UFC 159 Opening Odds Breakdown: Light Heavyweights Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes

Phil DavisUFC 159: April 27, 2013 Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Phil Davis (-280) Profile: One of the most decorated grapplers in the UFC, Phil Davis (10-1, 1 No-Contest) has taken a phenomenal Division I wrestling career at Penn State – placing fifth nationally in 2007 and winning the NCAA title in 2008 – and made a successful transition to MMA. After only four pro fights, the 28-year-old Pennsylvania native made the move to the UFC and defeated Brian Stann so soundly in his debut at UFC 109 that Stann moved down a weight class to middleweight. Wins over quality opponenets such as Alexander Gustafsson, Tim Boetsch and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira followed, giving Davis a shot at former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, who dominated him at UFC on FOX 2. Davis answered any questions about his ability to beat Wagner Prado after an accidental eye poke with a submission victory in their second meeting at UFC 153. UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Vinny Magalhaes (+200) Profile: Do not let his 10-5-1 record fool you, Vinny Magalhaes is a combat sports veteran to the highest degree. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Royler Gracie, the 28-year-old Brazilian has a potpourri of medals in both gi and no-gi competitions in ADCC and the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, ranging from gold to bronze. Magalhaes was a finalist in the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter, losing to Ryan Bader in the finale and then dropping another match to Eliot Marshall at UFC 97 before being cut from the organization. He was then picked up by M-1 Global, going 5-0 and winning its light heavyweight title. Magalhaes defended that championship once before relinquishing it for another chance in the UFC. He immediately made the most of that opportunity by submitting Igor Pokrajac in his return at UFC 152. Opening UFC 159 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Davis a solid -280 favorite (bet $280 to win $100) while Magalhaes opened as a +200 underdog (bet $100 to win $200) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook. A little more than a year ago, MMA fans were touting the previously unbeaten Davis as the next big thing in the light heavyweight division and a possible challenger for champion Jon Jones. Unfortunately for Davis, his first career loss to Evans set him back, as did a pair of bouts against Prado even though he did not lose either of them. A win in the first fight vs. Prado may have given him a better matchup against another top contender, and he was also set to face former champ Forrest Griffin at UFC 155 until his opponent suffered a knee injury and backed out. Davis is still considered a Top 10 light heavyweight according to the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings and will be looking to score an impressive win here against Magalhaes to improve his standing within the division. Magalhaes did not disappoint in his first bout back in the UFC against Prokrajac and still believes he is an elite 205-pounder, although he has much more to prove. He is riding a six-fight winning streak since starting his career with an underwhelming 4-5 mark and faces a giant step up in competition against Davis that would give him instant credibility if he can pull off the upset.

Written by Matty

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UFC 159 Picks: Light Heavyweights Phil Davis (-335) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (+275)