Duke’s UFC Vegas 22 Breakdown and Predictions for your DFS Lineups!!!
OFFICIAL BET CARD:
UFC Vegas 22
System Bets: FINAL
Roman Dolidze 1.15 to win 1 (Friday)
JP Buys 1.42 to win 1
Montserrat Ruiz 1 to win 2.6
(Strader +500 and Hunsucker +350 were close but won’t be on the final list – if you want to get frisky)
UPDATE 1:52PM: CRAP!! Down to 10 fights with the Gillespie/Riddell Fight off. GET THEM OUT OF YOUR LINEUPS. I NOW SEE STACKING THE MAIN EVENT AS VIABLE IN YOUR CASH LINEUPS WITH ONLY 10 FIGHTS!!
OH HELL YES! We had a hell of a card last week. There were some wonky scorecards, some insane finishes and Dangerous Davey Grant pulled off the big upset over Jonathan Martinez, but not in the manner I anticipated. The fight game is so fun. It seems like every fight starts with fireworks and last week was no different. Semelsberger tested that glass jaw of Witt and 16 seconds into the night we had our first KO!
From a DFS perspective it sounded like we had a good night overall. I saw quite a few screenshots of winners. I yanked out a moderate profit over on SuperDraft. From a betting perspective, the math won again. I finished 3-2 for +2.15 units. John Yu Frey was my lone dog that hit at +165. We’ll keep working the system and try to churn profit each week. The process won’t change for me. My bets will go in probably late Saturday morning once all the information is compiled and it spits out results. If you haven’t signed up for the betting site yet, Frank Brank just won LITERALLY +30 units this college basketball season. It would have been more if not for a random bad day the last day of the year. We are heading into March Madness and the picks will be flying. Use code BLUE10 for 10% off any package. Back to fighting..
We had a really good time with Billy Q talking about the post fight scene at Aljo’s party. That was an exclusive interview that gained a little traction but honestly, I thought he had a better grasp of the card and who he liked. The methods he used to pick his winners wasn’t the most scientific either BUT, we love Billy and will have him back on the show down the line. He will likely have a fight in the summer so we’ll try to grab him by then.
The last bit before we dive into this week’s card is the livestream. For one, Adam and I try to get across as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time while providing some entertainment. Neither of us are Skip Bayless and just saying shit to create differences but I do like when we differ on a fight so that you can see both sides. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again, I don’t care if you back me or you back Adam in those situations. Make a read for yourself and see who you agree with more. At that point make a decision and live with it! As long as you are happy, we are happy.
You know who’s happy? Kevin Holland and his 5 freaking wins in 2020. This dude is special. We see the return of Gregor Gillespie coming off the brutal loss to Kevin Lee in 2019. Tai Tuivas lost his original opponent but something called Harry Hunsucker stepped in on very short notice to get knocked out. I spoke about the fireworks from the first fight over the last few weeks. Perhaps the producers and Dana White wanted to ease our way into this card. Julia Avila and Julija Stoliarenko kick off Vegas 22.
We are down to 12 fights as of now. Let’s hope that’s where the bleeding stops….outside the octagon!
UFC Vegas 22: Brunson vs. Holland Info
March 20, 2021
UFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
Main Card: ESPN/ESPN+, 10:00 PM
Prelims: ESPN2/ESPN+, 7:00 PM
BRUNSON V HOLLAND
Has anyone had a better year than Kevin Holland? It’s odd, 2020 was so bad for so many but pretty darn good for some. Kevin wasn’t handed this good grace. He trained, grinded and even dreamed about this scenario. He certainly has some issues and was taken down by Jacare but immediately followed that up by that vicious KO from his back, basically. Like life, he finds a way. I’m very worried about the takedown defense here. Holland is the longer, arguably the better striker but he’s routinely been taken down. Let’s run through his fight history quickly.
Stats are in relation to takedowns:
- Jacare = 2 of 3 but Holland KOs him from his back.
- Ontiveros = Not a UFC fighter on late notice and the fight is over before it started. Doesn’t count.
- Darren Stewart = 3 of 8 and Holland wins a close split decision.
