UFC 189 Fight Breakdown: Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens

MMA: UFC Fight Night 43-Swanson vs Stephens One of the main card bouts at UFC 189 is a three-round featherweight bout between Dennis Bermudez and Jeremy Stephens. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Bermudez is a -210 favorite (bet $210 to win $100) while Stephens is a +175 underdog (bet $100 to win $175). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Bermudez at -190 and Stephens at +150, and slight action has come in on Bermudez. I disagree with the money that has come in on Bermudez as I’m picking Stephens to win this fight. Here’s why. Note: Stephens missed weight yesterday and Adam has since switched his pick to Bermudez. Bermudez (14-4) was the runner-up on TUF 14 and has since parlayed that into a 7-2 record in the UFC. The 28-year-old American was riding a seven-fight win streak over the likes of Max Holloway, Clay Guida and Jimy Hettes into his last fight against Ricardo Lamas, but he suffered a first-round submission loss which has sent his stock way down. Bermudez is an extremely powerful 145lber with some of the most explosive wrestling in the division. He is able to take down most of his opponents, plant them on their backs, and beat them up. He also has submission ability on the ground. On the feet he has a powerful attack as well and can knock opponents out. He’s overall a well-rounded, dangerous fighter, and a tough out for most in the division. The issue with Bermudez is really his chin. He’s been clipped, rocked, and wobbled in several of his fights, and while his recovery for the most part has been good, at some point someone will turn the lights out on him if he keeps getting hit. He’s definitely a solid fighter, but going up against a head-hunter with solid takedown defence like Stephens, this isn’t an easy a matchup for Bermudez as the line is indicating. Stephens (23-11) is one of the longest-tenured vets of the UFC lightweight and featherweight divisions. The 29-year-old American is 10-10 overall in the UFC including a 3-2 mark as a featherweight with wins over Estevan Payan, Rony Jason and Darren Elkins with losses to Cub Swanson and Charles Oliveira. Stephens has been around the game for a long time and has fought some of the best in the world at 145lbs and 155lbs. He has had mixed success in his UFC career, but his one trademark calling card has been his knockout power. In his career he has 15 knockout wins and as far as featherweights go, he’s one of the hardest hitters in the entire division. He also has good offensive wrestling skills, some ground and pound ability, solid cardio and for the most part a solid chin. His issues are with his takedown defence and with his hitability. He can be taken down by a better wrestler and on the feet he can be outstruck by a better striker. But he always has that threat of the knockout in his pocket, making for a dangerous fight anytime he can stop his opponent’s takedown attemps. I’m pretty surprised by these odds to be honest with you. I figured they would be closer to a Pick ’em, and I’m very surprised bettors are laying the juice on Bermudez in this spot. He is a very good wrestler but he’s shown in numerous occasions in the past that his chin isn’t the greatest and he’s facing one of the most powerful headhunters in the division in Stephens. If Bermudez fights smart and just uses his wrestling, then he can win a decision. But I doubt he will. He loves to get into brawls and Stephens is the wrong guy to brawl with. In a 15-minute fight, I think Stephens can find Bermudez’ chin and either finish him or hurt him en route to a decision victory. At +175 I see pretty big value in Stephens as I think this fight should be lined closer to a Pick, so I recommend laying a bet on him to get the win over Bermudez in this fight considering how good the odds are.

Written by Adam Martin.

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