UFC 173 Play: James Krause (+160) vs Jamie Varner (-185)

rfa 4UFC 173 Date: May 24, 2014 Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena City: Las Vegas, NV Lightweight bout: James Krause (+160) vs Jamie Varner (-185) Fight Breakdown: It’s a battle between a pair of James’ in the UFC’s lightweight division, when WEC veterans James Krause and Jamie Varner square off inside the Octagon this Saturday night. The two-fight WEC veteran Krause is the underdog in this contest at +160 ($100 to win $160), while the former WEC lightweight champ Varner is the favorite at -185 ($185 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. James Krause (20-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is set to make his third appearance inside the Octagon, coming off a very controversial first round TKO loss against Bobby “King” Green six months ago. He took a shot to the groin from Green, which referee John McCarthy deemed legal, and ultimately stopped the fight, calling it a TKO. It was a sour outing that followed an impressive promotional debut, where he defeated Sam Stout via third round guillotine choke submission in a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus-winning performance. The 27-year old is a well-rounded mixed martial artist who is a threat both on the feet and on the mat. He is a talented striker with an incredible submission game, both offensively and defensively. He’s good at working leg locks, is very dangerous off his back, and has a great triangle choke. It is worth mentioning that he’s also good with the flying triangle. Krause has good footwork and does a solid job of using his reach, which is an advantage he’ll have entering this bout. The Virginia native works excellent kicks. He has a hard right kick and damages his opponents’ legs and body with it, but also goes for the head. He does damage with the left, as well. Krause also has a nice front kick, and a roundhouse kick he likes to use. He does not telegraph his kicks at all, so he often catches his opponents off guard with them, often landing significant blows. The WEC veteran gets dropped by punches, but recovers quickly. He works solid body shots and loves to use his knees, including a flying knee. He has a nice uppercut and likes to throw the superman punch. Conditioning used to be a bit of an issue for Krause, but he has shown improvements in the cardio department, so I don’t expect that to be a factor heading into this bout. Jamie Varner (28-1-2 NC MMA, 3-2 UFC) is coming off a second round knockout loss against Abel Trujillo at UFC 169 over three months ago, in a ‘Fight of the Night’ award-winning performance. He came close to putting Trujillo away, but ended up getting caught himself during an exchange. Varner is a skilled boxer who likes to connect with his hooks. He caught Edson Barboza with one in his UFC debut, and followed it up up with a barrage of strikes that forced the referee to step in and call off the action. The former WEC lightweight champion is also a talented wrestler. He has never wrestled for a college wrestling team but you wouldn’t be able to tell when you watch him grapple, especially when you compare him with lightweights who actually did wrestle in college. He has heavy hands on the feet, and when on the mat, he is excellent with his chokes. Varner trains out of The MMA Lab in Glendale, AZ, and his conditioning seems to be hit-or-miss, so I don’t know what he’ll look like entering the third frame this time around. Gabe’s Prediction: This is a close fight, and I could see Varner using his wrestling to edge out a decision. I could also see him stopping Krause with body shots, though I don’t think it is likely. Krause could submit him off his back, so Varner is not going to have a second to rest when he employs his offensive wrestling and top game. There are many ways I see this fight playing out, but I think Krause has more routes to victory. Regardless of who gets their hand raised, I feel more often than not, this fight will hit the judges’ scorecards. Gabe’s Call: Krause by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Over 2.5 rounds (-155) 1.55 to win 1u

Written by Gabe Killian

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