UFC on FUEL TV 3 Odds: Light Heavyweights Igor Pokrajac (+125) vs. Fabio Maldonado (-155)

Igor Pokrajac (+125) Profile: Pokrajac (24-8) is 3-3 in the UFC and coming off consecutive wins over Krzysztof Soszynski via first-round KO/TKO.  The 33-year-old Croatian is a training partner of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and went 21-5 over six years fighting mainly in his home country.  Pokrajac made his UFC debut against Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC 103 and lost a unanimous decision.  He followed that up with a third-round TKO loss to James Te-Huna at UFC 100 before earning his first victory in the organization against James Irvin by rear-naked choke submission in the first round at UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko.  Pokrajac also lost a unanimous decision to Stephan Bonnar during that stretch at The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck Finale on December 4, 2010. Fabio Maldonado (-155) Profile: Maldonado (18-4) has fought just twice in the UFC and will be appearing for the first time since losing a unanimous decision to Kyle Kingsbury at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale last June 4.  The 32-year-old Brazilian was scheduled to appear at UFC 142 earlier this year but had to withdraw from the event due to a rib injury.  He relies heavily on the knockout, as two-thirds of his wins have ended that way.  Maldonado’s lone UFC win came in his debut against James McSweeney at UFC 120 via TKO in the third round.  Prior to that victory, he won 10 consecutive bouts with six of them ending by TKO or KO.  Maldonado also sports a very impressive professional boxing record, going 22-0 with 21 KOs. Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas installed Maldonado as the -155 favorite (bet $155 to win $100) with Pokrajac a +125 underdog (bet $100 to win $125).  Maldonado is a powerful striker who does not have much experience in the UFC but is still one of the most dangerous knockout artists in the sport of fighting overall.  His boxing experience has certainly helped him in MMA, but he has gone to the third round just three times in his last 13 fights, including his last two.  Only twice has he been involved in a decision during that stretch with the others resulting in knockouts or submissions.  Pokrajac also has some power, and three of his last six bouts have ended in the first round with wins by submission or KO/TKO.  He has lost his last three fights that have gone to the third round, including two that went the distance and ended with a unanimous decision in his opponent’s favor.  Both Maldonado and Pokrajac want to end this bout as soon as possible, so the one landing the better blows and going for the kill early on will likely be the winner.

Written by Matty

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