- Buckley = 0 for 2 but that’s not really Buckley’s game. Both guys have a good account of themselves but Holland had the 2 knockdowns and obviously finished the fight in the third.
- Hernandez = domination by Holland and an early KO.
- Brendan Allen = 2 of 3. Allen wins by rear naked choke in the second after one of the takedowns. Allen had him in a world of trouble the entire first round but Holland battled. My issue was how tired Holland was after the first. He basically accepted his own demise by going for the shot and getting the fight back to the mat. Keep in mind, that was just 7 minutes into the fight…
- Di Chirico = 2 of 4 in a close scrap that ended in a unanimous decision for Holland.
- Gerald Meerschaert = 6 of 11. Holland won the fight and looked dangerous throughout but he mostly won the last minute of the first and second to push it over the edge in very close rounds.
I’d love to say his takedown defense has improved but it hasn’t. I’d love to say his gas tank has improved but we haven’t really seen it, mostly because he keeps ending the fight in the first. Kevin is just 28 years old and is younger by 9 years. His career is certainly on the upward trajectory and if he can keep this fight standing, he has the ability to finish this on the feet. He also just earned his BJJ black belt and does have the chops to survive and thrive if it does go there but I’m worried about losing rounds if it does.
Derek Brunson is making quite the late resurgence with his career. You look back at his losses in the UFC and it’s a laundry list of absolute animals and champions. Israel Adesanya = Champ. Souza and Romero = beasts. Anderson Silva and Robert Whittaker = Champ and Champ. The you look at the method of victory and loss for Brunson:
Brunson might be the most underappreciated guy in the division considering this run he’s had. With age usually comes wisdom. You see decision wins in 2 of his last 3 and it does seem like he’s learned how to manufacture wins, not just highlights. He had some chin issues in his past but are they behind him? He looked damn good against his last 3 opponents and even finished Shahbazyan in the third the last time out. His wrestling is a strength but leaving his chin on a plate is a massive weakness. He has to get in that southpaw stance, avoid the straight right of Holland down Broad Street and shoot for a single leg in the first 30 seconds.
Honestly, go back and watch Brunson’s fight with Izzy. I think this fight will play out fairly similarly. Brunson shoots in the first 15 seconds, misses but moves the fight right into the clinch to use that big body and wear on Izzy. I can see a similar scenario playing out here. The catch? We know how that fight finished. The main difference here is that Izzy never ended up on his back. Kevin Holland does. With the gas tank issues and the lack of takedown defense I’m so tempted to take the dog here but Kevin Holland is so special. As of right now this is a no bet for me which makes me quite happy. My read is to take Brunson but I’m trusting my gut with Holland taking the next step in his career and getting the finish of Brunson ITD.
OFFICIAL PICK: HOLLAND
GILLESPIE V RIDDELL -FIGHT OFF!!
In the COVID era it is becoming more and more common to see familiar faces coming off longer than usual layoffs. Gregor hasn’t entered the octagon since his loss to Kevin Lee back in November of 2019. The Lee loss was the first of his career. It was a nasty nasty nasty KO and he’s 34. How does he bounce back? He’s far enough away to clear the cobwebs and looks to be in incredible shape. He’s an elite elite wrestler and loves to rag doll his opponents into submission. He likes ending fights inside the distance, which we love. 11 of his 13 wins were inside the distance. Kevin Lee kept the fight standing and that’s where the problems started and ended. For whatever reason, he didn’t try to wrestle. Frustrating? To say the least. Gillespie was coming off 13 takedowns from his previous 2 fights. You’ll watch the film and see, when he follows the obvious game plan he looks unstoppable. I expect a bounce back spot here.
Brad Riddell is a good welterweight but he’s not overly big. He’s not overly strong. He doesn’t have the takedown defense to stop the wrestling of Gillespie. Riddell has good wins in the division. The win over Mustafev looks great. He was taken down 8 times but won the split decision. Alex da Silva is still a young fighter with a bright future but a touch raw and Riddell got it done. Riddell is a former champion in kickboxing and for sure has the edge on the feet. Riddell dropped Mustafaev in the first minute with a big right hand before Riddell jumped into Mustafaev’s world on the ground. The only way you get taken down 8 times is if you keep getting back up.
