UFC Fight Night 70 Fight Breakdown: Alex Oliveira vs. Joe Merritt

Alex Oliveira One of the main card bouts at UFC FIght Night 70 is a three-round welterweight bout between Alex Oliveira and Joe Merritt. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Oliveira is a -440 favorite (bet $440 to win $100) while Merritt is a +350 underdog (bet $100 to win $350). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Oliveira at -350 and Merritt at +250, and so far bettors are all over Oliveira. Like everyone else, I fully expect Oliveira to win this fight. Here’s why. Oliveira (11-2-1, 1 NC) will be fighting in the UFC for the third time, and once again he takes this fight on short notice. The 27-year-old Brazilian is 1-1 so far in the UFC with a submission loss to top prospect Gilbert Burns and a submission win over KJ Noons. Oliveira comes from a muay Thai background and he has very solid striking. Of his 11 career wins, eight have come via knockout. He uses all of his limbs and has power in all of them as well. In the UFC, though, he’s shown off a very good ground game as well, having submitted the veteran Noons in his last fight. He looks to be a very complete fighter, and an undervalued prospect in the lightweight division, although this fight is taking place at welterweight since it’s on short notice. I’m quite high on Oliveira after his first two performances in the UFC, and although he is a big favorite in this fight, in my opinion it’s well deserved after seeing how good he’s looked against two solid fighters in Noons and Burns. Merritt (6-0) is making his UFC debut on short notice. The 31-year-old is a veteran of the much-maligned Xplode Fight Series, as well as the RFA and Gladiator Challenge. He is a striker, with all six of his wins coming via knockout. So far, so good for Merritt in MMA, as he’s 6-0 as a pro as well as 2-0 as an amateur. However, he has fought a very low level of competition and it’s really hard to say how good he is. He does train at a very solid camp over at Millenia MMA alongside fighters like Lorenz Larkin and Sean Strickland, so he’s working his whole MMA game daily, but until we see it actually play out in the cage it’s hard to say just how good he is, and going up against a dangerous fighter like Oliveira in his UFC debut on short notice, it’s not a surprise he’s the underdog in the matchup. I really believe in Oliveira, and expect him to dominate Merritt in this fight. Oliveira has looked fantastic in both his UFC fights, he knows how to fight on short notice, and for Merritt, Oliviera represents a massive step up in competition. I just can’t see Merritt winning this fight at all, while for Oliveira I believe he could win by submission, knockout, or decision. With so many paths to victory, I really like Oliveira in this fight, and even at the high juice I see value in including him in your parlay this weekend.

Written by Adam Martin.

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