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UFC 158 breakdown, betting odds and picks

Looking beyond the much-publicized main event for wagering opportunities

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Carlos Condit throws a spinning left at Nick Diaz during their interim welterweight championship bout Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Condit won a unanimous decision and will likely face Georges St. Pierre in November.

The hysteria surrounding Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz has severely affected rest of the fights scheduled at Saturday’s UFC 158.

It’s taken away from fights that, according to oddsmakers, should prove exponentially more competitive than the main event. Although St. Pierre is already higher than a 5-to-1 favorite over Diaz in some spots, the three bouts directly below the welterweight championship match on the pay-per-view card from Montreal’s Bell Centre are all near pick’em at sports books.

The co-main event between the top two ranked welterweights — No. 1 Johny Hendricks and No. 2 Carlos Condit — opened with both fighters at -115 (risking $1.15 to win $1). Money has since come in on Hendricks, which the Sun picks panel can’t get behind.

A majority selected Condit, along with favorite Jake Ellenberger over Nate Marquardt and slight underdog Chris Camozzi in the other two most notable bouts.

Find picks, betting odds and a breakdown of every fighter below. The panel consists of Steve Cofield (23-11 year to date) from ESPN Radio, Ray Brewer (22-12) of the Sun, 2012 champion Kevin West (19-15) from KUNV, 2011 champion Case Keefer (19-15) from the Sun and ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (18-16).

Nick Diaz

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’0''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 7-5
  • MMA record 26-8
  • Out of: Stockton, Calif.
  • Betting line: +350

Georges St. Pierre

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’10''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 17-2
  • MMA record 23-2
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -450

Welterweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Lost a unanimous decision to Carlos Condit at UFC 143.

Punch list: Diaz fights the same way regardless of opponent. He’s going to come forward and slap punches, scoring more with volume than power. When he gets frustrated, he’s good for a few middle fingers and trash talk in the cage. That could actually be valuable against St. Pierre. Turning this match into a brawl would give Diaz, who’s coming off of what seems like an under-discussed 14-month layoff, his best chance to win.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: St. Pierre

Cofield: St. Pierre

Last fight: Defeated Carlos Condit by unanimous decision at UFC 154.

Punch list: There are several reasons why the three-time Rogers Canadian Athlete of the Year has pieced together one of the best title reigns in UFC history. St. Pierre, who could tie Anderson Silva for a record 11 title-fight victories against Diaz, possesses the skills to tailor his approach for every fighter he meets. Against Diaz, that’s expected to mean a ton of wrestling and ground-and-pound.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: St. Pierre

Brewer: St. Pierre

Okamoto: St. Pierre

Johny Hendricks

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 9-1
  • MMA record 14-1
  • Out of: Dallas
  • Betting line: -140

Carlos Condit

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’2''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 5-2
  • MMA record 28-6
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: +110

Welterweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Knocked out Martin Kampmann in the first round at UFC 154.

Punch list: Take away entertainment and pay-per-view sales as title-fight factors, and Hendricks is the one challenging St. Pierre for the title at Bell Centre. The No. 1 ranked welterweight has won five straight, beating three top-10 fighters in the streak and scoring three first-round knockouts. He’s got the best style to test St. Pierre — strong wrestling and knockout power — but will need to win another toss-up fight to get there.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Condit

Cofield: Hendricks

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 154.

Punch list: “The Natural Born Killer” gave the champion what he called one of the toughest fights of his career. Condit, who held the interim belt, was painfully close to becoming the undisputed champion in Montreal last November — dropping St. Pierre with a head kick in the third round. Now the second-ranked welterweight looks to get right back into the title conversation with a win over Hendricks.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Hendricks

Brewer: Condit

Okamoto: Condit

Nate Marquardt

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 10-4
  • MMA record 32-11-4
  • Out of: Denver
  • Betting line: +140

Jake Ellenberger

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 7-2
  • MMA record 28-6
  • Out of: Lake Forest, Calif.
  • Betting line: -170

Welterweight Bout

Featured Fight

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Tarec Saffiedine at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.

Punch list: “Never” turned into just less than two years. “The Great” is back in the UFC, which Dana White said would never happen after he had to pull out of a main event for elevated testosterone levels in June 2011. But Marquardt is off of testosterone replacement therapy now and settled at his new welterweight division, where he briefly captured the Strikeforce title.

Picks:KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Ellenberger

Cofield: Marquardt

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Jay Hieron at UFC on FX 5.

