UFC 184 Fight Breakdown: Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Roman Salazar

kid_yamamoto One of the prelims at UFC 184 is a three-round bantamweight bout between Norifumi Yamamoto and Roman Salazar. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Yamamoto is a -280 favorite (bet $280 to win $100) while Salazar is a +240 underdog (bet $100 to win $240). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Yamamoto at -210 and Salazar at +160, and the public is all over Yamamoto so far. I can’t pick Yamamoto after his three-year layoff so I’m going to pick Salazar for the upset. Here’s why. Yamamoto (18-6, 1 NC) was once of the most feared bantamweight fighters in the world but he has really declined over the years. The 37-year-old native of Japan is overall 0-3 in the UFC and hasn’t fought in the Octagon in three years. In fact, he has only one win since 2007, a knockout over little-known Federico Lopez. He has lost five of his last six fights and looks like a shell of his former self. At one point in time, though, Yamamoto was a buzzsaw, defeating the likes of Bibiano Fernandes, Rani Yahya, and Caol Uno. But For a 135lber, Yamamoto packs a lot of power and has won 13 fights by T/KO. However, he has only one knockout in the last seven years. I think farther time has caught up to Yamamoto. He was once one of the best in the world, but not anymore, and coming into this fight against Salazar off of a three-year layoff, there are so many questions about him that I’m surprised the bettors are still backing him in this spot considering all of the obvious red flags around him. Salazar (9-3) is 0-1 so far in the UFC with a submission loss to Mitch Gagnon. The 27-year-old American is a decent mixed martial artist with some knockout power (three knockouts) and some submission prowess (three submissions). He is pretty aggressive and always pushes forward and tries to make his fights a grind. He has won four of his last five fights and eight of his last 10 fights. There is not much footage available on Salazar but from what I’ve seen he’s decent. Picking him here, though, is more about fading Yamamoto. It’s hard to be confident in either guy, but in a situation like this where one fighter is 10 years younger and has been way more active, I have to go with them almost every time. I have no idea how anyone could be confident in Yamamoto coming off of a three-year layoff, and I have to fade him in this situation, even against a lesser fighter like Salazar. It’s pretty obvious the UFC is trying to set up Yamamoto to get back in the win column, but considering his three-year layoff and considering the fact he hasn’t looked good in years, I can’t back him here. I think if Yamamoto doesn’t get the stoppage in round one he will gas badly and probably get finished, even by Salazar. I just feel like Yamamoto is not the fighter he once was and I don’t know how many fighters in the UFC bantamweight division he can actually beat. So I’m going with Salazar here to pick up a win, probably by submission later in the fight. At +240, taking a shot at the dog here and fading Yamamoto is definitely worth doing, as far as I’m concerned.

Written by Adam Martin.

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