Opening odds for UFC 154 and UFC 156

UFC 156 Opening Odds: Light Heavyweights Rashad Evans (-345) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+265)
UFC 156: February 2, 2013 Las Vegas, Nevada

UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Rashad Evans (-345)


Profile:
Former UFC light heavyweight champion and winner of The Ultimate Fighter 2, Rashad Evans (17-2-1) has been one of the more recognizable faces in the UFC over the last half decade. Evans is a true professional of the sport and helped pioneer the next level of MMA training alongside Keith Jardine at Jackson and Winklejohn’s gym in Alburqurque, New Mexico. He knocked out Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell and has had a nearly spotless record aside from his losses to former and current champions Lyoto Machida and Jon Jones, respectively. It was former training partner Jones who caused a rift between him and Jackson, leading Evans to form the Blackzilians in Boca Raton, Florida with Tyrone Spong, Alistair Overeem and Vitor Belfort just to name just a few. Evans has a dominating style of MMA wrestling to complement his ever-evolving striking. Despite being slightly undersized for a light heavyweight at 5-foot-11, he is massively powerful, and at 33 years of age, he seems to be peaking both physically and mentally.

UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+265)

Profile: Although not as decorated as his older twin brother Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5) is still a fondly remembered staple of the Pride era. Fighting mostly in Japan throughout his career,”Llittle Nog” would go on to take part in what was considered a Fight of the Year against Mauricio Rua in the Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix. Although he lost to Rua, Nog has an extensive resume full of wins over big names. He’s beaten Alistair Overeem twice, submitted Dan Henderson and recently in Affliction and the UFC, knocked out both Luiz Cane and Vladimir Matyushenko. So far his UFC career has been middlesome with a 3-2 mark, including wins over lesser opponents and losses to the “next tier” of light heavyweight contenders in Ryan Bader and Phil Davis. Nogueira is a famed BJJ practitioner, but his struggles in the UFC against strong wrestlers have made many wonderi when his time in the organization will be up.

UFC 154: November 17, 2012 Montreal, Quebec, Canada

UFC Featherweight Contender Mark Hominick (-260)


Profile:
Canadian journeyman Mark Hominick (20-11) has overcome adversity throughout his career. Suffering three tough losses in a row to start his fighting career, then joining the UFC for only a brief period at UFC 58 with a win over Yves Edwards, Hominick eventually found a home in the WEC, where he would go on to lose his first two fights in the promotion. Eventually, something in the veteran clicked, and he was able to string together five wins in a row to close out the existence of the WEC and its reborn featherweight division in the UFC. This earned Hominick a featherweight title shot against Jose Aldo at UFC 129 but ended up sending him on a three-fight skid. Hominick is an exciting fighter, but that sometimes gets him in trouble. He can finish a fighter with strikes or with his submission game. However, he is susceptible to getting finished as well. Hominick’s upcoming fight versus Pablo Garza may be for his UFC job.

UFC Featherweight Contender Pablo Garza (+200)


Profile: Pablo Garza (11-3) started his career in 2007 with great success. He would spend the first three years on the independent circuits, amassing an impressive 9-0 record. In 2010, the featherweight made his big show debut at WEC 51, losing to Chinese star Zhang Tiequan in the first round via guillotine choke. When the WEC folded, the 29-year-old Garza would join the cast of The Ultimate Fighter 12. At the TUF finale, Garza took part in one of the first featherweight fights in UFC history, and he made it memorable with an incredible flying knee knockout of Fredson Paixao in the first minute of their bout. Astonishingly, Garza followed up his Knockout of the Night with a Submission of the Night via flying triangle choke on Yves Jabouin. Since his meteoric start in the UFC, Garza has fallen on hard times, losing his last two fights. However, don’t let these setbacks make you think Garza will be timid heading into his upcoming fight with Hominick though. Garza will lay it all on the line and is an exciting and explosive fighter by default.
Opening UFC 154 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Hominick a solid -260 favorite (bet $260 to win $100) while Garza opened as a +200 underdog (bet $100 to win $200) according to the MMA odds. Hominick faces a ton of pressure to perform in his home country with his job possibly on the line. He is looking to avoid a four-fight losing streak after winning seven of eight that put him in position for a title shot. Meanwhile, Garza has also dropped two in a row but appears to have less to lose since he looks like the upside of his career is still ahead of him. An upset victory against Hominick would be huge for Garza’s confidence and prove that very point. Garza’s last two wins have earned Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night honors, so there is no doubt that he can put on a show. Whether or not he can end his brief skid against a more experienced fighter in his opponent’s backyard though remains to be seen.

