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UFC Fight Night 65 preview: 5 storylines to watch, betting odds & predictions

By Ryan Frederick, WrestlingObserver.com

The UFC travels to South Australia for the first time this weekend as UFC Fight Night 65 takes place in Adelaide, Australia. It will be airing on UFC Fight Pass on Saturday night for fans in North America, and will have an unusual morning start time on a Sunday in Adelaide, and an afternoon start to the main card. The main card airs on Saturday at 11 PM ET, with a start time of 7:45 PM ET for the preliminary card. The event will be headlined by a five-round heavyweight main event between excellent strikers as Stipe Miocic takes on Mark Hunt. Let's take a deeper look into the night's card as we look at five storylines heading into the event.

1. What is at stake in the main event?

Stipe Miocic and Mark Hunt both find themselves in an interesting position as they head into the main event of UFC Fight Night 65. Miocic is coming off a loss to Junior Dos Santos in an excellent fight. It ended a three-fight win streak, and a win over Dos Santos may have put him next in line for a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship. As it stands now, he needs to start a new win streak to get in position for another chance to earn a title shot.

Hunt fought Fabricio Werdum for the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 180 in November. He took the fight on short notice and had a lot of personal issues heading into the bout, and it resulted in him suffering a second-round knockout loss at the hands of Werdum. Thus, the Hunt For The Gold came up short, and it seemed like he had a lot going on back at home. Hunt has always been a tough fighter, but have the outside of the Octagon issues taken its' toll?

With this fight being scheduled for five rounds, and both being tough and durable, it's easy to imagine that this will go five rounds. The last time Australia had a fight go five rounds it resulted in a classic bout between Hunt and Antonio Silva. This has the chance to rival that bout on paper. Miocic is the better overall fighter of the two, but Hunt has that vicious power that will always keep him in fights. Hunt has still won only one of his last three fights while Miocic is on a better streak, but he has come up short when facing the tougher competition. Can Miocic wear Hunt down, or will Hunt deliver another one of his signature walk-off knockouts? A lot is riding on the line for both men in this fight.

2. Jake Matthews and James Vick are both undefeated. Who leaves that way?

Jake Matthews and James Vick are two lightweights with undefeated records as they head into their bout on Saturday when they open the main card in Adelaide. Matthews is the youngest fighter on the UFC roster at just 20-years-old, and he enters Saturday night with a perfect 8-0 record. He has two submission wins in his two UFC appearances, finishing Dashon Johnson and Vagner Rocha. Matthews holds the best opportunity for the UFC to make a home-grown star in Australia, and he will be getting a step ip in competition against Vick.

Vick is eight years older than Matthews but has less fight experience. He competed on season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter, making it all the way to the semi-finals. He lost, and then was out of action due to injuries. He defeated Ramsey Nijem in his official UFC debut, but then was out of action for another year due to injuries. He has since been injury-free and came back with wins over Valmir Lazaro and Nick Hein.

Matthews is the prospect the UFC is building up, and if he is going to become an elite fighter inside the Octagon, he should be able to get by Vick. Vick is a tough competitor, but he hasn't been as tested as he will be when he faces Matthews. With both men having a combined 15 wins in 15 fights, it's going to spell the end of someone's perfect record. I like Matthews in this fight as he has all of the tools to become an excellent contender at 155 pounds.

3. Can Hatsu Hioki get back on track following a tough stretch?

Hatsu Hioki came into the UFC primed to contend in the featherweight division. He was 24-4-2 when he signed with the UFC, and was entering the Octagon having won nine of his previous ten fights. It was expected that with a couple of wins that Hioki would be challenging Jose Aldo for the UFC Featherweight Championship. He scored back-to-back decision wins to start his UFC career with a close, debated split decision win over George Roop, but then a more dominant unanimous decision win over Bart Palaszewski. It was then that Hioki was offered a chance to fight Aldo for the title.

He turned the chance down, saying he needed more UFC experience to be able to properly challenge Aldo. That may have been the biggest mistake of his career as it is now doubtful that he will ever get the chance to fight for the title, and he is hanging on for his UFC career now. He has lost four of five fights and fallen way out of contender status. He lost three straight after turning down the Aldo fight, losing to Ricardo Lamas, Clay Guida and Darren Elkins. He bounced back with a win over Ivan Menjivar, but was submitted by Charles Oliveira in his last bout in June.

