UFC on FOX 12 Fight Breakdown: Anthony Johnson (-500) vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+400)

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira The co-main event of UFC on FOX 12 is a three-round light heavyweight bout between Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Antonio Rogerio “Minotouro” Nogueira. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Johnson as a -500 favorite (bet $500 to win $100) while Nogueira is a +400 underdog (bet $100 to win $400). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Johnson at -475 and Nogueira at +325, meaning the action so far has been on the side of the favorite Johnson. I agree with the line movement in Johnson’s favor as I’m picking him to win this fight in impressive fashion. Here’s why. Johnson (17-4) has been on fire as of late, winning his last seven fights and nine of his last 10 overall. The 30-year-old American moved up to light heavyweight after his loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 (and embarrassing weigh-in mishap) and the results have been nothing but spectacular as he went undefeated with a number of highlight-reel finishes to earn his spot back on the UFC roster. In his return to the Octagon at UFC 172, he defeated top-ranked contender Phil Davis via decision to move into the top five of the UFC light heavyweight division and inch closer to a title shot against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. With a combination of strong wrestling defence and excellent striking skills on the feet, Johnson is a handful for anyone in the 205lb division and could definitely make a run for the title if he keeps winning fights. Although his cardio has always been a question mark, it has looked much better since moving up in weight and it makes one wonder how good he would have been had he not cut all that weight earlier in his career. At 205lbs, Johnson is an extremely dangerous fighter and if he can take out Nogueira at UFC on FX 12 in devastating fashion, people will start talking about him as Jones’ next opponent. Nogueira (21-5) is one of the top 10 fighters at 205lbs but injuries and prolonged stretches of inactivity have made most fans forget about him. Although he is 38 years of age now, the Brazilian is still a very dangerous fighter and cannot be taken lightly by anyone in the UFC light heavyweight division. He is currently riding a two-fight win streak with a decision win over Rashad Evans in his last fight and a TKO over Tito Ortiz in the fight before that, but he hasn’t competed since that Evans fight which was a year-and-a-half ago. But now healthy, Nogueira is ready to return to action and pick up where he left off. With excellent defensive wrestling and one of the better boxing attacks in the division, Nogueira can beat most fighters in the division, but after such a long layoff and at his age things won’t be easy for him, especially going up against a killer like Johnson. Nogueria could pull off the upset, but he’ll have to fight a perfect fight, and after so much time away from the cage it just doesn’t seem likely, which is why he is such a big underdog this weekend. Although “Little Nog” is a solid, underrated fighter, he has been out of action for a very long time and coming back against an opponent in his prime and on a win streak like Johnson is going to be tough to overcome. Look for “Rumble” to use his wrestling in reverse to keep the fight standing and outstrike Nogueira on the feet en route to either a clear decision win or a highlight-reel knockout, possibly via head kick KO. At -500 the line on Johnson isn’t cheap by any means but he should absolutely win this fight and could be used in a two-team parlay with another fighter on the card. It’s possible that “Rumble” wins this fight by stoppage, but the line on the Rumble ITD prop is too high at -145. If anything, the prop on Rumble wins by decision at +225 could have some value, but the best bet here is to just put him in a parlay as he should definitely win this fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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