I have Gillespie winning this fight but Riddell is a dangerous opponent and I do believe the VALUE from a betting perspective is on his side. I don’t see this fight on the ground for 15 minutes and if he needs to, Riddell can turn up the volume on the feet to snag a close round or even check the chin of Gillespie. I have this fight much closer than Vegas does.
OFFICIAL PICK: GILLESPIE
YANEZ V LOPEZ
Any time we see a KO merchant at 135 my eyes open wide. He does it with really elite speed and accuracy with his striking. He’s a younger guy at just 27 and on a 5 fight win streak. I’m glad we get to watch this guy fight. Yanez loves to take the center of the octagon and control the pace of the fight. He’s shown a good chin in past fights, specifically the fight against Estrade when he ate two big high kicks that landed pretty flush. Again, he just kept walking forward. His lead leg was compromised early as well from the calf kicks of Estrada. That slowed Yanez down just enough to even the edge on the feet. Obviously Huang did his homework and came out firing with the low kicks but Yanez had the perfect answer. A big right followed by a nasty combination ended the fight inside the first minute. He was nearly a -500 favorite against Rodriguez and did as he was supposed to do, ending the fight inside the first again and inflicting some brutal damage to the face of his opponent. The head kick ended it and he was asking for a bonus within seconds of Rodriguez’s head bouncing off the mat. The worry for me is that he does eat big shots in almost every fight. His chin hasn’t wavered but he’s not a flawless fighter.
I like Gustavo Lopez. I don’t think he’s a world beater and probably never will be but he causes problems for most guys in the division. He’s 1-1 in the UFC but entered the promotion against Merab Dvalishvili. He was out wrestled start to finish. Shocker! Merab is almost a complete 180 from Yanez in terms of style and oh by the way, is about to be a top 10 guy in the division. The Birchak fight is more similar to how this fight should play out but obviously with a lower level of opponent. Lopez showed good power and enough wrestling to get it done against his friend and training partner. The back game was good with a good mix of ground and pound and of course the choke to end it.
Yanez is the longer figher. I think he’s faster. I might give Lopez a very slight raw power advantage but Yanez has the sharper, more accurate striking with a bunch of power to boot. The interesting piece here is how much Gustavo tries to wrestle. Trepagnier had some success wrestling against Yanez but Yanez generally had the better of it on the ground. Johns gave him some issues with wrestling. Is that his path to victory? He’s not a wrestler but he’s well rounded. Yanez has too many weapons. He looks decent enough on the ground. We haven’t really seen his gas tank tested.
OFFICIAL PICK: YANEZ
KENAN V GRIFFIN
I’m not a huge fan of this fight but you never know what you are going to get.
Song Kenan has a nice little run going in the UFC. 3 of his 4 wins in the UFC have come inside the distance. He has just 5 losses from his 21 pro fights and 3 of those are against Brad Riddell, who we’ve already discussed on this card, Alex Morono who is a legit UFC fighter at 170 and Israel Adesanya. He’s a big time striker who’s had some gas tank issues when he’s been forced to wrestle. Before the Potter fight he moved to Tiger Muay Thai from the Shanghai PI because of COVID issues and he looked fantastic. He’s big for the weight class and is a pure power player. Even Potter was able to take him down but Kenan was able to shake him straight off with power and get back to the feet. Kenan does require his opponent to stay in front of him. Will Max oblige?
As always, I admit my bias. I’m not a Max Griffin fan. I never know what I’m going to get. He just does enough to earn a contract and then goes back to sucking butt. It’s been nothing but inconsistency from Max. That is hard to put your money behind, isn’t it? The UFC did Max no favors by giving him Colby Covington in his debut and it was a one way beat down that finished in the third but that was in 2016 and the last time he’s been finished inside the distance. In fact, that was the only time in his professional career. He’s also lost 4 fights by split decision. That’s kind of the way Max fights. When you think he could pull away he doesn’t. When it seems like he’s out of his he pulls his way back in just enough to tease you.
