UFC Fight Night 41 Fight Breakdown: Iuri Alcantara (-370) vs. Vaughan Lee (+310)

Vaughan Lee One of the preliminary card bouts at UFC Fight Night 41 is a three-round bantamweight bout between Iuri “Marajo” Alcantara and Vaughan “Love” Lee. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Alcantara as a-370 favorite (bet $370 to win $100) while Lee is a +310 underdog (bet $100 to win $310). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Alcantara at -280 and Lee at +200, and so far the action has been in Alcantara’s favor. I disagree with the high line on Alcantara as I’m picking Lee for the upset win. Here’s why. Alcantara (29-5, 1 NC) is one of the top-10 ranked bantamweights in the UFC. The 33-year-old Brazilian is 4-2, 1 NC in the UFC with wins over Wilson Reis, Michihiro Omigawa, Felipe Arantes and Iliarde Santos and losses to Urijah Faber and Hacran Dias. He also holds a notable knockout win over top-ranked featherweight contender Ricardo Lamas from back in the WEC days, as well as wins over Francisco Trinaldo and Viscardi Andrade in Jungle Fight. He is a very big 135er with a smothering ground game, good ground-and-pound, and on the feet he has vicious striking. He has okay wrestling, but he can be taken down in the later rounds. And that’s the biggest issue with Alcantara — he cuts too much weight to make the 135lb limit and he gasses out in rounds two and three. It cost him in his fight against Faber, and it nearly cost him in his last outing against Reis, where he barely edged out a smaller fighter. Alcantara is a talent, but at 33 he seems to be past his prime and it’s doubtful he keeps his top-10 ranking for long regardless of what happens with this fight against Lee. Lee (14-9, 1 NC) is one of the most-improved fighters in the UFC bantamweight division. The 31-year-old Brit is 3-3 overall in the UFC with wins over Nam Phan, Kid Yamamoto, and Motonobu Tezuka and losses to UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, Raphael Assuncao, and Chris Cariaso. In his last outing, which came this past March in China, Lee destroyed Phan over three rounds and showed much-improved striking, showcasing excellent boxing technique as well as displaying his Jeet Kune Do. Lee’s takedown defence has also looked very good as of late, as top contender Assuncao really had to work for them in the pair’s matchup. Lee’s offensive ground game also looked tremendous in his career-best win over Yamamoto back at UFC 144, where he won “Submission of the Night” for the feat. His submission defence is questionable and he doesn’t have a great record, but it sure seems like Lee is hitting the prime of his career right now and if he can defeat Alcantara, he will earn a top-10 opponent once again. If Lee can survive round one, where Alcantara is by far his most dangerous, I think he can do enough to win the second and third rounds with his boxing and edge out a close and competitive decision on the judges’ scorecards for the upset win. I believe Alcantara deserves to be the favorite but with all the upsets lately, I’m taking a shot here on the always-improving Lee at +310, which I believe is tremendous value on what should be a competitive fight. Lee’s no lock by any means, but that’s why he’s +310, and I think at the odds he’s worth a shot as a dog in yet another MMA fight where I think the betting public is ballooning a favorite’s line way too high.

Written by Adam Martin.

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