UFC Fight Night 44 Play: Andrew “Highlight” Craig (+165) vs Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira (-190)

MMA: UFC on Fuel TV-Natal vs CraigUFC Fight Night 44 Date: June 28, 2014 Arena: AT&T Center City: San Antonio, TX Middleweight bout: Andrew “Highlight” Craig (+165) vs Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira (-190) Fight Breakdown: The main card for UFC Fight Night 44 on FOX Sports 1 will feature a middleweight bout between a Texan and a Brazilian, and a finish could come on either end when former Legacy FC middleweight champion Andrew “Highlight” Craig steps inside the Octagon to take on TUF: Brazil season one winner Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira. Crais is an underdog in this scrap at +165 ($100 to win $165), with Ferreira being the betting favorite at -190 ($190 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Andrew “Highlight” Craig (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is set to make his sixth Octagon appearance, coming off a second round submission loss against Luke Barnatt over nine months ago. That marked the first time the Texan has been finished in his professional mixed martial arts career, though he was badly hurt and nearly finished in his second Octagon outing against Rafael Natal. The Brazilian dominated Craig for the majority of two rounds, nearly finishing him in the second, Craig showed incredible heart and durability by being able to take Natal’s shots and survive. He made a recovery, got the fight back to the feet, and as Natal got overly confident, he landed a beautiful headkick that put the Brazilian to sleep. The former Legacy FC middleweight champion was scheduled to take on Chris Camozzi in Abu Dhabi a couple of months ago but the bout was cancelled on the day of the weigh-ins due to him being ill with tonsillitis. The 28-year old is a talented striker who started training in Karate during his childhood. While playing football and hockey, he began to dabble in wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and fell in love with grappling and submissions, which started his road to MMA. The Texas native is well-versed in the sport and is a well-conditioned athlete. He still trains out of his hometown of Houston, TX, which I feel may be a mistake. He needs to move to a more renowned gym to better hone his skills and further his career. That said, he is a tough fighter who is always a threat, regardless of where the fight goes, and he will be ready for 15 minutes of action against Ferreira, should the fight reach the distance. Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira (7-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is set to make is fifth appearance inside the Octagon, coming off his first loss in the promotion, which came against CB Dollaway via TKO at only 0:39 seconds into the very first round of action. He attacked Dollaway right out of the gate, but the Power MMA product shoulder-rolled and defended the onslaught, then answered with a counter punch that sent the Brazilian to the canvas. Dollaway followed up with punches to give Ferreira his first taste of Octagon defeat. Less than three months since the bout, he is eager to get back in the cage and right back in the win column. “Mutante” is an average striker who has solid Brazilian Jiu-Jits game. The biggest hole in his game is his striking defense, and his main weakness is his chin. He was just knocked out by Dollaway, has been knocked out by WSOF middleweight Elvis Mutapcic on the regional circuit, and was even rocked by Sergio Moraes in his Octagon debut, and Moraes is by no stretch of the imagination a knockout artist. He displayed good recovery in the bout, but that was not the case against a fighter like Dollaway who possesses more power in his hands, not to mention more tools in his striking arsenal. The 29-year old Brazilian has good cardio, so I expect him to be ready for three rounds of action against the Texan. Gabe’s Thoughts: This is one fight that really could go so many ways, and I feel the odds should be closer than they are. I think Craig should be +120 in this match-up and would play him at +140 or better. I think if this is a close fight that hits the judges’ scorecards, Craig may get the hometown decision, even if it seems that “Mutante” may have deserved it. I feel like if there isn’t a finish, it’s going to be a split decision. Ferreira will likely deserve it, but the fact that the fight is in Craig’s backyard and his line is at the underdog price of +165 makes me favor him for a small play. Gabe’s Call: “Craig” by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Craig (+165) 1u to win 1.65u

Written by Gabe Killian

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