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UFC on FX 7 heats up Brazil

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UFC on FX 7 Betting Preview at Bovada

Mixed martial arts bettors are in for a treat as Saturday's UFC on FX 7 card, headlined by a middleweight tussle between Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping, starts one of the busiest UFC stretches of the year with fights on three-straight weekends including title bouts on the next two Saturdays.

There is no championship up for grabs in Brazil, but it's a potentially huge fight for Bisping. Two results at UFC 155 on December 29 worked out in Bisping's favor: Tim Boetsch was upset by Constantinos Philippou via third-round TKO (punches) and Alan Belcher lost a unanimous decision to Yushin Okami.

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Boetsch and Belcher were both top middleweight contenders potentially in line to fight pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva later this year. Their losses have left the door open for Bisping to get the fight of his career against Silva, according to UFC president Dana White, should he beat Belfort. Silva, on a 17-fight winning streak, was last in the Octagon in October, beating Stephan Bonnar by TKO at light heavyweight. Silva last defended his middleweight crown in July 2012 with a second-round TKO of Chael Sonnen.

First things first for Bisping (23-4): secure the win Saturday. The Count has won five of his past six bouts. He was last seen beating Brian Stann by unanimous decision at UFC 152 in September. Bisping's lone loss in that six-fight stretch was to Sonnen by unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 2 last January. Only five of Bisping's 23 wins have gone to decision - 14 by KO/TKO - but three of his losses have been via that route. Bisping burst onto the UFC scene by beating Josh Haynes in 2006 for the Ultimate Fighter 3 Light-Heavyweight Title. Bisping's other three losses have been to some of UFC's biggest names: Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva.

Belfort (21-10) will have clear home-court advantage, if you will, as he hails from Brazil. He already got his shot at his countryman Silva, losing by first-round knockout at UFC 126 in February 2011. The Phenom followed that with first-round wins over Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anthony Johnson. However, in his last fight Belfort was submitted by Light-Heavyweight Champ Jon Jones in the fourth round of their UFC 152 matchup in September. Belfort took that fight on short notice and moved up in class for the chance at Jones, and Belfort nearly submitted Jones in the first round. A total of 67% of Belfort's wins have come by KO/TKO, while half his losses are by decision.

Currently at Bovada, Belfort is -135 with Bisping at +105. The line hasn't moved too much since an opening of -125/-105. The book is exposed on Belfort as he is taking nearly 57% of the action. Bisping was the -185 favorite against Stann and has been a dog just once in his past six: +320 against Sonnen (-425). Belfort was a huge +600 dog against Jones but was favored in the two bouts previous to that. He was a similar -135 favorite against Johnson, whom he submitted in the first round.

Also on the card is a light-heavyweight bout between American C.B. Dollaway, a finalist on the The Ultimate Fighter 7, and The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil star Daniel Sarafian in his UFC debut. Dollaway ended a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision victory over Jason Miller at UFC 146 in May. Sarafian (7-2) is on a four-fight winning streak and six of his seven wins have come by submission.

Sarafian is the -190 favorite at the book with Dollaway at +155. This line opened at -170/+140 and almost 90% of the action has come on Sarafian so the book is heavily exposed there.

Also on the main card is a heavyweight bout between Gabriel Gonzaga and Ben Rothwell. Gonzaga (13-6), also from Brazil, was set to fight at UFC 153 but dropped off the card after opponent Geronimo dos Santos did. It has thus been a year since Napao fought, beating Ednaldo Oliveira by first-round submission at UFC 142 last January. Gonzaga is probably best remembered for losing a Heavyweight Title bout against Randy Couture in August 2007.

Rothwell (32-8) was scheduled to fight Travis Browne at UFC on Fox 4 in August but had to withdraw due to an injured ankle. Rothwell, from Wisconsin, has alternated losses and wins in his past six bouts. He last fought in April, upsetting Brendan Schaub by first-round knockout. Gonzaga lost to Schaub by unanimous decision in October 2010.

Gonzaga is the -130 favorite at the book with Rothwell at even money; it opened at -135/+105. Rothwell is taking 78% of the action and the book is exposed there. Gonzaga was a similar favorite against Oliveira and was -150 when he was upset by Schaub. Rothwell was +205 against Schaub.

Bet on UFC on FX 7 at Bovada Sportsbook. Raise Your Game.

  
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