The UFC is heading to Portland, Oregon this week for UFC Fight Night Lineker vs Dodson. The card is small but appears more competitive with legit ranked opponents fighting one another unlike last week’s card of mismatches. I will breakdown what I think are the most compelling fights on the card, and let you know if there are any future title contenders competing on the card. I also take a look at if the multiple fighters missing weight at the weigh-ins will effect any of the outcomes. I’ll close it out with my predictions on how these fights will play out as we try to fatten your wallet this weekend.
Notable Main Card Fights:
Will “Ill Will” Brooks (11th) vs Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira (155lbs Lightweight)
Preview: The dynamic Will Brooks continues his trend of not getting an easy fight from the UFC as he will now face the very dangerous Alex Oliveira for his second fight for the promotion. Brooks will give up height and reach advantage to the hard-hitting Oliveira. This will force Brooks to show his diverse skill-set as he may not want to trade shots with seasoned Brazilian fighter. Oliveira has a history of being submitted, making Brooks look to tire Oliveira out and get him to the mat where he is uncomfortable. Oliveira’s takedown defense is decent but not great, allowing Brooks an opportunity to make it a ground war if he can secure the necessary takedowns. Brooks has been vocal in his pre-fight interviews this week that he was not as focused as he would have liked to have been in his UFC debut vs Pearson. Now this may be a legit reason for why he did not impress despite winning, or it could be a crack in the former Bellator champion’s psyche. Brooks may have realized that the level of competition and skill in the UFC is far greater than his former company’s stable. Oliveira has the power to knockout almost anyone in the Lightweight division. He’s won four of his last five fights, with his lone loss coming to the elite Donald Cerrone. He will look to hurt Brooks early and potentially overwhelm him to get a stoppage if he can land a clean shot to Brook’s chin. Confidence during the fight could be a huge factor, making the first round so important for both fighters. I think the winner of the first round will win the fight.
Odds: (Brooks -270) vs (Oliveira +230)
Prediction: This is a really interesting fight, made even more intriguing after Oliveira missed the 155lbs weight by over 6 pounds today at weigh-ins. Fortunately for fans the fight is still on& Brooks will get 20% of Oliveira’s purse for his weight troubles. Will Brooks won his fight against Ross Pearson but did not necessarily look as dynamic as many predicted prior to his UFC debut. There could be multiple reasons for this, Pearson is a really tough UFC fighter, his style could have just been a bad matchup for Brooks, or he could have had a bit of jitters for his first fight in the UFC. Oliveira will not care about the hype behind Brooks, and will likely think he can take some of the success Pearson had against Brooks, and pull off the upset. Brooks only loss was via knockout early in his career, and while he has improved tremendously since then it shows he is capable of being stopped. Brooks is not “green” as a fighter, but he is green when it comes to seeing top-tier UFC talent. I like that I’m getting +odds in a three round fight with a guy who has beaten a lot of top-tier talent in the UFC. I think Oliveria has a really good chance to derail Brooks’s title aspirations & if Brooks is truly the real deal I like adding the under on the round totals at 1.5 with both fighters possessing the ability to end this contest early. It gives us a chance to hedge if Brooks stops Olievera early, but allows to free roll on an almost 2 ½ to 1 live barking underdog as long as the fight ends early.
( Alex Oliveira (+230) via Knockout) / Under 1.5 Rounds
Main Event (Non-Title Fight)
John “Hands of Stone” Lineker (3rd) vs John “The Magician” Dodson (10th) (135lbs Bantamweight)
Preview: John Lineker is trying to make a case he deserves a shot at Dominick Cruz’s Bantamweight belt & that Cody Garbrandt needs to wait his turn. Lineker can go a long way to securing that title fight with a victory of the extremely talented John Dodson. He is currently riding a five fight win streak, and will have an opponent in Dodson who is of similar height & reach. Lineker likely holds a power advantage despite having a lower knockout percentage than Dodson. However, after a slight edge in power, Dodson appears to hold most of the advantages to include speed, cardio, wrestling, and big fight experience. Dodson has looked extremely impressive since moving to Bantamweight, and despite giving up height to move up, his speed and power have translated well to the 135lbs weight division. Dodson was able to take Demetrious Johnson for a full ten rounds. And even though he did not beat Johnson, he was not out of his league either. The ability to not get taken down, a really strong chin, and a instinctive counter-attack gives him a great skill set to beat the hard-hitting Lineker. I expect Lineker to press the action early not wanting to allow Dodson to find a rhythm and settle into the fight. If Lineker cannot decisively win the 1st round and hurt Dodson, it could be a long night for him, and his title hopes. Dodson knows that if he ever wants to get a shot at the Bantamweight belt he’ll need to take down a couple of top 5 opponents; Lineker is the first one in his way.
Odds: (Lineker +105) vs (Dodson -125)
Prediction: Lineker like Oliveira missed his weight limit at weigh-ins today. This is not how you win favor in the UFC or make sure you get a title shot if you win. Few things upset Dana White more than fighters missing weight. Fortunately, for Dana I think this fight goes pretty decisively for Dodson. Despite Lineker’s huge power in his hands, I just do not see how he beats a healthy & prepared John Dodson. Dodson’s only losses have come at the hands of the pound for pound & flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson; John Lineker is not Johnson. Throw in the mix that this is a main event scheduled for 5 rounds if it goes the distance, and Dodson’s cardio could play a huge advantage in the fight. Lineker typically has decent cardio himself but he’s never been in a 5 round fight, while Dodson has twice. Add in the fact that Lineker missing weight likely points to a bad or difficult weight cut, and cardio becomes an even bigger factor. I think Lineker will have to clip Dodson early and finish him to win this fight, something that has not happened in Dodson’s career. Thus, getting Dodson at close to ‘even money’ while he has most of the advantages in this fight is a no brainer pick for me.
(John Dodson (-125) via Unanimous Decision)
Prediction Record Year to Date (13-11-0) (-$138)
-Record& predictions based on Win vs Loss predictions only. Unless specified otherwise I use increments of $100 (for + odds predictions) & $110 (for – odds bets) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction.
-Predictions& Records are for entertainment value only
*Stats via www.UFC.com