Light HeavyweightNR | Mike Rodriguez (11-5, 2-3 UFC) vs. NR | Danilo Marques (10-2, 1-0 UFC)
ODDS: Rodriguez (-235), Marques (+195)
Rodriguez’s loss to Ed Herman in September was widely recognized as the most controversial of 2020, made even more frustrating by the fact that he seemed to finally be turning a corner inside the UFC. Boston’s Rodriguez has always been an effective range striker, but he struggled to string together wins due to his lack of wrestling defense. However, after a quick knockout of Marcin Prachnio, Rodriguez turned around three weeks later and seemingly scored another knockout win against Herman with a knee to the body. Unfortunately, the referee incorrectly ruled the knee to be a low blow, allowing Herman enough time to recover and eventually turn the tide of the fight. Rodriguez gets a bit of a make-good here against Marques, who appears to be an easy rebound opponent for him. The Brazilian had a thin resume heading into the UFC and did not show much once he got there, outgrappling Khadis Ibragimov in an interminable fight in September. Marques has a large frame for the division and enough submission skill that he has a pathway to victory, but the situation would have to go terribly wrong for Rodriguez for the fight to get that point, particularly given Marques’s discomfort on the feet. The pick is Rodriguez via first-round knockout.
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