Hoping to ride the wave of momentum from international fight week, the UFC returns to FOX this weekend. The main event could determine the next challenger for UFC 200 main eventer Amanda Nunes’ bantamweight title, as Holly Holm squares off with Valentina Shevchenko in the women’s bantamweight division. Holm will be looking to rebound from her heart-wrenching fifth round submission loss against Miesha Tate, where she dropped her title. A win here would have to put her right back at the top of the list of challengers at 135. Shevchenko also suffered a loss in her last outing, to current champion Amanda Nunes. After losing the first and having a 10-8 round pinned on her in the second, Shevchenko actually came back to win the final stanza against Nunes, making a potential five-round rematch between the two quite intriguing. Holm opened as a -350 favorite (bet $350 to win $100) in the bout, and after some early action pushed her even higher, the line has settled back close to where it opened. The former champion now sits at -335, while Shevchenko is a +275 underdog (bet $100 to win $275) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. The co-main event of UFC on Fox 20 is yet another in the long line of exciting lightweight bouts. Former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez steps back into the Octagon for the first time in over a year. He’ll be looking for his first UFC win since 2013 as he takes on Edson Barboza. After being touted as the next big thing upon his UFC arrival back in 2010, it seems Barboza is finally putting everything together to make a title run, defeating former champion Anthony Pettis in his last outing. Also on the main card, strawweights Felice Herrig and Kailin Curran will both be looking to pick up their second UFC wins and move forward in the 115lb division. On the opposite end of the spectrum, French heavyweight Francis N’Gannou looks to keep his UFC record unblemished as he welcomes Bojan Mihajlovic to the Octagon. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the full slate of fights at UFC on Fox 20 today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check them out below: ——————– MAIN CARD (FOX, 8pm ET) UFC on FOX 20: Holm vs. Shevchenko JULY 23, 2016 United Center | Chicago, Illinois Fight Card Valentina Shevchenko +250 Holly Holm -350 Over 4.5 -190 Under 4.5 +150 – Gilbert Melendez +185 Edson Barboza -265 Over 2.5 -190 Under 2.5 +150 – Bojan Mihajlovic +435 Francis Ngannou -705 Over 1.5 +160 Under 1.5 -210 – Kailin Curran -110 Felice Herrig -130 Over 2.5 -175 Under 2.5 +135 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (FX, 6pm ET) Eddie Wineland +145 Frankie Saenz -185 Over 2.5 -210 Under 2.5 +160 – Godofredo Pepey +175 Darren Elkins -245 Over 2.5 -150 Under 2.5 +110 – Alexander Yakovlev +175 Kamaru Usman -245 Over 2.5 -190 Under 2.5 +150 – J.C. Cottrell +180 Michel Prazeres -260 Over 2.5 -245 Under 2.5 +175 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 4:30pm ET) James Moontasri +185 Alex Oliveira -265 Over 1.5 -170 Under 1.5 +130 – Hector Urbina +165 George Sullivan -215 Over 2.5 -170 Under 2.5 +130 – Jason Knight +190 Jim Alers -270 Over 2.5 -245 Under 2.5 +175 – Luis Henrique +130 Dmitry Smolyakov -170 Over 1.5 +135 Under 1.5 -175 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: At this point in his career, Gilbert Melendez doesn’t have the speed to keep up with Edson Barboza in a striking battle. That means he’ll have to turn this into a grappling match. The only problem with that recipe is the fact that Barboza has some of the best takedown defense in the UFC. In his last 8 fights, opponents have gone just 2-for-22 on takedown attempts against Barboza, and he’s faced some solid wrestlers during that span. The bigger issue for Barboza for a long period of time was his chin and defense, and those seem to have improved markedly in recent bouts. If Melendez can get inside Barboza’s kicking range, he may be able to outwork the Brazilian, but that’s really the only shot I give to the former champ in this fight. Bojan Mihajlovic is more of a grinder than you’d normally expect at heavyweight, and given the matchup and what we’ve already seen out of Francis N’Gannou, that’s not a good thing for the Serbian. N’Gannou just neutralized a much stronger, better wrestler in Curtis Blaydes, and I see no reason he won’t do even more against Mihajlovic. This is certainly not the deepest UFC on Fox card, but still; this fight on the main card? Yikes. Curran is 1-2 in the UFC and Herrig is 1-1. I think Curran is more of the round winner in this fight with her workrate and