UFC Fight Night 76 Play: Darren Elkins (-140) vs Robert Whiteford (+130)

rob-whiteford-12UFC Fight Night 76 Date: October 24, 2015 Arena: 3Arena City: Dublin, Ireland Featherweight bout: Darren Elkins (-140) vs Robert Whiteford (+130) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 76 preliminary card on Fight Pass will be featuring a featherweight contest between Indiana’s Darren “The Damage” Elkins and Scottland’s Robert “The Hammer” Whiteford. It is a rare “winner vs loser” match-up, with Elkins coming off a loss and Whiteford riding a two-fight winning streak. “The Damage” is a -140 ($140 to win $100) betting favorite heading into this bout and “The Hammer” is the underdog at +130 ($100 to win $130) at Several Bookmakerss. Darren Elkins (18-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) last saw action at UFC Fight Night 58 nearly a year ago, where he dropped a unanimous decision against Nova Uniao’s Hacran Dias. Following the extended layoff, he is eager to get back in the Octagon and ultimately back into the win column. “The Damage” has been improving his footwork, as well as his boxing, which is now decent. He likes to use the jab and likes to double up on it. Elkins has a decent overhand right and has developed a kicking game, as well, seeming to favor shots to the body. The Indiana native is capable of putting some effective combinations together, but he is not very quick on the feet. In fact, he will be at a speed disadvantage heading into this bout against Dias. The 31-year old is a triathlete with incredible cardio and is always game for a hard three rounds of action. Aside from his knockout loss to Chad Mendes, he has displayed a solid chin and the ability to take serious punishment, as was evident in the first round of his bout against Diego Brandao, in which he got lit up very badly and survived to come back and win the second and third rounds for a unanimous decision victory. Elkins’ bread and butter is his relentlessly smothering wrestling, which he usually uses to control opponents. He is an Indiana state high school wrestling champion and his game plan heading into this bout will be the same as any other: get it to the mat, or do work against the cage. Robert Whiteford (12-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is coming off a first round knockout of promotional newcomer Paul Redmond three months ago, which followed a unanimous decision win over Daniel Pineda, and the Scottish featherweight now enjoys a two fight winning streak heading into this preliminary card affair in the UFC’s 145-pound division. Whiteford has good footwork and moves well around the cage. He throws some decent high kicks and leg kicks, prefering the inside leg. He is an excellent counter striker who possesses a good chin and is quite resilient. The Judo black belt does a good job of getting the fight to the mat, be it by body-lock and trip takedowns, or the traditional double-leg, which he effectively uses. Big for the 145-pound division, Whiteford is a strong fighter who is powerful from top position on the mat, and is quite effective in the clinch up against the cage, as well. He does good work from those positions and likes to remain heavy on his opponents. To compliment his offensive grappling, the Scott’s defensive grappling is also solid, as he has great balance and possesses excellent takedown defense, largely in part due to his aforementioned Judo background. “The Hammer” is good at keeping the fight on the feet if he wants it there, though when taken down, he also does a good job of working is way back to his feet. The American Top Team fighter does not have great cardio, so he will be at a disadvantage in that department heading into this bout against the veteran Elkins. Gabe’s Call: Whiteford by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Thoughts: Elkins has two notable advantages heading into this featherweight contest and those are his superior wrestling and cardio. He will be the fresher fighter heading into the third ane final frame, so if Whiteford fails to secure a finish within the first 10 minutes, he will need to have done enough to win both rounds, as it is likely Elkins will win the third. That said, I do think Whiteford will manage to get the better of Elkins for the majority of the first two rounds of action and then give up the third en route to earning a unanimous 29-28 nod from the judges’ at Octagon-side. Gabe’s Recommended Play: Whiteford (+130) 1.5u to win 1.95u

Written by Gabe Killian

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