UFC Fight Night 45: Fox Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass Prelim Preview

UFC Fight Night 45This Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 45 will be a rare occurrence in the 2014 version of the organization, as the main card features more fights than the preliminary card. It helps that Fox Sports 1 will be airing a fairly rare six-fight main billing, leaving room for only five undercard bouts (one of which will be airing on UFC Fight Pass). The two biggest names on the preliminary portion of the card find themselves in the last bout on Fox Sports 1, before the show stays right on Fox Sports 1 for the main card, in what continues to be the most arbitrary of all the arbitrary distinctions in MMA. Gleison Tibau (28-10) makes his 22nd appearance in the Octagon, which will move him into a tie for eighth in the promotion’s history. He will be taking on fellow veteran Pat Healy (29-19, 1 NC) in a bout that could be the last for either fighter in the promotion. Tibau has proven that he’s never going to be a contender and doesn’t have the most exciting style in the world, but still makes a decent amount (by MMA standards) for showing up to the ring, as his guaranteed purse was $39,000 in his last bout. The reason for Healy leaving would be a bit clearer, as a loss here would be his fourth consecutive defeat in the UFC, following a positive drug test overturned his only win. As far as the matchup, this should be competitive with Healy’s aggressive style trying to bully a massive opponent in Tibau. The odds suggest a competitive bout as well, with Tibau just a -155 favorite (bet $155 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers and Healy at +135 (bet $100 to win $135) on the other side. The recognition factor drops severely after that bout, as women’s bantamweights Jessamyn Duke (3-1, 1 NC) and Leslie Smith (6-5-1) are next on the bill. Both suffered losses in their most recent UFC bouts, but their strength of competition was significantly different. Smith was dominated by former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman on short notice, while Duke showed nothing against Bethe Correia. The edge goes to Smith in terms of previous competition, and her aggressive style could give Duke problems if the youngster hasn’t learned to control range a bit better. The physical tools edge towards Duke, but the experience and technique seem to be on Smith’s side. Oddsmakers and public are having a difficult time separating the two, as Smith is just a -140 favorite and Duke is +120 on the comeback. We stay in the bantamweight division, but move over to the men’s side as undefeated prospect Aljamain Sterling (9-0) looks to stay that way, while Hugo Viana (8-1) hopes to hand the Serra-Longo team member his first defeat. Sterling currently sits at -210 with Viana at +175, as the general sentiment seems to be that Sterling is the more well-rounded fighter. Viana’s best shot lies in the striking, and he does have excellent takedown defense to go along with it. If Sterling is unable to get this fight to the ground there could be some value on the Brazilian, but if it hits the mat, the current odds make sense. Speaking of a striker hoping to keep the fight standing, lightweight Yosdenis Cedeno (9-3) hopes to do exactly that against Jerrod Sanders (14-1). Cedeno struggled with his takedown defense and cardio in his UFC debut, and if he does not show improvement in both areas against a strong wrestler in Sanders he’ll spend a great deal of time on his back. From the UFC’s perspective this seems to be a fight where Cedeno either proves his worth or gets cut, since he faces a similar — and perhaps even more difficult — stylistic test than his debut. The Cuban does have an impressive arsenal of offense, so if he is able to pull off the win as the slight +135 underdog, it will likely be in impressive fashion. Sanders being the more consistent fighter, and a bad matchup for Cedeno has him currently a -155 favorite. The lone bout airing on UFC Fight Pass is an historic one, and probably the second-most intriguing of these preliminary bouts. This will be the first women’s strawweight bout in UFC history, and it features one of the top fighters at the weight in the world. Claudia Gadelha (11-0) is the most highly-ranked UFC strawweight not to make her way to the promotion through TUF 20. She was set to face former Invicta FC champion Carla Esparza for that organization’s title on a couple of occasions, but the bout fell through. Many believe she will be the first fighter outside of the house to contend for the 115lb belt, and while she faces a solid test in Tina Lahdemaki (5-0), it is one both oddsmakers and the public agree she should pass as she is the biggest favorite on the card at -450. The bout between Gadelha and Lahdemaki will air on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30pm ET on Wednesday evening, before things move over to Fox Sports 1 at 7pm for the remaining preliminary bouts. The main card begins at 9pm.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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MMAOddsBreaker Premium – UFC Fight Night 45

UFC Fight Night 45 Fight Breakdown: Gleison Tibau (-155) vs Pat Healy (+135)