The landscape of the UFC’s welterweight division is rapidly changing, and both Thiago Alves and Martin Kampmann need a win to keep up with the times.
In what figures to be an evenly matched bout between two talented strikers, 53 percent of participants in Sherdog MMA Pick’Em fantasy game have sided with Alves to defeat “The Hitman” in their UFC on FX 2 main event showdown on Friday at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia.
After an upset loss to Rick Story at UFC 130, Alves got back on the winning track in November, submitting Papy Abedi via rear-naked choke in just 3:32 at UFC 138. “Pitbull” had his opportunity for UFC gold at the promotion’s 100th event, where he fell to Georges St. Pierre in a lopsided, five-round decision. The American Top Team standout owns notable victories against Josh Koscheck, Matt Hughes, Karo Parisyan and Chris Lytle. Eleven of his 19 career triumphs have come by knockout or technical knockout.
After back-to-back decision losses to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez, Kampmann found favor with the judges versus Story at UFC 139, winning via decision. Victorious in nine of his 13 Octagon appearances, the Danish fighter has topped the likes of Thales Leites, Jorge Rivera, Carlos Condit and Paulo Thiago during his tenure.
Big favorites are the story in the UFC’s inaugural flyweight tournament, as 97 percent of players like Joseph Benavidez to defeat Yashuhiro Urushitani, and 75 percent favor Demetrious Johnson over Ian McCall.
Benavidez, a former title challenger at bantamweight, is considered the odds-on favorite to capture the flyweight crown. The Team Alpha Male product was victorious in his first two UFC appearances, beating Ian Loveland and Eddie Wineland in 2011. A former Shooto 123-pound titlist, Urushitani carries a five-fight winning streak into his UFC debut, with his last two wins coming by technical knockout. The 35-year-old has only been finished once in 29 professional fights.
Like Benavidez, Johnson carved out a solid niche for himself as an undersized 135-pounder. Known for his breathtaking speed in the cage, “Mighty Mouse” fell to bantamweight king Dominick Cruz at UFC Live 6. The AMC Pankration export had defeated Norifumi Yamamoto and Miguel Torres in his first two UFC outings. After losing two of his three bouts in World Extreme Cagefighting as a bantamweight, McCall became a star with Tachi Palace Fights, earning the promotion’s flyweight strap. “Uncle Creepy” has won four in a row since falling to Cruz at WEC 38.
In the opening main card bout, 79 percent of users have chosen “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 winner Court McGee to defeat Constantinos Philippou. McGee is unbeaten in three Octagon appearances, while Philippou is 2-1 with the promotion.