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UFC Fight Night 73 Preview: 5 storylines to watch, betting odds & predictions

By Ryan Frederick, WrestlingObserver.com

The UFC returns yet again this weekend for a free event on FOX Sports 1 as the Octagon heads back to Tennessee, stopping in Nashville for UFC Fight Night 73. The main card airs on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday at 10 PM eastern time. Preliminary action kicks off on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 PM eastern time before moving over to FOX Sports 2 for additional preliminary action at 8 PM eastern time.

The event will be headlined by a five-round bout in the light heavyweight division as former title challenger Glover Teixeira looks to snap a two-fight losing streak when he faces rising contender Ovince Saint Preux. In the night's co-main event, it will be lightweights in action as Michael Johnson and Beneil Dariush both look to score their fifth straight win and move into the title hunt. Also on the card are such notables as Uriah Hall, Derek Brunson, Ray Borg, Dustin Ortiz, Amanda Nunes and Sara McMann. Let's dive deeper into the 13-fight card as we look at five storylines to keep an eye on for UFC Fight Night 73.

1. Can Glover Teixeira snap his two-fight losing skid in the main event against Ovince Saint Preux?

Glover Teixeira has had back luck as of late and is looking to right the ship on Saturday night when he steps foot inside the Octagon for the main event of UFC Fight Night 73. Teixeira has lost two straight fights after winning 18 straight, including his first five in the UFC, that led to him challenging for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, held at the time by Jon Jones, at UFC 172 in April 2014. While he took Jones the distance, Teixeira was unable to do much against Jones as Jones was able to retain the championship, winning all five rounds on all three scorecards. Teixeira then dropped his last fight to Phil Davis, losing a decision in dropping all three rounds on all three scorecards. After losing not just his last two fights, but all eight rounds, and with having two fights cancelled due to injury, Teixeira returns from a ten-month layoff wanting to start a new win streak.

Teixeira's opponent in the main event is Ovince Saint Preux, winner of two straight and 15 of his last 17. Saint Preux's last two wins have come by knockout in the first round. He got a TKO win over Mauricio Rua in just 34 seconds at UFC Fight Night 56 in November, then finished Patrick Cummins at UFC On FOX 15 in April. Saint Preux has been impressive in winning seven of his last eight fights by stoppage, and after a slow start to his career when he started with just a 3-4 record, his only two losses since 2009 have come to Gegard Mousasi and Ryan Bader, both of whom are contenders in their divisions in the UFC. Saint Preux has rised to sixth in the UFC's rankings, and he gets the third main event of his short UFC career in Nashville, which is big for him as he played football at the University of Tennessee.

These are two big light heavyweights with finishing ability and they could provide an entertaining 25-minute bout. Saint Preux has a four-inch reach advantage and both have shown knockout power. Teixeira has a better ground game and Saint Preux can be taken down if there are openings. Teixeira was really outmatched by Davis, and Saint Preux may be a more powerful Davis, at least on the feet. It is really a close fight on paper and on the betting odds. Saint Preux being more impressive lately and fighting in his home state may give him the slight edge, but Teixeira is a tough opponent. Teixeira will likely be permanently out of the title picture with a loss, but a win gives him new life in a current post-Jones light heavyweight division. I like Teixeira by decision in a close fight that goes the distance.

2. Who makes it five straight in the night's co-main event?

The co-main event is an interesting lightweight bout between ranked fighters as fifth-ranked Michael Johnson and 12th-ranked Beneil Dariush put their respective four-fight win streaks on the line. Johnson was briefly linked to a bout with Benson Henderson for an event last month, but when that fell apart due to injury, Johnson was booked with the less-known but equally dangerous Dariush. Johnson has won his four straight over Joe Lauzon, Gleison Tibau, Melvin Guillard and Edson Barboza, while Dariush's win streak has come over Tony Martin, Carlos Diego Ferreira, Daron Cruickshank and Jim Miller. While Johnson's win streak has come over higher-profile competition, Dariush's may be more impressive as he has been more dominant with the four wins in less than a year, and he has two wins since Johnson last fought.

Johnson has put together the tools many thought he had when he made it to the finals of season twelve of The Ultimate Fighter. He was inconsistent in going just 4-4 in his first eight UFC bouts, but the four wins have shown he has improved greatly under the guidance of the Blackzilians. Dariush comes from a top camp in the Kings MMA group, and with eleven wins in twelve fights including eight by stoppage, he is a solid prospect making the jump up. Both men are under 30 years of age, and both have bright futures in the UFC. A win makes a solid contender in a crowded 155-pound division while the loser won't take much of a step back. I like the experience of Johnson to give him the win in this bout.

3. Will Ray Borg's potential continue to show?

Ray Borg is celebrating his 22nd birthday this fight week, and he still remains one of the youngest and brightest prospects in all of the UFC. Borg will be stepping inside the Octagon for the fourth time in his career, and he is looking to score his third straight win. He has scored back-to-back submission wins over Shane Howell and Chris Kelades that have netted him two "Performance Of The Night" bonus awards. His lone loss in the UFC, and in his career, came in a split decision loss to Dustin Ortiz in his Octagon debut, a fight he took on just eight days' notice after having fought just two weeks prior.

