The Octagon returns to Atlantic City on Saturday night for the ninth time and the first time since 2014. The venue is Boardwalk Hall, where an 11-fight card will be contested.
The first fight of UFC Fight Night 128 will take place at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on UFC FIghtPass. The next 10 fights will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
The headliner is a lightweight scrap between fifth-ranked Edson Barboza and sixth-ranked Kevin Lee. As of late Friday afternoon, most books had the 25-year-old Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) listed as a -160 favorite, leaving Barboza at +130 on the comeback (risk $100 to win $130). The total was 2.5 rounds (‘over’ -145, ‘under’ +125).
Lee missed weight Friday morning when he hit the scales at 157 pounds, one pound heavier than the 156-pound allowance for non-title fights. ‘The Motown Phenom’ will forfeit 20 percent of his purse to Barboza.
Lee saw his five-fight winning streak snapped in the UFC 216 main event. Tony Ferguson defeated Lee by a triangle choke late in the third round to win the interim lightweight title.
Barboza (19-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) is a 32-year-old Muay Thai specialist who has the sickest kicking game in the entire lightweight loop. He has finished three fights with legkicks. The Brazilian has been awarded Fight of the Night honors six times and has two additional bonuses to his credit.
Barboza had won three fights in a row until dropping a lopsided unanimous decision to Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 219 co-main event on Dec. 30.
Best Bet: Barboza owns scalps over the likes of Beneil Dariush, Gilbert Melendez, Anthony Pettis, Paul Felder, Bobby Green, Evan Dunham, Danny Castillo and Ross Pearson. Lee has only beaten one fighter who is currently ranked, No. 9 Michael Chiesa. I liked Barboza before Lee clearly had a tough weight cut. I like him even more now. Give me five units on Barboza as a +130 underdog. Also, I’ll go with 1.5 units on ‘under’ 2.5 rounds (+125).
In the co-main event, Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson will collide in a rematch of an Edgar win by fifth-round submission (with four seconds left in the fight) in the UFC Austin headliner back in November of 2014. As of late Friday afternoon, most spots had Edgar (22-6-1 MMA, 16-6-1 UFC) installed as a -240 ‘chalk’ with Swanson as the +190 underdog. The total was 2.5 rounds (‘over’ -340, ‘under’ +290).
Edgar had never been finished in his career until Brian Ortega scored a first-round KO over ‘The Answer’ with a huge uppercut on March 3 at UFC 222. Swanson can relate because he’s off a second-round submission loss to Ortega.
Best Bet: I think Edgar wins, but he’s too expensive for my taste.
1- Give me one unit on Chase Sherman as a +280 underdog ([...]) to defeat Justin Willis.
2- Give me one unit on Sherman-Willis ‘under’ 1.5 rounds (+157).
3- One unit on David Branch as a +160 underdog to beat Thiago Santos.
4- One-half unit on Jim Miller as a +280 underdog defeat Dan Hooker.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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