UFC 179 Fight Breakdown: Andre Fili vs. Felipe Arantes

Andre-Fili One of the televised prelims set for UFC 179 is a three-round featherweight fight between Andre Fili and Felipe Arantes. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Fili is a -120 favorite (bet $120 to win $100) while Arantes is a +100 underdog (bet $100 to win $100). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Fili at -155 and Arantes at +115, and so far most of the action has come in on Arantes. I think Fili will win this fight and I don’t agree with the public betting on Arantes, although it’s definitely not an easy fight to call. Here’s why. Fili (13-2) is making his third appearance in the UFC. In his debut, which took place last fall at UFC 166, he absolutely decimated Jeremy Larsen en route to an impressive TKO win. However, he lost in his sophomore appearnce via third-round submission to Max Holloway. Although Fili was favored against Holloway, looking back Holloway should have been the favorite and really, it’s not that bad of a loss for the 24-year-old Team Alpha Male member. For his third UFC fight, Fili is travelling to fight outside of the U.S. for the first time and for a guy who has struggled to make weight in the past, that is certainly something to keep an eye on. As far as his skillset goes, Fili is primarily a striker who uses all of his limbs for a full standup arsenal. He has seven knockouts to his name, showing he does have power to go along with some nice technique. He has passable wrestling, but he needs work in that department. As far as his grappling goes, he does have submission ability but he needs help in that area as we saw in the Holloway fight. Overall though I’d say Fili is a very solid prospect and although he is fighting in Brazil against a Brazilian, I believe stylistically he is deserving of his favorite status in this matchup against Arantes. Arantes (16-6, 1 NC) is one of the more underrated featherweights in the UFC. The 26-year-old Brazilian is 3-2, 1 NC overall in the Octagon with wins over Maximo Blanco, Godofredo Pepey and Antonio Carvalho, with a draw against Milton Vieira and losses to Kevin Souza and Yuri Alcantara. Arantes is a very strong grappler. He has a very good ground game, working in both submissions and ground and pound, and he has the wrestling ability to get the fight on the ground. On the feet he isn’t as great as his muay Thai background would suggest, but his standup overall is passable and he has shown a good chin throughout his career. He is a finisher with seven knockouts and four submissions to his credit, and a very tough out for anyone moving up the featherweight ranks. I really like this matchup with Fili and it’s one that Arantes can win if he gets the fight to the ground, but if it stays standing like I think it does, I think he will be at a disadvantage and that’s why I agree with Arantes being the dog going into it. I believe Fili should be able to keep this fight standing and outstrike Arantes en route to a decision win or a TKO, but it’s no lock. Although Fili comes from a camp with a number of high-level grapplers, I am not totally sold on Fili’s ground game yet, and that’s what’s holding me back from pulling the trigger on him. His striking is levels about Arantes, but if the Brazilian can use his underrated wrestling to get this fight to the mat, he should have a big advantage and might even submit Fili. I’m banking on Fili being able to keep this standing, but after seeing him get choked out by Holloway like that, it’s hard to trust him. The lean is Fili -120, but a pass is probably smarter than playing the striker Fili in what is a dangerous matchup against the grappler Arantes.

Written by Adam Martin.

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