Last Updated: 2017-11-08
After a thrilling weekend of fights at UFC 217, including a couple of surprising title winners, the focus shifts to UFC Fight Night 120, which features a main event between Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia. The rest of the UFC calendar for 2017 is loaded with events and this is a pretty solid fight night card, despite the loss of the scheduled fight between Jared Cannonier and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
We’ll give an overview of the prelims and then focus on the main card with help from the odds over at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
This is a very big card with 13 fights. There are three fights on the UFC Fight Pass portion of the show, with Darren Stewart (+180) is a sizable dog to Karl Roberson (-220) to start things off in the middleweight division. Jake Collier (+190) is in a similar role against Marcel Fortuna (-230). Welterweight Sean Strickland (-240) is a clear favorite over Court McGee (+200).
The card moves over to Fox Sports 1 with a women’s strawweight battle between Angela Hill (-200) at Nina Ansaroff (+170). Remember when Sage Northcutt was the next big thing? Northcutt is just a -170 favorite against Michel Quinones, who lost his UFC debut back in late June. In the second and final women’s fight of the night, Tatiana Suarez (-275) is expected to take care of Viviane Pereira (+235) in the strawweight division. John Dodson is a short favorite (-120) against Marlon Moraes in what should be a good segue to the main card action.
Clay Guida (-125) vs. Joe Lauzon (+105); Total: 2.5 (-170/150)
Two very experienced fighters square off in this one between Clay Guida and Joe Lauzon. Guida has 50 professional fights and Lauzon has 40. Guida is looking for consecutive wins for the first time since 2011 when he beat Takanori Gomi and Anthony Pettis, who headlines this card, in January and June, respectively. Guida hasn’t won a fight by stoppage since that win over Gomi nearly seven years ago, so it is a little bit surprising to see him priced as a favorite here. He is still a savvy, experienced fighter, but each of his last four losses have been by stoppage, so he has been susceptible to some shots.
Joe Lauzon has alternated losses and wins over his last five fights, but each of his last three outcomes could have gone either way. He lost by majority decision to Stevie Ray back in April and won by split decision over Marcin Held in January. He also lost to Jim Miller by a split decision last August. It feels like an eternity ago when Lauzon knocked out Diego Sanchez at UFC 200. Lauzon is the younger, lankier fighter in this contest, which will be fought on the ground. Seventeen of Lauzon’s 27 wins are by submission. Fifteen of Guida’s 33 are from subs.
Pick: Joe Lauzon (+105)
In what looks like a fight that will mostly be a battle for top control on the ground, Lauzon should be the stronger fighter, simply because he is a bit younger and has been fighting some better competition in recent matchups. Lauzon also showed in that win over Sanchez that he still has a little bit of power. Guida hasn’t shown that same attribute lately.
Matthew Lopez (+275) vs. Raphael Assuncao (-335); Total: 2.5 (-240/200)
Matthew Lopez is 2-1 in his UFC career with wins over Johnny Eduardo and Mitch Gagnon after his promotional debut ended with a submission loss to Rani Yahya. Despite eight stoppage wins in his 11 decisions, this fight is expected to go the distance per the betting odds, which will be a test for Lopez against a more accomplished fighter like Raphael Assuncao. Lopez started his career 8-0, including several wins in RFA, but then lost that Yahya fight in his debut. Given how he has bounced back, and with his undercard placement at UFC 212 and UFC 206, there still seems to be a good amount of intrigue in the 30-year-old. Perhaps he’s a bit more of a live dog here than the line would indicate.
On the other hand, Raphael Assuncao has fought some extremely good competition and has had a lot of success against it. Assuncao is 25-5 in his career and he simply controls fights. Assuncao has only been stopped twice, once by knockout and once by sub. He’s got 13 of those wins himself. But, decisions are Assuncao’s thing now in his mid-30s. Assuncao is 12-3 in fights that go to the scorecards, including recent wins over Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling. He took TJ Dillashaw, who just upset Cody Garbrandt last weekend, the distance at UFC 200 in a losing effort. Assuncao just controls fights and he should be able to do that against a less experienced combatant here.
Free Pick: Raphael Assuncao (-335)
This is chalky, but Assuncao looks like a parlay piece with some of the undercard fighters. If Lopez had more striking power and had shown it against better fighters, he’d be a lot more attractive as a dog, but Assuncao should maintain the pace and the balance of this fight and coast to a decision win.
Nate Marquardt (+240) vs. Cezar Ferreira (-280); Total: 1.5 (-200/170)
Nate Marquardt’s career appears to be in the sunset stage. The 38-year-old owns a 35-18-2 career record and has been a tremendous warrior for the sport, but things are winding down. This year, Marquardt has shown a lack of striking power in decision losses to Vitor Belfort and Sam Alvey. This is a guy who has had a stoppage outcome in 34 of his fights and has come out on top in 27 of those. Going the distance is not really his thing, but he just doesn’t have the punching power or the strength on the ground at this point. He isn’t taking on a very accomplished fighter, so the line tells you everything you need to know.
