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UFC 169 Picks: Barao vs. Faber

UFC 169 is on Saturday night and the action will be coming to use live from New Jersey. This is the fourth event of 2014, but it’s the 1st pay-per-view event of the New Year. The UFC are kicking things off right with two title fights plus a few other intriguing fights.

Barao and Faber are fighting in the main event for the bantamweight title. Aldo and Lamas are fighting in the co-main event for the featherweight title. With two title fights and a handful of other great fights on the main card and prelims, UFC 169 will be awesome.

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UFC 169 Main Event Predictions

· Renan Barao (31-1-1) –280 vs. Urijah Faber (30-6) +255

At 34 years old, a lot of fans want to see Faber win the title tomorrow night. Faber has improved since losing to Barao in 2012 and he now has better striking, but it’s not on the level of Barao. Another reason I like the favorite is because of his takedown defense.

He has stuffed 95% of the takedown attempts on him in the cage and Faber will have trouble utilizing his wrestling. If things don’t go right for Faber he is unable to adjust. Barao will win this fight because of his edge in the stand-up, but it’ll go to a decision.

UFC 169 Main Card Predictions

· Jose Aldo (23-1) –660 vs. Ricardo Lamas (13-2) +540

Lamas is getting a shot at the titleholder at UFC 169, but he isn’t on the same level as Aldo. Lamas relies on his wrestling to generate offense in the cage, but Aldo is amongst the best at stopping takedowns (92%) and he’ll be able to frustrate Lamas quickly.

The striking between these two isn’t even close. Aldo will be able to pick apart Lamas in the stand-up. At these odds it’s not worth it to bet on Aldo SU, but you can bet on him to win by TKO/KO at –150 odds. Lamas has been KO’ed twice and Aldo has a lot of power.

· Alistair Overeem (36-13-1) –340 vs. Frank Mir (16-8) +310

Mir has been knocked out 7 times in his career and he has always had problems against power strikers. Overeem has looked good at the start of his fights lately, but he gasses quickly and has lost two in a row. Mir has lost his last three fights in the octagon.

Overeem will come out in the 1st round and rock Mir. The question is whether or not he can finish the fight before he starts to gas in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Mir won’t have success taking down Overeem and I’ll be betting on the favorite to win by TKO/KO at –175.

· Ali Bagautinov (12-2) –140 vs. John Lineker (23-6) +130

This is the toughest fight to predict on the main card. The Russian is 2-0 in the UFC with a win by TKO. Since losing in his UFC debut, Lineker is 4-0 with the promotion and has won his last three fights by TKO/KO. Lineker has heavy hands, but lacks elsewhere.

Bagautinov has the speed to match Lineker plus he is much more technical and accurate with his striking. Lineker has the potential to win this by TKO/KO, but Bagautinov has the edge. Look for him to frustrate Lineker with his grappling and win by decision.

· Jamie Varner (21-8-1-2) –125 vs. Abel Trujillo (11-5-1) +115

This is another interesting fight and I’m betting on the underdog. Trujillo has only lost to Nurmagomedov in the UFC and his striking is above average. Trujillo is very active (3.98 SLpM) and accurate (55%), so if he can keep this fight standing up he’ll win.

Jamie Varner will look to take this fight to the ground and end the fight by submission. Varner averages 3.73 takedowns every 15 minutes in the cage and Trujillo has poor takedown defense (37%). The fighter who dictates where this fight is fought will win.