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UFC 169 breakdown, betting odds and picks

Not many people picking against teammates Renan Barao and Jose Aldo

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Jose Aldo, from Brazil, right, and Chan Sung Jung, from South Korea, battle during their UFC 163 mixed martial arts Featherweight Championship bout in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Although the UFC is popularly referred to as going through a state of flux at the moment, seven straight title fights have ended with champions retaining their belts.

Most expect that streak to extend to nine before Super Bowl Sunday. Featherweight champion Jose Aldo and bantamweight counterpart Renan Barao are pricey favorites to defend their thrones against Ricardo Lamas and Urijah Faber, respectively, Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Current sports book odds calculate to an approximately 64 percent chance that neither the bantamweight belt nor the featherweight strap swap waists at UFC 169, this year’s version of the annual Super Bowl weekend card.

The Sun’s picks panel collectively buys into the champions’ chances too. Faber and Lamas only drew one selection apiece — from the same person, nonetheless — from our five prognosticators.

Check below for a breakdown, odds and picks from the Sun’s Case Keefer (8-3 year to date), ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (8-3), the Sun’s Ray Brewer (7-4), KSNV’s Randy Howe (6-5) and ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (5-6) on every fight.

Urijah Faber

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 6-2
  • MMA record 30-6
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: +240

Renan Barao

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 6-0
  • MMA record 31-1
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: -280

Bantamweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Second-round submission victory over Michael McDonald at UFC on Fox 9.

Punch list: The upside: “The California Kid” is one of the all-time great fighters in the smaller weight classes and has never lost in a non-title fight. The downside: Faber has lost five straight title fights, including a rather lopsided unanimous-decision to Barao in July 2012.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Faber

Cofield: Barao

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Eddie Wineland at UFC 165.

Punch list: The upside: “Pegado” is on one of the most impressive runs in all of sports, winning 31 straight fights dating back to 2005. The downside: Blindly grasping at something here, but he’s been unable to connect with the majority of fans to this point and hasn’t built the stature his record entitles.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Barao

Brewer: Barao

Okamoto: Barao

Ricardo Lamas

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 4-0
  • MMA record 14-2
  • Out of: Miami
  • Betting line: +475

Jose Aldo

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 5-0
  • MMA record 23-2
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: -650

Featherweight Championship Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Erik Koch at UFC on Fox 6.

Punch list: The upside: “The Bully” has proven himself as one of the most vicious and well-rounded 145-pound fighters in the world with two TKOs, a submission and a decision The downside: Lamas hasn’t found in more than a year while waiting for this opportunity, which could leave him rusty.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Lamas

Cofield: Aldo

Last fight: Fourth-round TKO victory over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163.

Punch list: The upside: Although currently ranked second in the pound-for-pound list, Aldo has an argument for No. 1 with 10 straight wins over the top competition in title fights. The downside: Aldo tends to get off to build a lead and cruise from there, not going after opponents with the same urgency throughout an entire fight.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Aldo

Brewer: Aldo

Okamoto: Aldo

Alistair Overeem

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 255.5
  • UFC record 1-2
  • MMA record 36-13
  • Out of: Amsterdam
  • Betting line: -320

Frank Mir

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 248
  • UFC record 14-8
  • MMA record 16-8
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +260

Heavyweight Bout

Featured Contest

Last fight: First-round knockout loss against Travis Browne at UFC Fight Night 26.

Punch list: The upside: Overeem is a physical specimen who can kickbox with any heavyweight in combat sports. The downside: He’s dropped two in a row, showing a scary tendency of not taking punches well with back-to-back knockout defeats.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Overeem

Cofield: Overeem

Last fight: First-round TKO loss to Josh Barnett at UFC 164.

Punch list: The upside: One of the most decorated heavyweights in the history of the UFC, Mir is a former champion and has accomplished more than the vast majority of fighters dream. The downside: It looks like his stint at the top of the division is over with three straight lopsided losses.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Overeem

Brewer: Overeem

Okamoto: Overeem

Ali Bagautinov

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’4”
  • Weight: 126
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 12-2
  • Out of: Dagestan Republic, Russia
  • Betting line: -140

John Lineker

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 5’2”
  • Weight: 128
  • UFC record 4-1
  • MMA record 23-6
  • Out of: Paranagua, Brazil
  • Betting line: +120

Flyweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Fight

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Tim Elliott at UFC 167.

