After a night of violence north of the border, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is reversing direction and hitting Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Mexico, for its latest installment of ESPN+ action. UFC Fight Night 159’s main event sees acrobatic finisher Yair Rodriguez faces the concrete fists of 10+-year Octagon veteran Jeremy Stephens. Another young Mexican monster, Alexa Grasso, co-headlines against former women’s Strawweight champion Carla Esparza, and former headliner Brandon Moreno looks for a triumphant Octagon return against unbeaten Russian prospect Askar Askarov.
Star-studded? No. Profitable? Potentially.
What Went Wrong at UFC Fight Night 158?
Nothing went wrong, per se, but things could have turned out slightly better. Jeff Hughes appeared to have successfully weathered the early storm against Todd Duffee, only to poke his foe in the eye and cause a “No Contest.” Luckily, this just refunds the bet rather than counting as a loss, so Augusto Sakai’s and Chas Skelly’s efforts still resulted in a major win. Let’s see if we can’t keep this going!
UFC Fight Night 159 Odds For The ESPN+ Under Card:
Jose Quinonez (-145) vs. Carlos Huachin (+125)
Kyle Nelson (-120) vs. Polo Reyes (EVEN)
Angela Hill (-145) vs. Ariane Carnelossi (+125)
Sergio Pettis (-350) vs. Tyson Nam (+290)
Vinicius Moreira (-120) vs. Paul Craig (EVEN)
Sijara Eubanks (-255) vs. Bethe Correia (+215)
Claudio Puelles (-255) vs. Marcios Mariano (+215)
Thoughts: Rare are the times when I put my faith in a guy coming off of two ridiculously brutal knockout losses, but damned if Vinicius Moreira doesn’t have a tasty stylistic match up here. It would have been nice if he’d stayed around the +120 line at which he opened, though.
While there are all sorts of potentially successful approaches to mixed martial arts (MMA), being an undersized Light Heavyweight who relies Hail Mary submissions to compensate for abysmal wrestling and striking hasn’t proven one of them. But for some last-second heroics against Magomed Ankalaev and Kennedy Nzechukwu, Paul Craig would be on a six-fight losing streak, and he’s not pulling another miracle out of his rear against a hulking top control specialist like Moreira. Sure, “Mamute” is completely useless on the feet, but Craig isn’t much better, and he lacks the power or explosiveness that Alonzo Menifield and Eryk Anders used to deck the big Brazilian. Craig’s too happy to chill on the bottom and too ill-equipped to do anything else; Moreira should grind him into the dirt without much trouble.
UFC Fight Night 159 Odds For The ESPN+ Main Card:
Jeremy Stephens (-115) vs. Yair Rodriguez (-105)
Alexa Grasso (-125) vs. Carla Esparza (+105)
Askar Askarov (-170) vs. Brandon Moreno (+150)
Irene Aldana (-485) vs. Vanessa Melo (+385)
Martin Bravo (-110) vs. Steven Peterson (-110)
Thoughts: Yeah, I got nothing. I was considering recommending a bit on Carla Esparza because Grasso’s takedown defense is a lingering issue, but the Mexican prospect just looked too good against Karolina Kowalkiewicz last time out for me to pick against her.
UFC Fight Night 159 Best Bets:
- Single bet — Vinicius Moreira: Bet $60 to make $50
Hey, at least UFC Fight Night 159’s main event will almost certainly give us something for the highlight reel. See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 159 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 159: “Stephens vs. Rodriguez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.