UFC Fight Night 72 Fight Breakdown: Michael Bisping vs. Thales Leites

thales-leites The main event of UFC Fight Night 72 is a five-round middleweight bout between Thales Leites and Michael Bisping. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Bisping is a -115 favorite (bet $115 to win $100) while Leites is a -105 underdog (bet $105 to win $100). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Bisping at -140 and Leites at +100, and so far there has been more action on the dog Leites. I agree with more money coming in on Leites as I am picking him to get the upset win. Here’s why. Bisping (26-7) is one of the top-10 middleweights in the UFC. The 36-year-old Brit won TUF 3 and has been with the organization for nearly a decade, compiling a 16-7 record overall in the UFC with wins over the likes of CB Dollaway, Alan Belcher, and Brian Stann. Bisping is a very well-round fighter. On the feet he is technical with his boxing and throws a really good volume of strikes, and he has underrated finishing ability with his strikes. He doesn’t often shoot for takedowns but his defensive wrestling is for the most part very good. His cardio is excellent as well. His chin is not great, as he’s been knocked out and rocked/dropped in several fights. Overall he is a very good fighter but he is getting up there in age and has been dealing with injuries in recent years, notably with his eye. Having said that, he’s only lost to the cream of the crop in the middleweight division, but still, he looks to be declining while his opponent Leites seems to be improving, making for an intriguing matchup. Leites (25-4) is a top middleweight fighter. The 33-year-old Brazilian is 10-3 overall in the UFC including 5-0 during his second stint with the promotion, with wins over Tim Boetsch, Trevor Smith and Francis Carmont among his victories. Leites is an excellent all-around fighter. He is known for his tremendous grappling game, but in recent years he has worked hard to improve his striking and in recent fights has shown that he has serious knockout power. He also has solid wrestling, a good chin, and decent cardio. He’s just a very good fighter and he keeps getting better. Bisping is a step up in competition from his last few fights, but this is a winnable fight for Leites, and with a victory he could be making a second run at the UFC middleweight title. Bisping is a great fighter but right now I feel like Leites is on another level. He’s been nothing but impressive since returning to the UFC and is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division at the moment. I feel like Leites has a big edge if this fight hits the floor and on the feet I feel like he has a very good chance of knocking Bisping out. Leites’ striking has improved a ton and he is the heavier-handed striker in this fight. I feel like Leites can catch Bisping and finish him, but I can also see him working his takedowns and possibly getting a submission win, or maybe even grinding out a decision. Bisping is still a top fighter but I’ve seen some signs of decline in his game. His eye injury seems to have hindered him, and I feel like his wrestling and strike defence have declined a bit in recent years. He definitely has the cardio edge in this fight, so it’s possible if Leites gasses out early Bisping could take over late, but with Leites’ improvements in all areas of his game I think he wins this fight. I wouldn’t go crazy on him in this spot as Bisping is a damn good fighter, but at a Pick ’em price I do think there’s a little value here in Leites for a small play. The prop on Leites by T/KO at +431 is something to look at for a flier as well.

Written by Adam Martin.

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