What he finally figured out is that there are multiple ways to win a fight. 6 takedowns against Imadaev got him the win. He went back to the well against Alex Oliveira and Alex Morono but couldn’t do enough with those takedowns to influence the judges into wins. Brahimaj was a tough matchup on the ground so Griffin kept it standing, mostly circling to the Brahimaj’s left away from that right hand. His hands looked sharp and with the appropriate effort on each strike. The jab was stinging and an elbow almost completely severed Brahimaj’s ear from his head. It was so nasty that it stopped the fight.
Griffin was mature and measured in the fight. If you told me that exact Griffin was going to show up, knowing he can default to his grappling if he needed to, I’d be all over him. With that said, I’m still going to take a chance on Max here because he has more paths to victory than Kenan.
OFFICIAL PICK: GRIFFIN
TUIVASA V HUNSUCKER
This is an awesome fight. Not in the sense that we’ll see a ton of high level MMA but these boys only like to throw big bombs and hope one of them lands. Credit for Tuivasa for taking the fight on super short notice. Tuivasa doesn’t wear the weight very well and doesn’t really look the part but he’s rocking big ass power with a very thick base. It was good to see Tai get the win over Struve because he was on a path to destruction after his 3 fight losing streak. Tuivasa is a big favorite and we’ve seen far more of him so let’s talk about the dog. Is Hunsucker even worth a few shares?
Harry Hunsucker comes in a few days’ notice. He’s 6-3 with wins over…..yeah, no one. He was KOd by, ironically, Tuivasa’s original opponent for this fight Don’Tale Mayes. That was back in 2016. He was destroyed by a pretty unimpressive Jared Vanderaa on Dana White’s Contender Series. Once again Hunsucker took the fight on just a few days notice.
Hunsucker has a tendency to rush in with a lead left hook and follow up with combinations from inside. He does have some power and has decent movement. He’s on the shorter side for the division and throws a hard inside leg kick. Hunsucker actually rammed his own head into the pole of the cage. He looked completely lost on the ground but I expect this one to end on the feet.
Rushing in and showing aggression is great as long as you have a speed advantage and can land those shots. If Tai meets him with one straight right to beat Hunsucker to the punch with that looping left hook entry the fight will be over. Gas tanks are clearly an issue here but both guys will want it over early. The big Simoan chin will keep Tuivasa in this thing even if Hunsucker lands something early. I was kind of hoping it’d open at -300 and move to -400. It’s done the opposite so it’s looking like a no bet as I can’t take a stab on this dog on short notice at less than +300.
OFFICIAL PICK: TUIVASA
CHEYANNE BUYS V RUIZ
If you are giving me +300 in a women’s fight against someone with 6 total professional fights I’m going to take my shot. I might even fire earlier than normal here to not lose any more value.
Cheyanne Buys with a hilarious Tapology picture.
Buys does have some skills. She’s aggressive and can grapple. She’ll throw 5, 6, 7 punch combinations and finish it with a high kick. She’s fighting out of Fortis, like everyone these days, and her husband is also fighting earlier on the card. She does show some good fundamentals. She has good head position in the clinch. She knows when to take a break and when to fire. Volume is her friend. What I really liked about her fight with Adney is that she clearly won the first 2 rounds but Adney was having some success in the third. Cheyanne took no chances and took her down to get that round back in her favor. She’s a good fighter.
Montserrat Ruiz is 5 feet tall. She’s 9-1 in her pro career fighting on the regional scene but coming off a win against Janaisa Morandin in Invicta. She likes the head and arm throw, has fast hands and is nasty when the fight gets to the ground. She wants to inflict damage and is super aggressive. Danielle Taylor is the only blemish on her record and you might remember her from her time in the UFC. Taylor is a fellow 5 footer and Ruiz landed some hard shots but Taylor used her aggression against her and Taylor beat her up pretty bad. That’s the problem, she’s aggressive but not elite.
