The card for UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Moreno (Saturday, August 5th, Mexico City) isn’t the most captivating card. Especially in the wake of a stacked UFC 214, the upcoming event seems pretty mild.
However, the headliner, which features young flyweights Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno, is quite a significant match-up for the 125-pound division. Also, former champ Rashad Evans looks to end his losing streak against the formidable Sam Alvey.
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Two future stars of the flyweight division headline the main event, with local boy Brandon Moreno (14-3) taking on the blooming Sergio Pettis (15-2). At just 23 years old, both fighters are positioning themselves to take over the 125-pound division when the Demetrious Johnson era eventually comes to an end.
Moreno, who is looking to continue his eleven-fight win streak, will enter the octagon as the slight favorite. Fighting in front of a Mexican crowd, he’ll have a wave of support behind him. He’s posted three wins since joining the UFC, defeating Louis Smolka and Dustin Ortiz by way of submission, and edging Ryan Benoit in a narrow split decision.
A talented submission artist and a competent striker, Moreno is a threat both on the mat and on his feet. However, when it comes to finishing fights, the rear-naked choke is his bread and butter. Seven of his last eleven wins have come by submission, and six of those were via rear-naked choke.
Sergio Pettis is on a three-fight win streak after suffering a disappointing loss to Ryan Benoit in 2015. As the younger brother of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, Sergio has spent most of his career in the shadow of his sibling. While he’s a technically gifted fighter, his timid demeanor follows him into the cage. He lacks his brother’s aggression and killer instinct, two things which would help him in front of a hostile crowd.
With ferocious support from the Mexican fans, there’s a good chance that Moreno will prove too much for Pettis. Laying -170 is certainly the better play from a value perspective.
Pick: Brandon Moreno (-170)
Former light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (19-6-1) is hoping to end his losing streak when he takes on the prolific Sam Alvey (30-9).
Despite three straight losses, the 37-year-old Evans isn’t ready to hang up his gloves yet. He lost by split decision to the little-known Daniel Kelly in what was a lackluster performance by both fighters. Before that, he suffered a heavy first-round knockout against Glover Teixeira.
Plagued by a persistent knee injury, Evans has been sidelined for significant chunks of his career. With just two wins in his last seven fights, it’s safe to conclude that his best years are long behind him.
Sam Alvey isn’t exactly a middleweight title contender, but he’s a difficult opponent to put away. He lost his most recent fight to Thales Leites, but before that, he had racked up a four-fight win streak.
Alvey recently defeated Nate Marquardt, another MMA star in his late 30s. His fight with Evans is going to end in similar fashion.
Pick: Sam Alvey (-140)
Photo credit: Ralph Arvesen (flickr) CC License.
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