UFC Fight Night 112 tips: Best bets as Chiesa and Lee face off in Oklahoma City
We make our picks for a main event fuelled by bad blood, plus the rest of the top fights on the card...
Michael Chiesa v Kevin Lee
Don’t expect a knockout in this match-up of submission specialists.
Lee, at 24, is one of the rising stars of the lightweight division.
He’s riding a four-fight win streak and three consecutive stoppages, and has only lost twice in his 17-fight MMA career.
But Chiesa is the best opponent he has faced to date, and the 29-year-old is coming off impressive wins over Jim Miller and Beneil Dariush.
Chiesa hasn’t appeared in the Octagon since last April, though, and could suffer from some ring rust.
A slow start will likely prove costly for the 29-year-old in a bout that will probably go the distance, given that these fighters have just one knockout victory between them.
Expect Lee – the faster, more technical striker – to edge the battle on the feet, and his ground-and-pound skills should also allow him to control Chiesa when the fight eventually goes to the mat.
Best bet: Lee to win by decision at
Johny Hendricks v Tim Boetsch
After years of struggling to make the welterweight limit, Hendricks moved up to middleweight for his fight against Hector Lombard in February and looked like a fighter reborn.
The former champion won the vast majority of exchanges on the feet and eased to a unanimous decision victory.
Bigg Rigg looks to have a future in this division, but now faces a difficult test in Botesch, who will hold a significant height and reach advantage.
The 36-year-old earned back-to-back stoppage wins over Rafael Natal and Josh Samman before he was submitted by Jacare Souza – one of the elite middleweights – in February.
Boetsch has, however, lost seven of his last 11 fights, and has been stopped four times in his career.
Hendricks should have the class to beat him on Saturday night, although this bout will also likely go to a decision considering just one of the 33-year-old’s last nine have ended inside the distance.
Best bet: Hendricks to win by decision at
Tim Means v Alex Garcia
Means lost his last fight – a rematch of a no contest against Alex Oliveira – but he was carrying an injury into that bout and fractured his foot on a checked kick.
Assuming he’s fully recovered, the American should be able to put away Garcia relatively comfortably.
Means possesses a five-inch height advantage over his Dominican opponent, and the former professional boxer will use that to great effect.
Garcia’s stocky frame means he is liable to run out of gas early on, and if he can’t get inside the bigger man’s reach he will have little chance.
Means has finished 22 of his 26 wins inside the distance, and a stoppage in the second or third round looks the likeliest outcome on Saturday night.
Best bet: Means to win inside the distance at
BJ Penn v Dennis Siver
The once-great Penn has been hard to watch over the past few years.
He’s won just once in eight fights since April 2010, losing on six occasions including three defeats to Frankie Edgar.
Against fellow 38-year-old Dennis Siver, however, he has a chance to end his career on a high.
While Penn has fought just once since 2014 – a KO defeat to frightening featherweight prospect Yair Rodriguez – Siver has been out of action since back-to-back losses to Conor McGregor and Tatsuya Kawajiri in 2015.
The German was never an elite fighter in the UFC and has done little to justify his clear favourite’s tag in this bout.
If Penn has anything left, he should have the class to beat Siver on the feet.
He’s worth the punt at this price.
Best bet: Penn to win at