superior wrestling, but Herrig is the more likely finisher (or you could also say that Curran is more prone to boneheaded mistakes). I’ll side with Curran because I still think she has more room for growth and refinement in her game, but she’s a mistake away from blowing it for herself. Eddie Wineland’s last 2+ years have not been kind. He was knocked out as a massive favorite against Johnny Eduardo, then took a year off before being outstruck to a unanimous decision by Bryan Caraway. Now he faces another yearlong layoff heading into a bout with Frankie Saenz. Saenz is not the type of fighter you want to be facing off a layoff, since he’s coming to come at you and push as pace that will probably make you uncomfortable at the best of times. Against Wineland, I think Saenz is able to smother any offense from the former title challenger en route to a decision victory. Darren Elkins against Godofredo Pepey could generously be described as a clash of styles. Elkins is the quintessential grinder, while Pepey is one of the most dynamic fighters at 145. Elkins was caught early in his UFC career by a similar fighter in Charles Oliveira, but he has grown a significant amount since then. The only certainty in this fight is that Elkins will have to face some tough spots early on, but if he works through those, he’ll tip the scales in his favor and dominate the bout come the second and third rounds. I’m just not sure he gets out of that first round, so I’ll be taking a look at some props for Pepey, specifically what the ‘Inside the Distance’ and ‘Round 1’ props pay. Kamaru Usman is getting a bit of a slow build, and I have to say I wished the UFC treated more of their prospects this way. In his third UFC bout, Usman gets another very winnable fight, but also a different stylistic look from his previous two. While he may not be able to rack up the 6 takedowns that he did in each of his two UFC bouts so far, I expect Usman to have success wrestling Alexander Yakovlev, but also show a bit more on the feet than we’ve seen thus far. Yakovlev won’t be able to dominate with size in this bout, and he’s facing a more talented wrestler, so I think he struggles to get much of anything done. JC Cottrell has fought as high as welterweight in the past, but he’s really a featherweight stepping in on short notice to face a massive lightweight grappler. It’s hard not to see Michel Prazeres getting his hands on Cottrell and simply ragdolling him given some of the larger fighters he’s been able to do the same against. On the feet, James Moontasri might have a bit of an edge on Alex Oliveira. He’s certainly a more dynamic striker with more tools in his arsenal. The question then becomes how long can Moontasri stay on his feet? Oliveira’s wrestling game has proven effective in the UFC, and even if he can’t get Moontasri down early in the fight, he should hold a sizable cardio edge and be able to drag it down later. I think Oliveira will be able to get takedowns early enough to sneak out the win here, but this fight is a lot closer than most seem to think, and there might be enough there to have me take a shot on the dog. On one hand, George Sullivan has looked extremely shaky in his last three UFC apperances. On the other, Hector Urbina might have the worst combination of takedown and striking defense in the UFC. The brain tells me that Sullivan gets back on track here with a steady diet of takedowns and ground-and-pound from top control, but I really can’t trust him to lay this kind of juice. If Jim Alers has practiced defending rubber guard, he wins this fight. It’s as simple as that. Jason Knight just can’t help himself once he gets taken down (and sometimes even gives up the takedown intentionally to get into rubber guard). Alers is the pick, and I hope we get a similarly generous line to what was offered on Kawajiri in Knight’s UFC debut. This is my sort of spot for a little bit of #FGF. You have Dmitry Smolyakov making his UFC debut with an undefeated record of 8-0. All of his wins have come by stoppage inside of 4 minutes. And he’s facing a guy who got stopped in his UFC debut, but it was by an extremely legitimate heavyweight, and he showed some ability to both absorb punishment, and stall out periods of time against a dangerous opponent. Depending on what Smolyakov’s cardio is like I could see this bout going a number of different ways. Henrique could finish him in the second or third, or Smolyakov could continue his domination throughout the fight to score a decision. Regardless, I don’t think this one ends nearly as quickly as the Russian’s previous eight bouts.