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UFC on Fox 18 Betting Odds Preview

The light heavyweight title picture looks to get slightly less muddy when Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader clash at the Prudential Center at UFC on Fox 18. Johnson vs Bader is as close as the division can come to presenting a title eliminator with Jon Jones still yet to make his return from his suspension following a hit-and-run incident. The co-main event will see top 10 heavyweights Josh Barnett and Ben Rothwell clash with the hopes that either fighter is just two wins away from a potential title shot.

Main Event: Anthony Johnson vs Ryan Bader

Johnson had his opportunity to claim the light heavyweight title when he faced off against Daniel Cormier, but an inopportune takedown attempt saw ‘Rumble’ getting subbed by the former Olympian. Johnson rebounded in his past fight by laying waste to Jimi Manuwa early in the second round. ‘Darth’ Bader comes into this fight winning each of his past five fights in the Octagon, all of which came by decision. 

No man in the UFC hits as hard as Johnson and he has proven it time and time again. Johnson has ended 14 of his 20 career wins by T/KO including four of his five victories in his current run as a light heavyweight. Henri Hooft of the Blackzillians has helped developed Johnson’s footwork, and though simple, it has become one of the most important parts of his game. ‘Rumble’ has one massive knock and it is his cardio.  Several times we have seen him simply gas out after the first or second round after not being able to land the home run swing.

Bader has always been known as a grinder and a wrestler, but he has been showing some improved striking in his past outings.  The Arizona State-alum has been working on his footwork and his jab has come along nicely as a good way to set up the overhand bombs he likes to throw. Though his striking is improved, wrestling is still Bader’s bread and butter. He likes to grind out and wear down opponents and has no problem losing the first round if it means he can win the long game. However, in his recent outings you have seen Bader has circled to his left often and one mistake doing that against Johnson means he will be looking at the ceiling.

Bovada has listed Johnson as a massive -350 favorite in this fight with Bader coming back at +265. Bader is not the same level of wrestler as Cormier and he could struggle against the takedown defense of Johnson, but the longer this fight goes, the more it favors Bader.

Co-Main Event: Josh Barnett vs Ben Rothwell

Since re-joining the UFC, Barnett is 2-1 and has yet to win a bout with any of his trademarked submissions. Rothwell comes into Saturday on a three-fight winning streak, including first round victories over Alistair Overeem and Matt Mitrione.

Barnett has proven to be solid as a standup fighter, though he does lack power for the heavyweight division. ‘The Warmaster’ has fluid head movement that often gives him an advantage in the clinch to push a fight to the ground. There is no doubt that Barnett is a special talent in the submission game with 20 of his 34 career wins coming by sub. Barnett is the kind of fighter that excels at one facet of the game while being well rounded in all other aspects.

Best-case scenario in any of Rothwell’s fight is to turn it into a brawl. Raw power is Rothwell’s speciality and uses it to push opponents backwards into positions that allow him to slug it out. He is aggressive and brutish in the pocket and is always looking to punish his opponent. Rothwell is surprisingly strong at submissions, but most of those have come from strikes rather than legitimate techniques.

Bovada has given Barnett the slight edge with a -140 line and Rothwell at +110. Barnett’s wealth of experience and well-rounded skillset make him a difficult task for Rothwell in this fight. ‘The Warmaster’ would be wise to try and get guard as early as possible and look for another submission win. Rothwell will push the pace and could very easily force Barnett off his game and all it takes is one punch to win a fight for Rothwell.

The Rest Of The Main Card

Bantamweight prospect Jimmie Rivera looks to make a name for himself by defeating ranked Iuri Alcantara. Rivera is 18-1 in his career with 12 of those wins going to the judges’ scorecard.  Alcantara is a finisher who has excelled in the early going of fights and though he has seven-career wins by decision, he has worn down as fights go on. Rivera comes into the fight as a -170 favorite according to Bovada.

The Sage Northcutt hype train continues when he faces off against Bryan Barberena to open the main card. The 19-year-old is 7-0 in his career with only two of those fights making it past the first round.  However, Northcutt will be jumping up in weight to 170 to face Bryan Barberena who stepped in on late notice. Barberena is an underrated prospect with great knockout power and cardio. Northcutt is an overwhelming -500 favorite per Bovada.

UFC on Fox 18: Newark, New Jersey

Odds as of January 26 at Bovada

  • Anthony Johnson -350
  • Ryan Bader +265
  • Josh Barnett -140
  • Ben Rothwell +110
  • Jimmie Rivera -170
  • Iuri Alcantara +140
  • Sage Northcutt -500
  • Bryan Barberena +350
  • Tarec Saffiedine -235
  • Jake Ellenberger +185
  • Olivier Aubin-Mercier -300
  • Diego Ferreira +230
  • Rafael Natal -165
  • Kevin Casey +135
  • Dustin Ortiz -225
  • Wilson Reis +175
  • Alexander Yakovlev -140
  • George Sullivan +110
  • Alex Caceres -280
  • Masio Fullen +220
  • Randy Brown -210
  • Matt Dwyer +170
  • Levan Makashvili -300
  • Damon Jackson +230
  • Tony Martin -175
  • Felipe Olivieri +145