MMA action will travel overseas this weekend when the UFC returns to the United Kingdom for UFC 138. Headlining the card will be a five-round Middleweight contender match between “The Crippler” Chris Leben and rising star Mark Munoz. Munoz could find himself in a title shot situation with a win, while Leben will force Joe Silva to consider him for another crack at the Middleweight strap in the future if he can beat the odds for his fifth win in his last six fights.
Oddsmakers at the Bodog Sportsbook opened the betting on Munoz with a -205 moneyline price but action has driven that line up to its current -260. MMA bettors are opting for Munoz for one very important reason, his wrestling skills. The NCAA title holder will bring the one thing that Chris Leben has had difficulty with his entire career, and Munoz will bring it better than Leben’s seen before.
Leben is one of the toughest Middleweights we’ve ever seen in the Octagon, but UFC oddsmakers at the Bodog Sportsbook don’t think that tough will be enough this Saturday night. As a +200 underdog, Leben will need to land a big shot and stop Munoz to earn a victory. The payout on the upset has climbed up from the initial +165 line, indicating that Leben has few believers against his young hungry opponent.
Leben has shown improvement in his takedown defense and ground game over the last couple of years, and if he’s able to keep the fight standing he has a decent chance of landing a big shot. If he’s able to take what Munoz dishes out, his toughness could be enough to frustrate his opponent into making a mistake.
The remainder of the UFC 138 fight card features a couple of UFC debuts by highly-anticipated newcomers. First the undefeated Swedish Welterweight Papy Abedi will have a tough welcome to the UFC against former title contender Thiago Alves. Then Brazilian Bantamweight sensation Renan Barao finally steps into the Octagon against local submission specialist Brad Pickett.
Rounding out the main card will be local fighters Terry Etim and Paul Taylor. Etim will face Edward Faaloloto, while Taylor hopes to put on a show against Anthony Njokuani.