P. J. Go | Thu 26/10/2017 - 14:39 EDT

UFC Fight Night 119: Unleash the Dragon!

UFC Fight Night 119: Unleash the Dragon!
Lyoto Machida returns from his 18-month suspension and faces 7th-ranked Derek Brunson in UFC Fight Night's main event. The UFC returns to Sao Paulo, Brazil, home of the UFC's first Brazilian event. Machida is an underdog (+140) to Brunson (-180) in considering his long layoff. Brunson is coming from a KO victory after dropping two straight fights. Main card starts 10 PM ET.

UFC Fight Night 119 Fight Card

Former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (+140) returns to main event UFC Fight Night on the heels of a controversial drug suspension. Machida was scheduled to rematch Dan Henderson but admitted to using newly banned substance 7-Keto-DHEA under the new USADA testing regime and received an 18-month ban. This might be a blessing in disguise as it gives him more time to recover.

Brunson (-180) was staring at a two-fight losing streak until he flattened Dan Kelly in just 76 seconds. The NCAA Division II wrestler has now finished his last five victories by first-round knockout making him a dual threat. Against Machida, he'll be facing a notoriously evasive fighter who usually beats wrestlers like him.

UFC Fight Night Brunson vs Machida

Since moving down to middleweight, Machida has posted a 3-3 record including being finished in consecutive fights for the first time in his career. At 39, Machida doesn't have a lot left in the tank but thanks to his defensive style, he hasn't absorbed too much damage and is still a viable contender. He boasts a 62.03 per cent defensive rating and absorbs only 1.59 strikes per minute. 

Machida established karate as a legitimate style in the UFC despite early criticisms of his purported lack of offense. He is often matched against wrestlers like Brunson and has won most of them. Chalk this up to his 75.86% takedown defense and his unique background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Sumo. Machida is difficult to get down and even more difficult to keep down. But his chin is his kryptonite.

Brunson, despite 53% of his victories coming via KO is not exactly the best striker. Brunson is quick and explosive and this mitigates his lack of polish. He is jokingly referred to as "hands down, chin up" for his tendency to leave himself exposed. Against a precise striker like Machida, this is bad news unless he uses his wrestling.  

Wrestlers like Brunson are able to knock out fighters because of their takedown threat. This opens up fighters for a big shot. Brunson lands 3.09 takedowns at a 32.14 per cent clip each fight. He last used his wrestling against dangerous striker Lorenz Larkin, who is now a welterweight.

Against Machida, it'll be a case of who catches who first.

In this spot, it's better to take a stab at Machida at the underdog price. Machida has never lost against a non-top five opponent. Each opponent that has beaten him has fought for a championship (barring the "loss" to Phil Davis). In contrast, Brunson has never beaten a top-five opponent and nearly every elite striker has exposed his lack of defense. 

The pick is Machida to knock Brunson out within the first two rounds.  

UFC Fight Night Best Bets - October 28, 2017

Betting the round totals (over/under) is an alternative plan. The over/under for Brunson and Machida is at 2.5 with the under at -155. Oddsmakers expect this fight to end before the 2:30 mark of the second. The combination of both fighters having finishing power and vulnerable chins makes this an easy bet even if they engage in a "staring contest" at some point.

Additionally, UFC Fight Night features a slew of other bankable fights beginning with Thiago Santos (+120). The Muay Thai specialist will have a home crowd advantage against fellow striker Jack Hermansson (-150). He lacks the Swede's wrestling but he's the better striker and finisher. Additionally, Francisco Trinaldo (-205) will make a fine parlay piece going against fading veteran Jim Miller (+160). 

The best places to head for all UFC/MMA betting action is with online sportsbooks, which also offer a signup bonus for new players.

Main Card (TSN 2, 10 PM ET)

  • Middleweight (185 lbs): #7 Derek Brunson (-180) vs Lyoto Machida (+140)
  • Welterweight (170 lbs): #3 Demian Maia (+105) vs #7 Colby Covington (-130)
  • Bantamweight (135 lbs): #12 Pedro Munhoz (+155) vs #13 Rob Font (-195)
  • Lightweight (155 lbs): Francisco Trinaldo (-205) vs Jim Miller (+160)
  • Middleweight (185 lbs): #15 Thiago Santos (+120) vs Jack Hermansson (-150)
  • Bantamweight (135 lbs): #5 John Lineker (-525) vs Marlon Vera (+350)

Preliminary Card (Fight Network, 8 PM ET)

  • Welterweight (170 lbs): Vicente Luque (-135) vs Niko Price (+110)
  • Middleweight (185 lbs): Antonio Carlos Junior (-470) vs Jack Marshman (+320)
  • Lightweight (155 lbs): Hacran Dias (+130) vs Jared Gordon (-165)
  • Welterweight (170 lbs): Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (-210) vs Max Griffin (+160)

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass, 7 PM ET)

  • Flyweight (125 lbs): Deiveson Figueiredo (+145) vs Jarred Brooks (-180)
  • Heavyweight (265 lbs): Marcelo Golm (-185) vs Christian Colombo (+145)

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