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

Gleison Tibau One of the prelims at UFC Fight Night 45 is a three-round lightweight battle between veterans Gleison Tibau and Pat “Bam Bam” Healy. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Tibau as a -155 favorite (bet $155 to win $100) while Healy is a +135 underdog (bet $100 to win $135). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Tibau at -185 and Healy at +145, and so far the action has mainly come in on the dog Healy. I disagree with the action on Healy as I’m picking Tibau to win the fight. Here’s why. Tibau (28-10) is one of the longest-serving fighters in the UFC lightweight division. The 31-year-old Brazilian is 13-8 overall in the UFC with wins over the likes of Jamie Varner, Francisco Trinaldo, Rafael dos Anjos, and Jeremy Stephens, and he has also fought the likes of Nick Diaz, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Evan Dunham and Jim Miller. Tibau is one of the biggest and strongest lightweights in the UFC. He likes to use his strength to push his opponents against the fence and he likes to take them down to the ground and beat the up there. He has excellent takedown defence and he has underrated submissions. His striking isn’t great, but his chin is pretty solid and it allows him to take shots and keep pushing forward looking for takedowns. He is overall a very well-rounded fighter and trains at a good camp at American Top Team. However, he is coming off a knockout loss to Michael Johnson and needs to beat Healy to secure his UFC job. It’s a fair matchup for him on paper, and if he comes prepared for Healy’s grinding style he has a good chance of pulling off the win, which is why he’s the favorite here. Healy (29-19, 1 NC) is one of the top grinders in the UFC lightweight division. Although Healy is 1-4, 1 NC in the UFC, he is still a very good fighter and his record is misleading. The UFC matchmakers have not been kind to Healy, matching him up with top 15 talent every fight since the fall of Strikeforce. He lost to Bobby Green, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Jorge Masvidal, but he did pick up a submission win over Jim Miller, although that victory was changed to a No Contest when Healy tested positive for marijuana metabolites. Healy is basically a tough wrestler with excellent cardio who tries to take his opponents to the deep waters and then beat them there. He has very good takedowns, he has great submissions on the ground, and on the feet although his striking is mediocre he has the chin which allows him to eat punches to close the distance to get the takedowns. He is always in close, competitive fights despite his lack of natural athletic ability and is not an easy guy to beat. However, the 30-year-old American seems to be fading a bit — perhaps all the punishment he’s taken in his career  has finally caught up to him. He can still win fights at lightweight, but Tibau matches up well against him and that’s why “Bam Bam” enters the bout as the underdog. I expect a grind of a fight with both men constantly trying to push their opponent up against the fence. I believe that Tibau should be the stronger fighter, at least in the first two rounds, and that he will be doing most of the pushing, which should lead to him scoring points on the scorecards. Healy will likely win round three, but unless he finishes Tibau I don’t think he will get the decision on the judges’ scorecard, although I definitely expect this to be a close fight. Although I think Tibau wins, the possibility of the judges blowing the decision here is too high and therefore a bet on him is dangerous. However, I do really like the OVER 2.5 rounds total in this one. That’s at -290, and I think it makes a terrific first leg of a two-team parlay as I definitely see this fight going to the cards.

Written by Adam Martin.

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