UFC 156 Picks: Light Heavyweight Fight Rashad Evans (-345) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+265)

evans-vs-nogueira UFC 156 Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV Saturday, February 2, 2013 Light Heavyweight Fight: Rashad Evans (-345) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+265) Fight Breakdown: Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans returns to the Octagon in the co-main event of UFC 156 against dangerous veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Evans enters as a -345 favorite (bet $345 to win $100) while the comeback on Nogueira is +265 (bet $100 to win $265). Evans (17-2-1) hasn’t fought since last April at UFC 145, when he was decisioned by divisional kingpin Jon Jones. But regardless of that loss, Evans remains the No. 2 light heavyweight in the world and a dangerous opponent for anyone in the division. He is a skilled boxer who possesses power in his hands and the footwork to gracefully pick apart his opponents, but it’s his wrestling that is his best attribute as it allows him to take his opponents down and control them on the floor. And if he plans on getting by Nogueira and moving back into title contention then it will be the wrestling that wins him the fight, because standing with a skilled boxer like Nogueira is a dangerous proposition. Nogueira (20-5) is coming off an even longer layoff, having not competed since UFC 140 back in December 2011, so it’s possible he’ll experience some ring rust in this fight. Nogueira, a former PRIDE staple, has some of the best boxing in the division and he has great BJJ to match it. As well, he has underrated power and takedown defence. The problem, though, is that his takedown defence isn’t likely to be good enough against Evans, who is arguably the best wrestler in the division aside from Jones. If Nogueira can stuff the takedowns then he can make things interesting because he definitely has the capability to knock out Evans on the feet, but that’s a big if since Evans is so tenacious with his takedowns. All in all, this just seems like a bad matchup for “Little Nog.” Fight Prediction: If Evans fights smart, then he’s going to use his speed and footwork to set up the takedowns, and on the ground he should be able to dominate with his positional control even though “Little Nog” could threaten with submissions. Nogueira is tough as nails, and I don’t think Evans is going to finish him, but I do think he’ll end up winning a clear-cut decision. Adam’s Pick: Evans via decision (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: Evans really should win this fight, but he’s been bet up to around -500 now. It’s probably best to just stay away from this point unless you need someone to parlay with, and at that point Evans is worth consideration even though at 5-to-1 he’s overvalued at this point since you can’t sleep on “Little Nog.”

Written by Adam Martin.

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