UFC Fight Night 88 Play: Aljamain Sterling (-440) vs Bryan Caraway (+350)

Aljamain-Sterling-620x330UFC Fight Night 82 Date: February 6, 2016 Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena City: Las Vegas, NV Bantamweight bout: Aljamain Sterling (-440) vs Bryan Caraway (+350) Fight Breakdown: Headlining the FIght Pass prelims for UFC Fight Night 82 in Las Vegas will be a 135-pound contest between a pair of talented grapplers in Aljamain “Funkmaster” Sterling and Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway. Sterling is a big -440 ($440 to win $100) betting favorite heading into the contest, with Caraway being the underdog to win at +350 ($100 to win $350) at Several Bookmakerss. Aljamain Sterling (13-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is coming off a second round submission win over Johnny Eduardo over five months ago, which put him at four in a row in the UFC’s bantamweight division. He looks to continue to climb the rankings with a victory over Caraway, as he has his sights set on UFC gold. Sterling has been referred to as “the bantamweight version of Jon Jones” because of his speed, athleticism, wrestling background and versatile, flashy style of striking. “Aljo” is a very quick fighter who moves well on his feet. He likes to use a lot of kicks and has a variety of them in his arsenal. He has nice front kicks, high kicks, head kicks, a solid sidekick and great leg kicks. He loves to throw his knees out there, too. The Cortland, NY, native has a fine jab, good striking defense, and a solid chin. He likes to control the pace of his fights, and likes to pressure his opponents in the clinch and up against the cage, from which position he likes to implement his knees. He uses the clinch up against the cage to punish the legs and thighs of his opponents’. Sterling is a talented wrestler who possesses great speed and times his takedowns very well. He has an excellent double-leg, and often uses it to get his opponents to the mat, from which position he displays powerful top control. He has great wrestling and jiu-jitsu which helps him in the excellent transitions he makes on the mat, advancing from position to position. The New Yorker has a terrific submission game, both offensively and defensively, as has been evident with his submission victories over the veteran Takeya Mizugaki and the aforementioned Eduardo, respectively. Sterling’s takedown defense is pretty good, and when taken down, he does a very good job of working his way back to his feet. Training out of the Serra-Longo camp in Long Island under the tutelage of Matt Serra and Ray Longo, Sterling is a well-conditioned fighter who will be ready for a full 15-minutes of action, if necessary. Bryan Caraway (20-17, 6-2 UFC) last saw action 10 months ago at UFC on FOX 16 in Chicago, where he took a unanimous decision over veteran Eddie Wineland. The win puts him at 3-1 in his last four outings inside the Octagon and 6-2 in his last eight. The 31-year-old is a talented grappler who works solid takedowns and is dominant from top position. He has an excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, owning an impressive 17 of 20 professional mixed martial arts career victories by way of submission. “Kid Lightning” has been making significant improvements in his striking game, as has been evident fight to fight. He works solid outside leg kicks and has a nice uppercut. Caraway also possesses a good chin and is capable of taking a punch, so he isn’t afraid to test his skills on the feet against his opponents. The Ultimate Fighter season 14 veteran generally has had cardio issues in the past, but that is in the past. He has made serious improvements in that department, as well, and training out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, NV, I expect he will be game for a full three rounds of action against Sterling, should this 135-pound scrap hit the judges’ scorecards for a decision. Gabe’s Call: Sterling by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Thoughts: Caraway is a very good bantamweight and I have backed him in many of his UFC fights. That said, I do not like him in this spot. I believe Sterling is the superior mixed martial artist heading into this match-up and I see him getting the better of Caraway over the course ofthree rounds in this contest en route to picking up a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards. However, I do not see value in Sterling at his current offering price of -440, but do see value in the Total of Over 2.5 rounds at -190, as I think he wins this fight on the judges’ scorecards much more often than not. Gabe’s Recommended Play: Sterling/Caraway Over 2.5 rounds (-190) parlayed with Larkin (-140) at +161 for 3.25u to win 5.25u

Written by Gabe Killian

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