UFC on FOX 12: FOX and UFC Fight Pass Preliminary Card Preview

UFC on Fox 12The UFC returns to network TV on Saturday with a four-fight bill on Fox that has fans salivating at the potential for exciting fights. Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown have provided some of the most memorable bouts and moments in recent UFC history, and the combination of them in the same cage seems sure to repeat history. Before the main card goes live at 8pm ET, there is a massive eight-fight undercard for fans to get through. For the first time, some of the undercard bouts will be aired on Fox itself (starting at 6pm ET), while the first half of the prelims can be found on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 4:15pm ET. In the lead-in bout to the main broadcast, lightweights Jorge Masvidal (26-8) and Daron Cruickshank (15-4) have many pundits thinking they can challenge for ‘Fight of the Night’ honors. Both men are extremely proficient strikers, with Masvidal having solid fundamentals and Cruickshank being flashier. If this turns into a grappling match Masvidal has the big edge, and that’s a huge reason that he sits as a -240 favorite (bet $240 to win $100), while Cruickshank is a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220) at Several Bookmakers. Masvidal has hovered in the bottom half of the top 15 rankings for a while, and a big win here would do wonders towards boosting him up into the top 10 and potential contendership. At light heavyweight, Kyle Kingsbury (11-5, 1 NC) returns after nearly two full years out of the Octagon to take on a fighter that had only two professional fights the last time he stepped in the cage, Patrick Cummins (5-1). Kingsbury was essentially retired following his three-fight losing streak and various injuries suffered at the hands of Jimi Manuwa, but the time off seems to have mended him and the desire to fight has returned. Cummins saw his UFC career get off to a rocky start, as he was simply outclassed by Daniel Cormier in his debut, losing in just 79 seconds. He rebounded against Roger Narvaez by using his wrestling effectively, and that seems to be the path to victory for him here as well. The unknowns about Kingsbury at this point are a bit too much for bettors, as he’s a +165 underdog with Cummins the -175 favorite. Another fight that looks to end up exciting is the welterweight scrap between aggressive strikers Tim Means (20-6-1) and Hernani Perpetuo (17-4, 1 NC). Means is extremely fun to watch when he’s able to get his striking game going, and against a fighter in Perpetuo who likes to trade on the feet as well – and isn’t a particularly stout wrestler – that’s just what should happen here. The public still hasn’t lost faith in Means despite his three-fight UFC losing streak, and he finds himself a -220 favorite in this bout, with the comeback on Perpetuo at +200. The Brazilian acquitted himself well in his UFC debut against Jordan Mein, and hopes to carry the momentum from his third round in that bout over to this one. The first bout on Fox is a featherweight scrap between Mike de la Torre (12-4) and the debuting Brian Ortega (8-0). De la Torre surprised in his UFC debut, pushing veteran Mark Bocek to the very brink before dropping a split decision. His takedown defense and tenacity were two very important factors in that bout, and they could be again here. Ortega is the former RFA featherweight champion and a standout grappler, whose nickname ‘T-City’ even comes from his ability to lock on triangles swiftly and from any position. This is a big step up for him, but it is a winnable fight and regardless of the outcome the 23-year-old has a bright future. De la Torre will want to avoid turning this into a grappling battle, and dropping from lightweight to featherweight could very well help in that endeavor. Currently the public is relatively split on this bout, with Ortega the -165 favorite and de la Torre the +155 underdog, the second-tightest line on the card. The debuts keep on coming as we shift over to UFC Fight Pass, where six of the eight fighters are making their first appearance in the UFC. The last fight to go on the platform is in the lightweight division, as the well-rounded Tiago dos Santos (18-4-2, 1 NC) takes on grappling specialist, and one of the more seasoned Mexican fighters in MMA, Akbarh Arreola (22-7-1). Dos Santos can be effective wherever the fight takes place, but chances are he’ll want to keep this one on the feet to avoid the submission game which has earned Arreola 16 career wins. Oddsmakers seem to think he’ll be capable of it, as dos Santos is a -215 favorite, with the comeback on Arreola at +195. Gilbert Burns (7-0) and Andreas Stahl (9-0) are both quality fighters, and given the size of the UFC roster these days it’s a shame that they have to be matched up against each other so that one of them will lose their undefeated record. The odds for this bout are the closest on the card, with Burns just a slight -145 favorite and Stahl +135. Most seem to consider Burns as the more technical and dangerous grappler, and his no-gi world championships in jiu-jitsu certainly don’t hurt that sentiment. What makes this bout interesting however is that Stahl is bigger – with Burns coming up from lightweight to welterweight for the contest – and he’s a better wrestler. If Stahl can shut down the grappling of Burns, things will get very interesting on the feet, and this could end up the best bout on Fight Pass. It doesn’t have the historical impact of last week’s inaugural strawweight bout, but Joanna Jedrzejczyk (6-0) could prove to be a contender just like Claudia Gadelha. She will have to get through Brazilian Juliana Lima (6-1) before that’s possible however. Jedrzejczyk is a very talented striker whose muay Thai background has shifted over to MMA quite seamlessly. Her strikes and combinations are more fluid and powerful than most female fighters, and she’ll certainly be at an advantage in that department against Lima, who relies on a game that doesn’t feature one standout attribute, but is normally proficient enough in at least one area to pick up the win. The chances for that here seem slim though, as Jedrzejczyk at -290 is the third biggest favorite on the card. Opening the card, in some odds circumstances, is the featherweight bout between Steven Siler (23-12) and Noad Lahat (7-1). Lahat has made no secret of his desire to return to Israel to aid his homeland in the conflict taking place there, and it seems to have distracted him from his preparation for this bout. This was even moved to the first fight of the evening (it was previously scheduled to be one of the Fox prelims) as Lahat will almost literally be leaving the arena and getting on a plane. That has to quell any confidence bettors might have in him to win this bout, although his underdog line of +210 hasn’t changed much in the past couple days. Lahat will certainly need to get this bout to the ground against a far superior striker in Siler, but how much he’ll be willing to go through to make that happen has to come into question at this point. Siler has proven a tough out against all but the best wrestlers he’s faced since coming into the UFC, and Lahat doesn’t qualify in that category.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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