The UFC heads to the east coast into Fairfax, Virginia for a six fight main card this week. Headlining the card is a main event that could have some serious impact for the winner of Aldo v McGregor in July. Let’s have a look at the odds provided by 5Dimes to see what stands out.
Poirier v Ferreira:
With a loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 178 Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier calls time on his Featherweight career and makes the jump up to Lightweight. Given that he wasn’t exactly a huge fighter at 145lbs it remains to be seen whether this is a good or bad idea. It is a gamble that is arguably worth taking as the top five at Lightweight are all light years away from him.
Carlos Diego Ferreira hasn’t been seen since being dominated, surprisingly, by Beneil Dariush back at UFC 179. Given his impressive skills on the mat it was a surprise to see the fight pan out as it did, handing him his first career loss along the way. For the first time in his life, he needs to rebound and he has been given a tough opponent to start with.
I am going to side with the underdog in this one. Poirier is prone to defensive lapses and I think will struggle with the increased power at this level. His ground game is on par with Ferreira, and they likely nullify each other. I don’t know how it ends, but the flyer is Ferreira outright.
Recommendation: Carlos Diego Ferreira +160 (8/5) @ 5Dimes
Guida v Peralta:
MMA veteran Clay Guida makes his return after a lengthy absence, looking to kick start his career after a submission loss to Dennis Bermudez, looking to turn around alternating wins and losses to a more productive streak. His high energy, swarming style is in stark contrast to his opponent and it will be very interesting to see how this pans out.
When he wins, he wins impressively. When he loses he looks extremely poor, that is the inconsistency of Robbie Peralta. Against Jason Young he unleashed a barrage of punches to finish in 23 seconds. Against Corassani he laboured, and his next three fights showed little to get excited over. This is by far the biggest name he has faced and is a huge step up in class; it remains to see how he will react.
I personally feel that Peralta is overmatched in this fight. While Guida is clearly battle worn and on a downward trajectory he should still have more than enough to win this. You can expect to see Guida dipping in and out, using his renowned work rate and cardio to wear down the younger fighter en route to a comfortable decision victory.
Recommendation: Guida wins by 3 round decision +110 (11/10) @ 5Dimes
Pena v Dudieva:
In winning TUF 18 the sky was expected to be the limit for Juliana Pena; that promise turned out very wrong. Only a short while after winning she damaged pretty much every ligament in her knee in training, putting her on the sidelines for over a year. By the time she returns it will have been almost 18 months since she saw action. The momentum for winning the reality show, gone and serious question marks about how her injury has affected her.
Milana Dudieva makes her second UFC appearance after a rather lacklustre performance in Macau, China last year. The victory was hollow given that the fight was scored almost unanimously in favour of her opponent, an outcome which shockingly led to the removal of a judge from cage side. While she got the win she will be very aware that a far better performance is required this time or it could be the last chance she gets.
Pena will enter the octagon with 18 months of pent up aggression and a serious point to prove. She was by far the best fighter on her TUF season and should have more than enough to deal with Dudieva. Dudieva, by contrast, should look to capitalise on her opponent’s inactivity and take this into the later rounds to test Pena’s cardio to the limit. Pena has impressed with her submissions, something that seems to be an Achilles heel of Dudieva and this method of victory is the pick.
Recommendation: Hendricks wins by submission +350 (7/2) @ 5Dimes
Chiesa v Clarke:
Ultimate Fighter Season 15 winner Michael Chiesa looks to erase the memory of a hard loss to Joe Lauzon from the memory banks. Being stopped due to a nasty cut in a fight he was arguably winning is hard to deal with; handing him only his second career loss is harder. At 3-2 in the UFC he is on the right side with winning percentages but another loss could irreparably rattle his cage.
Mitch Clarke has proven something of an enigma during his short tenure at the top. His first two fights were lost to far inferior opponents than his last two; which he won against John Maguire and impressively, Al Iaquinta. It’s possible that there is more to come from the Canadian and really is coming into his prime.
As neither has any form of impressive striking this fight comes down to mat activity. With a combined 15 wins by submission and a single win by knockout its clear where the money should be going. Chiesa by submission is +160, whereas Clarke by the same method is +810. In a relatively even matchup that is too big for Clarke, who has never been submitted in his career. Some action on the underdog is a must for me. Chiesa probably wins by decision but the odds do not tempt me into a flutter.
Recommendation: Clarke wins by submission +810 (8/1) @ 5Dimes
Masvidal v Iaquinta:
Upon entering the UFC as the losing finalist to TUF 18, Al Iaquinta started to gain a reputation as a grinder, the sort of fighter who would take you to the mat, keep you there and dominate throughout three rounds. Mitch Clarke choked him unconscious and things changed. Since that loss he has impressively stopped the three best fighters he has ever faced, Lauzon, Pearson and Damm, all with sheer brutality. And with that, the evolution of Iaquinta is almost complete.
Jorge Masvidal is a different type of animal. As a long time veteran there are few he hasn’t faced at the top level and, while not always coming out on top, has at least earned the right to face in the octagon. He hasn’t been finished by strikes in almost seven years, and virtually every fight has gone the distance. That takes solid conditioning and excellent cardio.
A year ago and I’d be certain that this goes the distance, it was how Iaquinta fought and how Masvidal liked it. The big question is whether the new Iaquinta can change the course of history and finish one of the toughest Lightweights around. I have been on the fence, and I don’t think he can. It a perfect example of a pick’em, I’ll be taking Masvidal to continue having things his way.
Recommendation: Masvidal wins by 3 round decision +185 (15/8) @ 5Dimes
Mendes v Lamas:
Chad Mendes would say that he is the best Featherweight in the World after Jose Aldo, and given that his only two losses have come to Aldo it is hard to disagree. After his first defeat he went on a bit of a tear, racking up four consecutive finishes for the first time in his career. A Fight of the Year candidate followed which he also lost now is his chance to rebound strongly.
Much like his opponent, Ricardo Lamas was also dismantled by Jose Aldo. As he did prior, so he did after and went about stringing another run together. That run puts him back in the top five and once again jostling for the number one position.
Secretly, both fighters will be hoping for a McGregor win as it is likely to result in another tilt at the belt for them. Mendes is unlikely to get a third fight against Aldo, and Lamas probably comes up a little short. Mendes holds the key to victory with his wrestling, simply put it is the best that the division has to offer and I would look for him to dominate on the mat.
Recommendation: Mendes wins by 5 round decision +130 (13/10) @ 5Dimes