UFC 185 Play: Ryan Benoit (+450) vs Sergio Pettis (-525)

ryan-benoit-banner-622x412UFC 185 Date: 03/14/15 Arena: American Airlines Center City: Dallas, TX Flyweight bout: Ryan Benoit (+450) vs Sergio Pettis (-525) Fight Breakdown: Wrapping things up for UFC 185’s Fight Pass prelims will be a flyweight scrap between Texas’ own Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit and Roufusport product Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis. Benoit is a heavy underdog at +450 ($100 to win $450) heading into this contest, with his opponent Pettis being heavily favored to win at -525 ($525 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit (7-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) made his promotional debut at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale over 15 months ago on two weeks’ notice, taking on fellow promotional newcomer Josh Sampo. Despite being competitive, he ended up losing the fight via rear naked choke submission in the tail end of the second round of action. Now following his extended layoff, he is eager to get back into the Octagon and put on a show in front of his hometown crowd, hopefully getting his hand raised in the process. Benoit is a very talented striker with excellent Muay Thai skills. He has a solid kicking game, delivering heavy leg kicks, devastating kicks to the body and some nice high kicks, as well. The 25-year-old likes to implement all of his limbs and joints in his offensive striking attack, often leading with a knee or an elbow. He does great clinch-work, from which position he effectively employs knees and elbows. He works a solid jab, his striking defense is solid and he quite effective in both orthodox and southpaw stances. Benoit is very quick on his feet and he puts together some nice combinations, including a variety of 1-2’s. It is worth noting that his cardio is not very good and it will be a big question mark heading into this bout, considering his time away from the cage. However, Benoit is a very tough, durable fighter who is full of heart and always leaves it all inside the cage. He is capable of taking a serious amount of punishment and coming back. “Baby Face” has a good chin, as well as recovery. His takedown defense is not great, but he is very active off his back, attacking with strikes and submission attempts, while looking for reversals, which he is good at finding and securing. Despite being submitted in his Octagon debut, Benoit generally has good submission defense, as well as a solid offensive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. He will attack opponents with all kinds of submission attempts, from chokes to armbars, and leg-locks to knee-bars. He is very versatile on the mat, much like he is on the feet. The Texas native has solid offensive wrestling skills, being a Texas State Wrestling Champion in high school. To compliment his aforementioned offensive submission game, he also works an effective ground and pound attack. Benoit is a fighter who does a great job of listening to his coaches and following instructions, remaining mentally calm and patient in his fights, even when finding himself in rough circumstances and positions. Heading into tomorrow night’s bout against Pettis, he will aim to pick up his first UFC win in front of his home crowd, and he hopes to do so in impressive, highlight-reel fashion. Sergio “The Phenon” Pettis (9-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) took on former Legacy FC bantamweight champion Matt Hobar in his latest outing at UFC 181 three months ago, where he earned a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards following three competitive rounds of action. Now on the two-fight winning streak, he has opted to make a move back down to the 125-pound division, and greeting him there will be the Texas native Ryan Benoit. Pettis will be looking to run through him and he is hopeful for an impressive victory, as he wants to make some serious noise in the UFC’s flyweight division. “The Phenom” is a talented striker with exceptional kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do skills. He works hard leg kicks, and loves going for the high kick, and does so with both his left and right. He is very effective on the feet in both southpaw and orthodox positions. Much like his brother, UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis, Sergio has a wide range of kicks in his arsenal; including some beautiful spinning attacks, like his spinning heel kick and spinning roundhouse kick. He uses a front-kick, as well, which I think is his weakest kick. Also like his brother, Sergio likes to improvise on the feet and often displays flashy maneuvers. He has good footwork, but does not always use it, though he does generally move around the Octagon pretty well. Pettis does a great job of cutting off the cage and he is very good at slicing angles and pressuring his opponents. He is very fast on the feet, but does not have very good head movement, and his chin is a bit of a question mark, however he does have good recovery. “The Phenom” has a nice uppercut, a solid straight right and an effective jab, which he often doubles up on. He puts together some great combinations on the feet, including a solid 1-2, which he used to knock-out Dillard Pegg at RFA 8, prior to signing with the UFC. He is a good counter-striker, however he has trouble getting on the inside of opponents who have a reach advantage over him. The 21-year-old’s takedown defense is average at best, but he is comfortable off his back. He has an excellent guard, and remains very active from the bottom position, attacking with strikes, as well as submissions. He makes great transitions on the mat and has an excellent submission game. Training out of Roufusport in Milwaukee, WI, under the tutelage of Duke Roufus, Pettis is a well-conditioned athlete who appeared to make teh flyweight limit easily for the first time yesterday, and I expect him to be prepared for a hard three rounds of action against “Babyface” on Saturday night. Gabe’s Thoughts: Pettis has so much pressure heading into this fight, and I don’t think Benoit is someone you want to fight when under so much pressure. I think the younger Pettis is a somewhat overrated fighter, and at the same time, Benoit is highly underrated, which I think reflects in the current betting odds. I think the odds should be much closer, and while I do think Pettis has a slightly higher chance of getting his hand raised, I think the value here is with Benoit, so I’ll be making a play on him, and I will also outright pick him to win the fight. Gabe’s Call: “Baby Face” by T/KO (strikes, 0:39 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Benoit (+450) 2.2u to win 9.9u

Written by Gabe Killian

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