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UFC Fight Night 89: Betting Odds Preview

The UFC heads to the great white north for the first time in 2016 and it will feature a massive battle of welterweights. Rory MacDonald makes his much-anticipated return to the Octagon – for the last fight on his current contract – against red-hot striking master Stephen Thompson.

The co-main event features two fighters trying to cement their status as a top 15 welterweight in the UFC, as Patrick Cote challenges Donald Cerrone.

Rory MacDonald vs Stephen Thompson

Rory MacDonald has been looked at as the future of the welterweight division for years. Since making his debut in the UFC at the age of 20, ‘The Red King’ is 9-3 with the losses coming against Carlos Condit – a fight he was winning before getting TKO’d – and Robbie Lawler twice.

MacDonald is one of the more technical strikers in MMA today with his accuracy being one of the most impressive parts of his game. MacDonald’s ability to land shots and avoid getting hit is phenomenal, and he’s undoubtedly looked at as one of the UFC’s toughest fighters following his last fight with Lawler.

MacDonald is a phenomenal wrestler who tends to use those skills in a defensive manner. That’s not to say that he won’t use them offensively – especially when he can implement takedowns by catching his opponent’s kick, but MacDonald tends to prefer to keep the fight on the feet where he can utilize his precision and athleticism. 

Thompson enters this fight riding a six-fight winning streak, which includes victories over Johny Hendricks and Jake Ellenberger.

Wonderboy’s striking game is one of the most unique in the world today, as it is completely influenced by his world-class karate skills. His stance is completely sideways with his hips facing perpendicular from his opponents – unlike other karate-based fighters like Lyoto Machida who turns his hips more towards his opponent. Thompson’s kicks are incredibly dangerous and he looks to control the range so he can properly utilize those skills.

Though Thompson is largely seen as a striker, his wrestling game has become critically important to his fighting style. The perfect example was in his last fight against Hendricks – though it didn’t last long. Wonderboy was taken to the cage against a former D-1 wrestling All-American, but was able to defend himself.

This bout has Fight of the Year potential. Both MacDonald and Thompson are well rounded, but prefer to strike. The interesting note in this fight is the size of the combatants. Thompson has only had a reach disadvantage once in his career – that was his only career loss.

Donald Cerrone vs Patrick Cote

The welterweight title picture is full of intrigue moving forward and the co-main event in Ottawa features the division’s depth, as Patrick Cote and Donald Cerrone clash.

Since moving to welterweight, Cote is 5-1 with the lone loss coming against Thompson. However, the 36-year-old may be on the verge of one last run.

‘The Predator’ has one of the most well-rounded skillsets in MMA with the Quebec City native sporting good striking, wrestling and cardio. Cote likes to stand and bang and would prefer to strike more technically, but he can brawl with the best of them as well.

Cote will never be mistaken for a wrestler, but his grappling has been getting better and better over the years. When he does take the fight to the ground it is usually when he can battle his way to a takedown on the cage. Ultimately though, Cote will likely want to keep this fight upright and in Cerrone’s face.

Cerrone’s striking game is predicated on controlling the distance, which allows him to use his kicks. ‘Cowboy’ has some of the best kicks around and loves to work hard leg kicks specifically.

Because Cerrone’s stand up game is so entertaining, his grappling is slightly underrated by some fans. Cerrone has trained in BJJ and has recorded 16 of his 29 career victories via submission. Although Cote has a black belt in BJJ, Cerrone will likely have the edge if this fight goes to the ground.

I would expect this fight to start out in Cote’s favor. Cerrone has been a bit of a slow starter throughout his career and Cote will want to push the pace – not allowing Cerrone to properly find a range for his kicks.

Rest of The Main Card

Light heavyweight power punchers meet when Steve Bosse and Sean O’Connell clash. Bosse is a former hockey enforcer who has parlayed his toughness into a crowd-pleasing home run hitter with nine of his 11 career victories coming via knockout. O’Connell is a gritty fighter who prefers to standup – despite some questionable striking defense. This fight will be a brawl with a knockout the likely outcome.

Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Thibault Gouti both hope to get on the right track after losses in their last bout. Aubin-Mercier is a grappler who wants to bring the fight to the ground and go for the submission. OAM is still developing a striking game, but has a variety of techniques to bring the fight to the mat. Gouti showed little in his first UFC fight – after being tapped in 0:24. The Frenchman has some decent power in his right hand, but is very hittable when standing. Gouti also has some slick submissions, but would probably like this fight to be a boxing match.

The first women’s flyweight bout in UFC history opens the main card with Valerie Letourneau taking on Joanne Calderwood. This will be Letourneau’s first fight since failing to claim the strawweight title from Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 193. Letourneau uses her reach advantage to work the jab and wear down her opponent over time. Calderwood uses her Muay Thai in the standup game and uses this to grind out her opponents to decision victories often. ‘JoJo’ also trained at TriStar in Montreal for this fight so it will be interesting to see her continued growth in the wrestling game.

UFC Fight Night 89: TD Place Arena, Ottawa, Ontario

Odds as of June 13 at Bovada

  • Rory MacDonald -105
  • Stephen Thompson -125
  • Donald Cerrone -175
  • Patrick Cote +145
  • Steve Bosse -155
  • Sean O’Connoll +125
  • Olivier Aubin-Mercier -365
  • Thibault Gouti +275
  • Valerie Letourneau -185
  • Joanne Calderwood +150
  • Jason Saggo -205
  • Leandro Silva +165
  • Misha Cirkunov -205
  • Ion Cutelaba +165
  • Tamdan McCroy -235
  • Krzysztof Jotko +185
  • Chris Beal -125
  • Joe Soto -15
  • Elias Theodorou -300
  • Sam Alvey +230
  • Randa Markos -185
  • Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger +150
  • Colby Covington -300
  • Jonathan Meunier +230
  • Ali Bagautinov -260
  • Geane Herrera +200

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