UFC action returns this Saturday with a free card, live on Fox. Headlined by a flyweight rematch between current champion, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, and long-time contender, Joseph Benavidez, this bout has the potential to be Johnson’s toughest fight to date. Supported by an amazing main and under card, this card on Fox has the makings to contribute to an epic end of the year regarding MMA action. Here let’s take a look at what the betting odds look like for this card, and perhaps some smart bets that I believe to be intelligent ones to make. You can also check out the official fight card here

Betting Odds

Joseph Benavidez +105
Demetrious Johnson -115

Michael McDonald +115
Urijah Faber -125

Nik Lentz +710
Chad Mendes -750

Zach Makovsky +560
Scott Jorgensen -600

Ryan LaFlare +185
Court McGee -200

Danny Castillo +340
Edson Barboza -360

Mac Danzig +560
Joe Lauzon -600

Bobby Green +245
Pat Healy -260

Roger Bowling +100
Abel Trujillo -110

Cody McKenzie +280
Sam Stout -300

Alptekin Ozkilic +190
Darren Uyenoyama -210

Smart Bets

Ryan LaFlare over Court McGee at +185

After seeing the New Yorker’s UFC debut, you probably weren’t too impressed him; however, it was his second fight, a bout against Santiago Ponzinibbio, where he was really able to shine. First off, he showed that even though he’s not a phenomenal striker, he still throws with technique and has some solid defense. The thing that he really showed off was his takedowns and his top control. LaFlare’s transitions were extremely smooth and he seemed like the guy who stays one step ahead of his opponent the whole time.

That’ll be hard to do against a fast-paced fighter like McGee, but considering the lack in technique on McGee’s part, we could see the technical edge of Ryan’s game bring him the W. LaFlare isn’t as exciting, but he’s extremely efficient and knows what to do to win.

Roger Bowling over Abel Trujillo at +100

A very evenly matched up fight here, but based on their first bout (which ended via NC as Trujillo knocked Bowling out with an illegal knee in the second round), I’d say Bowling has the edge in the rematch. Bowling displayed an overall larger array of skills while Trujillo relied mostly on brute force and wild punches. Basically the only thing giving Trujillo a chance on the feet against Bowling is if they get into wild firefights. Although that IS Bowling’s style, a more persistent and conserved approach in this second fight will do wonders for him.

Also, the fact that Bowling was able to hit takedowns against Trujillo makes me even more inclined to picking him. Trujillo is known to fade at the end of fights because of his large muscle mass, so look for that to also play a factor. Overall, this fight is evenly matched because of how the first fight played out, but coming into this second one I believe Bowling has had more skills to improve and polish.

Michael McDonald over Urijah Faber at +115

Another fairly evenly matched bout here as long-time featherweight and now bantamweight competitor, Urijah Faber, squares off against the ultra-talented rising star in the young Michael McDonald. First off, both McDonald and Faber have been extremely impressive as of late. McDonald showcased his power and accuracy in dismantling Brad Pickett while Faber has been dominating his last couple of opponents using his superior grappling skills and lightening fast transitions.

I believe McDonald is a smart bet here because of one thing; power. Usually a powerful fighter isn’t going to have success against Urijah Faber if it isn’t for extreme accuracy – and McDonald has that. Michael doesn’t load up with gigantic looping punches; he throws technical, powerful shots that are perfect against Faber’s forward-moving style. I think McDonald has also been the slightly more impressive fighter, as even Scott Jorgensen was able to rough Faber up a bit on the feet.

This fight should play into McDonald’s hands unless he comes completely unprepared for Faber’s wrestling and grappling. However, I have faith in McDonald and believe he’ll be able to use his superior athleticism, size, and explosiveness to deal with that.