UFC 181 Fight Breakdown: Sergio Pettis vs. Matt Hobar

Sergio-Pettis One of the Fight Pass prelims at UFC 181 is a three-round bantamweight bout between Sergio Pettis and Matt Hobar. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Pettis is a -320 favorite (bet $320 to win $100) while Hobar is a +260 underdog (bet $100 to win $260). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Pettis at -280 and Hobar at +200, and action has come in on Pettis so far. This fight is not as one-sided as the betting public is making it out to be, but I do agree that Pettis should be the favorite. Here’s why. Pettis (11-1) is one of the top prospects in the UFC bantamweight division. The 21-year-old younger brother of UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is 2-1 overall in the UFC with wins over Yaotzin Meza and Will Campuzano and a loss to Alex Caceres. Prior to the UFC Pettis fought at flyweight, but finding the weight cut to 125lbs too difficult, he decided to move to 135lbs and so far the results have been mixed. Although he did defeat Campuzano and Meza, he was taken down in both of those fights, and in his loss against Caceres he was taken down as well. He does have a dynamic guard and can submit opponents off of his back, but being on your back is not where you want to be in MMA. If he can keep his fights standing, he will be able to use his dynamic striking to light his opponents up on the feet, but if he gets taken down he is at the risk of losing. I like Pettis and think he has a bright future in the sport, but I don’t think it’s at 135lbs. I think he’s too small for the weight class, and will struggle against the top-15 fighters in the division, guys who are cutting a ton of weight to make the weight class like Caceres. Having said that, Pettis still has the striking to beat anyone in the division and with the hype it makes sense he is the favorite over Hobar, but this could prove to be a difficult fight for him and at the price, I’m not sure if it’s worth betting on. Hobar (9-2) was the former Legacy FC bantamweight champion and is so far 1-1 in the UFC with a decision win over Aaron Phillips and a TKO loss to Pedro Munhoz. The 27-year-old American is a strong wrestler who chooses to use his takedowns to take his opponents to the ground and beat him up there. He doesn’t have devastating ground and pound or submission ability, but he’s able to hold top position and grind his opponents out for the victory. At 5’10” he is big for bantamweight, and he will have a four-inch reach advantage over Pettis in this bout. Although he will be at a distinct disadvantage if this fight stays standing, if he’s able to land the takedowns and grind he can have success. There’s no doubt that Pettis is more athletic and talented than Hobar, but it’s possible Hobar’s wrestling and toughness will be enough, and considering the price on Pettis, it’s hard not to take a long look at Hobar as a big dog. Pettis has shown solid takedown defence in the UFC, and more times than not I think he stuffs Hobar’s takedown attempts, keeps this fight on the feet, and outstrikes him en route to a decision victory or possibly a knockout. However, I am just a bit worried about the size difference here as Hobar will no doubt be the bigger fighter, and as the fight goes on he could use his size to weigh on Pettis and eventually wrestle his way to the mat and maybe still a decision. I’m still picking Pettis, but -320 seems like way too much juice to lay on a guy who really hasn’t shown up yet in the Octagon, so I say pass on this one and look for other spots on the card to bet. It just seems too risky given the price.

Written by Adam Martin.

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