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UFC 172 breakdown, betting odds and picks

Odds say Jon Jones is in for his toughest fight in more than three years

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American Jon Jones (right) lands a kick on Sweden’s Alexander Gustafsson during their World Light Heavyweight Championship bout during UFC 165 in Toronto on Saturday Sept. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

For the first time in Jon Jones' last five fights, someone in the Las Vegas Sun picks panel was brave enough to pick against him.

Glover Teixeira may not have many believers Saturday when he challenges Jones in Baltimore at UFC 172, but the Sun has unearthed at least one.

Betting against Jones, then again, might not be courageous at all. It could just be foolish.

Jones has closed a minimum 5-to-1 favorite in six straight fights. Late action will determine whether the streak stays intact against Teixeira, as Jones is currently hanging on at minus-500 (risking $5 to win $1) with his challenger coming back at plus-400 (risking $1 to win $4).

Jones will most likely go off as the shortest favorite in one of his fights since March 2011, when he challenged Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for the title and sports books posted him around minus-200.

Teixeira might not remember how to lose, having won 20 straight fights dating back eight years. Jones, the UFC’s best pound-for-pound fighter, also showed rare vulnerability against Alexander Gustafsson to say the least.

Read below to find a breakdown and odds on all 10 fights scheduled for UFC 172 along with picks from ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (42-18), Las Vegas Sun’s Ray Brewer (40-20), ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (40-20), Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer (40-20) and KSNV’s Randy Howe (38-22).

Glover Teixiera

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 5-0
  • MMA record 22-2
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: +400

Jon Jones

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 13-1
  • MMA record 19-1
  • Out of: Endicott, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -500

Light Heavyweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Beat Ryan Bader via first-round TKO at UFC Fight Night 28.

Punch list: Teixeira, former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell’s protégé, has a fighting style that is similar to his mentor’s. He started showing off his power in the octagon as soon as he won a prolonged battle to gain a United States visa, winning two UFC fights via knockout and setting up two more with knockdowns.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Teixeira

Cofield: Jones

Last fight: Beat Alexander Gustafsson via unanimous decision at UFC 165.

Punch list: Having encountered little adversity through his first 17 fights, Jones has now found imminent danger in two of his past three bouts. Gustafsson gave the champion such a scare that he needed an abnormal seven months to recover, pushing the date with Teixeira back twice.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Jones

Brewer: Jones

Okamoto: Jones

Anthony Johnson

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 7-4
  • MMA record 16-4
  • Out of: Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Betting line: +180

Phil Davis

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 8-1
  • MMA record 12-1
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: +240

Light Heavyweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Knocked out Mike Kyle in the first round at World Series of Fighting 8.

Punch list: Also from a wrestling background, “Rumble” won a national championship of his own at Lassen Community College. He relies it on it less than Davis, preferring to strike as evidenced by knockouts in five of his past six fights in between UFC tenures.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Davis

Cofield: Davis

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Lyoto Machida at UFC 163.

Punch list: A former national champion wrestler at Penn State, “Mr. Wonderful” feels he’s reached the plateau many expected for him coming out of college. He’s bounced back from the only loss of his career — to Rashad Evans at UFC on Fox 2 — with three wins, though two featured fighters now out of the UFC and the Machida nod was controversial.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Johnson

Brewer: Davis

Okamoto: Davis

Tim Boetsch

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 8-5
  • MMA record 17-6
  • Out of: Sunbury, Pa.
  • Betting line: +600

Luke Rockhold

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 11-2
  • Out of: Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • Betting line: -800

Middleweight Bout

Featured Contest

Last fight: Beat C.B. Dollaway by split decision at UFC 166.

Punch list: The word most associated with Boetsch is toughness. What “The Barbarian” lacks in speed and natural skill he makes up for in grit, attacking every opponent relentlessly from bell to wire.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Rockhold

Cofield: Rockhold

Last fight: Knocked out Costa Philippou in the first round at UFC Fight Night 35.

Punch list: The first descriptor that comes up with Rockhold’s name is “athlete.” The avid surfer and hooper moves fluidly in the cage and competes with a comfort that can’t be taught.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Rockhold

Brewer: Rockhold

Okamoto: Rockhold

Yancy Medeiros

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 9-1
  • Out of: Honolulu
  • Betting line: +170

Jim Miller

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 12-3
  • MMA record 24-3
  • Out of: Whippany, N.J.
  • Betting line: -210

Lightweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Fight

Last fight: No contest against Yves Edwards at UFC Fight For The Troops 3 overturned from a first-round knockout victory.

Punch list: The prospect had to forfeit his breakout win against Edwards after testing positive for marijuana. It couldn’t come as much of a surprise considering he trains with the Diaz brothers, outspoken proponents of the drug.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Miller

Cofield: Miller

Last fight: Submitted Fabricio Camoes in the first round at UFC 168.

Punch list: It’s the unofficial Marijuana Bowl, as the plant has impacted both fighters’ careers in contrasting lights within the last year. A positive post-fight test for Pat Healy at UFC 159 turned a loss into a no contest for Miller, the only thing keeping him from a 2-2 fall in his past four fights.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Miller

Brewer: Miller

Okamoto: Medeiros

Andre Fili

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 148
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 13-1
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: -155

Max Holloway

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 4-3
  • MMA record 8-3
  • Out of: Waianae, Hawaii
  • Betting line: +135

Featherweight Bout

Main Card Opener

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Jeremy Larsen at UFC 166.

