UFC 158 will begin at 6 PM ET on Saturday, March 16 on the UFC’s Facebook page with three preliminary bouts. The first two fights will take place at bantamweight; and, the “main event” of the Facebook broadcast will take place at welterweight. Below are predictions for all three fights as seen by cagepages.com’s editor-in-chief, Dave Hilts.
Bantamweight: George Roop (12-9-1; 2-5 UFC) vs. Reuben Duran (8-4-1; 1-2 UFC)
According to the current Vegas Odds, this fight will be the most competitive fight out of the three, by far. Both fighters are in a “win or be released” situation. Despite being the more experienced of the two, Roop enters the bout as a “+110” underdog. Given the uneven nature of MMA gambling, Duran currently sits at a “-140” favorite.
Duran’s ability to lock in submission while controlling the pace of the bout should certainly stand-out from the get-go. Stoop brings a more balanced game into the cage; however, “good at everything, great at nothing” can definitely be applied here.
However, the fact that this fight is for the career of the losing fighter really makes it impossible to predict (as seen through the Vegas Odds). Placing money on Roop may actually be the smarter move, as there is rarely an opportunity to gamble on a more experienced underdog fighting for his job while potentially indirectly terminating his opponent. That situation certainly sparks the interest of my wallet. At a dollar and ten cents won per dollar bet, Roop is worth the gamble – especially after watching his Josh Grispi and Jung Chan-Sung victories.
Prediction: The first fight of the night provides the platform for a semi-safe underdog wager, as Roop has the potential to take this one home; but, don’t break the bank. This fight is a true toss-up, and only a fool would give a definite prediction.
Bantamweight: T.J. Dillashaw (6-1; 2-1 UFC) vs. Issei Tamura (7-3; 1-1 UFC)
T.J. Dillashaw is the biggest favorite on the whole UFC 158 card. Of course, any man can win a fight and nothing is guaranteed; but, this appears to be the safest bet of the night regardless of the current Vegas Odds.
Dillashaw has looked solid in his last two fights since losing in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter 14. Most of his wins have come by submission, as his grind-it-out wrestling game has consistently lead to great position inside the cage.
Tamura, however, has never been submitted and boasts a winning record. The lack-luster names on his fight resume is probably the reason for him being a “+425” underdog (Dillashaw is currently at “-550”), as both are more than confident wrestlers.
With that being said, the Walel Watson victory on Dillashaw’s resume stands out the most and gives logic to the belief that T.J. will also be able to contain Tamura for fifteen minutes.
Prediction: It is probably not worth wagering on this fight as the odds are extreme; but, Dillashaw will probably bring home a victory – as long as he keeps his hands up and is able to constantly work from a dominant ground position.
Welterweight: Rick Story (14-6; 7-4 UFC) vs. Quinn Mulhern (18-2; 0-0 UFC)
Replacing an injured Sean Pierson, UFC newcomer, Quinn Mulhern enters his bout against Rick Story as the third largest underdog of UFC 158 at “+320.” A Strikeforce veteran, Mulhern boasts an impressive eleven wins by way of a submission.
It is safe to say that anyone reading this knows who Rick Story is, and the quality of UFC opponents that he has defeated. Despite losing three of his last four, he is still at the prime age of twenty-eight, and it appears as if the UFC is doing nothing more than throwing him an underhand pitch in hopes he can bounce back and regain his form.
This logic is also supported by the fact that Story lost by way of a submission for the first time in his most recent fight (Demian Maia), and Mulhern is the proud owner of a black belt in BJJ.
Prediction: Story survives a lesser version of his most recent loss, and works his way off the Facebook broadcast of UFC events; however, this may not be the song I’d be singing if Story was actually fighting Pierson.