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UFC Fight Night: Boetsch vs Henderson - Idiot's Guide Preview to Francisco Rivera vs Alex Caceres

David Castillo breaks down the three things you need to know about the bout that will wash the unpleasant prelim taste of your mouth for UFN 68 in New Orleans.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of very entertaining bantamweights look to light the fires this June 6, 2015 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Match Up

Bantamweight Francisco Rivera 10-4-1 NC vs. Alex Caceres 10-7-1 NC

The Odds

Bantamweight Francisco Rivera -115 vs. Alex Caceres -105

3 Things You Should Know

1. Rivera is on an unearned two fight losing streak thanks to Alpha Male Scissorhands. He's a sturdy hard hitting BW who has a solid matchup this weekend.

It's kind of unfortunate about the Nevada Athletic Commission's decision not to overturn his submission loss to Urijah Faber. I'll probably never understand the consistency in being willing to overturn a loss for a more abstract cause for advantage (PED's) versus a much more concrete cause for advantage in getting your eyes scooped out with keratine. Which, to the suits listening, is just as illegal as PED's by the way.

That's not to downplay PED use, but the scenario's seem to represent the difference between correlation (PED use to aid in victory) and causation (cornea casualties to aid in victory). Oh well. Logic and politics don't mix often, so let's get back on topic. Rivera's loss set him back, but he showed real moxy leading up to the eye poke against Faber. While it's hardly a consolation, Rivera appears primed to forget about the situation and move on.

2. Caceres is either simply in a bad patch, or experiencing his nadir, but either way, it's a rock and hard place for a fighter who once seemed primed for progress.

Caceres didn't have the goofy frat boy appeal until he actually started winning fights; before then he was simply considered a clown by casuals. It was a little startling to see him lose to Masanori Kanehara like that.

"Startling'" is not the same as shocking. Kanehara has been around the MMA scene for awhile, making a name for himself on the eccentric ZST promotion, and then having a career year in 2009 with wins over Chan Sung Jung, Michihiro Omigawa, and 'Kid' Yamamoto. Then he got destroyed by Marlon Sandro, and hadn't done much since except stay active in DEEP. But Kanehara seemed like the veteran o the decline while Caceres has played the part of a project blooming into prospect. Perhaps the blooming has been an illusion. But it's only a two fight losing streak to Faber and Kanehara; two good names, despite how unexpected the latter is.

3. The odds should probably favor Rivera even more.

Rivera is a brutal puncher. But he's also a savvy puncher. Against Faber, he did a good job staying away from the cage, and not losing the angles he needed to set up his strikes. And he's durable in the clinch, avoiding takedowns with a strong base, and good underhooks.

Caceres, despite his progress in general, has never seemed to find a rhythm or comfort level inside the octagon. His skills are all coming together, whether his versatile striking game, or his fluid offensively threatening grappling, but they don't blend seamlessly like you'd expect. Rivera's output can be predictable. Either broadly, at the level of mixed martial arts, where he can only offer his boxing. Or granularly, at the level of his boxing, where his movement and combinations are never quite juxtaposed properly. But he won't have a problem defending Caceres' takedowns, and Alex still doesn't have the kind of defense capable of avoiding the kind of five knuckle manslaughter Rivera  can exact on an opponent.


Rivera by TKO, round 2.