Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens UFC Fight Night 88 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 5/29/16
Stephens vs. Barao
UFC: Sunday, May 29, 2016 (Mandalay Bay Events Center)
The Line: Stephens +140 / Barao -160 Over/Under: 2.5 See the Latest Odds
Renan Barao and Jeremy Stephens fight Sunday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in UFC Fight Night 88.
Renan Barao enters this fight with a 35-3 record and has won 43 percent of his fights by submission. Barao has split his last four fights and is coming off a July loss to T.J. Dillashaw. Barao is averaging 3.65 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 34.3 percent. Barao is averaging 1.25 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 44.8 percent. This will be Barao’s first fight at featherweight as he felt he could no longer fight at bantamweight due to running out of gas later in the fight. Barao has been knocked out twice in his last three bouts, and both of those fights were in the fourth round or later. It will be interesting to see how the weight change will affect the Barao we’ve seen lately. This will be Barao’s fourth fight in Las Vegas.
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Jeremy Stephens enters this fight with a 24-12 record and has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout. Stephens has split his last eight fights and is coming off a December loss to Max Holloway. Stephens is averaging 2.77 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 44.2 percent. Stephens is averaging 1.49 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 37.5 percent. Stephens predicts he’s going to knockout Barao, and he has the potential to do so with a strong striking game and a heavy right hand. Stephens will want this fight standing up, and he’s at an advantage on his feet. Problem is Stephens is knockout or bust, as he’s lost five of his last seven decisions. This will be Stephens’ 11th fight in Las Vegas.
Stephens has more potential to end this fight with one swing, but his current form makes him hard to trust as he hasn’t shown he can consistently win a fight without landing that big hit. The change in weight classes should help Barao and get him back to the fighter we’re used to seeing.
Fight could go either way but I’m going to side with Barao simply because he’s easier to trust.