UFC Fight Night 42 Play: Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez (+155) vs Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson (-175)

Diego SanchezUFC Fight Night 42 Date: June 7, 2014 Arena: Tingley Coliseum City: Albuquerque, NM Lightweight bout: Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez (+155) vs Ross “The Deal Deal” Pearson (-175) Fight Breakdown: Saturday night marks the return of “The Nightmare” as Diego Sanchez drops “The Dream” nickname and goes back to the nickname he started his career off with. He will be fighting in his hometown of Albuquerque, NM for the first time in a decade, and he is motivated to get his hand raised and return to the winning column by defeating the hard-nosed Brit in Ross “The Deal Deal” Pearson. Sanchez is an underdog in this lightweight contest at (+155), with Pearson being the betting favorite at -175 ($175 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez (24-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) is coming off a unanimous decision loss against Myles Jury at UFC 171 and is now on a two-fight skid, which includes a ‘Fight of the Year’ performance against Gilbert Melendez. He says he fought Jury while suffering from a serious case of food poisoning, and I am inclined to believe him, as he did not seem like himself during or before the fight. This will mark his first fight in his hometown of Albuquerque in over 10 years, and he is ready to put on a show. Nobody doubts that, as Sanchez has been arguably the most exciting fighter in the history of the promotion. He’s always fought with all his heart and has always left it all in the cage. His skills on the feet are not brilliant by any means, but he is capable of holding his own. “The Nightmare” has one of the best chins in MMA, so he always stays in the fight and moves forward, keeping the pressure on, even if he is the one receiving the most tags. He may get dropped, but he doesn’t get finished. Sanchez likes to take opponents down and punish them with his brutal ground and pound, eventually wearing them out with his relentless pressure. Training out of Jackson-Winklejohn MMA at high-altitude in Albuquerque, Sanchez has always had tremendous conditioning. I expect him to be able to go hard for all three rounds against Pearson, should the fight go the distance. Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson (15-6-1 NC MMA, 7-3-1 NC UFC) is set to make his 12th appearance inside the Octagon, last seeing action over seven months ago in a co-main event bout against Melvin Guillard. The fight resulted in a No Contest due to a cut on Pearson’s forehead that came from an illegal knee by Guillard. They were scheduled for a rematch, but Pearson had to pull out due to an injury and has been recovering on the sidelines until now. The Brit is a talented striker who continues to improve in the department. He is a solid kickboxer with excellent Muay Thai skills and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He didn’t have much speed in his two-fight stint at featherweight, but he is pretty fast at 155-pounds. His footwork is fantastic, and he does a great job of moving around the Octagon and creating angles. While he has been dropped and knocked out previously, Pearson still has a good chin and is very capable of taking heavy shots. The 29-year old has tremendous takedown defense, which can be partially credited to his solid Judo base and background in the sport. Training out of Alliance MMA in San Diego, CA, Pearson continues to improve on his wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu, and as far as his conditioning is concerned, it is always spot-on. Gabe’s Prediction: Though fighting in high-altitude against the hometown hero, I don’t expect cardio to play too big of a factor for Pearson in this bout. That said, I could see him being tired in the third round; not just because of the high-altitude, but also because of the pressure “The Nightmare” will be putting on him. Sanchez, having competed at welterweight and middleweight in the past, will have a size advantage over Pearson in height, reach, and body mass. Fighting in front of his hometown crowd for the first time in a decade, I think “The Nightmare” will return in impressive fashion. I feel he may get opportunities to finish this fight, but if he doesn’t get a finish, I feel there is a good chance he pulls off the upset via decision. I think the only way Pearson wins this fight is if he sticks-and-moves for 15 minutes, similar to what Sanchez’s team-mate Carlos Condit did against Nick Diaz, or what his opponent Myles Jury did against him in his last outing. That is a very possible and likely outcome to this match-up, but I could see Sanchez winning it multiple ways, so I favor him for a play at dog odds. Gabe’s Call: “The Nightmare” by Submission (rear-naked-choke, 4:00 round 3) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Diego Sanchez (+155) 2u to win 3.1u

Written by Gabe Killian

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