Borg being so young and raw with an exciting style has fans talking of him being a future title contender, and his fights have been among some of the fun flyweight contests over the past year. He meets Geane Herrera in this bout, a man making his UFC debut. Herrera enters the UFC with a perfect 8-0 record and six stoppage wins, with five by submission. These men are both entertaining, and they get the main card opener slot on FOX Sports 1. It should be an entertaining fight between two young prospects. Borg having the experience in the Octagon, coupled with the potential he has shown, will give him the edge. You could be seeing a future title challenger in him.

4. Will the stocks of Uriah Hall and Sara McMann ever go back up?

When Uriah Hall and Sara McMann both entered the UFC, they came with a lot of hype as future title challengers. Hall was a killer on season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter", but he came up short in the finals against Kelvin Gastelum. He then lost his next fight to John Howard, but then bounced back with three straight wins, two coming by stoppage after dominating performances. He looked to have righted the ship, but then looked like the Hall who lost two straight when he dropped a decision to Rafael Natal at UFC 187 in May. While all three losses have been by split decisions, he has looked different in them, perhaps due to the stiffer competition. He fights the debuting Oluwale Bamgbose, who is taking the fight on short notice. He is 5-0 with five first-round TKO wins, and while he will be a tough opponent for Hall, this is his chance to bounce back.

McMann is in a different position. She has fought for the title, losing by first-round TKO to Ronda Rousey at UFC 170 in February 2014. She had won the first seven fights in her career until then, and she hasn't necessarily looked the same since. While she won her next fight over Lauren Murphy, it was a split decision where she didn't look all that impressive. She then lost her last fight to Miesha Tate by majority decision at UFC 183 in January. She dominated the first round but then dropped the last two, and is now 1-2 in her last three after starting 7-0. She has been outspoken about the business practices of the UFC, and she isn't someone who promotes her fights, so perhaps that is why she isn't as recognized despite being the fourth-ranked fighter in the division. She has a tough fight against Amanda Nunes, one that could easily favor Nunes, who is a power striker, but also tends to fade in long fights. McMann needs to use her wrestling to stifle Nunes on the feet if she wants to bounce back with a win.

5. What else is there to watch for on the card?

The main card for this event may not be huge on star power, but it has some compelling match-ups. Middleweights Derek Brunson and Sam Alvey put their win streaks on the line when they square off. Brunson has won two straight while Alvey has won three straight. Heavyweights Jared Rosholt and Timothy Johnson look to score another knockout win inside the Octagon, and middleweights Chris Camozzi and Tom Watson look to get back on track after a string of bad luck.

In various preliminary action, flyweights Dustin Ortiz and Willie Gates look to establish themselves in the 125-pound division. Gates takes the fight on short notice after Ortiz' original opponent, Ian McCall, was forced out due to injury. Sirwan Kakai looks to extend his three-fight win streak as he makes a quick turnaround against Frankie Saenz. In the opener, Tennessee native Scott Holtzman makes his UFC debut with a 7-0 record against Anthony Christodoulou. The night is set up to what should be a solid night of action.

Full UFC Fight Night 73 Fight Card, Betting Odds and Predictions


Light Heavyweights: (#4) Glover Teixeira vs. (#6) Ovince Saint Preux
Betting Odds: Teixeira (-120), Saint Preux (+100)
Prediction: Teixeira by decision

Lightweights: (#5) Michael Johnson vs. (#12) Beneil Dariush
Betting Odds: Johnson (-160), Dariush (+140)
Prediction: Johnson by decision

Middleweights: (#15) Derek Brunson vs. Sam Alvey
Betting Odds: Brunson (-430), Alvey (+345)
Prediction: Brunson by submission in round 2

Heavyweights: Jared Rosholt vs. Timothy Johnson
Betting Odds: Rosholt (-245), Johnson (+205)
Prediction: Rosholt by knockout in round 2

Women's Bantamweights: (#4) Sara McMann vs. (#7) Amanda Nunes
Betting Odds: McMann (-255), Nunes (+215)
Prediction: McMann by decision

Flyweights: (#14) Ray Borg vs. Geana Herrera
Betting Odds: Borg (-470), Herrera (+375)
Prediction: Borg by submission in round 1


Middleweights: Uriah Hall vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
Betting Odds: Hall (-420), Bamgbose (+335)
Prediction: Hall by knockout in round 2

Middleweights: Chris Camozzi vs. Tom Watson
Betting Odds: Camozzi (-150), Watson (+130)
Prediction: Watson by decision

Flyweights: (#11) Dustin Ortiz vs. Willie Gates
Betting Odds: Ortiz (-440), Gates (+350)
Prediction: Gates by decision

Bantamweights: (#14) Frankie Saenz vs. Sirwan Kakai
Betting Odds: Saenz (-130), Kakai (+110)
Prediction: Kakai by decision


Light Heavyweights: Chris Dempsey vs. Jonathan Wilson
Betting Odds: Dempsey (+150), Wilson (-170)
Prediction: Wilson by knockout in round 2

Bantamweights: Marlon Vera vs. Roman Salazar
Betting Odds: Vera (-130), Salazar (+110)
Prediction: Vera by decision

Lightweights: Anthony Christodoulou vs. Scott Holtzman
Betting Odds: Christodoulou (+600), Holtzman (-900)
Prediction: Holtzman by knockout in round 2