Punch list: The upside: The Greg Jackson-trained fighter rides a major surge after upsetting Elliott in the opening pay-per-view bout of the 20th anniversary card. The downside: Every fight from here on projects as the toughest of his career, as his competition level hasn’t been stout.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Bagautinov

Cofield: Bagautinov

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Phil Harris at UFC Fight Night 30.

Punch list: The upside: The memory of a rough UFC debut is distant now after Lineker reeled off four wins in a row. The downside: He’s missed weight in three of five fights in the octagon, an occurrence the UFC typically won’t tolerate for long.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Lineker

Brewer: Lineker

Okamoto: Bagautinov

Abel Trujillo

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 11-5
  • Out of: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Betting line: +125

Jamie Varner

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 156
  • UFC record 3-2
  • MMA record 21-8
  • Out of: Glendale, Ariz.
  • Betting line: -145

Lightweight Bout

Main Card Opener

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Roger Bowling at UFC on Fox 9.

Punch list: The upside: With a wrestling background and two straight wins by knockout, Trujillo has proven himself to be well-rounded. The downside: His submission defense isn’t the most fluid and he’s shown a tendency to gas out.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Varner

Cofield: Varner

Last fight: Split-decision loss to Gleison Tibau at UFC 164.

Punch list: The upside: The former WEC champion has resurrected his career in the UFC with several exciting bouts. The downside: Varner tends to take too much punishment and found himself down early needing a comeback in each of his last two fights.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Trujillo

Brewer: Varner

Okamoto: Varner

Alan Patrick

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 11-0
  • Out of: Manaus, Brazil
  • Betting line: +140

John Makdessi

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 12-2
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -160

Lightweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Garrett Whiteley at UFC Fight Night 29.

Punch list: The upside: Well, he’s never lost, which sounds like a good place to start. The downside: The emotion of a fighter stepping into his first big-time bout on a major card is always a variable.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Makdessi

Cofield: Makdessi

Last fight: Knocked out Renee Forte in the first round at UFC 165.

Punch list: The upside: As seen in his two-minute dispatching of Fortee four months ago, Makdessi can be a flashy and deadly striker. The downside: Sometimes, he’s tentative to engage and allows opponents to get into a rhythm.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Makdessi

Brewer: Makdessi

Okamoto: Makdessi

Danny Martinez

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 16-4
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: +130

Chris Cariaso

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’3”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 5-3
  • MMA record 15-5
  • Out of: San Francisco
  • Betting line: -150

Flyweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Ian Dela Cuesta at Coalition of Combat Free 4 All.

Punch list: The upside Always need to see an infusion of new talent into the 125-pound division, especially someone who’s earned their way with three straight wins. The downside: “The Gremlin” hasn’t come close against the three UFC-caliber fighters he encountered throughout his career — Joseph Benavidez, Jussier Formiga and Mark Hominick.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Martinez

Cofield: Cariaso

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Iliarde Santos at UFC Fight Night 29.

Punch list: The upside: “Kamikaze” can always be counted on to live up to his nickname and bring a frenzy of action to whomever he’s fighting. The downside: At this point, it’s clear Cariaso is a solid but unspectacular fighter as he’s fallen short whenever given a big step-up in competition.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Cariaso

Brewer: Martinez

Okamoto: Martinez

Tom Watson

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 186
  • UFC record 1-2
  • MMA record 16-6
  • Out of: Orange County, Calif.
  • Betting line: -190

Nick Catone

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 3-4
  • MMA record 9-4
  • Out of: Brick Township, N.J.
  • Betting line: +170

Middleweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision defeat against Thales Leites at UFC 163.

