UFC Middleweight bout: Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares
Odds: (+200 Baroni /-260 Tavares )
Betting Pick: Tavares
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In the opening bout of the evening, two tough brawlers will go at it in the Middleweight division as long-time veteran Phil Baroni takes on Ultimate Fighter alum Brad Tavares. Both of these guys have heavy hands, but Tavares is the much more complete and in-shape fighter. Baroni is usually very dangerous for one round and then fizzles out due to lack of conditioning, so if Tavares can hang on long enough he will be in a great position to take this one.
Baroni, a long-time veteran currently in his second stint with the UFC, is an extremely dangerous puncher. He also had pretty decent takedowns and savage ground and pound, but his best work is definitely done on the feet, where his power punching has the ability to put down anyone he connects with. His problem is that he has never really grown as a fighter, which means that he pretty much relies solely on the power in his hands to win him fights. He is also in notoriously bad shape, and his gas tank has pretty much never lasted past the end of the first round. That takes a lot of the effectiveness of his striking away, because opponents can just fight him defensively until he runs out of gas and then pounce on him, much like Amir Sadollah did in a recent fight.
Tavares, a tough-as-nails Hawaiian, made his way into the UFC through the Ultimate Fighter reality show. After amassing a few wins, he was sent packing by eventual winner Court McGee after a back and forth affair. Tavares has powerful strikes, solid submissions, and good wrestling, and is a very tough guy with a great chin and a lot of heart.
Like all of Baroni’s fights, this one comes down to whether or not Tavares can stay out of Baroni’s way early in the fight. If Tavares is too reckless and content to stand in the pocket with Baroni in the first round, he is going to get shellacked most likely. If he can use his superior movement, though, and make Baroni worry about takedowns early in the fight, he should have no problem wearing Baroni out and then taking this one over. I expect that is how it will go, and Tavares will survive some early adversity before taking this one in hand and controlling the action for a 2 rounds to 1 decision win.
Prediction: Brad Tavares via Unanimous Decision.
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