Over the past few years Brazil has declined a bit as an MMA powerhouse, and as a result the country hasn’t seen the type of fights that the UFC brought down upon their return to the country in 2011. The only remaining Brazilian champion in the UFC is Jose Aldo. Aside from the spectacle that the UFC put on for UFC 134, Aldo is the only champion to defend his belt in Brazil. He’ll be back in Rio de Janeiro one more time, putting his belt on the line in the rematch against Chad Mendes. It will be the biggest fight to take place in Brazil in quite some time, and one of the most intriguing. Mendes has made tremendous improvements since their UFC 142 encounter, while Aldo has faced a bevy of injury issues in the interim. If Aldo can get past Mendes again, he’ll secure his spot as the greatest featherweight of all time. The odds opened for that bout at -190 (bet $190 to win $100) for the champion and +150 (bet $100 to win $150) for the challenger, and the public has not lost its faith in Aldo just yet, as the early money has pushed it up to -280 right now at Several Bookmakers. Also on the main card of UFC 179 are a pair of light heavyweight bouts between Glover Teixeira and Phil Davis, and Fabio Maldonado and Hans Stringer. Featherweight Darren Elkins will look to grind out striker Lucas Martins, while lightweight grapplers Diego Ferreira and Beneil Dariush will battle to move up the 155lb ladder. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the UFC 179 main card today at Several Bookmakers. Check them out: ——————– MAIN CARD (PPV, 10pm ET) UFC Featherweight Title Jose Aldo -190 Chad Mendes +150 Glover Teixeira -285 Phil Davis +205 Fabio Maldonado -130 Hans Stringer -110 Darren Elkins -150 Lucas Martins +110 Diego Ferreira -260 Beneil Dariush +180 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Phil Davis seems like he’s officially entered Mark Munoz territory, where his wrestling just hasn’t translated to MMA. Against Rashad Evans and Anthony Johnson he was completely ineffective with his grappling, and I expect the same to be the case against Glover. Glover isn’t quite the wrestler those two guys are, but he’s still very good in that realm and should be good enough to keep this on the feet where he has a significant advantage. It’s hard to really trust Glover as he ages and after the damage he took against Jon Jones, but he should still rebound nicely here. I’ve never been sold on Fabio Maldonado (he lost but got a gift decision against Joey Beltran after all), and he’s another fighter who has taken a ton of damage and is on the downside of his career. Against Hans Stringer he’s facing a more talented overall fighter who has experience heading into Brazil and winning. Stringer isn’t an elite light heavyweight by any means, but his combination of technical striking and solid grappling ability should be able to neutralize Maldonado’s one-dimensional approach. Give me the underdog here. Darren Elkins is being put squarely in the Nik Lentz role on this Brazilian card. Lentz used to get sent down to Brazil to face a hometown fighter and then go out and outgrapple said fighter on his way to a decision. I think that’s exactly what Elkins does against Lucas Martins. Elkins has only lost to top featherweight fighters (Mendes, Stephens and Oliveira) and while Martins is talented, I don’t think he’s anywhere near that level. He’s also a fighter who has dropped several rounds even in winning performances. Martins won’t make it easy, but he won’t have enough to overcome Elkins’ wrestling. For some reason the public hates Diego Ferreira. There’s been some serious late money that has come in on him in both of his UFC fights, having him close under 2-to-1 in fights he opened -280 and -350 in. I’m not exactly sure why the public has no faith in him, but I’m glad as I rode those discounted lines to tidy profits as he notched a finish in each bout. He may be able to get a finish here against Beneil Dariush as well, but from a style perspective this is his most difficult test. Dariush is similar to Ferreira and should be competitive in every realm, but falls just a bit short everywhere. Will the betting trend from Ferreira’s two UFC fights continue here? If it does, he could be worth another play as I think he either gets a KO or decision.