The landscape of multiple weight classes are set to be affected at UFC 166 on Saturday night.
Just how drastic those effects will be depends on whether or not a few of the favorites on the card can stay away from the upset bug.
While plenty of favorites might seem like sure bets, a handful of underdogs on the card have what it takes to spring the upset. In a sport that can turn at any second, you can throw the odds out the window. These fighters have to be on top of their game to pick up the win.
Odds via Bovada, statistics via FightMetric unless otherwise noted.
Gilbert Melendez (-650) vs. Diego Sanchez (+425)
Gilbert Melendez is a sizable favorite to defeat Diego Sanchez on the evening's main card, but don't be so quick to count out "The Dream."
Sanchez isn't the most technical fighter, but he has the cardio and mentality to turn any fight into a brawl. His 2.83 significant strikes landed per minute are right up there with Melendez's 3.09 clip, and he actually lands with more accuracy (38 percent to 32 percent).
Melendez doesn't have that great of an advantage in the stand-up department. He holds a strong advantage in terms of wrestling, but Sanchez defends 53 percent of takedown attempts, so he could sprawl and brawl his way to the upset victory.
John Dodson (-400) vs. Darrell Montague (+300)
Based on the odds for this fight, Dodson may be getting too much respect against a relatively unknown opponent.
It's easy to see Dodson's appeal. Since winning The Ultimate Fighter 14, he's climbed the ladder at 125 pounds and put in a respectable showing against champion Demetrious Johnson. Now he's trying to get back on the title track against someone whom most fans haven't even heard of.
That doesn't mean Montague should be discounted, though. He is 13-2 in his career with his latest loss coming against Ian McCall in 2011. Since then, he's won four straight with three finishes to his name.
The obvious retort to his record is a lack of quality competition, but that goes both ways. We haven't seen what Montague can do against the best of the best in the UFC, so he could pose a threat to Dodson.
Sarah Kaufman (-200) vs. Jessica Eye (+160)
By the time the prelims are over, we may have another contender in the women's bantamweight division. Sarah Kaufman won't have an easy night with Jessica Eye in her promotional debut.
Kaufman comes into the fight with the more impressive big-show resume. In addition to being a former Strikeforce champion, she holds victories over Liz Carmouche, Alexis Davis and Miesha Tate.
However, Eye is a dangerous opponent with a seven-fight win streak and an 11-1 record. She doesn't have flashy knockout power or submissions, but she's capable of wearing opponents down and grinding out decisions. If Kaufman is depending on knocking her out in a slugfest, she may be in for the upset of the night.
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