Just a week after Conor McGregor became the first UFC champion to ever hail from the British Isles, the promotion will return to the region (albeit a different nation) for UFC Fight Night 72. The man once thought to be the area’s best chance at a UFC title, Michael Bisping, will headline Scotland’s first UFC event as he takes on former middleweight title challenger Thales Leites. Bisping opened a very slight favorite against Leites, at -140 (bet $140 to win $100), with the comeback on the Brazilian at +100 (bet $100 to win $100). After some early movement in Bisping’s favor, the line has settled back down to where it opened, with Bisping currently sitting at -120. The rest of the card is filled with a combination of Scottish, English, and Irish talent, including TUF winner Ross Pearson taking on Evan Dunham in the evening’s co-main event and Scotland’s highest ranked fighter, Joanne Calderwood facing late replacement Cortney Casey in a women’s strawweight bout. The rest of the main card includes Rob Whiteford facing Paul Redmond in one of two UK vs. Ireland fights, one of Scotland’s better prospects in Stevie Ray making his second UFC appearance against Leonardo Mafra, and perhaps Ireland’s second-best fighter — Joseph Duffy — facing Ivan Jorge. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the main card fights for UFC Glasgow today at Several Bookmakers. Take a look below: ——————– MAIN CARD (4pm ET)
——————– Preliminary Card (10am ET) Paddy Holohan -165 Vaughan Lee +125 2.5 Over -120 2.5 Under -120 — Ilir Latifi -190 Hans Stringer +150 1.5 Over -190 1.5 Under +150 — Robert Whiteford -175 Paul Redmond +135 2.5 Over -160 2.5 Under +120 — Jimmie Rivera -140 Marcus Brimage +100 2.5 Over -190 2.5 Under +150 — Daniel Omielanczuk -155 Chris de la Rocha +115 1.5 Over -160 1.5 Under +120 — Teemu Packalen -140 Mickael Lebout +100 1.5 Over -165 1.5 Under +125 — ——————– Brad’s Analysis: From a skill-by-skill perspective, I think Evan Dunham is a superior fighter to Ross Pearson. While Dunham is 2-4 in his last 6 bouts, the losses have all come to highly ranked opponents, and most even thought he deserved the nod over current lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. As long as Dunham doesn’t come out passive, I think he will be too active for Pearson on the feet, and I don’t see the Brit being able to change up his style. Pearson normally gets an extremely healthy respect from bettors, so this line could end up quite enticing when all is said and done, and I could see myself with a decent play on Dunham. Joseph Duffy is better than Ivan Jorge everywhere, but the Brazilian has a habit of making fights ugly and closer than they should be. If Duffy can keep distance, he will dominate striking in this fight. If Jorge can close the distance and get into the clinch, it will be close. On the ground I think Duffy is the more dangerous grappler, but Jorge has good takedown defense which may prevent it from ending up there. I do think Duffy gets the job done once again, but I doubt it’s as cleanly as his first UFC fight. The UFC really wants Joanne Calderwood to get some traction, but I just don’t see it happening. She’ll likely win here, but I can’t see her competing from a grappling standpoint with the top fighters at 115. With the crazy movement we often see in women’s bouts, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Calderwood climb up to a nearly four figure favorite, and at that point I might be forced to go against her even in a favorable, short-notice matchup like this one. We didn’t really get to see enough in Leon Edwards’ last fight to know if he’s improved his cardio or his takedown defense, and those were the two big questions coming out of his UFC debut. While Pawel Pawlak also leveled his UFC record at 1-1 in his last outing, it was hard to find much to be impressed about in such a lacklustre fight. There’s a distinct possibility that Pawlak can survive Edwards’ early assault and get some takedowns late, but I’m having a bit of faith in the Brit and assuming he’ll make (or already has made) the necessary improvements. Although Calderwood gets more press, I think Ray is the most talented Scottish fighter currently competing. I also think his well-rounded game should be more than enough to get him past Leonardo Mafra. There will be some danger on the feet in this one, as Mafra has heavy hands, but Ray has a far better grappling game, and should be able to get that going despite the wrestling improvements we saw from Mafra last time out. Vaughan Lee is often underrated, and Paddy Holohan may go back to being a bit overrated following his win over Shane Howell. Holohan is good when he’s facing fighters who will grapple with him but don’t have the wrestling chops to win scrambles. I think Lee can neutralize Holohan’s grappling to a degree, and on the feet he’s the far sharper fighter. All of Lee’s losses have come to highly ranked fighters, while Holohan hasn’t faced much of a competition level thus far in his UFC career. I think Lee can stuff enough of Holohan’s takedowns that this will turn into a striking battle, and I quite like his chances there. Holohan may still be able to find a submission if this hits the mat, but I’m not sure that’s as likely as the line will indicate. Ilir Latifi getting pasted in his last fight was rather shocking as he looked like a more stout fighter prior to that, even in losses. I expect him to get back on track against Hans Stringer, who has put together a pair of disappointing UFC outings. Latifi will be the more powerful fighter wherever this bout goes, and that should allow him to control where it ends up taking place. The ground would be the safest place for Latifi, as he should be able to wear Stringer down and potentially put him away late, but I think he scores a decision here. Whiteford/Redmond is a bit tricky. Redmond was obviously outclassed in his UFC debut, but he’s much more in line with Whiteford’s skillset, and his tricky grappling could give the Scot troubles here. Redmond is also a capable boxer, although I think Whiteford may have a power edge. I actually expect this to be a nip-and-tuck affair, and given how summarily Redmond was beaten against Mirsad Bektic, the line should be generous for such a competitive fight. That’s going to be another tempting spot on a card I wasn’t expecting many in. From early glances and reactions when the fight was announced, I’m seeing a lot of people picking Jimmie Rivera over Marcus Brimage, and that’s surprising to me. Rivera wins fights with his wrestling, but Brimage has very good takedown defense and is the better striker here. Perhaps I’m underrating Rivera’s effectiveness with his wrestling, as he does have some wins over UFC veterans on his record already, but we’ve seen that performances normally dip for a UFC debut, and I don’t think Rivera can afford that in this spot. It’s a tough one to bet, and I’ll probably stay away, but a decent underdog number on Brimage could tempt me. Chris de la Rocha may be undefeated with early finishes on his record, but he’s facing a heavyweight who is very difficult to put away here. Combining that with him coming in on short notice, flying across the Atlantic, and being 36 years old makes me think that he may come out and win the first round, but then he’ll tire and perhaps even get finished himself in the later rounds. It’s hard to have much confidence in Omielanczuk given the porous takedown defense he’s displayed, but I have to side with his durability and submission skills in this one. I’ve actually bet on a couple of Teemu Packalen’s fights from the Cage promotion in Finland, and he is a very talented grappler. That skill should come in very handy against Mickael Lebout, who doesn’t have the most stout takedown defense, even if his ability to survive on the ground is impressive. On the feet, Lebout likely has a small advantage here, but I’m just not sure he’ll be able to keep it standing enough to make that work to his advantage. I’ll side with the newcomer, but this isn’t a fight I’m dying to bet.