The second weekend of July will be a massive one for the UFC. UFC 200 taking place on Saturday, July 9th alone would make it an important weekend, but the organization will be putting on three separate cards with title bouts from Thursday to Saturday. Kicking it all off on Thursday, July 7th is UFC Fight Night 90. The UFC Fight Pass event will be headlined by a lightweight title bout between Rafael dos Anjos and Eddie Alvarez. Dos Anjos will be looking for his second title defense, while Alvarez looks to become a champion in the UFC in addition to the belt he held in Bellator. The odds have already been released for the main event at Several Bookmakers, and dos Anjos is currently a -430 favorite (bet $430 to win $100) to retain his title, while the comeback on Alvarez is +345 (bet $100 to win $345). The only other bout on the card which currently has a betting line is the co-main event, which sees heavyweights Roy Nelson and Derrick Lewis slug is out. Nelson is a -135 favorite, with Lewis a +115 underdog. The other two main card bouts feature Joseph Duffy — looking to rebound from his first loss in nearly five years — against Mitch Clarke, who hopes to bounce back from a loss to Michael Chiesa in April of 2015; and Alan Jouban looking for his fifth UFC win as he welcomes Belal Muhammad to the UFC. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the full betting lines for UFC Fight Night 90 today at Several Bookmakers. Take a look: ———-
———- Brad’s Analysis: Dustin Poirier exposed the hole in Joseph Duffy’s game that many people expected but were unsure of. While Clarke doesn’t possess the same level of all-around threat to Duffy, he is certainly a capable grappler from all positions. I’m not entirely confident that he won’t be able to replicate some of Poirier’s grappling success in this bout. We already know that Clarke is durable, so if he can navigate the early going of each round and drag Duffy into a grappling match, this is going to be competitive. Of course, the more likely scenario is that Duffy will be able to zero in on his takedown defense given the matchup and keep things upright for the most part to score a victory, but there’s no way I’m laying the price on him. Belal Muhammad is the type of slick striker who can give Alan Jouban some problems, and will struggle against pressure wrestlers in the future. Even though it’s somewhat short notice for Muhammad, I don’t think his cardio will be an issue here, as Jouban will likely engage him in the type of fight he’s comfortable with. That makes this much more of a tossup in my eyes than the line would indicate, since Jouban is very hittable on the feet, and Muhammad does a good job of avoiding much damage. It could be worth a stab on the dog here. You have to wonder the toll the Donald Cerrone beating took on Makdessi, although he looked pretty good against Yancy Medeiros in his last appearance. He’s once again going to have to navigate a big height/reach disparity against Mehdi Baghdad, but the advantage he’ll have is in Baghdad’s propensity for inactivity. I think Makdessi does manage to land straight punches and a variety of kicks against the bigger opponent, and neither fighter wants this one to hit the ground. Makdessi on activity and accuracy. Anthony Birchak’s resume looks completely different without the Joe Soto win. Without it, he’s been a huge disappointment in the UFC, and even though this matchup favors him, I really can’t be that confident. Dileno Lopes is a solid wrestler who will make this a close fight if he can avoid cardio problems. I think Lopes’ downfall will continue to be fighting at 135, as he’s really more suited to 125 in the UFC. Birchak should be able to control enough of the clinch and wrestling game to pick up a decision, but I’m not betting it. From a technical perspective, Mike Pyle is a superior fighter to Alberto Mina. However, he’s almost 41 now, and his chin has never been great. So essentially… this is every Mike Pyle fight. If he can keep this fight completely in (engaged grappling) or completely out (range striking), he’ll probably win. However, Mina is dangerous in the clinch — and while Pyle is as well — I expect the Brazilian’s chin to hold up better when he’s landing knees on Pyle and absorbing elbows. I’m torn on a pick because Pyle is definitely beginning to slow, and Mina may be able to get to him from the outside as well, but it’s hard to ignore the technical advantages from Pyle. Either guy as a decent dog seems like the play. If Vicente Luque can’t look impressive in this fight, he’s got no hope of sticking around the UFC. Alvaro Herrera really isn’t anything special, and despite training with Jackson-Winklejohn’s is quite green on the mat. Luque should get it there and expose that, and I’d be somewhat surprised at any other outcome. Gilbert Burns is another fighter who hasn’t done much to impress in the UFC. Sure, the Cowboy win looks better and better as time passes, but he was handily losing that fight before the comeback. He was completely dumbfounded against Rashid Magomedov on the feet, and didn’t do much to stamp the Andreas Stahl fight as his own. Lukasz Sajewski is not the type of fighter who will give him an easy night out. Sajewski will be in his face, and not letting Burns lead the dance. For a guy who doesn’t have good reactive wrestling, that’s not a great combination. It could really be another case where Burns gets desperate after losing the fight early and gets aggressive with his wrestling to secure position and a submission late, but I don’t think he’s worthy of the big price tag some here think is appropriate. Generic Mexican from TUF Latin America versus generic Brazilian from TUF Brazil. These are two guys I had little memory of before going back to review their fights, and now I remember why I had no recollection of either. They don’t do anything particularly noteworthy in the cage. Vieira has faced the slightly better competition, and keeps up a higher pace, but was also taken down fairly easy by a 125er in Dileno Lopes, but Marco Beltran can’t really wrestle. I’m not sure what to think here. Probably play the over, because these types of matchups tend to get sloppy pretty quick. Pedro Munhoz should get back on track here against Russell Doane, but it’s far from a sure thing. Doane is tricky everywhere, but just outmatched by Munhoz here. On the feet Munhoz is more varied with his striking, and he should be able to sneak in a takedown or two to secure close rounds if necessary. On the mat, Doane is capable, but Munhoz isn’t going to get submitted unless he gets clipped with something on the feet first, and I think he manages to avoid that. Jerrod Sanders could very likely get Felipe Arantes to the mat in the first round, but what happens after that? My guess is that Arantes has some success defending takedowns or getting back to his feet in the second, and then completely takes over the third. It will probably come down to a toss up of a second round, and that’s not really something I want to have my money on unless it’s on the dog’s side. With Sanders’ inability to maintain position even in his win against Russell Doane, that’s just not a situation I want to have money on, when he needs to do exactly that to win.