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UFC 163 breakdown, betting odds and picks

Jose Aldo, Lyoto Machida are big favorites at the top of Rio de Janeiro card

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Sam Morris

Jose Aldo carries his lightweight championship belt during the news conference for UFC 156 Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013.

Facing a Brazilian fighter in his home country on a UFC pay-per-view event has become one of the toughest assignments in all of mixed martial arts.

Since the UFC first returned to Brazil and began holding events in the country regularly two years ago, it has staged 17 such fights. The Brazilian has won in 13 of the instances.

The inherent advantage is now built into the odds. Just look at Saturday’s UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro. All three Brazilians facing a foreigner on the main card are favored, by an average of more than minus-400.

No one on the Las Vegas Sun picks panel was willing to go against the trend. All five panelists like Jose Aldo, Lyoto Machida and Thales Leites in their pay-per-view appearances.

Check below to find a breakdown, betting odds and picks for every fight from ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (80-36 year to date), KSNV’s Kevin West (79-37), Las Vegas Sun’s Ray Brewer (77-39), Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer (77-39) and ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (75-41).

No. 5 “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 13-3
  • Out of: Pohang, South Korea
  • Betting line: +550

Champion Jose Aldo

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 4-0
  • MMA record 22-1
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: -750

Featherweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Submitted Dustin Poirier in the fourth round at UFC on Fuel TV 3.

Punch list: Talk about getting a title shot under strange circumstances. The Zombie, as he’s affectionately referred, rightfully earned the opportunity with the win over Poirier but that was 15 months ago before injuries sidelined him for an extended length.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Aldo

Cofield: Aldo

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Frankie Edgar at UFC 156.

Punch list: When Aldo was scheduled to face Anthony Pettis on this date, he said he wanted to move up to lightweight with a victory. He’s backed off of that thought now, perhaps for the best as Aldo has a chance to further build on his legacy at featherweight where he’s won 15 in a row.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Aldo

Brewer: Aldo

Okamoto: Aldo

No. 8 Phil Davis

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 7-1
  • MMA record 11-1
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: +290

No. 1 Lyoto Machida

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 200
  • UFC record 11-3
  • MMA record 19-3
  • Out of: Los Angeles
  • Betting line: -360

Light Heavyweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Beat Vinny Magalhaes by unanimous decision at UFC 159.

Punch list: Mr. Wonderful’s lone stumble came against former champion Rashad Evans, which seems like a forgivable offense. But it’s not treated as such as Davis went from being one of the most highly regarded prospects in the sport to a virtual afterthought following the loss in January 2012.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Machida

Cofield: Machida

Last fight: Split-decision victory over Dan Henderson at UFC 156.

Punch list: Machida has already secured his place as one of the great light heavyweights in mixed martial arts history. Now he wants to earn the distinction as the greatest, and the only way that can happen is if he actually gets the rematch with Jon Jones he’s been repeatedly promised.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Machida

Brewer: Machida

Okamoto: Machida

Thiago Santos

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 8-1
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: +300

Cezar Ferreira

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 184
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 5-2
  • Out of: Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Betting line: -400

Middleweight Bout

Featured Contest

Last fight: First-round TKO victory against Dennis Figueira da Silva.

Punch list: "Marreta" has quite the unique background. He competed in capoeira — a Brazilian practice that combines martial arts with dance and music — before turning professional in Muay Thai. He found success right away, eventually leading to a shot on the second season of "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil".

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Ferreira

Cofield: Ferreira

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Sergio Moraes at UFC 147.

Punch list: Ferreira trained with several top-level fighters before ever breaking into the UFC. He’s now focused on using the lessons he took out of those experiences to his own gain in the octagon after winning the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil”.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Ferreira

Brewer: Ferreira

Okamoto: Santos

Tom Watson

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 186
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 16-5
  • Out of: Southampton, England
  • Betting line: +100

Thales Leites

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 5-3
  • MMA record 20-4
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: -130

Middleweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Fight

Last fight: Defeated Stanislav Nedkov by second-round TKO at UFC on Fuel TV 7.

Punch list: “Kong” aimed a little higher up the ranks after his last victory, calling out Wanderlei Silva for a potential fight. He’ll have to settle for a trip to Brazil, the first of his career and only third fight outside of the comforts of his home turf in England.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Leites

Cofield: Leites

Last fight: Second-round submission win over Matt Horwich at Amazon Forest Combat 2.

Punch list: Welcome back to Leites, who hasn’t fought in the UFC in four years and comes back with intentions to reclaim his good name. Despite some high points, mainly a five-fight winning streak, Leites is best remembered for his dull middleweight-championship loss to Anderson Silva.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Leites

Brewer: Leites

Okamoto: Leites

Jose Tome

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 33-3
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: +300

John Lineker

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 5’2”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 21-6
  • Out of: Paranagua, Brazil
  • Betting line: -400

Flyweight Bout

Main Card Opener

Last fight: First-round submission victory over Milton Cesar at Watch Out Combat Show 26.

Punch list: “No Way” hopes his nickname doesn’t end up applying to his prospects of long-term employment with the UFC. He’s got a positive history to draw upon as Tome hasn’t lost in a span of more than five years and 16 fights.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Lineker

Cofield: Lineker

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Azamat Gashimov at UFC on FX 8.

Punch list: His only loss since 2010 came in his first fight in America, where Lineker had a tough time adjusting. Opponents can’t like that he’s now getting Brazilian assignments on the regular, as this is his second fight in his home country in the last three months.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Lineker

Brewer: Lineker

Okamoto: Lineker

Anthony Perosh

  • Age: 41
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 3-2
  • MMA record 13-7
  • Out of: Sydney
  • Betting line: +300

Vinny Magalhaes

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 1-3
  • MMA record 10-6
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -400

Light Heavyweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: First-round knockout loss against Ryan Jimmo seven seconds into the first round.