Punch list: Winner of seven of his last eight, Ellenberger remains one of the toughest guys to crack at 170 pounds. Ranked No. 6 by the media, he’s likely to still fight for a title someday. The biggest obstacle will be his cardio. Ellenberger regularly looks like one of the best in the world in the first round, but fades progressively as the bout goes on.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Ellenberger

Brewer: Ellenberger

Okamoto: Ellenberger

Chris Camozzi

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’3''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 4-2
  • MMA record 18-5
  • Out of: Lakewood, Colo.
  • Betting line: -105

Nick Ring

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 13-1
  • Out of: Calgary, Alberta
  • Betting line: -125

Middleweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Fight

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Luiz Cane at UFC 153.

Punch list: Re-read Ring’s description. Most, if not all of it, also applies to Camozzi. He’s one of the toughest fighters in the UFC, never shying away from contact or eating strikes in order to land some of his own. There’s likely only room for one fighter that fits this profile at the top of the 185-pound division.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Camozzi

Cofield: Ring

Last fight: Beat Court McGee by unanimous decision at UFC 149.

Punch list: Without top-flight athleticism or world-class talents, Ring makes up for it with sheer willpower. No one has ever finished him, as Ring boasts impressive submission defense and an iron chin. He was supposed to fight on the last Montreal card but fell extremely ill hours before a scheduled bout with Constantinos Philippou.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Camozzi

Brewer: Camozzi

Okamoto: Camozzi

Colin Fletcher

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’2’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 8-2
  • Out of: Sunderland, England
  • Betting line: +225

Mike Ricci

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 171
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 7-3
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -285

Lightweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Opener

Last fight: Lost a unanimous decision to Norman Parke at UFC on FX 6.

Punch list: “Freakshow” had the luxury of fighting at his natural weight class on “TUF: The Smashes”, but finished as the runner-up. At least he lived up to his nickname. Just watch him at Friday’s weigh-in. Fletcher will, in all likelihood, sport fake teeth and maybe even a mask.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Ricci

Cofield: Ricci

Last fight: Lost to Colton Smith by unanimous decision at “The Ultimate Fighter” 16 finale.

Punch list: Ricci nearly won his season of “TUF” despite competing 15 pounds over his natural weight limit. Now back at lightweight, the training partner of St. Pierre could establish himself as a true prospect. He’s a technical striker with quite a bit of confidence, or as it’s popularly referred, cockiness.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Ricci

Brewer: Ricci

Okamoto: Ricci

Bobby Voelker

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 24-8
  • Out of: Kansas City, Kan.
  • Betting line: +160

Patrick Cote

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 5-8
  • MMA record 18-8
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -180

Welterweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Roger Bowling at Strikeforce Challengers: Voelker vs. Bowling III.

Punch list: It’s a feel-good story to see the Midwestern journeyman step foot into the octagon. Strikeforce threw Voelker batch of tough fights, and he responded by going 4-1. But now, because of injuries, he hasn’t fought in 20 months. He hasn’t fought anyone except Bowling — whom he beat twice after losing the first fight — since July 2010.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Cote

Cofield: Voelker

Last fight: Disqualification win over Alessio Sakara at UFC 154.

Punch list: This was supposed to be the rematch between Cote and Sakara. The hometown former top contender received a gift from the Italian when they met in Montreal last November. On the verge of knocking Cote out to lead to his third release from the UFC, Sakara illegally struck him in the back of the head several times to get disqualified.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Voelker

Brewer: Cote

Okamoto: Cote

Darren Elkins

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 15-1
  • Out of: Hobart, Ind.
  • Betting line: -230

Antonio Carvalho

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 15-5
  • Out of: Oshawa, Ontario
  • Betting line: +190

Featherweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: Beat Steven Siler by unanimous decision at UFC 154.

Punch list: “The Damage” knows he needs to start some registering some stoppages. Despite winning four straight, Elkins has neither received much acclaim nor even cracked the UFC rankings. That’s because all of those wins have followed the same pattern — unanimous-decisions after smothering his opponent with wrestling.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Elkins

Cofield: Elkins

Last fight: Split-decision victory over Rodrigo Damm at UFC 154.

Punch list: “Pato” is not one of the better known featherweights, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a heck of a fighter. The Brazilian holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has knocked out seven opponents. He also fought several high-level fighters earlier in his career as part of the Shooto promotion in Japan.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Elkins

Brewer: Elkins

Okamoto: Elkins

Jordan Mein

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 26-8
  • Out of: Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Betting line: -250

Dan Miller

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 6-5
  • MMA record 14-6
  • Out of: Whippany, N.J.
  • Betting line: +200

Welterweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Knocked out Forrest Petz in the first round at Score Fighting Series 7.