UFC 154 Opening Odds: Middleweights Constantinos Philippou (-225) vs. Nick Ring (+175) Nov 3, 2012
UFC 154: November 17, 2012 Montreal, Quebec, Canada

UFC Middleweight Contender Constantinos Philippou (-225)


Profile: Following an unsuccessful attempt at making a team on The Ultimate Fighter 11, Constantinos Philippou (11-2) was still able to make it to the UFC as a late replacement to fight Nick Catone at UFC 128. Although he lost his promotional debut via unanimous decision, the Greek Serra BJJ-trained fighter has gone on to win his last four UFC fights in a row, beating vet Jorge Rivera, TUF 11 winner Court McGee and Ricki Fukuda. At 32 years of age and only four years of pro experience behind him, Philippou simply needs to keep taking advantage of his opportunities and win consistently to stay in the UFC over the long haul.

UFC Middleweight Contender Nick Ring (+175)

Profile:
After being forced out of The Ultimate Fighter 11 due to a severe knee injury, Nick Ring (13-1) had nearly a year of arduous rehabilitation before he could make his UFC debut at UFC 127. After proceeding to win his first two fights in the Octagon and extending his unbeaten streak to 12-0, the 33-year-old Canadian finally lost at UFC 135 via unanimous decision to fellow middleweight contender Tim Boetsch, who fought Hector Lombard on the same card in the co-main event at UFC 149. Ring is a solid fighter who also has a 4-1 pro boxing record, which combined with his brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu makes him dangerous both standing up and on the ground.


UFC 154 Opening Odds: Middleweights Francis Carmont (-220) vs. Tom Lawlor (+170)
UFC 154: November 17, 2012 Montreal, Quebec, Canada

UFC Middleweight Contender Francis Carmont (-220)


Profile
: Training out of the Tristar Gym alongside fellow Canadian Georges St. Pierre, Francis Carmont (19-7) has had a solid, career, going 16-7 before joining the UFC ranks where he is currently undefeated at 2-0. With wins over Chris Camozzi and Magnus Cedenblad, the 31-year-old has turned a corner in his once spotty career and formed a pattern of dominance with an eight-fight winning streak. Following his 10th submission win against Karlos Vemola, Carmont will look to continue his hot run against Tom Lawlor, hoping to keep his revitalized career alive and make a bigger, more noticeable splash in the division.

UFC Middleweight Contender Tom Lawlor (+170)


Profile:
The clown of the UFC, “Filthy” Tom Lawlor (8-4-1) found his way into the Octagon via The Ultimate Fighter 8. Although he lost in the semifinals to eventual TUF 8 winner Ryan Bader, Lawlor made enough of an impression on the UFC brass with his wild personality and solid ground game that he was invited to the UFC proper. Dropping to middleweight, Lawlor has been up-and-down in the organization with a 4-3 mark, but he has shown vast improvement in his skills standing up and on the ground with each entry into the cage. Lawlor’s bread and butter is his wrestling and fundamental BJJ, but recently he’s been able to develop his stand up well in his last few outings. With his mind off his whacky entrances that include Dan Severn and Hulk Hogan, and more on the task in front of him, Lawlor is a tough fight at 185 for a lot of men. His cardio has improved along with his martial arts skills.

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