UFC Fight Night 78 Play: Andre Fili (-220) vs Gabriel Benitez (+200)

gabriel-benitez-ufc-188UFC Fight Night 78 Date: November 21, 2015 Arena: Arena Monterrey City: Monterrey, Mexico Featherweight bout: Andre Fili (-185) vs Gabriel Benitez (+170) Fight Breakdown: Kicking things off for the UFC Fight Night 78 main card on FOX Sports 1 will be a NorCal throwdown in the featherweight division between Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili and American Kickboxing Academy’s Gabriel Benitez, with Fili being a -220 ($220 to win $100) betting favorite heading into the contest and Benitez being a +200 ($100 to win $200) underdog at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Andre Fili (15-11 MMA, 4-7 UFC) last saw action at UFC Fight Night 62 eight months ago, where he was submitted by Godofredo Pepey in a first round upset, and now. in an effort to return to the win column, he travels to Monterrey to take on Mexico’s own Benitez. Fili mixes it up well with his striking and moves well on his feet. He is aggressive and enjoys a good brawl, often willing to take two in order to land one of his own. He has a nice kicking game, working solid leg kicks and body kicks, not to mention a solid head kick, which he does a fine job of setting up. “Touchy” is very fast and does a great job of striking from range, as well from inside the pocket. He dishes out a high volume of strikes and is quite effective with them. He is brutal with his knees and loves to implement them in his striking attack. The 25 year old has a good uppercut, works a nice jab and puts together some solid combinations on the feet. He has an effective straight right, as well as a hard overhand right. Fili’s takedown defense is not great, but when taken down, he is pretty good at finding his way back to his feet. Though, he is quite creative and clever on the mat. He has an excellent guard and is dangerous off his back, as he constantly threatens with submission attempts, and is very good with scoring reversals, especially with his hip escapes. The Californian looks for his opponents to leave any opening and he capitalizes on it. His offensive submission game is decent; he is a risk taker who is willing to give up possition to go for a submission The Team Alpha Male product has good, developing wrestling skills and does a good job of timing his takedowns. He has a solid offensive submission game, as well, but his submission defensive could use work, as was evident in his latest outing against Pepey, where he made mistakes in his defense of the triangle choke. As far as his ground and pound goes, he is very relentless. He pours it on, doing damage and looking for blood and a finish. Fili’s cardio seems to be hit or miss, but even if he shows up in shape, I think he will be at somewhat of a disadvantage in that department against Benitez. Gabriel Benitez (18-4 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is now 2-0 inside the Octagon, taking a third round guillotine choke submission win over The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America Season 1 cast-mate Humberto Brown, and most recently a unanimous decision victory over Clay Collard at UFC 188 five months ago. Now with his fellow Mexican fans in support of him and waving the Team AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) flag against Team Alpha Male’s Fili, Benitez aims to score another upset by taking him out and making it throw in a row inside the Octagon. “Moggly” is a talented and well-rounded mixed martial artist who has been making improvements in his game from fight to fight. Posessing good footwork, he moves well on his feet, is fast and does a phenomenal job of mixing it up with his striking. He certainly has diverse striking attack, throwing beautiful punches, including solid jab’s and straight left’s, and a variety of heavy kicks, which he frequently employs to the body and legs of his opponents. The 27 year old has very good striking defense, great awareness on the feet and excellent timing with his strikes. He likes to switch stances and is effective fighting both orthodox and southpaw. The TUF: Latin America Season 1 veteran trains out of AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) in San Jose, CA, and is a very durable fighter who sports a great chin and has superb cardio. He is definitely a finisher, with 15 of his 18 professional mixed martial arts victories coming inside the distance; six by T/KO and nine by submission. His go-to submission is the guillotine choke, which he owns four career victories with and came close to making it five in his last outing against Collard. He loves to go for the guillotine and attacks with multiple variations of the choke. The Mexican’s takedown defense is average at best, and when taken down, he does a decent job of working his way back to his feet. However, when put on his back, he is quite active, constantly threatening with submission attempts. He has an excellent guard and very good defense off his back, as well, doing a good job of avoiding ground and pound damage. He is a threat with his submissions from both offensive and defensive positions, and to compliment that is his own submission defense, which is very good, despite the fact that he 50% (2 of 4) of his career defeats have come in that fashion. Gabe’s Thoughts: Simply put, I think Benitez is the better fighter of the two and has less holes in his game. I think he should be a -170 betting favorite here, so I like him for a play as a +200 underdog. Gabe’s Call: Benitez by Submission (rear naked choke, 2:13 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Benitez (+200) 3.5u to win 7u

Written by Gabe Killian

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