UFC 152: September 22, 2012 Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario UFC Lightweight Contender Evan Dunham (-205) Profile: A solid example of MMA’s up and coming “new breed” of fighters, Evan Dunham (13-2) has all-around skills and a diversified move-set that someone twice his age would normally possess. Training out of Extreme Couture with a black belt in BJJ, the 30-year-old Dunham is a difficult puzzle for his opponents to solve at times. He is willing to stand and bang and has won Fight of the Night in the UFC twice, but his grappling skills and cage control are where he really shines. He was rewarded for those skills by winning Submission of the Night at UFC Fight Night: Maynard vs. Diaz. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak with a unanimous decision victory over Shamar Bailey and a doctor’s stoppage TKO of Nik Lentz after suffering the only two losses of his career in consecutive fights against Sean Sherk and Melvin Guillard. UFC Lightweight Contender TJ Grant (+155) Profile: TJ Grant is a relative newcomer to MMA, but in only a six-year career, he has been able to amass an impressive 18-5 record. In April of 2009 at UFC 97, Grant made a successful debut in the UFC, earning a split-decision victory over Pride legend Ryo Chonan. Since then, the 28-year-old Canadian fight has only recently been able to break a five-year trend of not being able to string two wins together. Grant is currently riding the wave of defeating both Shane Roller and Carlo Prater within the last year and now faces a step up in competition when he takes on Evan Dunham at UFC 152. Opening UFC 152 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has made Dunham a moderate -205 favorite (bet $205 to win $100) against Grant, who opened as a +155 underdog (bet $100 to win $155) according to the MMA odds. This is an excellent undercard matchup between two lightweights who have both fared well lately and want to take the next step in their respective MMA careers. Dunham and Grant have each won their last two bouts and need to make it three in a row in order to have any shot at breaking into the Top 15 of their division in the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings. Even a victory here would not guarantee a spot in the rankings since there are several other higher-level fighters who can challenge the winner with hopes of getting a title shot somewhere down the road. Dunham and Grant both have championship aspirations, with the latter moving down from welterweight to lightweight last October to give himself a better shot at winning a UFC belt. Unfortunately, this is also a stacked division that will continue to test them and hopefully bring out their best. This fight is a logical next step to determine where each stand in the pecking order at lightweight.