One of the main card bouts at UF 179 is a three-round light heavyweight bout between Fabio Maldonado and Hans Stringer. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Maldonado is a -130 favorite (bet $130 to win $100) while Stringer is a +110 underdog (bet $100 to win $110). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Maldonado at -130 and Stringer at -110, and action has slightly been in Maldonado’s favor so far as the lines have tightened. This is a difficult fight to call but I slightly lean towards and agree with him being a small favorite. Here’s why. Maldonado (21-7) is one of the toughest fighters in the UFC light heavyweight division and one of the best “gatekeepers” in the weight class. The 34-year-old Brazilian is 4-4 in the UFC with wins over Joey Beltran, Roger Hollett, Gian Vilante and James McSweeney and losses to Stipe Miocic, Kyle Kingsbury, Igor Pokrajac and Glover Teixeira. However, keep in mind the loss to Miocic was at heavyweight and the losses to Kingsbury and Pokrajac were highly controversial, so his record is a bit deceiving if you ask me. Maldonado is primarily a boxer. He has a wicked jab, throws crisp combinations, and his body attack is one of the best in the sport. His chin is also near-iron, although the knockout loss in his last fight to Miocic is of course concerning and is definitely a sign of a declining ability to take a shot after a career full of punishment (see his fight against Teixeira, still one of the biggest beatdowns ever). Maldonado’s wrestling isn’t very good either and he has been taken down in most of his losses, but so far he has found a way to get up from the ground when put in bad spots. And while he does have a bit of a belly, he’s not in bad shape and has proven time and time again to have good cardio. His ability to properly defend himself is questionable, as is his fight IQ, but Maldonado is a very tough individual and seems to always show up to fight in Brazil, earning him the slight favorite nod against the younger Stringer in this matchup. Stringer (22-5-3) made his UFC debut earlier this year and picked up a close split decision nod over Francimar Barroso in Brazil. The 27-year-old Dutchman now lives in the U.S. and trains at the Blackzilians alongside the likes of Rashad Evans and Anthony Johnson. He is currently riding a seven-fight unbeaten streak and overall has lost only once in his last 15 fights. Although he didn’t look that good against Barroso, it was his UFC debut so he has to be given some slack for being tentative in that fight as he was likely nervous. If you just watched the Barroso fight, it would seem like Stringer is a point fighter, but he has nine knockouts and eight submissions to his credit from his time prior to the UFC, meaning he definitely has finishing ability. However, I need to see Stringer show his skills off against a notable fighter before I jump on the Stringer bandwagon, and in general the betting public seems to agree with me that they want to see more of this fighter first before they back him and Stringer enters this fight as a slight underdog for that very reason. I think Stringer has a chance to beat Maldonado in Brazil, but if you bet on him you are truly gambling. He seems like a decent prospect but his level of competition has been poor for the most part and until he proves his skills against someone half decent, I can’t pick him over a proven veteran like Maldonado. I am expecting a close fight between these two 205lbers, but I think the Brazil factor favors Maldonado in what is likely to be a close fight and I’ll pick him to win a competitive decision. However, I wouldn’t touch Maldonado for a bet here, even at a low price like -130, just because I think there are too many questions surrounding him following the loss to Miocic. I think Maldonado wins, but it’s not a spot where I trust him enough with my money, and I believe a pass is probably the best bet here as far as a side goes, although the prop on the fight going the distance at -185 is a likely winner and a better bet than either fighter.