Punch list: The upside: A big personality has enabled “Kong” to build a fanbase despite only once appearing on a main card. The downside: He doesn’t always have the fighting chops to match his profile as he’s looked sluggish through a year-and-a-half in the UFC.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Catone

Cofield: Watson

Last fight: Second-round submission loss to T.J. Waldburger at “The Ultimate Fighter” 16 finale.

Punch list: The upside: A burly welterweight wrestler, Catone must be one of the strongest fighters in the division. The downside: He might also be one of the slowest, as Waldburger simply looked more athletic in Catone’s 170-pound debut.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Watson

Brewer:Watson

Okamoto: Watson

Kevin Lee

  • Age: 21
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 156
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 7-0
  • Out of: Detroit
  • Betting line: +210

Al Iaquinta

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 13-5
  • Out of: Garden City, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -250

Lightweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Submitted Eric Moon in the first round at Total Warrior Combat 20.

Punch list: The upside: As his nickname hints, “The Motown Phenom” has a fair amount of hype behind his debut. The downside: It’s always impossible to know how regional-circuit success will translate to the octagon.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Lee

Cofield: Iaquinta

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Piotr Hallmann at UFC Fight Night 30.

Punch list: The upside: Iaquinta has shown flashes of something special ever since his time on “The Ultimate Fighter: Live”. The downside: He’s gotten caught in submissions in two of his last four fights, which happens to be Lee’s domain.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Iaquinta

Brewer: Iaquinta

Okamoto: Iaquinta

Andy Enz

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 8-0
  • Out of: Anchorage, Alaska
  • Betting line: +165

Clint Hester

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 9-3
  • Out of: Atlanta
  • Betting line: -185

Middleweight Bout

UFC Fight Pass Prelim

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Dylan Andrews at UFC Fight Night 33.

Punch list: The upside: Hester is one of the strongest fighters in the division and able to use his physicality to throw anyone around. The downside: Technique isn’t his strong suit as Hester remains raw after less than five years of fighting experience.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Enz

Cofield: Hester

Last fight: First-round submission victory over Mike Fannon at Alaska Fighting Championships 101.

Punch list: The upside: He’s gotten five first-round submissions in seven career fights. The downside: Enz flamed out of his only other shot at the big time, losing to Uriah Hall for a spot in “The Ultimate Fighter” 17 house.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Hester

Brewer: Hester

Okamoto: Hester

Rashid Magomedov

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 15-1
  • Out of: Dagestan, Russia
  • Betting line: -245

Tony Martin

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 8-0
  • Out of: St. Cloud, Minn.
  • Betting line: +205

Lightweight Bout

UFC Fight Pass Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Alexander Yakovlev at M1 Challenge 35.

Punch list: The upside: Magomedov has won eight straight fighting decent competition in Russia’s most well known mixed martial arts promotion. The downside: He’s done it at welterweight mean he’ll need to successfully negotiate a tough weight cut to stay sharp for his UFC career.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Magomedov

Cofield: Magomedov

Last fight: Submitted Thomas Gifford in the second round at 3 River Throwdown 4.

Punch list: The upside: He’s hardly encountered any trouble through eight professional fights, looking like a UFC-caliber fighter while racking up wins. The downside: He’s hardly encountered any trouble through eight professional fights, meaning adversity will be a new phenomenon on the sport’s biggest stage.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Martin

Brewer: Magomedov

Okamoto: Magomedov

Gasan Umalatov

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 14-2-1
  • Out of: Zinzeli, Russia
  • Betting line: -180

Neil Magny

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-2
  • MMA record 8-4
  • Out of: Denver
  • Betting line: +160

Welterweight Bout

UFC Fight Pass Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Gregor Herb at Battle of Moscow 12.

Punch list: The upside: A great grappler, Umalatov has seven career wins by submission. The downside: Most fighters ride a winning streak into the UFC, but “Cobra” is just one fight removed from a defeat.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Umalatov

Cofield: Umalatov

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Seth Baczynski at UFC Fight For The Troops 3.

Punch list: The upside: The UFC sees something in Magny to keep him around after two consecutive losses. The downside: Potential won’t matter if he loses another, as a cut will be imminent.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Umalatov

Brewer: Umalatov

Okamoto: Umalatov

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

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