UFC 194 Play: Max Holloway (-550) vs Jeremy Stephens (+425)

max-hollowayUFC 194 Date: December 12, 2015 Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena City: Las Vegas, NV Featherweight bout: Max Holloway (-550) vs Jeremy Stephens (+425) Fight Breakdown: Getting the action started for UFC 194’s main card on Pay Per View will be a barn-burner in the featherweight division between 24-year old Max “Blessed” Holloway and 29-year old Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens, with Holloway being a heavy -550 ($550 to win $100) betting favorite heading into the contest and his counter-part Stephens being a massive +425 ($100 to win $425) underdog at Several Bookmakerss. Max “Blessed” Holloway (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) currently enjoys a seven fight winning streak inside the Octagon, with six of those wins coming by way of finish; four by T/KO and two by submission. Squaring off against the veteran Stephens to kick off the UFC 194 main card on Pay Per View, he will be aiming to score his eight straight victory in highlight reel fashion. Holloway is a very talented striker who moves really well on the feet. His footwork is excellent, and he uses his range really well. He is good at moving in and out, and has fantastic striking technique. He likes to put all of his limbs to use, and puts together some great combinations on the feet. The Hawaiian, like most Islanders, is very durable and possesses a great chin. His submission game was rudimentary when he first entered the UFC but is now solid and a constant work in progress. Holloway has great takedown defense, and when taken down, he is active off his back, though not too effective. He is a well-conditioned athlete who will be ready for 15-minutes of action against the veteran Stephens, should the judges’ need to have a say in the final outcome. Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens (24-11 MMA, 11-9 UFC) last saw action at UFC 189 nearly half a year ago, where he scored a third round flying-knee knockout of Dennis Bermudez to snap a two fight losing skid and return to the win column, where he dopes to go 2-0 this Saturday night against the Hawaiian, Holloway. Stephens is a solid grappler who comes from a high school wrestling background and owns a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He works good takedowns, has a heavy top game and a vicious ground and pound attack. He generally looks for a T/KO finish but is also capable of ending the fight with a submission, though not having recorded an official tapout victory in nearly nine years. The 29-year old’s striking has really developed and he has become dangerous on the feet for just about anybody at 145-pounds. He has dynamite in his hands, being one of the hardest hitting featherweights in the division and possessing a one-punch fight ending ability. The same goes for his kicks, as was evident in his match-up against TUF: Brazil 1 winner Ronny Jason. Stephens generally has good cardio but it should be noted that this he cuts a lot of weight and this is his first cut with the new IV-ban in play, so it will be interesting to see how he looks in the latter half a fight, though I would guess he has enough in the tank to go the three round distance, if necessary. Gabe’s Thoughts: On one hand, if Stephens scores the upset victory, it will most likely come inside the distance. On the other hand, if Holloway wins as expected, I think it’s a coin-flip whether it’s inside the distance or on the judges’ scorecards. For that reason, I like a small play on the Total of Under 2.5 rounds at dog money here. Gabe’s Call: Holloway by T/KO (punches, 4:12 round 2) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Holloway/Stephens Under 2.5 rounds (+135) 1u to win 1.35u

Written by Gabe Killian

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