UFC Fight Night 42 Fight Breakdown: Erik Perez (-115) vs. Bryan Caraway (-105)

Erik-Perez The opening main card bout at UFC Fight Night 42 is a three-round bantamweight barnburner between Erik “El Goyito” Perez and Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Perez as a -115 favorite (bet $115 to win $100) while Caraway is a -105 underdog (bet $105 to win $100). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Perez at -150 and Caraway at +110, and so far the action has been on the dog Caraway. I disagree with the line movement as I believe Perez wins this fight. Here’s why. Perez (14-5) is one of the top up-and-comers in the UFC bantamweight division. The 24-year-old Mexican-born mixed martial artist is 4-1 overall in the UFC with wins over Edwin Figueroa, Byron Bloodworth, Ken Stone and John Albert and the only loss coming to top-ranked contender Takeya Mizugaki via split decision. A dangerous fighter in all facets of the game, Perez is a true finisher and has earned 10 of his 14 career wins via T/KO or submission. He has excellent knockout power for a 135er, and he also has a slick ground game as well. Training at Greg Jackson’s, Perez has won nine of his last 10 fights overall and aside from the loss to Mizugaki he’s looked like a future title contender in the bantamweight division. However, he needs a win over a name opponent to put himself in that conversation and a victory over a guy like Caraway would be very beneficial to his career. Caraway (18-6) is one of the top submission grapplers in the UFC bantamweight division. Only 29 years of age, Caraway has won 16 of his 18 career victories via submission, with most of them coming by way of his favorite move, the rear-naked choke. A cast member of TUF season 14 , Caraway has a strong wrestling base which allows him to get most of his fights to the floor where he’s almost always at a huge advantage. In the UFC he’s 3-1 so far with wins over Johnny Bedford, Mitch Gagnon and Dustin Neace — all by way of RNC — and the only loss coming to Mizugaki in a decision many felt Caraway should have got. Although he’s not a good striker by any means, Caraway is a tough guy with a solid chin and in the UFC he’s used his secret weapon, cardio, to drag fights into the deep waters and win them then. He’s a solid fighter overall, but this is mixed martial arts and when you have a hard time standing with your opponents if the takedown doesn’t work then it’s tough to win fights. So far it’s worked out well for Caraway, but he hasn’t fought a striker like Perez yet in the Octagon and it’s not certain if he’ll be able to hang with his opponent on the feet if he can’t get him to the floor. And if that’s the case, he will have a hard time winning this fight, and that’s why he’s an ever-so-slight underdog. I expect a very competitive fight here between two of the most underrated bantamweights in the UFC, but as long as he doesn’t gas and get submitted late, I believe Perez’ workrate will be higher and at the end of 15 minutes I see him getting his hand raised by decision. At -110 I am going to take a shot at Perez here with a small play as I believe he should be priced closer to the -150 he opened at. It’s a competitive for sure, but I think with Perez fighting in his hometown and with Caraway coming off a year-plus layoff, the edges go to “El Goyito” and so at a low-juice price, I believe he’s worth a shot.

Written by Adam Martin.

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