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UFC on Fox 8 breakdown, betting odds and picks

Demetrious Johnson a massive favorite for the first time in his career

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Associated Press

Demetrious Johnson, right, fights John Dodson during UFC flyweight championship at the United Center in Chicago, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013.

If Demetrious Johnson gets by John Moraga in the main event of UFC on Fox 8 Saturday in Seattle, “Mighty Mouse” will soon celebrate his one-year anniversary as a champion.

Johnson joins another exclusive fraternity of fighters before even stepping into the cage to meet Moraga; he's one of the rare few who’s a 5-to-1 betting favorite ahead of a UFC title fight.

Sports books across Las Vegas have Johnson as high as minus-500 (risking $5 to win $1) with Moraga coming back at plus-350 (risking $1 to win $3.50) in the flyweight championship bout.

The Las Vegas Sun picks panel thinks Johnson is worth every cent. None of the five prognosticators hesitated in choosing Johnson to defend his gold for a second consecutive fight.

Look below to find a breakdown and betting odds for all 12 fights on UFC on Fox 8 along with picks from KSNV’s Kevin West (72-32 year to date), ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (70-34), Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer (68-36), Las Vegas Sun’s Ray Brewer (67-37) and ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (66-38).

No. 4 John Moraga

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 13-1
  • Out of: Phoenix
  • Betting line: +350

Champion Demetrious Johnson

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’3”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 4-1-1
  • MMA record 17-2-1
  • Out of: Seattle
  • Betting line: -500

Flyweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Submitted Chris Cariaso in the third round at UFC 155.

Punch list: The upside: “Chicano John” has wrecked both of his opponents with finishes in the octagon, knocking out Ulysses Gomez before submitting Cariaso. The downside: He remains more or less unknown, having fought in the first fight on the preliminary card in both of his UFC bouts.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Johnson

Cofield: Johnson

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over John Dodson at UFC on Fox 6.

Punch list: The upside: “Mighty Mouse” has given immediate stability to the UFC’s newest weight class by each of the top three other fighters in the division. The downside: He has never finished a fight in the UFC or been a part of any stoppage in nearly three years.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Johnson

Brewer: Johnson

Okamoto: Johnson

No. 4 Jake Ellenberger

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 8-2
  • MMA record 29-6
  • Out of: Lake Forest, Calif.
  • Betting line: +190

No. 3 Rory MacDonald

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 14-1
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -240

Welterweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Knocked out Nate Marquardt in the first round at UFC 158.

Punch list: Given that Ellenberger’s suddenly gotten more vocal, a win here might lead to him demanding a title shot in the octagon afterwards. With the potential for a ninth win in 10 fights, “The Juggernaut” would have a compelling argument.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: MacDonald

Cofield: MacDonald

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over B.J. Penn at UFC on Fox 5.

Punch list: The single most impressive statistic about MacDonald’s young career is that he’s won 12 of the 13 rounds he’s fought in the UFC. The lone slip-up, a TKO in the third round against Carlos Condit, continues to haunt him even though he’s won four straight in the aftermath.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: MacDonald

Brewer: MacDonald

Okamoto: MacDonald

Bobby Voelker

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 24-9
  • Out of: Kansas City, Kan.
  • Betting line: +230

No. 9 Robbie Lawler

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 171
  • UFC record 5-3
  • MMA record 20-9
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: -300

Welterweight Bout

Featured Fight

Last fight: Unanimous-decision defeat against Patrick Cote at UFC 158.

Punch list: Voelker was victimized by one of the worst decisions of the year his last time out. The Strikeforce veteran walked out of the octagon in Montreal incredulous over how three judges scored the fight against him, a sentiment shared by media and fans.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Lawler

Cofield: Lawler

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Josh Koscheck at UFC 157.

Punch list: After losing five of his eight fights in Strikeforce, Lawler exploded back onto the UFC scene with a return to welterweight in February. Was catching Koscheck a one-off grant of good luck or a sign of resurgence? This fight should help tell.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Voelker

Brewer: Lawler

Okamoto: Lawler

Jessica Andrade

  • Age: 21
  • Height: 5’3”
  • Weight: 136
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 9-2
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: +400

No. 5 Liz Carmouche

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 8-3
  • Out of: San Jose, Calif.
  • Betting line: -600

Women’s Bantamweight Bout

Main Card Opener

Last fight: Beat Milana Dudleva by submission in the second round at ProFC 47.