Punch list: “Young Gun” turned professional when he was 17-years old and quickly built a name for himself on the Canadian circuit, and later, in Strikeforce. Trained by his kickboxer father, Mein regularly outstrikes veterans who have twice as much experience.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Mein

Cofield: Mein

Last fight: Submitted Ricardo Funch in the third round at UFC on FX 4.

Punch list: The guillotine choke he locked in on Funch last June won Miller a Submission of the Night bonus. It wasn’t a bad way to start his foray down to 170 pounds. Miller has a strength and size advantage against most competitors at welterweight. And he’s never lost by stoppage.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Miller

Brewer: Mein

Okamoto: Mein

Daron Cruickshank

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 156
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 12-2
  • Out of: Detroit
  • Betting line: -185

John Makdessi

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 3-2
  • MMA record 10-2
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: +160

Lightweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Knocked out Henry Martinez in the second round at UFC on Fox 5.

Punch list: Putting on a show is what “The Detroit Superstar” prides himself of. He succeeded last time out. Cruickshank caught Martinez with a head kick that made everyone at the Key Arena in Seattle gasp. After a disappointing early exit during “The Ultimate Fighter Live” tournament, Cruickshank has bounced back to win two in a row.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Cruickshank

Cofield: Cruickshank

Last fight: Beat Sam Stout by unanimous decision at UFC 154.

Punch list: Mark this down as the potential can’t-miss fight of the undercard. “The Bull” performs his best when pitted against like-minded strikers such as Cruickshank. Makdessi will look to keep the pace up in front of his hometown fans and perhaps even show some creativity with use of his taekwondo background.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Cruickshank

Brewer: Cruickshank

Okamoto: Cruickshank

Quinn Mulhern

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’3’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 18-2
  • Out of: Santa Fe, N.M.
  • Betting line: +320

Rick Story

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 7-4
  • MMA record 14-6
  • Out of: Vancouver, Wash.
  • Betting line: -400

Welterweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Beat Yuri Villefort by split decision at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier.

Punch list: Just because Mulhern is a UFC newcomer doesn’t mean this is a walkthrough fight for Story. The submission specialist competed in several of the more notable smaller promotions, capped off by a 3-1 run in Strikeforce over the last two years.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Story

Cofield: Story

Last fight: First-round submission loss to Demian Maia at UFC 153.

Punch list: Two years ago, Story was on the verge of a title shot in the 170-pound division. It’s been all downhill from there as “The Horror” has dropped three of his last four. He’s running out of chances to salvage what once looked like a career destined for greatness.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Story

Brewer: Story

Okamoto: Story

Issei Tamura

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 7-3
  • Out of: Tokyo
  • Betting line: +425

T.J. Dillashaw

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’6’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 6-1
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: -550

Bantamweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Second-round TKO loss to Raphael Assuncao at UFC on Fuel TV 4.

Punch list: Originally brought on to fight on the UFC’s return to Japan card, Tamura now gets his second straight stiff assignment. Assuncao ranks sixth in the 135-pound division, and it might not be long before Dillashaw joins him around there.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Dillashaw

Cofield: Dillashaw

Last fight: First-round submission victory over Vaughan Lee at UFC on Fuel TV 4.

Punch list: Dillashaw is the top prospect worth watching on the undercard. He’s got championship-level potential, and may reach it faster than expected. Urijah Faber, training partner and mentor, said it’s “50/50” on who gets the best of who on any given day in the gym.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Dillashaw

Brewer: Dillashaw

Okamoto: Dillashaw

Reuben Duran

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’6’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 1-2
  • MMA record 8-4-1
  • Out of: Redlands, Calf.
  • Betting line: -140

George Roop

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 2-5
  • MMA record 12-9-1
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +110

Bantamweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Knocked out by Hugo Viana at “The Ultimate Fighter” 16 finale.

Punch list: Duran will face an uphill battle dealing with Roop’s reach and size advantages. But, using past performances as an indication, he’s up to it. “Hurricane” presses the action regardless of who’s standing across from him.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Roop

Cofield: Duran

Last fight: Second-round knockout loss against Cub Swanson at UFC on Fox 2.

Punch list: So, Roop is around following a mouthpiece-jarring knockout from Swanson after all. He hasn’t been seen anywhere near the octagon in the 15 months since the violent defeat. There’s another reason to fear for his safety in Montreal: Roop’s cutting an additional 10 pounds to make bantamweight for the first time in more than three years.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Duran

Brewer: Roop

Okamoto: Roop

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

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