Evan Dunham seeks to reclaim the buzz that surrounded him in previous years. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Evan Dunham (11-2, 4-2 UFC) vs. Shamar Bailey (12-3, 1-0 UFC)
The Matchup: For fighters looking to move up the 155-pound ladder, there is neither breathing room nor easy fights. Dunham wants to rebound from his crushing knockout loss to Melvin Guillard, which scuttled his emergence into the division’s Top 10. With crafty submissions and a fluid overall game, Dunham makes wrestlers think twice about taking his lanky frame to the ground, where he can hook up a submission attempt quickly and change matters in the blink of an eye.
Bailey, a powerfully built wrestler, has limited-at-best standup and will have to ride a narrow tactical envelope to get the win here. He is not going to outland the skilled Dunham on the feet given his primitive standup, and, on the mat, he has not shown much ability to ground-and-pound effectively against better competition.
The Pick: Dunham’s superior footwork and defensive jiu-jitsu should prove too much here. The only way to envision him losing is if lightning strikes twice and he eats a massive bomb, which is not likely to happen either standing or on the ground. He will have to frustrate a stronger opponent by getting in and out on the feet and forcing a takedown attempt before Bailey wants to do so. Dunham drops the hammer from there, with a second-round submission.
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