Gabe Killian’s Early Look at the UFC 181 Prelims on FOX Sports 1

UFC149_Weighins_089-faberThe Ultimate Fighting Championship is back on Pay Per View and in Las Vegas with UFC 181 on Saturday, December 6th. The event will feature two title fights and 11 fights in total, four of which will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 at 8pm ET. Getting the action going on the televised prelims will be a women’s bantamweight contest that sees the promotional debut of undefeated prospect Ashlee Evans-Smith, who is stepping in as a late injury replacement for the highly touted and also undefeated prospect Holly Holm. Opposing Evans-Smith with her back against the wall following a pair of decision defeats will be Raquel Pennington, and she will be in dire need of a win if she hopes to continue having a future inside the Octagon. Unfortunately for her, she is currently pegged as a +155 betting underdog heading into this scrap, with Evans-Smith being the favorite to win at -195. The lines opened at +140/-180, so some action has come in on Evans-Smith, who has a TKO win over the well-publicized Fallon Fox under her belt. I think this women’s 135 pound scrap has the potential of being a great battle on the feet; it is one match up I look forward to seeing on this fight card and a solid choice to get the night rolling. Coming up next is a fight that also saw opponent changes due to injury, as The Ultimate Fighter 19 light heavyweight winner Corey Anderson was slated to take on Gian Villante, who pulled out due to injury, and then Jonathan Wilson, who was also removed from the card due to injury, so now he is slated to take on undefeated middleweight Justin Jones, who is stepping up a weight class to make his Octagon debut on short notice at 205 pounds. Anderson vs Jones is a fight between two very talented fighters, and despite of the outcome, I believe they both have a bright future in the promotion. However, Anderson will be entering this contest owning a size advantage over Jones, as well as an advantage in wrestling, so for those reasons he opened as a -385 betting favorite over the Jones, with the return on the underdog being +265. Some action has since come in on the undefeated RFA middleweight prospect, moving the lines to a current -320/+240. The next bout on the FOX Sports 1 televised preliminary card comes in the middleweight division and features another The Ultimate Fighter season 19 winner, as Eddie “Truck” Gordon gets set to take on The Ultimate Fighter season 18 veteran Josh Samman, who has been out of action since his time on the reality series due to a series of unfortunate injuries. This is a fight between a pair of talented, well-rounded mixed martial artists and despite of the outcome, I expect they will both have a future with the promotion. “Truck” opened as a -170 betting favorite at the sportsbooks, with Samman opening at the underdog price of +130. Slight action has since come in on the favorite, moving the lines to the current -185/+145. Headlining the televised preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 will be a bantamweight battle between veterans Urijah Faber and Francisco Rivera, and it is one fight that likely will not go the three round distance. This makes for the second consecutive time that Faber has headlined a preliminary card, having previously fought on Pay Per View in all of his previous Octagon bouts. I think Faber vs Rivera has the potential of being very entertaining, but also very uneventful, if Faber opts to do nothing but wrestle Rivera for 15 minutes to pick up a unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. That is a very realistic possibility, as the Team Alpha Male fighter owns a massive wrestling advantage over Rivera, which is the main reason he opened as a -405 favorite in the match-up, with Rivera being a +285 underdog. With the lines currently being -400/+325, I assume a bit of action has been coming in both ways. While there is a decent chance this fight could go all three rounds, I think it’s more likely that it ends inside the distance, as Faber also holds an edge over River in the submission game and is very crafty with his chokes. Not to mention, Rivera is arguably the hardest hitting bantamweight Faber has ever faced, so it would not be a shock to anybody to see him score a knockout over Faber, especially considering the fact that Faber is getting up there in age and recently suffered his first TKO defeat.

Written by Gabe Killian

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