Hioki will be taking on Dan Hooker in the featured preliminary bout. He is the least-known fighter that Hioki has fought in the UFC, and a fight he is favored to win. However, Hioki being a disappointment inside the Octagon means this isn't a guaranteed victory. Hioki will need to use his takedowns and submission skills to get the best of Hooker. He can get back on track with a win over Hooker, but his chance to fight for the title has slipped away.

4. Who is one fighter to keep an eye on?

 

The preliminary card is full of some good match-ups. Our one fighter to keep an eye on at UFC Fight Night 65 is actually Jake Matthews, but we have already discussed him. We will turn to someone who is making their UFC debut in the preliminary card- Jonavin Webb. Webb is an injury replacement, but he will enter the UFC with a perfect 8-0 record. He has fought all of his fights for the Cage Fury Fighting Championships promotion in the northeast, a promotion that has seen a lot of talent signed by the UFC. Webb will be taking on Kyle Noke, who will have the crowd behind him as he is a native of Australia. Webb is only a slight underdog against Noke despite taking the fight on late notice, which shows how much potential he has.

Other fighters we want to keep an eye on are Sam Alvey, who has scored two straight first-round knockout wins. He takes on undefeated Australian Dan Kelly, a fight that Alvey actually asked for following his last win (which left many fight fans confused as to why). Alvey has charisma and has shown some solid power lately. We will also watch Kailin Curran, who is making her second appearance inside the Octagon. She is coming off a defeat at the hands of Paige VanZant, but that was a fight that got a lot of attention for various reasons. She is young and will only be fighting for the fifth time in her career, but she has potential to compete in the women's strawweight division. She takes on Alex Chambers.

5. What fight has the chance to be fight of the night?

There are a lot of fights on the UFC Fight Night 65 card that have a good chance at ending up being fight of the night. The main event has the chance to be an explosive battle, but don't overlook the semi-main event between Brad Tavares and Robert Whittaker. Tavares is on the fringe of being in the top 15 of the rankings, but he is still looking to get back on track after a two-fight losing streak ended a five-fight win streak. He is looking for his second straight win after defeating Nate Marquardt in January. Whittaker had mild success in the UFC's welterweight divison, but he is looking for his second straight win in his move to the middleweight divison, and his third straight victory overall after scoring wins over Mike Rhodes and Clint Hester. Both men like to trade on the feet and have solid striking, and this one has the makings of being the fight of the night.

Full UFC Fight Night 65 Fight Card, Betting Odds & Predictions

MAIN CARD (UFC FIGHT PASS- 11 PM ET/8 PM PT) 


Heavyweights: Stipe Miocic vs. Mark Hunt 

Betting Odds: Miocic (-225), Hunt (+185)
Prediction: Miocic by decision

Middleweights: Brad Tavares vs. Robert Whittaker
Betting Odds:
Tavares (-160), Whittaker (+140)
Prediction: Tavares by decision

Light Heavyweights: Anthony Perosh vs. Sean O'Connell
Betting Odds:
Perosh (-170), O'Connell (+150)
Prediction: Perosh by submission in round 1

Lightweights: Jake Matthews vs. James Vick
Betting Odds:
Matthews (-165), Vick (+145)
Prediction: Matthews by submission in round 2

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC FIGHT PASS- 7:45 PM ET/4:45 PM PT) 


Featherweights: Hatsu Hioki vs. Dan Hooker
Betting Odds:
Hioki (-280), Hooker (+240)
Prediction: Hioki by decision

Welterweights: Kyle Noke vs. Jonavin Webb
Betting Odds:
Noke (-120), Webb (+100)
Prediction: Noke by decision

Middleweights: Dan Kelly vs. Sam Alvey
Betting Odds:
Kelly (+325), Alvey (-400)
Prediction: Alvey by knockout in round 1

Women's Strawweights: Bec Rawlings vs. Lisa Ellis
Betting Odds:
Rawlings (-155), Ellis (+135)
Prediction: Rawlings by decision

Middleweights: Dylan Andrews vs. Brad Scott
Betting Odds:
Andrews (-105), Scott (-115)
Prediction: Andrews by knockout in round 2

Women's Strawweights: Alex Chambers vs. Kailin Curran
Betting Odds:
Chambers (+165), Curran (-190)
Prediction: Curran by decision

Welterweights: Vik Grujic vs. Brendan O'Reilly
Betting Odds:
Grujic (-120), O'Reilly (+100)
Prediction: O'Reilly by decision

Featherweights: Alptekin Ozkilic vs. Ben Nguyen
Betting Odds:
Ozkilic (-185), Nguyen (+160)
Prediction: Nguyen by decision