The UFC heads to Oklahoma City this weekend (June 25th) for yet another UFC Fight Night. There’s not a lot of hype surrounding the card, but it does contain the ingredients for some entertaining fights, including a grudge match between Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee, who already fought round one at the press conference.
Earlier in the night, Johny Hendricks looks to seal his spot in the middleweight division with a fight against Tim Boetsch.
What are the odds heading into the weekend, and where should your money be going?
Michael Chiesa (+100) vs Kevin Lee (-120)
There’s a lot of bad blood between Michael Chiesa (14-2) and Kevin Lee (15-2). The pair were ejected from a recent press conference after a few insults led to punches. They’ll look to settle their differences inside the Octagon.
Both Chiesa and Lee have finished the bulk of their fights by way of submission, relying heavily on the rear-naked choke. Expect the fight to go the mat pretty quickly.
Chiesa is the eighth-ranked fighter in the stacked lightweight division. A back injury last year forced him to pull out of a fight against title-contender Tony Ferguson and put an end to his year. Now he’s back to grab the label “title contender,” himself.
At 24 years old, Lee is a rising star in the division. He’s a high-level wrestler and a dangerous striker. However, his youthful exuberance can get the better of him at times, and he can be a little undisciplined and overly-aggressive inside the octagon.
On the ground, this fight is a toss-up. Both men are great grapplers. But on their feet, Lee has the upper-hand. Chiesa’s striking doesn’t pose much of a threat, and if Lee can manage his distance, he stands a great chance. His ability to win this fight, no matter what the style and where it ends up, makes him the better value, even as the slight favorite.
Pick: Kevin Lee (-120)
Tim Boetsch (+180) vs Johny Hendricks (-210)
Go back to 2013 and Johnny Hendricks (18-6) was the next big thing in the welterweight division. After losing a split-decision title fight to Georges St. Pierre, he won the interim title over Robbie Lawler in his next fight … then things came off the rails. He lost four of his next five fights, overall, and missed weight in the last two. That led to Hendricks making the jump to middleweight in an effort to jumpstart his once promising career. The 33-year-old now has little room for error and made good in this first middleweight fight, defeating former Bellator middleweight champ Hector Lombard. On Saturday, he gets something of a softball in the form of Tim Boetsch (20-11), who is also looking to revive his career after losing seven of his last 11 fights. But unlike Hendricks, Boetsch has never been near the top of any UFC division.
Boetsch formerly fought at light heavyweight and is a large man for the middleweight division. While he’ll have the size advantage over Hendricks, that’s really the only thing going for him. Hendricks has fought some of the best fighters in the UFC over his career. He’s a former champ and has scored wins over fighters like Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit. Hendricks is accustomed to fighting at a much higher level, and Boetsch will struggle to keep up. Take the Oklahoma native in his home state despite the short odds.
Pick: Johny Hendricks (-210)
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