Diving into the UFC Fight Night 63 Prelims on FS1

Liz CarmoucheThe Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA for the third time in promotion history with UFC Fight Night 63, which will be headlined by a five round main event contest between top featherweights Chad “Money” Mendes and Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas. The main card action will kick off with six scheduled bouts at 1pm ET on FOX Sports 1, with a four-fight preliminary card preceding it on the same channel at 11am ET. If interested in wagering on this fight card, all betting lines will be made available at Several Bookmakerss. The UFC Fight Night 63 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 gets under-way with a middleweight contest between Justin Jones and Ron Stallings that could very well be a sleeper for ‘Fight of the Night’ come time for post-fight bonuses. This will be the second Octagon outing for both 185-pounders who made their promotional debuts on short notice against very stiff competition, and ultimately tasted defeat. Jones dropped a unanimous decision to The Ultimate Fighter 19 winner Corey Anderson, which marked the first official loss of his professional mixed martial arts career. Stallings’ loss came against The Ultimate Fighter 18 finalist Urijah Hall, resulting in a first round TKO doctor stoppage due to a cut. This is an important fight for both Jones and Stallings, and they will both aim to make an impression in their efforts to earn their first UFC victory. Regardless of the outcome, these middleweights are expected to leave it all inside the Octagon this Saturday night, and this should be an excellent contest to get the night rolling. The RFA veteran Jones opened as a -170 favorite in this match-up, with Stallings being the betting underdog at +130. Some action has since come in on the Strikeforce and Ring of Combat veteran Stallings, tightening the betting lines a bit and bringing them to their current -140/+120. Next up on the preliminary card in Virginia will be a heavyweight contest between a pair of promotional newcomers in Shamil Abdurahimov and Timothy Johnson. In what still remains a razor-thin division, these big boys will be looking to make some noise in highlight-reel fashion. Abdurahimov opened as a -270 betting favorite in this contest, with his opponent Johnson being a +190 underdog. I am unsure as to how the public feels about this one, but the lines have in fact tightened up and arrived at their current -265/+225. In the next bout of the preliminary card evening, former UFC lightweight title challenger Gray Maynard finds himself in the land of Mir and Koscheck when he takes on Russia’s Alexander Yakovlev. Will the outcome be similar to Mir’s, or will he end up in the same position as Koscheck? On a three fight losing streak and 1-4-1 in his last six, Maynard is certainly in a tough spot. All four of his defeats have been via T/KO, and the only win was a controversial split decision against Clay Guida, who has since dropped down to 145-pounds. Still latching onto title-shot dreams, Maynard feels this is the biggest fight of his life. Standing in his way is the Russian. Yakovlev racked up three straight wins on the regional circuit that included a unanimous decision over UFC and Strikeforce veteran Paul Daley, and he earned a contract with the UFC. Making his Octagon debut against Demian Maia, Yakovlev was outgrappled by the Brazilian for three rounds of action for a one-sided unanimous decision defeat. His next outing came against Sweden’s Nico Musoke, and he again tasted defeat when the fight hit the judges’ scorecards for another unanimous decision. On a two fight skid and with his back against the wall, the Russian is making his 155-pound debut for this contest and hopes to make an impression against the former title challenger Maynard. This is undoubtedly “do-or-die” time for both fighters, and certainly one fight not to miss. This will be Maynard’s first preliminary card bout since headlining the UFC Fight Night 12 preliminary card back in January of 2008 (more than seven years ago!) and he has been a main event six times since, and co-main event twice. He opened as a -170 betting favorite in this contest, with Yakovlev being a +130 underdog. Action has since shifted things, making Maynard the slight underdog and the Russian the slight favorite at the current betting tags of +105/-125. Headling the evening’s preliminary card will be a women’s bantamweight contest that features the first woman to ever step foot inside the Octagon in Liz Carmouche as she gets set to take on former Invicta FC women’s bantamweight champion Lauren Murphy. This is a very important fight for both ladies, as they are coming off losses and are eager to return to the win column. Carmouche is on a two fight skid, losing unanimous decision’s to Alexis Davis and Miesha Tate, respectively, and has her back against the wall heading into this scrap. There’s less pressure on Murphy, who lost a split decision to Sara McMann in her promotional debut, which marked the first official loss of her professional mixed martial arts career. Carmouche opened as a -155 betting favorite in this bout, with the return on the underdog Murphy being +115. Action, however has since come in on Murphy, tightening the lines to a current -115/-105.

Written by Gabe Killian

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