Punch list: “The Hippo” would likely find himself on the chopping block with a second straight loss here. Either way, Perosh can hold his head high knowing he achieved what few others have by winning three straight fights in the UFC at an age well past his prime.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Magalhaes

Cofield: Magalhaes

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Phil Davis at UFC 159.

Punch list: One of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu minds in the world, Magalhaes is looking to get back to his finishing ways against Perosh. His return to the UFC featured an armbar stoppage of Igor Pokrajac, but Davis was able to stay out of harm’s way in their bout a few months ago.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Magalhaes

Brewer: Magalhaes

Okamoto: Magalhaes

No. 10 Sheila Gaff

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 133
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 10-5-1
  • Out of: Offenbach, Germany
  • Betting line: +300

No. 7 Amanda Nunes

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record7-3
  • Out of: Salvador, Brazil
  • Betting line: -400

Women’s Bantamweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO loss to Sara McMann at UFC 159.

Punch list: Unfairly or not, Gaff has developed a reputation as a dirty fighter. She has a history of swinging on opponents when they go to touch gloves and a loss from an illegal knee.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Nunes

Cofield: Nunes

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Sarah D’Alelio at Invicta 4.

Punch list: The Brazilian boxer makes her long-awaited UFC debut 1,000 miles down the coastline from her hometown. Nunes stood out on small Brazilian fight shows but has gone 2-2 since reaching the big leagues with Strikeforce and Invicta.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Nunes

Brewer: Nunes

Okamoto: Nunes

Neil Magny

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 8-1
  • Out of: Chicago
  • Betting line: +100

Sergio Moraes

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 7-2
  • Out of: Sao Paulo
  • Betting line: -140

Welterweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Jon Manley at UFC 157.

Punch list: A member of Team Carwin on “The Ultimate Fighter” 16, Magny is one of only a few from last year’s season who’s still in the UFC. He reached the semifinals of the tournament mainly by making use of his wrestling.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Moraes

Cofield: Magny

Last fight: Third-round submission victory over Renee Forte at UFC 153.

Punch list: A proud member of Team Nogueira, Moraes fits right in with elite Brazilian jiu-jitsu ability. He won several world championships in the sport and has six wins by submission in MMA.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Moraes

Brewer: Magny

Okamoto: Moraes

Iliarde Santos

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 27-7
  • Out of: Belem, Brazil
  • Betting line: +300

No. 3 Ian McCall

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 0-2-1
  • MMA record 11-4-1
  • Out of: Irvine, Calif.
  • Betting line: -400

Flyweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Lost to Yuri Alcantara by first-round knockout at UFC on FX 8.

Punch list: Although Santos’ background rests in jiu-jitsu, his striking has become his strongest asset. The Brazilian veteran has 12 career wins by knockout as opposed to six by submission.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: McCall

Cofield: McCall

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Joseph Benavidez at UFC 156.

Punch list: “Uncle Creepy” took the Benavidez loss hard, labeling himself as “overrated”. His No. 3 ranking, however, shows that others are accepting his UFC skid for what it really is: Losses to the two best flyweights in the world.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: McCall

Brewer: Santos

Okamoto: McCall

Josh Clopton

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 6-1
  • Out of: San Francisco
  • Betting line: +500

Rani Yahya

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 18-7
  • Out of: Brasilia, Brazil
  • Betting line: -800

Featherweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Steven Siler at “The Ultimate Fighter” 14 finale.

Punch list: Speculation continues to whirl on whether or not Nick Diaz will ever return to the UFC In the meantime, fans will have to enjoy fighters with similar styles like his younger brother and Clopton, a teammate.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Yahya

Cofield: Yahya

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Mizuto Hirota at UFC on Fuel TV 8.

Punch list: The submission specialist has a chance to inch towards the top 10 of the division with a couple more wins. Yahya is particulary efficient with the rarely-used North-South choke as his last two submission victories have come with that move.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Yahya

Brewer: Yahya

Okamoto: Yahya

Bristol Marunde

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 12-8
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +130

Viscardi Andrade

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 14-5
  • Out of: Sao Paulo
  • Betting line: -170

Welterweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Third-round knockout loss to Clint Hester at “The Ultimate Fighter” 17 finale.

Punch list: All the pressure is on the local, as he’s gone 0-2 since signing a Zuffa contract with a Strikeforce submission loss to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza also on his record. Marunde had a luxury he lacked in his last two fights before this one — a full training camp.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Andrade

Cofield: Andrade

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Michel Vaz at Moema Fight.

Punch list: How badly did Andrade want to pursue a career in mixed martial arts? He quit law school to start fighting professionally. With four knockouts and four submissions under his belt, it’s doubtful Andrade would ever be a ruthless in the courtroom.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Marunde

Brewer: Marunde

Okamoto: Andrade

Francimar Barroso

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 15-3
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: +115

Ednaldo Oliveira

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’7”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 13-1-1
  • Out of: Salvador, Brazil
  • Betting line: -155

Lightweight Heavyweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Second-round submission victory over Simao Melo da Silva.

Punch list: The first of five Rio-based fighters, Barroso trains out of the famed Nova Uniao gym. The Jose Aldo teammate would like to help the gym get noticed beyond its lighter-weight fighters.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Oliveira

Cofield: Barroso

Last fight: First-round submission loss to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 142.

Punch list: Oliveira trains with Junior dos Santos, and fights like the former heavyweight champion too. Oliveira tries to make fights look as much like boxing matches as possible while avoiding takedowns.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Barroso

Brewer: Oliveira

Okamoto: Oliveira

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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