UFC Fight Night 135: Preview + Odds (Crossroads)
UFC Fight Night Nebraska: James Vick vs Justin Gaethje
August 25th in Lincoln, Nebraska the UFC brings Fight Night to the Pinnacle Bank Arena with a feature fight between James Vick ranked #11 vs Justin Gaethje ranked #7. Justin Gaethje is coming into this fight against James Vick on a two-fight losing streak being knocked out in his last two fights against Dustin Poirier, Eddie Alvarez.
What is interesting about both these main event stars coming into this fight could be a battle for their rank meaning that at this point in both fighter’s careers are not exactly where they thought it would be. James Vick once a top UFC newcomer, a title contender has never had a high profile fight in 6 years despite having a 10-1 UFC record finally will get his chance to either put up or shut up against Justin Gaethje who is a “TOP NAME” so come Saturday James Vick will either have his hand raised, fate changed in a blink of an eye. Then you look at the opposition which is Justin Gaethje 18-2 record, the two loses have come via KO in two very tough battles against Dustin and Eddie. Justin honestly believes that James Vick isn’t on the same level as those two and makes claims that James Vick cheats by cutting down to 155 so, come fight time he is the bigger, stronger fighter than everyone else especially when he is standing at 6’3!
So, question is can Justin Gaethje get back on track??
Justin Gaethje (+130) vs James Vick (-160) ODDS by BOVADA
James Vick comes into this fight as the favorite over a highly talented fighter, former champion Justin Gaethje. Vick has won of his last 4 fights, 3 being finishes. James Vick is a big lightweight standing at 6’3 with a 76” reach which he loves to use in fights, so he can push around his opponents in the clinch where he can take advantage of his size on the canvas. Vick has excellent cardio; boxing background is a strong point here because this could make this fight very entertaining. If I am Vick, I would say he should use that size not get into a brawl with Justin Gaethje but simply grind it out, wear out Justin taking away his power in his stand up. Justin Gaethje must come into this fight almost desperate, he just can’t be reckless in doing so because he has enough pressure on him as a former WSOF world champ, the UFC brass is also applying gentle pressure as well because they can’t see him fall anymore suffering a third straight lost. The hype around Justin was so high coming into the UFC immediately being dubbed the next title challenger, the future champ to falling on hard times.
Justin needs to make quick work of James Vick to end this skid. I believe Justin will turn the corner, end the skid.
Winner: Justin Gaethje via KO (RD: 1)
Andre Fili (-110) vs Michael Johnson (-110)
Michael Johnson once the man that declared he wanted a “Money Fight” has fallen on hard times which he isn’t used to at this point. Johnson suffered three back to back loses coming into this fight against Andre Fili this weekend means that Johnson needs this win more than anything or face the fear of being released from the UFC. Moving to 145 for Johnson seemed like it was the best choice he could make in his career to try and turn the corner to salvage what is left at this point. Andre Fili is on a two-fight win streak with wins over Dennis Bermudez, Artem Lobov but when you look at the quality of opponents look at Johnson’s resume loses to Elkins, Gaethje, Khabib, Nate Diaz. I like Michael Johnson in this fight to turn it around use his wrestling to grind out a win.
Winner: Michael Johnson via DEC
Cortney Casey (+110) vs Angela Hill (-140) Odds by BOVADA.LV
Cortney Casey is a late replacement in this fight, replacing Alexa Grasso who suffered an injury. This is always a scary thing to happen weeks before a big fight because it doesn’t give Angela Hill a lot of time to prepare for a different opponent. Cortney Casey hasn’t had the best of luck where she hasn’t won a fight since her Jessica Aguilar, where she won a decision then falling to Michelle Waterson, Felice Herrig. This might be the last time we see Cortney Casey in the UFC if she loses to Angela Hill. Angela Hill has improved so much in her last four fights going 2-2. Even though Angela Hill has gotten better in her last few fights the scary aspect is that of “short notice fighter, with her back against the wall”. Casey should get this fight to the ground and not try to strike with Hill where she is excellent at. Hill will need to keep this fight standing so she can string a fight streak together in the strawweight division.
Winner: Cortney Casey via Decision
Jake Ellenberger (+350) vs Bryan Barberena (-500) Odds by BOVADA.LV
Home town boy Jake Ellenberger returns home for the first time since 2012. This fight might be the last for Jake Ellenberger with rumors swirling that this will be his retirement fight he wants to go out with a bang planning to leave everything he has in the octagon. Juggernaut once has a 6-fight win streak that had many thinking he would be the next in line for a title, or even a champion in the welterweight division but never happened. Ellenberger still has power in his hands, can be destructive and get the elusive KO but, if his mind is not clear because of the whispers of retirement it could be bad news facing a guy like “BAM BAM” Barberena trading loses with wins coming off an injury/ lost will have to see if he could put both behind him. Bryan Barberena should be game for this tough fight, when he is at the top of his game he can take out the best. This fight should be Barberena.
Winner: Bryan Barberena via KO
John Moraga (+130) vs Deiveson Figueiredo (-160) Odds by BOVADA.LV
The former flyweight title contender John Moraga is back in the top 10 rank with a three-fight win streak will have to give another top prospect his first lost Deiveson is 14-0. Last time UFC decided to put a top prospect in front of Moraga the fight lasted less than 2 mins with Moraga landing a solid right that dropped Magomed Bibulatov. Moraga will need to mix up his striking to keep Figueiredo off balance to catch him with the right hand. Figueiredo is a well-rounded fighter which he could keep this fight standing if he wants to take his chance at not getting caught however I would like to see him get a take down, get top position and finish the fight from there to solidy the hype behind Figueiredo this time Moraga will not get the victory.
Winner: Deiveson Figueiredo via Sub
Tim Williams (+600) vs Eryk Anders (-1000) odds by BOVADA.LV
Eryk Anders coming off a lost to legend Lyoto Machida where that lost could have gone either way. Both fighters coming off a lost that has both men motivated to get a victory. Williams bread and butter are that he is a very talented grappler with 9 submission wins on his record, but he is facing a man that is athletically gifted in with speed and power who plans on having a highlight reel finish, so people can remember him.
Winner: Eryk Anders via KO
James Krause (+325) vs Warlley Alves (-450) Winner: Warlley Alves
Cory Sandhagen (-260) vs Luri Alcantara (+200) Winner: Luri Alcantara
Markus Perez (-115) vs Andrew Sanchez (-115) Winner: Markus Perez
Mickey Gall (-335) vs George Sullivan (+255) Winner: Mickey Gall