The UFC heads to Fresno, California, for UFC Fight Night 123 with 13 thrilling bouts ready to take place on Saturday, December 9.
The event is headlined by a superb featherweight contest between fan-favorite Cub Swanson (25-7) and the rising Brian Ortega (12-0). Ortega, who is yet to be defeated in his career, has won four-straight contests in the UFC via third-round stoppage. As strange as it seems, Ortega is seemingly capable of turning his game up a level in the dying moments of a contest in order to secure a victory. This was vital against Clay Guida at UFC 199, a contest that Ortega was likely losing until the managed to finish Guida with 20 seconds remaining.
There’s no doubting that Cub Swanson is his toughest test to date, however.
After losing to Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway, Swanson has re-emerged as a top contender with four-straight victories. The most notable of these victories was an impressive performance against “The Korean Superboy” Doo Ho Choi at UFC 206 in which he won a unanimous decision. In fact, Swanson has won all four of his prior bouts via unanimous decision.
In the co-main event, Jason Knight (20-3) will face Gabriel Benitez (19-7) in a battle of two featherweights. Knight, who is known for his exciting trash-talking and in-your-face style recently had his four-fight winning streak snapped by Ricardo Lamas at UFC 214. With impressive wins over Daniel Hooker, Alex Caceres and Chas Skelly, Knight had worked himself into the UFC’s featherweight rankings and remains at #15 for this contest.
After featuring in The Ultimate Fighter Latin America Season 1, Benitez has struggled to find success in the UFC. His most recent wins over Clay Collard and Sam Sicilia were outdone by losses to Andre Fili and Enrique Barzola.
One of the most exciting matchups of the entire event is the intriguing contest between Aljamain Sterling and Marlon Moraes to determine bantamweight supremacy. Sterling, who was scheduled to fight Rani Yahya, was left without an opponent once Yahya announced his injury. Now, Moraes steps up to the plate not long after defeating John Dodson at UFC Fight Night 120. The winner of this contest will surely be boosted up near the top tier of the bantamweight rankings.
Rounding out the main card, Eryk Anders (9-0) will battle Markus Perez (9-0) in a fight between two undefeated middleweights. Benito Lopez (8-0) enters the UFC after featuring on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series to face Albert Morales (7-2-1). Scott Holtzman (10-2) and Darrell Horcher (13-2) will also stand toe-to-toe in a contest between two lightweights.
Predictions and Best Bets
Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega
Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega is sure to be a main event to remember.
Swanson and his seamless striking combinations will be tested by Ortega’s growing stand-up game and excellent jiu-jitsu.
Despite Ortega’s brilliant skills on the mat, he is never shy of a striking contest. “T-City” recently took many of Renato Moicano’s best strikes and continued to march forward before scoring his fourth third-round finish.
His forward-moving approach will match up well with Swanson, who prefers to fight while advancing. While moving backward, he isn’t as dangerous and Ortega can comfortably storm forward at Swanson without fear of being taken down.
While Swanson’s jiu-jitsu is to be respected, Ortega’s guard skills are on an entirely new level.
It’s just a matter of whether or not Ortega can get the finish. If he can’t, Swanson should be able to land enough strikes to convince the judges to side with him.
This fight is about as competitive as it gets, but we are certain that there is a betting edge on Cub Swanson going into this contest.
Bet: Cub Swanson to win
Odds: -110 (10/11, $1.90)
UFC Fight Night 123 fight card
UFC Fight Night 123 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm (11:30pm GMT) ET on Saturday, December 9.
FS1 (10:00 pm ET / 3:00 am GMT)
- Cub Swanson (-110) vs. Brian Ortega (+110)
- Jason Knight (-265) vs. Gabriel Benitez (+250)
- Marlon Moraes (-157) vs. Aljamain Sterling (+151)
- Scott Holtzman (+100) vs. Darrell Horcher (-106)
- Eryk Anders (-268) vs. Markus Perez (+237)
- Albert Morales (-108) vs. Benito Lopez (-104)
FS1 (8:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)
- Alexis Davis vs. Liz Carmouche
- Luke Sanders vs. Andre Soukhamthath
- Carls John De Tomas vs. Alex Perez
- Frankie Saenz vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Fight Pass Prelims
UFC Fight Pass (6:30 pm ET / 11:30 pm GMT)
- Alejandro Perez vs. Iuri Alcantara
- Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Davi Ramos
- Antonio Braga Neto vs. Trevin Giles