UFC on Fox: Lee vs. Iaquinta 2
The event will take place December 15 at the Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It's the final card before Christmas and it's set to be a belter. It's rich on lightweight talent with the main event and co-main event all being top lightweight contenders. The rich talent pool in the lightweight division is on show, the winners of these fights will set themselves nicely for their championship campaigns in 2019.
Bet UK’s MMA Journalist gives his predictions ahead of the event. Bet UK UFC betting odds offer fight markets for all main event bouts.
Kevin Lee vs. Al Iaquinta
The rematch between Lee and Iaquinta takes place 4 years after the pairing met for the first time at UFC 169. It was Lee's UFC debut, which he lost via decision. However, since then he's moved from the East Coast over to Las Vegas where he now trained at Xtreme Couture. Since the move, Lee has become one of the fastest rising stars in the UFC. He's put a run together of 4-0 and 5-0 with Tony Ferguson halting the second run for the interim UFC lightweight championship via triangle choke. Lee keeps getting better and with a relentless style of double-legs, ground and pound and a high level submission he's a dangerous man in the lightweight division. Iaquinta comes in with a slight psychological advantage having already beat Lee. The brash lightweight had a 5-fight winning streak in the UFC, which he put on the line against Khabib Nurmagomedov on 5 days’ notice. Although he lost against the Russian his stock only went up, as he put on an excellent demonstration of boxing and takedown defence. Iaquinta has some of the best boxing in the lightweight division. He's naturally talented and very durable in all the fights he's been in but sometimes lets his emotions take over. Lee can win this fight by pressing the action and level changes, he's a much more evolved fighter than he was 4 years ago and his style and pressure will be too much for Iaquinta to deal with.
Edson Barboza vs. Dan Hooker
This is my pick for 'Fight of the Night'. It's another lightweight bout with the winner making their case for a top 10 ranked fighter in their next fight. Barboza is no stranger to fight night bonuses having banked 7. The Brazilian is perhaps the most naturally talented striker in the UFC plus he trains with Frankie Edgar so his cardio is always on point. His record is filled with the best fighters in the respective weight class. Barboza has put some good title runs together but has always failed to make it past the final hurdle. The fighters he's lost against are world class but if he wants to challenge the top 5 ranked guys he needs to get past Hooker. Hooker, on the other hand, has put together a nice 4-fight winning streak with notable wins over Jim Miller and Gilbert Burns. The New Zealand native fights out of the same gym as fighting protégé Israel Adesanya, who's touted as the hottest thing in MMA right now. Hooker is following suit with 4 finishes in 4 fights, the momentum is certainly on his side but fighting Barboza is certainly taking things to the next level. There are levels in the sport of MMA and Barboza is the next one for Hooker. If he beats the Brazilian then his stock shoots up for sure. But, Barboza is still in his prime and he's coming off two losses I don't see him going 3 losses in a row.
Rob Font vs. Sergio Pettis
This is a good scrap in the bantamweight division between two guys looking to make a real statement and put their stamp on the weight class. Font is coming off a recent loss against Raphael O. Assunção, who's one of the toughest guys to walk into the cage. But good wins over young guns like Thomas Almeida he's shown he can beat top opposition. He's fought in 3 different weight classes and is a bit of a journeyman within the UFC not having found a place to settle. He rarely goes to a decision and is always looking for the finish. Pettis is still a young guy at 25 with a good amount of experience under his belt. He's the younger brother of the former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. He's had a good run in the UFC where his 4-fight winning streak came to an end against, now champions, Henry Cejudo. This fight could go either way but i'm going for Font to come out with the win here. He's naturally the heavier guy with more power and experience.
Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira
This is a cracking start to the main card and yet another rematch between two very experienced lightweights. Oliveira gets the chance to avenge his loss to Miller which ended in 2 minutes via kneebar. Since then Oliveira has notched up the most submission wins in the UFC. His latest submission win against Christos Giagos at UFC Fight Night 137 moved him past MMA legend Royce Gracie for the most submissions. He's also won 3 of his last 4 returning to the lightweight division. Miller, who's a veteran of the UFC will be fighting in his 31st fight under the banner, which is a company record. He's also got the most wins in UFC lightweight history. Either way, records could be broken here. Miller has won one fight in his last 5 and with the Brazilian out for revenge I will give the edge to 'Do Bronx'.
*All odds from Bet UK’s online sportsbook correct at the time of writing.
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