On January 19th, 2013 the UFC returns to Sao Paulo, Brazil with their card for UFC on FX 7, headlined by the match between Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort. The card is heavy on Brazilian talent, and features an interesting battle of mid level Heavyweights who have been off for a while as Gabriel Gonzaga faces Ben Rothwell. Both men are in need of a win, as their lackluster performances so far in the UFC may put the loser at risk of being cut from the UFC.
The odds should be hitting the all the books in early January and you can look for Rothwell to come in favored slightly. Some books have Rothwell at -140 with +100 comeback on Gonzaga, so it is close to a pick ‘em fight a few weeks out.
Gonzaga is a talented fighter who had a long UFC run from 2005-2010. Gonzaga had some solid wins early on in his career, but he has never really beaten an upper echelon UFC fighter. Last January at the UFC event in Brazil headlined by Chad Mendes versus Jose Aldo, he returned to the UFC after being cut with a win over Ednaldo Oliveira. Gonzaga has been off ever since, which means over a year between fights.
Rothwell is going to be bigger and have more reach, right off the bat. Rothwell is coming off a long layoff as well, not having entered the octagon since an April of 2012 win over Brendan Schaub where he erased him in 70 seconds. He was scheduled to fight Travis Browne in August, but pulled out due to an ankle injury.
Rothwell needs to string together a couple of wins, and he has fought on the road before. Gonzaga will have the home field advantage.
at about even money, where this fight is likely to stay, the best play might be to stay away from the action. It really comes down to which fighter has his head on straight and brings his ‘A’ game. If they both are in top form, we will be in for a hell of a match, but if history repeats itself, one or the other will have an off day. It is a tough match to call.