UFC Fight Night 45 Play: Hugo “Wolverine” Viana (+175) vs Aljamain “Funkmaster” Sterling (-190)

Aljamain SterlingUFC Fight Night 45 Date: July 16, 2014 Arena: Revel Casino Hotel City: Atlantic City, NJ Bantamweight bout: Hugo “Wolverine” Viana (+175) vs Aljamain “Funkmaster” Sterling (-190) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 45 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 will be featuring a bantamweight scrap in the form of Hugo “Wolverine” Viana vs Aljamain “Funkmaster” Sterling, with Viana being the underdog on the betting lines at +175 ($100 to win $175) and Sterling being the favorite to win at -190 ($190 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Hugo “Wolverine” Viana (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) last saw action at UFC on FOX 10 nearly six months ago, outpointing Junior Hernandez to pick up a unanimous decision win on the judges’ scorecards. He got the better of Hernandez in the first two rounds, but went into survival mode in the third, when his cardio quickly faded away. With the unanimous 29-28 nod, the Brazilian returned to the win column, following the only loss of his professional mixed martial arts career, which came via TKO in the first round of action against current UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. The Brazilian is a talented striker who is technical on the feet. He has a very wide stance, which is a direct result of his Taekwondo background, in which he is a black belt. He has heavy legs and uses them to deliver effective and powerful leg kicks. He does not often go for high kicks, perhaps because he generally tends to be at a height disadvantage against his opponents. Viana likes to use his hands to set up his kicks, and really loves to use his knees. He also has a nice crescent kick he likes to throw, though he does not often find success in landing it. “Wolverine” circles well on the feet, and is a decent counter-striker. He has a solid and effective right hook, left hook, right hook combo, which he likes to use. He also has a strong lead left hook, and a powerful overhand right, which he used to knockout Reuben Duran, after hurting him with it a couple of times. It is also worth mentioning that he closes the distance really well with said right hand. Viana is dangerous with his hands, even though his knockout of Duran is the only stoppage victory in his nine professional fights. Keeping in mind that he gassed in the third frame of his last outing, his cardio will be very questionable and something to keep an eye out heading into this bout, as he will likely be at a disadvantage in that department against Sterling. Aljamain “Funkmaster” Sterling (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Cody Gibson at UFC 170 nearly five months ago, in what was his promotional debut. Heading into this bout against Viana, he will look to extend his undefeated streak to 10 wins and make it two in a row inside the Octagon, as he has his sights set on the division’s gold. Sterling has been referred to as “the bantamweight version of Jon Jones” because of his speed, athleticism, wrestling background and versatile, flashy style of striking. “Aljo” is a very quick fighter who moves very well on his feet. He likes to use a lot of kicks, and has a variety of them in his arsenal. He has nice front kicks, high kicks, head kicks, a solid sidekick and great leg kicks. He loves to throw his knees out there, too. The Cortland, NY native has a fine jab, good striking defense, and a solid chin. He likes to control the pace of his fights, and likes to pressure his opponents in the clinch and up against the cage, from which position he likes to implement his knees. He uses the clinch up against the cage to punish the legs and thighs of his opponents’. Sterling is a talented wrestler who possesses great speed and times his takedowns very well. He has an excellent double-leg, and often uses it to get his opponents to the mat, from which position he displays powerful top control. He has great wrestling and jiu-jitsu which helps him in the excellent transitions he makes on the mat, advancing from position to position. The New Yorker has a terrific submission game, both offensively and defensively. He owns four submission victories by rear naked choke, but his favorite go-to submission is the D’arce choke. Sterling’s takedown defense is pretty good, and when taken down, he does a very good job of working his way back to his feet. Training out of the Serra-Longo camp in Long Island under the tutelage of Matt Serra and Ray Longo, Sterling is a well-conditioned fighter who will be jitter-less in his second Octagon appearance and ready for 15 minutes of hard work. Gabe’s Thoughts: I wouldn’t be surprised if Sterling cruises here, but I think it will be pretty competitive. In either case, I see him getting his hand raised in the end. I also feel there is a decent chance he ends this fight with a rear naked choke, should it hit the mat. I’m a fan of both of these bantamweights but really love Sterling and believe he has the brighter future in the division, so I will be picking and betting him to get another win for Serra-Longo and keep his undefeated streak alive. Gabe’s Call: Sterling by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Sterling (-190) 3.8u to win 2u

Written by Gabe Killian

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