One of the prelims at UFC Fight Night 69 is a three-round lightweight bout between Mairbeck Taisumov and Alan Patrick. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Taisumov is a -170 favorite (bet $170 to win $100) while Patrick is a +140 underdog (bet $100 to win $140). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Taisumov at -140 and Patrick at +100 and some action has come in on the favorite Taisumov so far. I lean towards Taisumov here and expect him to get his hand raised. Here’s why. Taisumov (23-5) is one of the top prospects in the UFC lightweight division. The 26-year-old Chechen is 3-1 overall in the UFC with wins over Anthony Christodoulou, Tae Hyun Bang and Marcin Bandel with a loss to Michel Prazeres. Taisumov is an extremely deadly striker on the feet. He has a ton of knockout power in his hands and legs and keeps improving his striking every time we see him. With 12 career knockout wins, it’s clear he’s a threat on the feet. He also has underrated submissions, having earned 10 tapout wins in his career. He has looked great in the UFC overall except in the Prazeres fight where he kept getting taken down, and where he was deducted points for grabbing the cage to stop the takedowns. That was a really disappointing loss, but other than that Taisumov has looked amazing. He says that loss motivated him to improve his wrestling, and we’ll find out this weekend against Patrick if that’s indeed the case. Patrick (12-0) is 2-0 in the UFC with wins over John Makdessi and Garrett Whiteley. The 31-year-old Brazilian comes from a capoeira background and is one of the few fighters who has found success with that style, showing off some flashy spinning kicks in his fights, like he did against Whiteley when he knocked him out. Against Makdessi he showed off his grinding style as he was able to push Makdessi against the fence and win a decision. He didn’t deserve to win that fight because he was getting outstruck and couldn’t land takedowns, but the fact the judges liked his fence-pushing tactics could be the clue to this fight with Taisumov. If he can use his size and strength and push Taisumov against the cage he could steal another decision, even if he’s getting outstruck. But with Taisumov’s alleged improvements in his wrestling, it’s hard to count on that happening, and that’s why you see Patrick enter this fight as a dog despite his undefeated record. I do think Taisumov has improved in the last year since the fight with Prazeres, but Patrick is an unknown. He hasn’t fought since beating Makdessi via controversial decision over a year ago, but it’s possible he as well has improved during the last year. I like Taisumov and I want to bet on him, but something is telling me to stay away. I just can’t get the Prazeres fight out of my mind, and I think if Patrick is smart he will look to replicate a similar gameplan and try to shove Taisumov against the fence and try to grind this fight out. And on the feet he can probably hold his own too. Having said that, I feel like Patrick is overrated and I’ve been looking for the chance to fade him against a talented fighter like Taisumov. Unfortunately, I just don’t trust Taisumov’s takedown defence enough to lay juice on him here. I’ll stick pick Taisumov to win because I think he can stuff the takedowns and win the striking battle, but until he shows me the improvements in his takedown defence I can’t bet on him in a fight like this, so I’ll pass altogether.