UFC Fight Night 81 Play: Francisco Trinaldo (+135) vs Ross Pearson (-155)

UFC on FOX Sports 1: Trinaldo v HallmannUFC Fight Night 81 Date: January 16, 2016 Arena: TD Garden City: Boston, MA Lightweight bout: Francisco Trinaldo (+135) vs Ross Pearson (-155) Fight Breakdown: Kicking things off for the UFC Fight Night 81 main card will be a lightweight contest between Brazil’s Francisco “Massaranduba” Trinaldo and England’s Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson. Trinaldo is a +130 ($100 to win $130) underdog heading into the bout, with Pearson being the favorite to win at -155 ($155 to win $100) 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Francisco “Massaranduba” Trinaldo (18-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) is riding hot on a four-fight winning streak and coming off a first round TKO of then-undefeated TUF Nations winner Chad Laprise at UFC Fight Night 74 nearly five months ago and he now attempts to crack the division’s top 15 while simultaneously making it five straight inside the Octagon when he squares off against Pearson. The Brazilian is a very strong and powerful fighter who possesses a great chin and is capable of taking a lot of punishment, as he has not once been knocked out in his professional mixed martial arts career. Trinaldo works powerful takedowns, and implements brutal ground and pound when finding himself in top position on the mat. He is well-versed in the grappling department and owns a solid Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, being a brown belt under (current UFC welterweight) Sergio Moraes. The 37-year-old is capable of finishing fights with both strikes and submissions, as five of his fourteen career victories come by way of T/KO and another five by tapout. Trinaldo cuts a lot of weight to meet the lightweight limit, and that combined with age often cause him to gas and lose momentum in fights, and his cardio is often hit or miss. For that reason, I think he will be at a cardio disadvantage against Pearson, though I think he will have enough in his tank for a full 15-minutes of action. Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson (18-9-1 NC MMA, 10-6-1 NC UFC) last saw action at UFC 191 just over four months ago, where he took a hard fought split decision victory over Paul Felder to get back into the win column. Now he attempts to make it two in a row by halting the Brazilian’s momentum. The Brit is a talented striker who is constantly making improvements in the department. He is a solid kickboxer with excellent Muay Thai skills and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. His footwork is fantastic, and he does a great job of moving around the Octagon and creating angles. The 30-year old has tremendous takedown defense, which can be partially credited to his solid Judo base and background in the sport. He is a very well-conditioned athlete, and as already mentioned, I believe he will have the edge in cardio headed into this three round contest, so needless to say, I expect him to be game for a full 15-minutes of battle, if necessary. Gabe’s Thoughts: I think Trinaldo has the edge in grappling and is the party who could potentially score takedowns, which could be the difference in a close fight. I think Pearson has a slight striking advantage, as well as the aforementioned advantage in cardio, but Trinaldo has the edge in power and possesses the better chin, thus being the more likely party to end the fight inside the distance. The fact that he has a solid Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game also presents the possibility of a submission. (Pearson’s last submission defeat was five years ago against current UFC featherweight Cole Miller.) I think this is a close fight, but I personally give a slight edge to Trinaldo, and at his current offering price of +135, I like him for a play. I could see him finishing Pearson or taking home a decision, whereas I think Pearson’s only route to victory is to get on his bicycle and outpoint the Brazilian over 15-minutes. That is arguably the most likely outcome to this 155-pound contest, but I’m taking my chances with the live dog. Gabe’s Call: Trinaldo by T/KO (strikes, 0:42 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Trinaldo (+135) 2u to win 2.7u

Written by Gabe Killian

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