UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw - The 'Just Bleed' Q & A Fully Preliminary Card Breakdown

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

Lots and lots of TUF products engage in battle for UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw at the MGM Grand in Nevada. It's a solid preliminary card that doesn't make Dana sound divorced from reality when he over-promotes it.

UFC 173. Hell yea bro! PPV of the #1 pound FOR pound king of the jungle Renan Aldo!

Barao.

Him too.

You think Renan is the number one pound for pound fighter in the world?

Well, Dana thinks so. And he's got that down to a science. How can you argue with fight analytics like this?

This is a preview for a preliminary card. Not a dissection of the many ways Dana tries to bludgeon fan perception of who the best in the world is with a catheter. Besides, I'm pretty sure Dana likes saying it just to annoy Jon Jones.

So why do we care about the prelims then?

Because Michael Chiesa is pretty good.

In a parallel universe it's easy to see Chiesa winning that fight against Jorge Masvidal. The margin for error was simply that slim. He has a pretty favorable matchup as well vs. Francisco Trinaldo, who he should dispatch.

Any other TUF winners?

Quite a few. In addition to Chiesa we have Tony Ferguson vs. Katsunori Kikuni and Chris Holdsworth vs. Chico Camus.

Are Kikuno and Camus live opponents?

Yes and no.

Kikuno is a really odd matchup for Ferguson who likes to use his wrestling when things aren't going too well on the feet. Ferguson loves to brawl. He throws a lot of looping punches, but he moves well enough that he can avoid damage by being swift of foot. Still, his punches will be awful threats against the savvy Kikuno who keeps his punches straight down the middle, and throws as brutal a kick to the body as you'll find in MMA.

In addition, his base is pretty incredible. You're not without raw power when you're able to make Eddie Alvarez uncomfortable by squeezing his chest like a chew toy for Zangief.

Two weeks before the next Game of Thrones.

Damnit!

You were saying...

So good, tough matchup for Ferguson, whereas Holdsworth is getting the lighter touch against Chico Camus.

Why is that? Holdsworth is a submission guy. What good are submissions these days?

Elaborate.

The last time a fighter used a submission from their back to win a bout was 11 events ago when Charlies Oliveira beat Andy Ogle with a triangle. Submission fighters are Dodo's in this day and age.

So maybe you're not just a tragic collection of blood cells and Budweiser after all.

An interesting point, but I think you're extrapolating too much from that hint of truth. Holdsworth is still dangerous because he's able to accomplish a lot with top control. He has a very technical jab he uses as often as possible, which is much better than the usual wild punching, arbitrary kicking done by grapplers who can't hide their desperation to get a fight to the ground. Camus is a good opponent because it'll test Chris' progress on the feet, where Chico can make life difficult without sacrificing Holdsworth's potential. Chico doesn't have big time power, so Chris can make mistakes and won't be punished too bad. Again, this is how you bring prospects along.

Make me some money. Which are the good bets?

Trinaldo is a +120, which isn't bad, but not necessarily good. Chiesa is one of the few TUF products who seems to have real promise. He's only struggled against the big names (name), but he looked good even there. The caveat is that Trinaldo, despite not showing promise even against no names (Jesse Ronson), likes to go to the body, and a sustained body attack could be devastating if Chiesa's gas tank isn't what it should be.

That's some real glass half empty jive there.

A bit. When it comes to betting, you analyze possibility and not probability. So a bad bet by any other name.

Kikuno at +241 is some Goldman Sachs level scheming. As I said, Fergusons' standup feels perfect for Kikuno who rarely takes damage on the feet. Tony likes to win this way, and Kikuno has never been finished due to strikes, despite some solid strength of competition. He's always a threat on the feet.

Camus at +285 is also ok. Holdsworth does not have a dangerous double leg or anything like that. In fact, his takedowns are somewhat sloppy. Camus could conceivably defend takedowns and strike his way to a decision. I don't see it because Holdsworth just needs one scramble (got his black belt by Marc Laimon at 21), but Chris is only 5 fights into his pro career, Camus is clearly the best opponent he has faced until this point (with some decent wins to boot), and at age 26, he's no longer attached to the metaphorical mammary glands.

Mitch Clarke at +309 is more or less right. Good numbers. Bad fight. Clark is an awful matchup for Iaquinta who uses swift and steady movement to set up his power punches. Clark needs the fight on the ground, and won't get it there. Bet small despite the numbers.

Vinc Pichel will always be a +201 fighter for his KO loss against Rustam Khabilov. Pichel's power is always an x-factor which is why those aren't bad numbers. But Njokuani is still that much more dangerous, on top of being much faster. Again bet small if you do.

Phillips at +135 against Sam Sicilia is awful. Terrible numbers for a one sided bout on paper. The thing about Phillips is that he's too multi-purpose in a specialist world. I'd argue he lost his last bout to Tyler Shinn, and neither man's performance impressed. Philips is competent on the feet, but he'll have trouble dealing with Sicilia's power. His movement is good, but Sam can land punches on him, and will score takedowns here and there.

Finally, there's Li JingLiang vs. David Michaud. JingLiang at +135 sounds about right. JingLiang is a spirited scrapper. He's got a good right hand, and is efficiently wild in heightened exchanges, but he never throws his jab, and is prone to the takedown. Michaud likes takedowns and top control and is rightfully the favorite.

Bandwagon team in the NHL playoffs right now?

Anyone but LA. Their captain, Dustin Brown is an awfulhumanbeing.

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