In a shout out to the local fans in Toronto, the second main card bout at UFC 140 features Canadian Claude Patrick taking on Brian Ebersole in a bout which could propel the winner into a match-up with one of the elites of the division. Both fighters have limited experience with the UFC, but neither has tasted defeat inside the Octagon to-date.
The Canadian grappler was once the victim of a tazer-assisted jumping following an MMA event he was covering which left him in a medically induced coma for two days. In addition to time in Canadian promotions, Patrick had one fight with the International Fight League promotion prior to his acquisition by the UFC.
Patrick is on a thirteen fight tear after losing in his second professional fight. After toiling on the Canadian scene for several years, Patrick got his big break at UFC 115 in Vancouver, where he submitted Ricardo Funch with a guillotine. Patrick followed up the victory with two more UFC wins, both by decision, first against James Wilks in London, then over Daniel "Ninja" Roberts at UFC 129 in Toronto. This bout will mark the fourth straight fight of Patrick's which features a native son of the host nation, with three of his bouts in Canada and his fourth against the Brit Wilks.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Patrick is primarily a grappler, with a penchant for locking on a guillotine on takedowns or during scrambles to the feet. Nearly half of all Patrick's victories have come by way of the guillotine choke, with a pair of rear naked chokes and a north-south choke highlighting it is not his only weapon. Unfortunately for Patrick, fighters who specialize in a given submission often find difficulty as they reach the big stage and face opposition more prepared to battle it, and accordingly Patrick has required the full fifteen to get the nod in his last two outings. Patrick showed solid clinch-work in his bout against Daniel Roberts, but may choose no to mess around with the unorthodox striking attack of Ebersole, which gave Chris Lytle serious trouble.
When two fighters match up this evenly, it's not impossible for one of them to score a finish, and with Patrick's submission chops a sub is certainly not out of the question. That being said, the recommended play on Patrick to win is by a 3-round decision. Patrick goes off as a +160 bet on Playground's fantasy betting game which is excellent value given most books have this fight as a double-negative line, while the best available odds on Patrick at present are only +115. Any time all the linemakers agree a line should be significantly lower, it's usually a good sign there's value to be had.
Brian Ebersole analysis after the jump.
Ebersole is a seasoned veteran of the sport, with 64 professional bouts in his 11-year career. As is to be expected of such a career, Ebersole's resume includes a who's-who of promotions ranging from Strikeforce, to the IFL and ultimately, pardon the pun, to the UFC, where he made his debut in dashing fashion by coming out to the Octagon with a large arrow shaved into his chest.
Ebersole rode a seven-fight winning streak, and the convenience of the UFC needing a replacement on their Australian card when Carlos Condit went down with injury, to the bright lights of the UFC. Facing off against Chris Lytle, Ebersole was not expected to do particularly well. Instead, Ebersole provided the shock of the night by defeating Lytle in the Fight of the Night. For an encore performance, Ebersole took on mankini-clad Dennis Hallman. On the ground, Ebersole's elbow first accidentally exposed Hallman's testicle, then battered Hallman's face to earn the TKO win and a "getting those horrifying shorts off TV as fast as possible" award from Dana White.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Ebersole is a well-rounded fighter offensively. On the feet he is known for landing strikes with a unique style, throwing uncommon strikes such as the cartwheel kick. On the mat, Ebersole is no stranger to locking on a submission, and showed impressive ground-and-pound elbows in his last outing against Hallman. Ebersole has shown a weakness in submission defense in his career, with nine defeats by sub, however the majority of those defeats were early in his career, with his last submission to a hold coming in 2005.
Ultimately this is a very even fight between two fighters who are tough to finish and is likely to go the full three rounds. As with Patrick, if backing Ebersole your best bet is to go for a 3-round decision. At -170 in the fantasy betting, Ebersole is likely best avoided as a return of barely half your bet does not represent strong gains in a match-up which appears fairly even.