Punch list: “Bate Estaca” lives up to many of the stereotypes attached to her as a Brazilian prospect. She’s proficient at jiu-jitsu, with two straight wins by submission, and practiced martial arts from a young age, a background that could make her dangerous.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Carmouche

Cofield: Carmouche

Last fight: First-round submission loss to Ronda Rousey at UFC 157.

Punch list: Carmouche is expected to smash through Andrade, which might be the biggest drawback. It’s a no-win situation for “Girl-Rilla”, who was a middle-of-the-road journeywoman fighter before getting featured in the first-ever UFC women’s bout against Rousey.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Carmouche

Brewer: Carmouche

Okamoto: Carmouche

Jorge Masvidal

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 24-7
  • Out of: Miami
  • Betting line: -275

Michael Chiesa

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 9-0
  • Out of: Spokane Valley, Wash.
  • Betting line: +215

Lightweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Defeated Tim Means by unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 7.

Punch list: Masvidal will come out with his usual strategy of looking to strike. It’s suited him well since reaching the big leagues with Strikeforce two years ago, as the former backyard-fighting Kimbo Slice protégé has won four of five with the only loss coming in a title fight against Gilber Melendez.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Chiesa

Cofield: Masvidal

Last fight: Second-round submission of Anton Kuivanen at UFC 157

Punch list: No matter how many disadvantages he’s up against or how much early trouble he encounters, Chiesa always seems to come back. “The Ultimate Fighter Live” champion continually smothers with his wrestling and pounces with his submissions.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Masvidal

Brewer: Masvidal

Okamoto: Masvidal

Tim Means

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 18-4
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: +175

Danny Castillo

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 5-2
  • MMA record 15-5
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: -225

Lightweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Jorge Masvidal at UFC on Fox 7.

Punch list: “The Dirty Bird” took this assignment on short notice when Bobby Green pulled out of the fight less than three weeks ago. He knows his challenge will be to stay standing with Castillo relentlessly shooting for takedowns.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Means

Cofield: Castillo

Last fight: Beat Paul Sass by unanimous decision at UFC on Fuel TV 7.

Punch list: The only UFC lightweight member of Team Alpha Male, Castillo fights much like squad patriarch Urijah Faber. “Last Call”, now a five-year veteran of Zuffa dating back to his years in the WEC, uses his wrestling first and foremost.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Castillo

Brewer: Means

Okamoto: Castillo

Melvin Guillard

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 156
  • UFC record 11-8
  • MMA record 30-12-2
  • Out of: Denver
  • Betting line: -125

Mac Danzig

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 5-6
  • MMA record21-10-1
  • Out of: Los Angeles
  • Betting line: -105

Lightweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: Split-decision loss to Jamie Varner at UFC 155.

Punch list: The upside: Guillard remains one of the quickest and most powerful lightweights in the UFC. The downside: He hasn’t made good use of his advantages recently, going from prospective top contender to potential unemployment candidate after losing four of five.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Danzig

Cofield: Guillard

Last fight: Split-decision loss to Takanori Gomi at UFC on Fuel TV 6.

Punch list: The upside: Danzig has stuck in the UFC for six years since winning the sixth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”. The downside: He’s just barely hung on, with his only two-fight win streak coming six years ago and three consecutive losses following it.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Guillard

Brewer: Guillard

Okamoto: Guillard

Daron Cruickshank

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 156
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 12-3
  • Out of: Detroit
  • Betting line: -135

Yves Edwards

  • Age: 36
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 10-7
  • MMA record 42-19-1
  • Out of: The Woodlands, Texas
  • Betting line: +105

Lightweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Lost to John Makdessi by unanimous decision at UFC 158.

Punch list: The momentum Cruickshank had built with a six-fight win streak and head-kick knockout of Henry Martinez took a hit his last time out. Not only did he lose Makdessi, but the fight was forgettable and featured little action compared with some of Cruickshank’s finer performances.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Cruickshank

Cofield: Cruickshank

Last fight: Split-decision loss to Isaac Vallie-Flagg at UFC 156.

