UFC Fight Night 62 Fight Breakdown: Kevin Souza vs. Katsunori Kikuno

kevin-souza One of the prelims is a three-round featherweight bout between Kevin Souza and Katsunori Kikuno. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Souza is a -215 favorite (bet $215 to win $100) while Kikuno is a +170 underdog (bet $100 to win $170). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Souza at -185 and Kikuno at +145, and so far the bettors are leaning towards Souza to get the win. I agree with the action coming in on Souza as I expect him to win this fight. Here’s why. Souza (15-3) is 2-0 in the UFC with wins over Mark Eddiva and Felipe Arantes. The 30-year-old Brazilian is currently riding a nine-fight win streak with eight of those victories coming by way of knockout, showing just how dangerous this man is with his striking. All told he has 13 T/KO wins in his career and is an extremely dangerous fighter in the standup department. He is very tall at 6’0″ for 145lbs and with a 74-inch reach, he is able to hit his opponents from far away without getting hit back. He has shown some flaws in his grappling in the UFC, but if he can keep his fights upright it’s hard to see many people outstriking him. He has a matchup here against Kikuno where he should have an advantage on the feet, and in a fight between two strikers, it makes sense he is the favorite heading into the contest. Kikuno (23-6-2) is 2-1 in the UFC with wins over Sam Sicilia and Quinn Mulhern and a loss to Tony Ferguson. The 33-year-old native of Japan is a karate-based striker and he has some of the most interesting-to-watch striking technique in the UFC featherweight division. His strikes come from different angles and they are hard for his opponents to deal with. With 12 career knockout wins, there’s no doubt he is a dangerous striker. However, he leaves his hands down as part of his style and it can cost him as we saw in his fight against Ferguson where he was brutally KOed. We saw in his last fight against Sicilia, which was his 145lb debut, that he is able to implement an effective wrestling game, and perhaps that’s what he’ll do against Souza, who has shown a weakness in his grappling, because if this stays standing and Kikuno leaves his hands down again, he’s likely going to get knocked out once more. I’m not sure why the line on Souza is so low here, because I absolutely love him in this matchup. I see this fight playing out very similarly to Kikuno’s fight against Ferguson, which he lost via first-round KO. Kikuno doesn’t keep his hands up and Souza is a long, rangy striker with power, and just like Ferguson, I expect him to connect on Kikuno’s chin and either knock him out or win a clear decision. I feel like Souza should be a 4-to-1 favorite in this matchup so I see plenty of value in the current line and recommend a play on him this weekend.

Written by Adam Martin.

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