Cezar Ferreira is only 11-6 in his career and he has been knocked out four times. His most recent fight was a decision loss to Elias Theodorou back in February. Prior to that, he had won three straight, including nice wins over Jack Hermansson and Oluwale Bamgbose to bounce back from getting knocked out by Jorge Masvidal at the TUF 21 finale. Ferreira doesn’t have anything really special that stands out, but he has six years and some reach on Marquardt. A lot of people will probably see Marquardt as an attractive dog here, given that Ferreira isn’t really a finisher and has shown a weak chin at times.
Free Pick: Nate Marquardt (+240)
It’s worth taking a shot on Marquardt to see if he can turn back the clock. The 38-year-old has a long list of achievements over far better fighters than Ferreira. He may not have it in him anymore, but I’d rather take a shot on the +240 than pay the -280 to see it.
Andrei Arlovski (+240) vs. Junior Albini (-280); Total: 1.5 (135/-155)
Being this big of an underdog to a guy making just his second career UFC appearance is pretty significant. Andrei Arlovski is really stepping down in class in a big way here and his favorite is still priced at nearly three dollars. Arlovski’s last five fights, all losses, have been against Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Francis Ngannou, and Marcin Tybura. He was knocked out in three of them and forced to submit in the main event of the other. At 38, with 40 professional fights to his name, Arlovski may just be done, as this line indicates.
Junior Albini is 14-2 in his career and won his UFC debut with a pretty emphatic knockout of Timothy Johnson back in July. The 26-year-old last loston August 18, 2012 when he was forced to tap at the Nitrix Champion Fight 12 event. Since then, he hasn’t beaten any household names, but he has taken care of business in a wide variety of ways. Albini has six knockouts and six submission wins, to go along with two decision triumphs. He’s a versatile heavyweight and also 12 years younger than Arlovski.
Free Pick: Junior Albini (-280)
This looks like a swan song type of fight for Andrei Arlovski. This is a talented, but largely unaccomplished, youngster that he is fighting after fighting some of the division’s top names. If he gets dominated here, which certainly appears to be a possibility, it might be time to consider some other arrangements.
Diego Sanchez (+300) vs. Matt Brown (-360); Total: 2.5 (125/-145)
The line on this fight is certainly interesting. Diego Sanchez is coming off of a fight that may have exposed just how far he has fallen. The 35-year-old was knocked out in the first round for the second time in his last three fights. Joe Lauzon delivered the first one and Al Iaquinta delivered the second one. Sanchez has not won a fight by stoppage since 2008 when he beat Luigi Fioravanti at TUF 7. There are a lot of decisions in that span and a good chunk of them have not gone in Sanchez’s favor. You know it is notable when a fighter with a 20-16 professional record is favored by this much.
But, Matt Brown deserves it. The 36-year-old has lost four of his last five fights, but Donald Cerrone, Jake Ellenberger, Demian Maia, Tim Means, and Johny Hendricks are better than any fighters on Sanchez’s ledger. Brown has been fighting at welterweight since 2008. Sanchez is moving back to welterweight for this fight. That, in and of itself, should give Brown a pretty good advantage in this contest.
Free Pick: Matt Brown (-360)
Here’s one of those parlay pieces to throw with Raphael Assuncao. Brown has been knocked out in his last two fights and forced to submit in another. Sanchez doesn’t have that kind of striking power or that type of quickness anymore. This is a good fight for Brown to get back on track.
Dustin Poirier (+105) vs. Anthony Pettis (-125); Total: 2.5 (-115/-105)
Does the winner of this match get a lightweight title shot down the line? This will be the first fight for Dustin Poirier since his bout against Eddie Alvarez was ruled No Contest at UFC 2011. Poirier is 21-5 overall with a pretty good list of accomplishments at the UFC level, but Anthony Pettis is probably the most athletic and most well-rounded fighter that he has faced in his career. Michael Johnson might be the closest comp, but we didn’t get to see much from Poirier in that one because he was knocked out in the first round.
Anthony Pettis is fighting at lightweight once again. After an embarrassing scenario by missing weight against Max Holloway at UFC 206, Pettis is now fighting for the second straight time at 155 pounds. The 30-year-old is 20-6 in his career and needs to start advancing again. This is a guy that had title fights against the likes of Benson Henderson, Gilbert Melendez, and Rafael dos Anjos earlier in his career. This is a must-win fight for Pettis if he wants to sniff another shot at a belt. With three losses in his last five fights, Pettis should be as motivated as he’ll ever be.
Free Pick: Anthony Pettis (-125)
This one is pretty close to a toss-up, as the line would indicate. These are two very good fighters and this will be the best fight of what is a little bit of a weak main card, at least per the betting odds. This one could go any way, but with Pettis at lightweight again after a pretty convincing win over Jim Miller, it seems like he has found the right fighting weight.