UFC on Fuel TV 8 Betting Preview: Preliminary Card

Riki FukudaAfter a successful trip to Japan in 2012, the UFC makes its return to the Land of the Rising Sun this Sunday (Saturday night in North America). This event has a decidedly different feel than UFC 144, as the UFC has turned the Fuel events into an international series of fight cards, and that trend continues here. The main card features a mix of fighters who came to notoriety in Pride, as well as some of the top fighters coming from Asia today. Those fights have already been discussed though; now it’s time to take a look at the undercard bouts. As may be expected, the preliminary card also has a decidedly Asian feel. The headliner of the prelims pits Riki Fukuda (19-6) against Brad Tavares (9-1) in a match-up of middleweights who like to mix up their boxing and wrestling. This fight opened as a pick ’em with both fighters being -120 (bet $120 to win $100), and that is an accurate portrayal of the fight. Fukuda is 2-2 in the UFC, as he has alternated losses and wins thus far in his career. Tavares, meanwhile, is 4-1 in the UFC. Both fighters have struggled when they have stepped up in competition, so this is an opportunity for each to propel themselves up the middleweight ladder. Expect a nip and tuck affair where both fighters may struggle to get takedowns and spend time looking to gain a dominant position in the clinch. All but one of their combined UFC fights have gone to decision, and I expect the same here. The bantamweight bout between Takeya Mizugaki (16-7-2) and Bryan Caraway (17-5) may be the most interesting on the preliminary card. Bryan Caraway is often overlooked because his girlfriend — recently signed UFC female bantamweight Miesha Tate — is a more prominent figure in MMA than he is. Mizugaki opened as a moderate favourite at -210 (bet $210 to win $100) and Caraway was priced at +160 (bet $100 to win $160). The former WEC title contender is 5-5 in his 10-fight Zuffa career, as he has alternated wins and losses since he challenged Miguel Torres for the title back in 2009. After a stint in the WEC that saw him drop two consecutive fights and get released, Caraway made his way back to the UFC via TUF 14. He has gone 2-0 since his return, and dropped to bantamweight in his last fight, an impressive victory over Mitch Gagnon. This fight comes down to whether Caraway can establish his grappling game early in the fight or not. If Caraway can initiate the grappling and get top position, he is very skilled and Mizugaki has shown some susceptibility to submissions. On the other hand, Caraway is the inferior striker of the two and has shown cardio issues in the past to go along with his well-documented mental struggles surrounding his fights. Mizugaki is the rightful favourite, but Caraway does have a clear path to victory here. The Kazuki Tokudome/Cristiano Marcello fight is one of the tougher ones to call on this undercard. Tokudome (11-3-1) opened as a slight favourite at -145 (bet $145 to win $100), while the come back on Marcello (13-4) was +105 (bet $100 to win $105). Tokudome is making his UFC debut after fighting in Japanese organizations like Sengoku, Pancrase and ZST. A winner of six of his past seven bouts, Tokudome has shown a fairly well-rounded game with good power. Marcello remains one of the most consistently confounding fighters in MMA. Despite a very accomplished grappling game, and the fact that his last win due to strikes came all the way back in 1997, he often chooses to forego his roots and throw hands. This wouldn’t be so bad if his striking was better, but he is wild and doesn’t have a very good chin. If this fight remains on the feet — and I expect it to, given Marcello’s unwillingness and inability to take fights to the ground — I give Tokudome the edge, although the public seems to have come in on Marcello to flip the line. I expected a similar trend in the Kyung Ho Kang (11-6) vs. Alex Caceres (8-5) bout. Despite Kang opening as a -155 favourite (bet $155 to win $100), the public is much more familiar with Caceres and his +115 (bet $100 to win $115) underdog price, that usually means that money will flip the lines. As of Wednesday afternoon, the line has already flipped as Caceres now sits at -155, and Kang is +135. This is another intriguing contest featuring a debuting UFC fighter in Kang against Caceres who has a slick all-around offensive game, but lacks defensively. Both fighters come in looking to extend their winning streaks here, and in a bantamweight division which is starving for contenders a win could go a long way to getting them in some relevant bouts moving forward. Finally, Marcelo Guimares (8-0-1) takes on Hyun Gyu Lim (10-3-1) in the welterweight division. Lim opened as a moderate -230 (bet $230 to win $100) and the come back on Guimares was +170 (bet $100 to win $170). Guimares didn’t inspire much confidence in a lacklustre UFC debut against Dan Stittgen, where he was lucky to walk away with the split decision win. Against Lim, who is a massive welterweight and possesses good power, Guimares may struggle. The saving grace is that two of Lim’s three losses have come via submission, so if Guimares can get this to the ground he should have a sizeable advantage.

Written by MMA OddsBreaker

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