UFC 182 Fight Breakdown: Evan Dunham vs. Rodrigo Damm

ufc-156One of the prelims at UFC 182 is a three-round lightweight bout between Evan Dunham and Rodrigo Damm. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Dunham is a -500 favorite (bet $500 to win $100) while Damm is a +400 underdog (bet $100 to win $400). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Dunham at -350 and Damm at +250, and the public is all over Dunham. This fight isn’t as big of a mismatch as the betting line would have you believe, but I still slightly lean towards Dunham as the favorite. Here’s why. Dunham (14-6) was once a top lightweight contender but he’s cooled off significantly over the last few years, and he rides a three-fight losing streak into this fight. The 33-year-old American is 7-6 overall in the UFC with wins over the likes of Gleison Tibau, Nik Lentz and Tyson Griffin, to name a few, and losses to Edson Barboza, TJ Grant, Donald Cerrone, Rafael dos Anjos, Melvin Guillard and Sean Sherk. Basically, he’s a gatekeeper, as he separates the contenders from those not good enough for the top 15. There’s always a need for guys like that, but at this point the UFC just wants to see if he can pick up a good win and if he’s worth sticking around. Dunham has looked bad the last few years, really bad actually, but this is still a fighter who possesses dangerous submissions and respectable standup. He is no easy out at all, but if his decline continues he could have a letdown performance here against Damm. However, based on the skillset of both fighters there’s no doubt Dunham should be the favorite in this fight, although at 5-to-1 perhaps the line is getting a bit long for a guy who has looked like a shell of his former self. Damm (12-8) was a member of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil season one and has since gone on to post a 3-3 record in the UFC with wins over Ivan Jorge, Mizuto Hirota and Anistavio Medeiros and losses to Al Iaquinta, Rashid Magomedov and Antonio Carvalho. The 34-year-old Brazilian is a well-rounded fighter with good boxing and great submissions, and he has a ton of experience fighting the best guys in the world at both 145lbs and 155lbs. After a very poor run in Strikeforce, Damm has actually looked pretty good in the UFC, although he’s still in danger of losing his job should he lose a third straight fight. The biggest problem with Damm has been his chin. He just can’t seem to take absorb punches without being finished, although going up against a guy like Dunham with mediocre knockout power, he could survive. Still, that chin is very questionable, and it makes it difficult to ever pick Damm in a fight. He’s a guy who’s always the underdog, and for good reason, and the only way I see him beating Dunham here is if Dunham has declined more than the betting public thinks, and while it’s possible, I don’t think it’s likely, and that’s why Damm is a huge dog here. I think Dunham is on a severe decline, but if you look at who he has been losing to, it’s not like he’s losing to cans, but rather the elite fighters of the lightweight division. Plus, most (except for the Brazilian judges) thought he beat Rafael dos Anjos a year and a half ago. Damm, on the other hand, has been in close fights with guys barely clinging to the UFC roster, and he really hasn’t looked good at all overall in the UFC. I’m surprised the UFC kept Damm around so long, and he’ll be in a must-win situation here against Dunham, but I don’t think he passes the test. I think Dunham beats him up in this fights and either picks up a T/KO or a decision victory to save his own job on the roster. The line is high at around 5-to-1, so tread cautiously given Dunham’s decline, but the American should be a winner here for those who wish to parlay him.

Written by Adam Martin.

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