The UFC returns to FOX tonight with a stacked UFC Fight Night card. Several name fighters will step into the Octagon this evening, including Robbie Lawler, Anthony Johnson, Clay Guida, Matt Brown and Josh Thomson. The main card, which is headlined by a welterweight battle between top contenders Lawler and Brown, gets underway at 8:00 p.m. (ET) at the SAP Center at San Jose in San Jose, California. The latest UFC Odds release from Bovada.lv has Lawler listed as a -380 money line favorite in the main event; Brown is drawing +290 odds as the underdog. In tonight’s co-main event, the aforementioned Johnson and Antonio “Lil Nog” Rogerio Nogueira will square off in a light heavyweight clash. Johnson is a -600 favorite to win the fight (Nogueira +400).
Matt Brown, a former Ultimate Fighter standout, looked done for after a disastrous stretch between March of 2010 and November of 2011. Brown posted a 1-4 record during that 20 month span, putting him into a win-or-get-cut scenario when he faced Chris Cope at UFC 143 in February 2012.
Brown won the fight and he did so via a second round TKO. The Ohio native followed up his destruction of Cope with six more wins, the most recent of which was a third round TKO of talented Brazilian Erick Silva in early May.
Brown’s improbable run, which also included impressive finishes of Mike Swick and Mike Pyle, has moved him to fifth in the welterweight rankings and put him in position to secure a shot at Johny Hendricks’ belt should he overcome Lawler this evening.
Lawler, presently the top-ranked welterweight contender, returned to the UFC in 2013 after a few lackluster years in Strikeforce (3-5 record). He promptly reeled off three straight wins in the Octagon, defeating Josh Koscheck, Bobby Voelker and Rory McDonald to earn a March meeting with Hendricks for the vacated welterweight strap.
Lawler turned in an impressive and gutty performance against Hendricks, but he lost the five-round fight by unanimous decision. Nonetheless, the American Top Team product reinserted himself into the title mix with a third round TKO of Jake Ellenberger in May.
UFC Fight Night Prediction: While Lawler is a heavy favorite, Brown cannot be dismissed. His skill set, both standing and on the ground is underrated, and his toughness is unmatched. Lawler is mostly a knockout artist as just one of his 23 wins have come by submission; however, in spite of his impressive power, he will have a difficult time finishing Brown via kick or punch. Brown has never lost a fight by KO/TKO and perhaps no one has shown as much resolve as “The Immortal” inside the Octagon. While a Lawler win would not be surprising, Brown at +290 odds is hard to pass up.
UFC Fight Night Odds Lawler vs Brown: Provided by Bovada.lv
FOX Main Card 8:00 p.m. (ET) –
Robbie Lawler -380 vs Matt Brown +290 (Main Event)
Anthony Johnson -600 vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira +400
Dennis Bermudez -160 vs Clay Guida +130
Josh Thomson -275 vs Bobby Green +215
FOX Prelims 6:00 p.m. (ET) –
Jorge Masvidal -260 vs Daron Cruickshank +200
Patrick Cummins -165 vs Kyle Kingsbury +135
Tim Means -240 vs Hernani Perpetuo +190
Brian Ortega -170 vs Mike De La Torre +140
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims 4:15 p.m. (ET) –
Tiago Trator -235 vs Akbarh Arreola +185
Steven Siler -240 vs Noad Lahat +190
Gilbert Burns -170 vs Andreas Stahl +140
Joanna Jedrzejczyk -300 vs Juliana Lima +230