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UFC Fight Night 86: Betting Odds Preview

Ben Rothwell UFC

The layoff in UFC action is over, as the company will travel to Zagreb, Croatia on April 10. The card, which features several intriguing European prospects making their UFC debut, will be headlined by a heavyweight clash between Ben Rothwell and Junior dos Santos.

Big Ben Rothwell will be looking to stake his claim to a heavyweight title fight while JDS is looking to prove that he is not on the downside of his career and that he deserves another shot at the belt.

Both of these men have been around the MMA world for what seems like forever with a combined 66 career fights and over 25 years of experience. Rothwell has spent a large portion of his career as a fringe heavyweight, simply viewed as a gatekeeper. JDS has had a higher profile career, with the Brazilian competing near the top of the division for years.

Rothwell is riding a four-fight win streak into Croatia, with each of those victories coming via stoppage. The Kenosha-native is a finisher, plain and simple, as he has 33 career victories via stoppage while showcasing his power and surprisingly strong submission game.

JDS is just 2-3 in his past five fights, but two of those losses came in wars against Cain Velasquez. There is no better boxer in the heavyweight division than dos Santos, with his ability to work distance and throw stinging combos playing a large role in his victories.

The heavyweight division can be pretty cut and dry, with this fight looking much of the same. Rothwell is going to want to get in close and wear on dos Santos as Velasquez did in his wins over Cigano. Big Ben has an advantage in the submission in clinch game and will aim to use this, especially with the speculation that JDS is starting to wear down after being on the wrong end of a couple of slugfest.

Dos Santos will aim to keep his distance and work his jab, while avoiding the big power from Rothwell’s hands. JDS also has a more proven gas tank, with three of his past five fights making it into the championship rounds. However, if JDS is starting to lose a step, the cardio may soon start falling off as well.

As with almost any heavyweight fight, either man can win this. With a potential title shot on the line both men will enter the Octagon hungry. Ultimately, it comes down to whether you are a believer in a proven track record or the hotter fighter.

Rest of Main Card

Derrick Lewis and Gabriel Gonzaga meet in a battle of finishers. Lewis has shown terrifying power with 13 of his 14 career victories coming via T/KO with six of those coming in the first round. Gonzaga is still around the UFC because of his international recognition, but still has the submission game to be a threat to the lower tier of heavyweight fighters.

A couple young heavyweight prospects face off when Francis Ngannou clashes with Curtis Blaydes. Ngannou has ridiculous athleticism, but is still very green and needs a few years of seasoning before he could be great. Blaydes comes in as a late replacement, but has parlayed his college wrestling ability to a perfect 5-0 MMA record.

Timothy Johnson is coming off a loss to, now-cut, Jared Rosholt and another loss could spell the end of his tenure in the UFC. Johnson has solid agility for a man his size, but still has yet to show anything above average MMA skills. Polish heavyweight Marcin Tybura will make his UFC debut against Johnson, with ‘Tybur’ posting a 13-1 professional record. Tybura is a bread-and-butter striker and wrestler, but is smothering when he gains top control.

Igor Pokrajac will make his return to the UFC following a stint with the company from 2009-2014. The Croatian ended his run in the UFC without a single win in his final five fights (four losses, one no contest). He’s an aggressive fighter, but is on the card because it’s his home country. Polish fighter Jan Blachowicz could be on the chopping block with two losses in his past two UFC fights.

Maryna Muroz shocked many when she beat Joanne Calderwood in her UFC debut within two minutes. The Ukrainian has a strong submission game, but at 24, is still very green. Fellow youngster Cristina Stanciu will make her UFC debut in similar fashion as Muroz — a young and inexperienced fighter with the lucky draw of being from the right geographical area. Stanciu has more raw power than Muroz, but has also won her last three fights by submission.

UFC Fight Night 86: Zagreb Arena, Zagreb, Croatia

Odds as of April 7 at Bovada

  • Ben Rothwell +105
  • Junior dos Santos -135
  • Derrick Lewis -145
  • Gabriel Gonzaga +115
  • Francis Ngannou -135
  • Curtis Blaydes +105
  • Timothy Johnson +150
  • Marcin Tybura -185
  • Jan Blachowicz -350
  • Igor Pokrajac +265
  • Maryna Moroz -185
  • Christina Stanciu +150
  • Nicolas Dalby -170
  • Zak Cummings +140
  • Mairbek Taisumov -300
  • Damir Hadzovic +230
  • Ian Entwistle -150
  • Alejandro Perez +120
  • Lucas Martins -125
  • Robert Whiteford -105
  • Damian Stasiak -130
  • Filip Pejic EVEN
  • Jared Cannonier -160
  • Cyril Asker +130
  • Bojan Velicjovic -165
  • Alessio Di Chirico +135

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