Punch list: The Team Alpha Male product impressed in his debut despite taking the fight on less than two weeks notice. He cautioned to hold off judgment until he got a full training camp to enable him to show all that he could do, which comes six months later.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Fili

Cofield: Holloway

Last fight: Second-round TKO victory over Will Chope at UFC Fight Night 34.

Punch list: None of Holloway’s losses — to Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor and Dennis Bermudez — is damning with all three fighters ranking in the division’s top 15. But it’s time for “Blessed” to stop getting a pass on potential alone and start living up to some of the promise.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Fili

Brewer: Holloway

Okamoto: Holloway

Tim Elliott

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 2-2
  • MMA record 10-4-1
  • Out of: Wichita, Kan.
  • Betting line: +295

Joseph Benavidez

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’4”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 6-2
  • MMA record 19-4
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: -385

Flyweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Ali Baugautinov at UFC 167.

Punch list: Elliott must start the long journey back to the top after falling just short of a title fight with his last loss. The University of Central Oklahoma graduate likes to utilize awkward angles in his stand-up game.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Benavidez

Cofield: Benavidez

Last fight: First-round knockout loss to Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Fox 9.

Punch list: Benavidez’s long-term goals are in question after the first stoppage loss of his career. With two losses to the current champion, he’s unlikely to get another shot at Johnson but also likely to be favored over any other 125-pound fighter.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Benavidez

Brewer: Benavidez

Okamoto: Benavidez

Isaac Vallie-Flagg

  • Age: 36
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 156
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 14-4-1
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: +175

Takanori Gomi

  • Age: 36
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 3-4
  • MMA record 34-9
  • Out of: Tokyo
  • Betting line: -225

Lightweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 prelim

Last fight: Lost via unanimous decision to Elias Silverio at UFC Fight Night 35.

Punch list: No one on the card may have more recognizable coaches than Vallie-Flagg. In addition to training with Greg Jackson’s team, he works with renowned boxing instructor Joel Diaz.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Gomi

Cofield: Vallie-Flagg

Last fight: Lost via split decision to Diego Sanchez at UFC on Fuel TV 7.

Punch list: The former PRIDE champion might be in the middle of a resurgence, as he had won two in a row before the controversial setback against Sanchez. The Fireball Kid’s legacy in mixed martial arts is secure either way.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Vallie-Flagg

Brewer: Gomi

Okamoto: Gomi

Bethe Correia

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 7-0
  • Out of: Natal, Brazil
  • Betting line: -120

Jessamyn Duke

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 136
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 3-0
  • Out of: Glendale, Calif.
  • Betting line: +100

Women’s Bantamweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Split-decision victory over Julie Kedzie at UFC Fight Night.

Punch list: One of approximately 1,000 fighters to employ the “Pitbull” nickname, Correia trains with perhaps the two most well known in Bellator brothers Patricio and Patricky Friere. She’s perfected point-fighting with six of seven wins coming by decision.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Correia

Cofield: Correia

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Peggy Morgan at “The Ultimate Fighter” 18 finale.

Punch list: A member of Team Rousey both on “TUF” and in real life afterward, “The Gun” has the luxury of working with the best female fighter on the planet on a daily basis. She dropped out of “TUF” in a second-round loss to Raquel Pennington.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Correia

Brewer:Correia

Okamoto: Duke

Charlie Brenneman

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 4-5
  • MMA record 19-6
  • Out of: Whippany, N.J.
  • Betting line: +225

Danny Castillo

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 6-3
  • MMA record 16-6
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: -260

Lightweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: First-round submission loss to Beneil Dariush at UFC Fight Night 35.

Punch list: “The Spaniard” fought his way back into the UFC by winning four straight fights after dropping to lightweight, making a loss in his first fight back all the more disappointing. He’s still most remembered for a stunning upset of Rick Story on last second’s notice three years ago.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Castillo

Cofield: Castillo

Last fight: Majority-decision loss to Edson Barboza at UFC on Fox 9.

Punch list: As yet another scrappy wrestler in the Team Alpha Male camp, Castillo presents grappling problems for his opponents. He had seemingly been peaking with wins in five of six fights before the close loss to Barboza.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Brenneman

Brewer: Castillo

Okamoto: Castillo

Patrick Williams

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 7-3
  • Out of: Homestead, Fla.
  • Betting line: +115

Chris Beal

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 8-0
  • Out of: Ventura, Calif.
  • Betting line: -130

Bantamweight Bout

UFC Fight Pass Prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO win over Rafael Dias at Fight Time 17: Undisputed.

Punch list: The Arizona State University graduate has power that could burn a Sun Devil. “The Animal” has knocked out each of his past two opponents in the first round to catch the UFC’s eye.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Beal

Cofield: Beal

Last fight: Second-round TKO win over Keith Carson at BAMMA USA: Badbeat 12.

Punch list: The top pick of Ronda Rousey in “The Ultimate Fighter” 18, “The Real Deal” was victimized when Miesha Tate targeted him with her team’s best fighter, Chris Holdworth. He gets another shot here to show what built his undefeated professional record.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Beal

Brewer: Williams

Okamoto: Williams

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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