wins were by stoppage; since signing with the promotion, only one of seven wins have come inside the distance, and the rest have all gone to the judges’ scorecards. I would not be quick to rule him out as someone who finishes fights, though, as his opponents have been very tough and durable, having only been finished inside the distance in a combined 17 times out of 146 professional fights, and that is including a knockout of Larkin that was turned into a No Contest. It is also worth mentioning that 13 out of the 17 stoppages are between Seth Baczynsky and “Bubba” McDaniel. The only blemish on the Hawaiian’s professional mixed martial arts career resume is a controversial split-decision against the now-retired Aaron “A-Train” Simpson. Tavares did a great job of bouncing back from the first defeat of his career to put together this nice streak he is currently on. With a win over Romero, Tavares hopes to draw a top 10 middleweight for his next assignment. Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (7-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is now 3-0 inside the Octagon, coming off an incredibly impressive come-from-behind third round TKO victory over Derek Brunson back in November. That followed a pair of impressive knockouts which he scored in his first two UFC appearances, with another third round TKO over the Brazilian Ronny Markes, and a first round flying knee knockout of Clifford Starks in what was Romero’s promotional debut. The Cuban is without a doubt a finisher. Not only have all three of his UFC wins been knockouts, but he has finished all seven opponents he has faced in his professional mixed martial arts career by T/KO. Romero is a southpaw who throws very heavy hands, and packs a lot of power behind every strike. His lone career loss came against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante. He was doing well against “Feijao” until getting caught on the feet towards the end of the second frame. Romero is definitely a heavy hitter who is always looking to put his opponents away. He has excellent footwork, and uses the inside leg kick really well. He has solid striking defense, and is very patient, as he looks for opportunities to explode. The Cuban is an unorthodox striker who likes to set up his power shots. He works heavy kicks to the head and body, and loves to implement his vicious knees and elbows. Romero is a decorated wrestler who represented his country of Cuba in the 2000 Summer Olympics. It goes without saying that he is incredibly talented on the mat. He works solid takedowns and easily controls opponents while seriously punishing them. Training out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, FL, Romero’s cardio is average at best, and will undoubtedly be at a disadvantage in that department against the Hawaiian. Gabe’s Prediction: Just as the betting odds indicate, I think this is going to be a very close, back-and-forth fight. While Tavares has one of the best chins in the division, I could definitely see Romero putting him away. Needless to say, I could see Romero putting anybody at 185 pounds away, should he connect. I also would not be surprised to see Tavares get his first knockout in a long time, since he does pack some power, and since Romero’s only career loss was in fact a knockout. With that said, I think this fight will go the distance more often than not, and the decision could truly be in the judges’ hands. Because of his superior strength and wrestling, I capped the Cuban as a small -130 favorite. Now with him at +110, I like him for a small value play. Gabe’s Call: “Soldier of God” by Split-Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Yoel Romero (+110) 1u to win 1.10u

Written by Gabe Killian

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