Between injuries and visa issues, UFC Fight Night 70 has lost no less than five bouts over the past few days. Currently, only eight bouts make up the card to be held in Hollywood, Florida, but the UFC may find some late replacements or add a few more bouts from the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter to flesh out the card. Luckily, the middleweight main event between former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero is still in tact. Despite a combined age of 75 years, this is a very important bout for the 185lb division, as Romero’s wrestling and punching power alone make him an intriguing test for any middleweight. Machida’s track record is well-documented, and while it may take more for him to get back into the title picture, he may still have the skills to do so. Machida opened a -185 favorite (bet $185 to win $100) and Romero a +145 underdog (bet $100 to win $145), and the line has only tightened since then. Machida now sits at -165, and the line on Romero has not moved. Due to the changes, the co-main event is now the welterweight bout between strikers Lorenz Larkin and Santiago Ponzinibbio as both look to extend their runs in the division. A pair of TUF contestants who have struggled since their seasons ended meet in the middleweight division as Eddie Gordon faces Antonio Carlos Junior. Staying in the middleweight division, Thiago Santos and Steve Bosse are third on the card in another bout likely to see plenty of heavy strikes. Kicking off the main card, Hacran Dias and Levan Makashvili bring similar styles to the Octagon and could make for either a very interesting bout or a stalemate in every aspect. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting odds for the remaining main card bouts as well as the currently booked prelims for UFC Fight Night 70. All lines can be found at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check them out: ——————– MAIN CARD (Fox Sports 1, 10pm ET)
——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (TBD)
——————– Brad’s Analysis: I expected both Larkin and Ponzinibbio to have more difficulty in their last bouts, and that makes this one fairly tough for me to call. Ponzinibbio’s forward pressure is something that has given Larkin trouble in the past, but Larkin looked so much better physically at 170, and perhaps more importantly, more engaged in the fight. It’s still difficult for me to get some of Larkin’s UFC performances out of my head, but I think he has the movement to avoid Ponzinibbio’s aggression, and in space he is the more talented striker. From a betting angle, I don’t see much I like here, but if the public gets a bit too enamored with Larkin’s last performance and I can get +200 or better on the Argentine, that will be very tempting. The only real pause I have about Antonio Carlos Junior in his bout with Eddie Gordon is that it’s his first time dropping to 185. Aside from that, we’ve seen Gordon disappoint multiple times in the UFC, and even his normal strategy of trying to take the fight down to ground out rounds plays right into Junior’s hands. I’m not sure I’ll be betting this, as there are some other spots I like on the card a bit better, but the TUF Brazil vet is a fairly confident pick for me. Steve Bosse is a heavy hitter, but outside of that he is outmatched against Thiago Santos. I believe Santos is the more technical and diverse striker, and we’ve seen that he can take some punishment, so I think he survives Bosse’s early onslaught. Combined with the facts that Bosse is 33, injury prone, hasn’t fought in two years, and only has one fight since 2012, I think this is a great opportunity to play Santos at a competitive price. I was hoping that Levan Makashvili would be overhyped following his UFC debut victory, but I think the public has looked at this fight pretty accurately. Hacran Dias has been in there with some of the best featherweights in the world, and he’s a huge step up in competition for Makashvili. I think Dias is more diverse as a striker, and he should be able to shut down Makashvili’s wrestling en route to another decision. I want to say the over looks like a lock here as well, but those are the fights that sometimes surprise you with a finish out of nowhere. Alex Oliveira opened a lot of eyes with his UFC debut against Gilbert Burns, and kept people’s attention by dispatching KJ Noons with relative ease. Now he gets to be the one expected to win against a dangerous striker in Joey Merritt. I haven’t seen anything from Merritt other than striking though, so I think Oliveira can almost replicate his performance against Noons and pick up another submission win here. Leandro Silver has been incredibly inconsistent in his performances, and I think Lewis Gonzalez’ style is primed to make the worst version of Silva come out. On the feet, I don’t expect much out of either fighter, but I think Gonzalez can win the wrestling battle and either force Silva up against the cage or end up on top. Silva doesn’t have the best cardio, and he may fade later on in this one, so I lean to Gonzalez to pick up the win in his UFC debut. I haven’t had enough time to really look over Montgomery/Sims, but I think the dog may be live here. Montgomery has some hype from this season of TUF, and he has a win over Brock Jardine in Titan, but Sims was very competitive in a recent bout with Drew Dober and despite being undersized here, has a decent wrestling game which should keep him from getting overpowered. The height and length of Montgomery could still be issues for Sims, but I’m hoping this is a case where the public takes the TUF hype and run with it.