UFC Fight Night 58 Play: Darren Elkins (+177) vs Hacran Dias (-192)

Hacran DiasUFC Fight Night 58 Date: December 20, 2014 Arena: Jose Correa Arena City: Barueri, Brazil Featherweight bout: Darren Elkins (+177) vs Hacran Dias (-192) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 58 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 will feature a featherweight contest between a pair of talented grapplers in the form of Indiana native Darren “The Damage” Elkins and Nova Uniao product Hacran Dias. Elkins is the betting underdog heading into this 145 pound scrap at +177 ($100 to win $177) and the hometown favorite Dias is also the betting favorite at -192 ($192 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Darren “The Damage” Elkins (18-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) bounced back from a unanimous decision loss to Jeremy Stephens with a controversial split decision victory over Lucas Martins at UFC 179 exactly two months ago. The decision was controversial because one judge scored the bout for Martins, when many believed it was clear that Elkins took the fight convincingly. In a quick turnaround here in Brazil, he will be looking to make it two in a row as he plans to make another run at 145 pounds. The Indiana native has been improving his footwork, as well as his boxing, which is now decent. He likes to use the jab and likes to double up on it. He has a decent overhand right and has developed a kicking game, as well, seeming to favor shots to the body. Elkins is capable of putting some effective combinations together, but he is not very quick on the feet. In fact, he will be at a speed disadvantage heading into this bout against Dias. “The Damage” is a triathlete with incredible cardio and is always game for a hard three rounds of action. Aside from his knockout loss to Chad Mendes, he has displayed a solid chin and the ability to take serious punishment, as was evident in the first round of his bout against Diego Brandao, in which he got lit up very badly and survived to come back and win the second and third rounds for a unanimous decision victory. Elkins’ bread and butter is his relentlessly smothering wrestling, which he usually uses to control opponents. He is an Indiana state high school wrestling champion and I believe his game plan going into this featherweight affair will be to put the Brazilian on his back. Hacran Dias (21-3-1 MMA, 1-2UFC) had his impressive nine-fight winning streak snapped by Nik Lentz via unanimous decision after three rounds of action in a very close fight, and then followed that with another closely contested defeat against recent UFC featherweight title challenger Ricardo Lamas. Now after suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career, the Brazilian will be looking to bounce back into the win column in impressive fashion against Elkins. Dias is an aggressive fighter who likes to pressure his opponents and be in control of the action. He has solid and improving striking skills, great footwork and striking defense, plus an excellent chin. He puts together some nice 1-2 combinations, works a good jab and throws solid uppercuts, not to mention precise hooks. The Brazilian has improved his boxing, as well as his kicking game. He throws a mean overhand right and devastating leg kicks, similar to his teammate and training partner, UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo. Training out of Nova Uniao under the tutelage of Andre Pederneiras, Dias is a well-conditioned fighter who continues to evolve his all-around game. The Brazilian has solid wrestling skills and good takedowns. His takedown defense is solid, as well. He has great strength and balance, so he does a good job of staying on his feet, though when taken down, he is good at working his way back to his feet. The Nova Uniao product is also good at counter wrestling and reversing position on his opponents. He has a very good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, as well, so he is a threat when the fight hits the mat, and the fact that he owns 9 of his 21 professional mixed martial arts career victories by submission are a testament to that sentiment. Gabe’s Thoughts: Elkins will have an advantage in wrestling heading into this 145 pound scrap, as well as a two inch advantage in both height and reach. However, despite the height and reach advantage over the Brazilian, he will still be at a disadvantage on the feet, which is where the fight always starts. I think we will see improved takedown defense from Dias, who already had excellent takedown defense. I think he will find success in keeping this fight on the feet for the majority of two out of three rounds of action en route to picking up a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards and ultimately bouncing back into the win column. This fight could either be one sided or very close, but either way, I see the Brazilian getting the better of the Indiana native. Also, while Elkins has a great chin and even better recovery, I think Dias has a decent chance of putting him away. That said, I do think the chances of a decision win are greater than that of a stoppage, but don’t be surprised if you see Dias get his hand raised via stoppage. Neither a T/KO or submission would surprise me, as I could see him earning either/or. I think this fight is a challenge for the Brazilian, but believe it is his to win. I feel this fight is a good opportunity for him to bounce back into the win column and I expect him to do so in front of his fellow Brazilians in Barueri, Brazil. Gabe’s Call: Dias by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Hacran Dias (-192) 4.8u to win 2.8u

Written by Gabe Killian

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