UFC Fight Night 135 on Saturday features a battle between two lightweights in Justin Gaethje and James Vick. Gaethje is coming off two tough losses, while Vick has won four in a row. The co-main event has Michael Johnson taking on Andre Fili.There are a total of six fights on the main card on FS1 and there are a total of seven fights on the preliminary card with four on FS2 and three on UFC Fight Pass.
Let’s look at the card with a focus on the top two fights and UFC picks.
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James Vick -160 vs. Justin Gaethje
Vick is 13-1 in his career, including 9-1 in the UFC. He is coming off a win against Francisco Trinaldo in February. He has three knockout wins in his career and five submission victories. He has six first-round finishes. He is known as a fighter who continually presses the pace and he has solid grappling ability.
Gaethje is 18-2 in his career, including 1-2 in the UFC. He is coming off a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in April. He has 15 knockout wins in his career and one submission victory. He has six first-round knockouts. Gaethje is known for his aggressive pace, heavy hands and hard leg kicks.
Vick has been able to keep opponents away with a long jab and excellent accuracy with his strikes. Gaethje is a fighter who simply keeps going and looks for a finish. Sometimes this causes him trouble if he gets caught, but Gaethje relies heavily on his power.
Vick has really not gotten many big fights, so this is a huge chance for him. "I don't feel like I have anything to prove, but I do feel I have to win," Vick told ESPN. "This is either one of many main events for me or it's the only main event for me. I have to beat this guy.”
I am a little surprised that Vick is favored in this fight, as I consider the bout a toss-up. Vick has to prove that he can handle top level opposition, as he really hasn’t faced many good fighters. Gaethje will be a huge test and this should be entertaining. I think the value is on Gaethje in this fight at plus money. I will also play the rounds to go under the total.
Michael Johnson -145 vs. Andre Fili
Johnson is 18-13 in his career but he has lost five of his last six fights. Fili is 18-5 in his career and he will be looking to win three in a row for the first time since 2012-2013. Johnson has already gone on record as saying that this is a must-win fight for him. Johnson has not won since September of 2016. “I definitely need to get in here and get a win, I know that. Not only for the sake of my position, but for my sanity, for one, and for things that I want [in my career] and for things that I’m wanting in life.” Johnson told MMA Fighting. “I have to go in there, I have to get a win, I have to keep progressing. I can’t take any steps back now.”
Motivation can be the deciding factor in a close fight and there is no question that Johnson is extremely motivated. I will lay the price and take Johnson in this fight.
UFC Fight Night 135 takes place on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. The main card has six fights on FS1, featuring Justin Gaethje taking on James Vick. There are seven fights on the preliminary card with four on FS2 and three on UFC Fight Pass.
Main Card (FS1)
Lightweight – James Vick -160 vs. Justin Gaethje
Featherweight – Michael Johnson -145 vs. Andre Fili
Women’s Strawweight – Angela Hill -135 vs. Cortney Casey
Welterweight - Bryan Barberena -525 vs. Jake Ellenberger
Flyweight - Deiveson Figueiredo -160 vs. John Moraga
Middleweight – Eryk Anders -1000 vs. Tim Williams
Preliminary Card (FS2)
Welterweight - Warlley Alves -390 vs. James Krause
Bantamweight - Cory Sandhagen -260 vs. Iuri Alcântara
Middleweight – Andrew Sanchez -125 vs. Markus Perez
Welterweight – Mickey Gall -335 vs. George Sullivan
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Women’s Flyweight – Joanne Calderwood -170 vs. Kalindra Faria
Lightweight – Drew Dober -200 vs. Jon Tuck
Bantamweight – Rani Yahya – 120 vs. Luke Sanders
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