Punch list: Edwards, like Cruickshank, was riding high last December after a flash-knockout at UFC on Fox 5. But he couldn’t keep it up against Vallie-Flagg, as a razor-thin war of attrition where a case could be made for each fighter winning ensued at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Cruickshank

Brewer: Edwards

Okamoto: Cruickshank

Trevor Smith

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 10-3
  • Out of: Vancouver, Wash.
  • Betting line: +200

Ed Herman

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 193
  • UFC record 7-6
  • MMA record 20-9
  • Out of: Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Betting line: -250

Middleweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Submitted in the third round by Tim Kennedy at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.

Punch list: Despite losing his final two Strikeforce bouts definitively, “Hot Sauce” gets the chance of a lifetime on the undercard. The hopeful gets to make his UFC debut in front a home crowd. Smith began his career at heavyweight before cutting down the 185-pound division.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Herman

Cofield: Herman

Last fight: Submitted in the first round by Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.

Punch list: “Short Fuse” earns the peculiar distinction of being the only UFC fighter to cross over into Strikeforce after Zuffa purchased the smaller organization. A short-notice loss to Jacare came out of it, but Herman didn’t lose much ground in the UFC as a result.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Herman

Brewer: Herman

Okamoto: Herman

No. 10 Germaine de Randamie

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 144
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 3-2
  • Out of: San Jose, Calif.
  • Betting line: -125

No. 8 Julie Kedzie

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 16-11
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: -105

Women’s Bantamweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Beat Hiroko Yamanaka by unanimous decision at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman.

Punch list: “The Iron Lady” left her home in the Netherlands to hone her skills at American Top Team in the Bay Area. She has to like the results so far, as she went 2-1 in Strikeforce when the organization was the top promoter of women’s fighting.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Kedzie

Cofield: de Randamie

Last fight: Third-round submission loss to Miesha Tate at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman.

Punch list: Universally liked and respected within the MMA sphere, Kedzie’s profile extended to more casual fighting circles with her performance against Tate. Although she ultimately lost, the fight thrilled with non-stop action and helped accelerate the push to get women into the UFC.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Kedzie

Brewer: de Randamie

Okamoto: Kedzie

Justin Salas

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 10-4
  • Out of: Denver
  • Betting line: -250

Aaron Riley

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 3-5
  • MMA record 30-13-1
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: +195

Lightweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO loss to Tony Ferguson at UFC 135.

Punch list: Despite being about the same age, Riley has fought professionally for nine more years than Salas. The longtime member of Greg Jackson’s camp just hasn’t been entirely active, not fighting in two years and only three times since August 2009.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Riley

Cofield: Riley

Last fight: First-round TKO loss to Tony Ferguson at UFC 135.

Punch list: Despite being about the same age, Riley has fought professionally for nine more years than Salas. The longtime member of Greg Jackson’s camp just hasn’t been entirely active, not fighting in two years and only three times since August 2009.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Salas

Brewer: Salas

Okamoto: Riley

Yaotzin Meza

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 18-8
  • Out of: Phoenix
  • Betting line: +210

John Albert

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 1-3
  • MMA record 7-4
  • Out of: Puyallup, Wash.
  • Betting line: -270

Bantamweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO loss to Chad Mendes at UFC on FX 6.

Punch list: Meza saved the UFC by accepting a last-minute fight against Mendes, the No. 1 ranked featherweight, last year in Australia. Now the El Mirage, Ariz., water department worker gets his pay off in the form of another bout in the UFC, one where he had full time to prepare.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Meza

Cofield: Albert

Last fight: First-round submission loss to Scott Jorgensen at UFC on Fox 5.

Punch list: It speaks volume that Albert has kept his job despite three straight first-round submission losses. The UFC sees potential in “The Ultimate Fighter” 14 alum, and probably realizes that consecutive bouts against Jorgensen, Erik Perez and Ivan Menjivar was an insanely difficult slate.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Albert

Brewer: Meza

Okamoto: Albert

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

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