This will be a fun fight. Both women will throw hands. Ruiz is tough as nails and a good gas tank. Buys will throw big combinations and is willing to work against the cage to grind out a W. I’ll be picking Buys and betting Ruiz.
OFFICIAL PICK: BUYS
RENEAU V CHIASSON
I know I broke this fight down for the Overeem/Volkov card at one point but can’t seem to find the breakdown so let’s write it up again. Obviously the bout was cancelled the first time around and here we are a little over a month later and hopefully it will go through. I write too much content to remember what the hell I wrote but I’d imagine it started with wondering how a 43 years old coming off 3 straight unanimous decision losses is still getting fights in the UFC.
Chiasson is the bigger, longer and younger fighter. Amanda Nunes destroyed the 145 pound weight division and Chiasson finding it hard to find opponents she saw the writing on the wall and dropped down to 135 early. At 5’11”, it’s a tough cut but she’s made weight more often than not. Let’s see how she looks on the scale come Friday before firing any cash on her.
I didn’t love what I saw in the Lansberg fight from Chiasson. We know she’s a striker but you’d at least like to see some ability off her back. She was lost against Lansberg. Lansberg does have a decent top game and is quite heavy but Chiasson couldn’t find any offense off her back and was in trouble multiple times.
She doesn’t use her length to her advantage and oftentimes is the one closing the distance. She bounced back with the win over Shanna Young, getting the better of nearly every exchange on her way to a dominant 3 round unanimous decision.
Reneau’s best days are behind her but she’s fought the far tougher competition and isn’t losing to nobodies. It’s Raquel Pennington. Kunitskaya. Cat Zingano. Renau isn’t a natural wrestler but finds ways to get the fight to the ground in exchanges. She can throw hands and is a BJJ black belt. With how poor her offensive wrestling is I’d say we were likely to see this thing stay on the feet but Chiasson loves working out of the clinch. Pennington had her way with Renau in the clinch but Pennington is stronger than Chiasson. I don’t know if she has the same success.
It’s super hard to back a 43 year old. She can make this fight dirty and has never been finished inside the distance. Over 15 minutes I see the experience of Reneau as an advantage, not a hindrance. With that said, Chiasson can be more active and land the bigger damage. I’m not betting this fight but I’ll take Chiasson to win.
OFFICIAL PICK: CHIASSON
SANTOS V DAWSON
Can we make it to fight night? That is my question. Leonardo Santos is a brilliant BJJ specialist but the guy has as many cancelled fights as actual fights over the last 5 years. How brilliant? In 2005 he arm barred GSP in an Abu Dhabi jiu jitsu tournament in under a minute. You go all the way back to his fight with Kevin Lee. I know he’s struggled a bit of late but in 2015 he was on top of the world. He’d only lost to Al Iaquinta to that point and looked like he was on the path to a title shot. Kevin Lee was a -600 favorite over Santos. Santos was hanging in on his feet, got the takedown and when Lee got back up, Santos ripped a straight right to his chin and dropped him.
Santos’ striking is underrated. He was one of the first I can remember to start ripping the calf kick. His striking is good. He can work for a takedown. He’s so well rounded but because his bjj is so good, he gets labeled a one dimensional fighter. I don’t quite get it. But back to his lack of fights over the last few years, he had a fight with Evan Dunham rescheduled and then canceled in 2016. He had a fight schedule with Aubin-Mercier had that to be canceled and washed all of 2017. Then he was scheduled to fight Nik Lentz in 2018 and that fight had to be canceled. Again, another year without a fight. He had to work his way back into relevancy and has done so with back-to-back wins over Stevie Ray and Roman Bogatov. Not names that make you jump out of your season but that finish by Santos on Stevie Ray certainly made me jump out of mine. There was no octagon rust. It was clean, sharp striking from Santos and had Ray out before he hit the mat. At 41 he’s not getting any faster but this is still a very good version of Santos.
