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Posted on August 23, 2011 by John Petit

Breaking Down UFC 134: Tavares Vs Fisher / Palhares Vs Miller

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Two fights will play on Spike TV live from UFC 134 RIO, and fans will be able to watch Thiago Tavares Vs Spencer FIsher and Rousimar Palhares vs. Dan Miller for free. UFC 134 is the first time the UFC is returning since UFC 17.5 Ultimate Brazil which took place in October of 1998. Don’t miss the chance to see any of the fights from this historic card.

Lightweight bout:
Thiago Tavares vs.  Spencer Fisher

Thiago Tavares
50% Fights Won
39% Striking Accuracy
41% Takedown Accuracy

Odds: -250
Reach: 70 in
Record: 15-4-1
UFC Record: 5-4-1
Last 5: 2-2-1
Streak: -1

Spencer Fisher
60% Fights Won
44% Striking Accuracy
31% Takedown Accuracy

Odds: +205
Reach: 68.5 in
Record: 24-7
UFC Record: 9-6
Last 5: 2-3
Streak: -1

With 15 fights under his belt in the UFC, and having fought since 2005 on the biggest stage in mixed martial arts, Spencer Fisher finds himself in a rough having gone 2-3 in his last 5 fights. After losing to top lightweights Dennis Siver and Joe Stevenson, Spencer was able to squeak out a win over Curt Warburton. Fisher then dropped a unanimous decision loss to Ross Pearson at UFC 127, and you have the makings of a guy who is trying to fight his way back at the age of 35.  Fisher is as well rounded as you get. It doesn’t sound like it these days, but the stats clearly show him as a finisher. 19 of his 24 wins he finished the fight, 10 were by TKO/KO and 9 were by submission. The stats also show that he hasn’t finished a fight since he triangle choked Shannon Guggerty at UFC 90.

Thiago Tavares used to be the young new kid when he entered the UFC at the age of 21 in 2007. He is now ten fights into his UFC career, and its still hard for me not to think of him as a kid. The 15-4-1 fighter is coming off of a knock out loss to Shane Roller at UFC Live Kampmann Vs Sanchez, and a guillotine choke win over Pat Audinwood at UFC 119. With 11 of his 15 having come by way of submission, its pretty clear that Tavares will want to get this fight to the ground. Not to say he will mind throwing hands with Spencer, even in his loss to Roller he hurt him in the first round but Tavares couldn’t finish him, but Tavares will be looking to stun Fisher then latch on to a submission. The bad news for Thiago is that the only time Fisher has been submitted was to the elbow strikes from Joe Stevenson, and he knows how to defend well against almost all types of locks and chokes.

I see this one going the distance and it being a close fight. Fisher has a chance to win this fight, and I’m surprised by the +250 for him. If you think he will win then you may want to get a piece of this fight, but I think with the reach advantage and improving striking that Tavares will do just enough to win the decision.

Middleweight bout:
Rousimar Palhares vs.  Dan Miller

Rousimar Palhares
83% Fights Won
47% Striking Accuracy
43% Takedown Accuracy

Odds: -300
Reach: 71 in
Record: 12-3
UFC Record: 5-2
Last 5: 4-1
Streak: +1

Dan Miller
64% Fights Won
31% Striking Accuracy
64% Takedown Accuracy

Odds: +222
Reach: 74 in
Record: 13-5-1
UFC Record: 5-4
Last 5: 2-3
Streak: -1

If this fight doesn’t stalemate with each other trying to take the other down this could be a fantastic ground fight. Although both fighters are BJJ black belts, Palhares earned his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under former UFC champion Murilo Bustamante and Bebeo Duarte. Bustamante said as far as BJJ players who were naturally gifted, Palhares was the best he had ever trained. Miller has his black from Jamie Cruz, who is a Renzo Gracie student, and there is something to be said for that.

With 6 of his 9 submission wins being leg attacks, Dan Miller has to keep an eye on his lower limbs when fighting Palhares. What people don’t understand is how devastating they can be, and how easy it is to hurt someone bad in the heat of a fight. A quarter of an inch can mean the difference between you being in physical therapy for 6 months, or walking out of the octagon fine. In most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling events, only black and brown belts can use leg submissions because of how easy is it to hurt people with them. Miller will for sure be drilling on all of his leg escapes more then ever. An interesting part of this fight, is all the losses of these two are from people who are either top ten or right near it.  Miller is coming of a loss to Marquardt, and in a years span dropped three decisions to Sonnen, Maia, and Bisping. Since 2008 Palhares has lost twice, once to Nate Marquardt and once to current Strikeforce 205lb champ Dan Henderson.

If this fight stays on the feet then I give the slight edge to Dan Miller, but its not because he has great hands. Just better than Palhares’ hands. On the ground I think the edge goes to Palhares, and the big problem for Miller is he has a hard time looking busy when he is on the ground and going for subs. Judges more often then not give Miller’s opponents the nod in close fights, and although I think he will be able to get up occasionally to Palhares’ take downs and scrambles, I don’t see him being able to do enough to win the fight. If fighting off of his back, Miller needs to be consistently throwing elbows and rotating his hips to look for submissions to look busier than he usually does. I think the odds makers have this one right, and I will say Palhares wins this one by unanimous decision.

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