UFC on FX: Final Main Card Betting Odds and Predictions
This Friday, Jan. 20, the UFC arrives on FX.
Just more than a week before the UFC's first official event on FOX, the four-fight main card will feature two of the lightweight division's former contenders in Jim Miller and Melvin Guillard.
Rounded out by journeymen and up-and-comers alike, the rest of the main card fights don't carry all that much significance, but they should be fun to watch, nonetheless:
- Pat "HD" Barry vs. Christian Morecraft
- Mike "The Hulk" Easton vs. Jared "The Jackhammer" Papazian
- Duane "Bang" Ludwig vs. Josh "The Dentist" Neer
- Jim Miller vs. Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard
The fights will get started at 9:00 p.m. ET on FX, with the undercard leading off on Fuel TV.
Without further ado, let's get to the fights...
Pat Barry (-162) vs. Christian Morecraft (+148)
Pat "HD" Barry (3-4 UFC, 6-4 MMA) vs. Christian Morecraft (1-2 UFC, 7-2 MMA)
With both fighters potentially on the chopping block after less-than-stellar performances in the UFC, look for both men to make a statement in the Octagon on Friday.
Barry, who is coming off of a loss to Stefan Struve at UFC on Versus 6, will be best served by keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground and working to beat Morecraft to the punch. Though Barry has yet to display any semblance of an improved ground game that he has presumably developed while training with team Deathclutch, Morecraft isn't the opponent to test it out on.
Morecraft enters this fight coming off of a brutal knockout loss to Matt Mitrione at UFC on Versus 4. Given that Barry's game plan is no secret, you can expect Morecraft to immediately work towards the opposite goal. This is a very winnable fight for Morecraft if he can manage to get inside and plant Barry firmly on his back or against the cage. Otherwise, I don't like his odds trading shots with the more technical striker in Barry.
I think the oddsmakers have this one right. This should be a pretty close fight, but when all is said and done, I expect to see Barry getting his hand raised. He's been working with big, strong wrestlers, and I can't imagine Morecraft's takedown rivaling that of Brock Lesnar or Cole Konrad.
Pick: Pat Barry
Mike Easton (-331) vs. Jared Papazian (+300)
Mike "The Hulk" Easton (1-0 UFC, 11-1 MMA) vs. Jared "The Jackhammer" Papazian (0-0 UFC, 14-6 MMA)
Easton returns to the Octagon after a successful debut victory over Byron Bloodworth at UFC on Versus 6 in his hometown of Washington, D.C. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt that is as comfortable on his feet as he is on the ground, Easton will likely look to push the pace early on the UFC newcomer in Papazian.
Papazian—the current King of the Cage bantamweight champion—will make his UFC debut on a week's notice, replacing injured fighter Ken Stone. With only one submission victory to his name, Papazian won't be in a hurry to grapple with Easton, though, he may find himself out-matched on the feet as well.
While Papazian isn't exactly being thrown to the lions in his first UFC fight, Easton is on a six-fight win streak and trains with some of the UFC's best, including bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz. I expect to see Easton dictate the pace of the fight and work for a KO. It's hard to say that Easton deserves to be a -331 favorite, but until Papazian proves otherwise, I can't rationalize putting much money on him.
Pick: Mike Easton
Duane Ludwig (-107) vs. Josh Neer (+115)
Duane "Bang" Ludwig (4-2 UFC, 21-11 MMA) vs. Josh "The Dentist" Neer (5-6 UFC, 32-10-1 MMA)
With 75 total fights between them, Ludwig and Neer are by far the most experienced fighters on the card. This battle of the journeymen should be an exciting back-and-forth affair.
The owner of the UFC's unofficial fastest KO, Ludwig likes to stand and, well...bang. With nearly half of his victories coming by knockout, Ludwig will be happy to get into a firefight with Neer. He may need to fend off a takedown attempt or two, but his takedown defense has been fairly strong as of late.
Coming off of his elbow clinic against Keith Wisniewski at UFC on Versus 6, Neer will be looking to continue the revitalization of his UFC career. Equally content to finish a fight on the feet or the ground, Neer's well-roundedness will certainly serve him well against a powerful puncher such as Ludwig.
Though the odds are slightly tilted in Ludwig's favor, this fight is essentially a "pick-'em." I like Neer as the slight underdog given that he's a bit more well-rounded than Ludwig. Assuming Ludwig doesn't get another four-second knockout, I think we'll see Neer grind out a tough decision.
Pick: Josh Neer
Jim Miller (-165) vs. Melvin Guillard (+160)
Jim Miller (9-2 UFC, 20-3) vs. Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard (10-5 UFC, 30-9 MMA)
Capping off the first FX card, two of the UFC's best lightweights will look to rebound from recent momentum-halting losses in a fight which could very well have title contender implications in the near future.
After racking up a seven-win streak spanning a two-year period, Miller tasted defeat for only the third time in his career at the hands of former WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. He'll now look to get back on track with the intent of using his superior grappling and submission game to capitalize on Guillard's weaknesses.
After having won seven of his previous eight fights in the UFC, Guillard looked like he was well on the road to a title shot until Joe Lauzon shocked the world at UFC 136, finishing Guillard in the first minute of the first round. Much like Miller, he needs to get back on track with a big win on FX. However, Guillard will seek to use his skills to keep the fight standing, where he holds the power advantage.
This fight is a tough nut to crack. Both fighters are very highly skilled and generally well-rounded. Guillard has the advantage striking, and Miller has the grappling advantage, but it's tough to say who will impose their will. I like Guillard at +160 against pretty much anyone, but I'm not positive he can overcome Miller's toughness and submission-heavy ground game.
Pick: Jim Miller