Normally, the UFC goes with a big card to finish off the year, much like Japanese promotions did in the past, but with the way scheduling worked around the holidays this season, the event will be kicking off 2015. That’s probably a good thing for an organization which saw their product stagnate a bit in 2014 due to a plethora of injuries and other issues. One of the fights that 2014 lost was the light heavyweight title bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier (which was made because Gustafsson fell out of his scheduled rematch with Jones initially). This is a marquee fight for the UFC, and a great way for them to kick off 2015. The card beyond the main event is solid, but it’s clear that the draw here is the title bout. Donald Cerrone has a good following, and he fights in the main event against undefeated prospect Myles Jury. Former middleweight title contender Nate Marquardt looks to continue his run back at welterweight, as he takes on Brad Tavares. Also on the main card, flyweight prospect Kyoji Horiguchi hopes to continue climbing the ladder towards Demetrious Johnson. He faces Louis Gaudinot in one of his tougher tests thus far in the UFC. Another potential title contender is welterweight Hector Lombard, who is attempting to extend his welterweight winning streak to three against the returning Josh Burkman. The theme of the prelims is undefeated fighters, as the top three bouts on the Fox Sports 1 card feature Paul Felder (9-0), Cody Garbrandt (5-0), and Jared Cannonier (7-0), with the latter two making their UFC debuts. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for UFC 182 today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (PPV, 10pm ET) UFC Light Heavyweight Title Jon Jones -215 Daniel Cormier +165 Donald Cerrone -150 Myles Jury +110 Brad Tavares -120 Nate Marquardt -120 Kyoji Horiguchi -600 Louis Gaudinot +400 Hector Lombard -505 Josh Burkman +335 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1, 8pm ET) Danny Castillo -210 Paul Felder +160 Marcus Brimage -270 Cody Garbrandt +190 Shawn Jordan -175 Jared Cannonier +135 Evan Dunham -350 Rodrigo Damm +250 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7pm ET) Omari Akhmedov -135 Mats Nilsson -105 Alexis Dufresne -185 Marion Reneau +145 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Because there are ten new lines here, I’m going to keep my thoughts a bit more brief on each individual fight. I do favor Cerrone against Jury, mostly due to the fact that Jury should let him come forward and Cerrone is at his best in such scenarios. Jury’s style of trying to get in and out with strikes may leave him open to some of Cerrone’s patented step-in knees, and his movement may make him difficult to find, but it will allow Cerrone to hunt him down with combos. The volume factor is a big one here, and while Jury may be able to get a takedown or two, I don’t think it will be enough to sway the judges based on the stand up action. In a bout with two fighters who have bad defense, I have to side with the one who is better offensively, and that’s Nate Marquardt. Either guy could get hit and put out here, but I just think Marquardt’s tools will allow him to be the one that strikes first the majority of the time. I see both the Horiguchi and Lombard fights being extremely one-sided. Horiguchi is a significantly more talented fighter than Louis Gaudinot in every area, and as long as he doesn’t stick his head in a guillotine I don’t see how he loses this fight. As for Lombard, his gas tank gives Burkman a bit more of a shot, but he’s at a disadvantage in terms of striking, grappling and wrestling if cardio doesn’t become a factor. I expect the undefeated fighters to all pick up their first losses at UFC 182. Felder’s takedown defense, cardio and striking defense were all a bit worrying in his UFC debut, and those are all areas that Danny Castillo should be able to exploit in this fight. Castillo’s chin is always a concern, and Felder hits hard, but I still like Alpha Male’s old dog. The Brimage/Garbrandt fight is interesting, as Garbrandt has gotten some rave reviews at Team Alpha Male for his striking, and that’s exactly what Brimage brings to the table. I think that Brimage’s experience in the Octagon is going to give him the edge in this one, but I have a hard time trusting him at the current line. In terms of the best chances to win for those undefeated fighters, I think it has to go to Jared Cannonier, because of the very nature of heavyweight MMA, and his opponent’s chin. We’ve seen Jordan rocked and put out on multiple occasions, but more often than not I think Jordan can be a bit quicker to the punch here, and he’s the superior wrestler and grappler in this bout. Those two factors should carry him to a decision, if not a 2nd or 3rd round TKO. Rodrigo Damm and Evan Dunham both seem to be on a bit of a decline in terms of their performances, but Dunham’s descent started from a much higher place and seems to be more gradual than Damm’s. I think he’s simply the better fighter in all areas, and think this ends up a rather uncompetitive bout. Ahkmedov and Nilsson is the most difficult to get a read on for me. Nilsson has a grappling advantage, but whether he chooses to use it (or is able to use it after the first round) is another story. Ahkmedov is dangerous on the feet, but also extremely wild and open to being countered. Both of these guys are talented offensively, but also quite flawed, and it should make for an interesting fight. As of right now, I lean slightly to Akhmedov, but I’ll need to take a closer look. The hype on Alexis Dufresne has really died after her UFC debut against Sarah Moras. I think that’s a bit of an overreaction. As long as she gets her weight cut right, I think she dominates Marion Reneau physically and wins this fight. Reneau has decent skills, but she’s significantly older than Dufresne and I don’t think her grappling is so good that she’ll be capable of catching a sub from her back. This should be three rounds (or less) or ground-and-pound.