May 31st will be an historic day for the UFC. For the first time in the organization’s 21 years of promoting fights, two fight cards will be put on in the same day. Not only will there be two distinct events, but they are also happening across the world from one another; one in Germany and another in Brazil. The day will start in Germany at 12pm EST when the first bout of the UFC fight Night 41 card takes place. The event will be headlined by a middleweight clash between Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz. Both men are coming off of a loss to Lyoto Machida in their last bout, so a second loss would be extremely damaging to their status as contenders. The line for this bout has been public for some time now, and the public seems to be siding with Mousasi, who opened as a -210 favorite (bet $210 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers and has moved up to -300. Those backing Munoz have a bit more to work with, as he now sits as a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220) from his opening price of +160. The outcome of this fight will all come down to whether Munoz can get his wrestling going or if Mousasi has improved that part of his game enough to keep things on the feet. In addition to the Dutch-Armenian Mousasi, the rest of the card has an extremely European feel, as fighters from France, England, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Russia are competing. With Americans like Munoz and C.B. Dollaway competing, as well as Brazilian Iuri Alcantara and Venezuelan Maximo Blanco, that makes 12 different nationalities represented on this single event. Fitting, given the global nature of the UFC, particularly on this day. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for UFC Fight Night 41 today at Several Bookmakers. Aside from Mousasi/Munoz, the remainder of the main card features a pair of middleweight bouts; Francis Carmont takes on C.B. Dollaway, while Luke Barnatt and Sean Strickland put their undefeated records to the test against one another. The other bout is a battle of Scandinavia, as Tom Niinimaki goes up against Niklas Backstrom. Check out the new lines below: ——————– MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 3pm EST) Gegard Mousasi -210 Mark Munoz +160 Francis Carmont -170 C.B. Dollaway +130 Luke Barnatt -165 Sean Strickland +125 Tom Niinimaki -260 Niklas Backstrom +180 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 12pm EST) Drew Dober -130 Nick Hein -110 Krzysztof Jotko -140 Magnus Cedenblad +100 Iuri Alcantara -280 Vaughan Lee +200 Pawel Pawlak -215 Peter Sobotta +165 Maximo Blanco -215 Andy Ogle +165 Ruslan Magomedov -215 Viktor Pesta +165 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: I’m interested to see how much respect C.B. Dollaway gets in this spot. I thought I got a great price on him in his last fight when he was +180, and then he ended up closing +340. He was also an underdog against Tim Boetsch, got bet from -180 to close as an underdog against Daniel Sarafian and was even a dog against Jason Miller. Horrible judging aside, that’s four consecutive fights he’s won as the underdog, and I think he has a very real shot at making it five. Dollaway has never been outwrestled in his UFC career and while Carmont is a massive 185er, Dollaway is the better technical wrestler. On the feet, Dollaway has made serious improvements and he fights at a much higher pace than Carmont. The Frenchman holds an advantage when it comes to the kicking game, but that’s about it. Cardio could become a factor in this one, although Dollaway seems to have improved significantly there as well. Some people still seem to harbor resentment towards Dollaway, but I can’t stay mad at a guy who has been consistently making money. Barnatt/Strickland is tricky to me. Barnatt has an obvious advantage standing, but he also gets tagged a lot by right hands, which are Strickland’s best strike. Strickland has a big advantage on the ground, but only went there in his UFC debut when Bubba McDaniel initiated the grappling. If Strickland can get it to the ground, his excellent top control will stymie Barnatt, but I’m just not sure that happens. If it stays on the feet, Strickland’s low hands and lack of head movement will definitely be his undoing. I’m undecided on this fight right now, but I think the line should stay close and will only make a play if it moves significantly either way. Tom Niinimaki out-duelled Rani Yahya on the ground in his UFC debut, and he’ll be able to do the same against Niklas Backstrom, he just needs to be a bit wary on his way to the ground. Backstrom presents a similar challenge to Walel Watson, who Niinimaki fought on the regional circuit before coming to the UFC in that he’s a very lanky, creative striker. Good news for the Finn is that Backstrom hasn’t shown the best takedown defense thus far in his career. His ground game is serviceable however, and I think he’s savvy enough to avoid being finished but just doesn’t possess the tools to pull out the win aside from an early KO. Nick Hein impressed me more than I expected on tape, because I had zero expectations of the German. He’s got a good Judo base which gives him good takedowns and defense, while his hands have developed so that he can string together decent combinations. His problems are that his output wanes heavily in the later rounds, he almost exclusively uses just his hands, and he lets himself get pushed up against the ropes (he’s only fought in a ring thus far, to my knowledge). Against Drew Dober, who mixes up his strikes well and keeps pushing forward, I think it’s a recipe for an unimpressive debut for the German, but I do expect a competitive bout. If Cedenblad had a better gas tank I’d feel quite confident picking him, as Jotko is a bit too inactive on the feet for my liking and Cedenblad has shown surprisingly good grappling in his UFC career. My other concern with Cedenblad is that he has a habit of looking for guillotines when his opponent shoots rather than defending the shot, against a guy like Jotko, who can hold top position well, that could lose him some rounds. In terms of actual skills, I do favor the Swede and I’ll be picking him, but I’d hope for some decent plus money if I’m making a play. Iuri Alcantara has only closed as less than a 2-to-1 favorite twice. Against Urijah Faber, and in his Zuffa debut against Ricardo Lamas. I can definitely see this line getting a bit wacky, as Vaughan Lee doesn’t tend to get a ton of respect (he’s only been favored in one of his UFC bouts). The thing is, this is a close fight. Alcantara has a big advantage on the ground, but Lee has worked hard on his takedown defense, and if he can keep this on the feet, he can definitely outwork the Brazilian. I’m going to sit back and wait on this one, but throwing a flier on Lee or putting him in a round robin isn’t crazy to me. Another fighter I had not heard of but was impressed with is Pawel Pawlak. You can clearly see the progression he’s made in his striking on tape, and it seems like he’s always had a solid submission game coming out of the Gracie Barra Lodz team. That submission game will be important against Peter Sobotta who has a knack for taking his opponent’s back and finding the rear-naked choke. Sobotta hasn’t fought since November 2012 though, and it seems the UFC has brought him back more because he’s a big name in German MMA than anything. Sobotta proved tough to finish in his first UFC run (although Amir Sadollah, James Wilks and Paul Taylor aren’t exactly the most dangerous fighters in the world), so I’m thinking he makes it to a decision, but picks up right where he left off with his UFC losing streak. Different fight, same story for these two fighters. Maximo Blanco is more talented than his opponent, but he’s Maximo Blanco and could very easily find a way to mess things up because of it. Andy Ogle is overmatched in skill, but extremely tough and always makes fights closer than they should be. Blanco should win this fight with his superior striking and wrestling, but there’s no way I’m betting on him. However, if the line gets a bit out of hand, or if I can pick up the Ogle +3.5 line at an underdog price, I can definitely see myself taking a shot on the Brit here. There’s nothing like starting a card off with some potentially bloaty, gassy heavyweights, so I’m anticipating this one with baited breath. Both guys actually come in with solid resumes (by regional heavyweight MMA standards), as Magomedov has wins over two former UFC champions (the ghosts of Tim Sylvia and Ricco Rodriguez), while Pesta has defeated two of the better European heavyweight prospects in Yosef Ali Mohammad and Christian Colombo. Magomedov is better on the feet, and Pesta is the better grappler, so it all comes down to can force their gameplan. I lean slightly towards Magomedov, but his resume and hype will probably have this line overinflated come fight time.