When I saw the fight announced, I was all over Grant Dawson. He’s everything the new mixed martial artist should be. He can strike, he can grapple, he locks up submissions, he knocks people out. He’s a -200 favorite for a reason. At 27 he’s on the ascension of his MMA career and comes in with just the 1 TKO loss to Hugh Pulley that looks more like an outlier than anything. Dawson has big wins over Julian Erosa and Derrick Minner to his name. Both have come on since their fights with Dawson to really perform. What does Dawson do best? Pressure and wrestle. He’s super heavy on top and makes it extremely hard to get up once they are down. Just look at his control time over his last 5 fights. It’s rounds, not minutes. The exhausting fighting style is what makes him so dangerous and when his opponent is broken, he wraps up the neck and it’s over.
Santos is being undervalued here but he was sucking wind hard in the second round against Bogatov in a fight he was winning. Going to the ground with a world class bjj specialist is a risky game but it’s one Dawson will likely play.
OFFICIAL PICK: DAWSON
GILES V DOLIDZE
Dolidze took on Ibragimov literally minutes after Dawson picked up the win last time out. Roman is a monster. Georgia is producing a generation of brilliant fighters. Roman was perhaps a little too cocky in his split decision win over John Allan. At one point in the first round you could hear him asking his coach if he wanted a submission, as if it was that easy. Dolidze is an interesting guy. Fighting is not his passion, he just happens to be pretty damn good at it. He doesn’t throw a ton of volume and can get caught waiting for the perfect strike. He loves a bit of flare to every attack but we are yet to really see his proficiency on the ground. He’s a very capable grappler. He’s also huge. He fought Ibragimov and John Allan at 205. He looked big for the division but not necessarily tight at 205. Come to find out, that’s basically what he weighs all the time. This fight is at 185 which to me seems like a big ask on short notice. Can he make the weight? Does his activity tick up at the lower weight and, theoretically, against less powerful opponents? It’s to be determined but my guess, and how I’m playing this, is the answer is yes. Assuming he makes the weight and looks good on the scale on Friday, I’m going to have quite a bit of Roman Dolidze.
Giles is a mystery to me. He’s had so many breaks go his way and this finally feels like one that isn’t in his favor. He was originally scheduled to fight Dricus Du Plessis. A badass in his own right but a 185 bad ass. He avoided the likely Kevin Holland loss. He took on a 170 lb James Krause on short notice when his fight with Arroyo fell apart and needed a split decision to get the win. I, by the way, had Krause winning the fight. Bevon Lewis is such a nobody in the division and is now suspended 6 months by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Prior to that he was coming off losses against Meerschaert and Cummings where he gassed and was submitted in the third round of each. I’ll give Giles the slight advantage on the feet but to me this has Dolidze by submission all over it and that’s how I’m playing it assuming Dolidze makes weight.
OFFICIAL PICK: DOLIDZE
JACKSON V STRADER
Montel Jackson is a -650 favorite here. Believe it or not, Strader grades out as a bet here at +475. Do I think Strader will win? Nope. Will I bet it if the math says to bet it? Yep!
Montel Jackson is supposed to be the next big thing. 5’10” at 135 is a good start. 75.5” reach? Ok better. Finishing 6 of 9 wins inside the distance? I like that. 1st round submission win over Brian Kelleher after going 3 rounds with Ricky Simon ONE YEAR after making your pro debut? OK yes I understand the massive line now. The guy can be brilliant and has all of the physical tools you could ask for but Brett Johns exposed a path to victory landing 8 of his 19 takedown attempts. The nearly 9 minutes of control time for Johns neutralized all of the dangerous parts of Jackson’s game. Jackson’s hands are so big and so fast that his strikes do some serious damage. Johns did a great job of getting inside that reach with good head position and yanking Jackson around the cage. Can Strader do this?
No. No he cannot. Strader comes in at 5-1 in his pro career with 4 wins by KO/TKO and 1 Decision. He actually came into his fight with Batin-Gonzalez as a slight underdog. His fighting style is actually almost the exact opposite of what you need to beat Jackson. He’s a tough kid who loves to throw with combinations but what I liked the most from his fight with Gonzalez was how he reacted after he got cracked a bit in the first. He went to the calf kicks. He knew he had to chop him down a bit before going back to the hands. 2 straight hard calf kicks slowed Gonzalez and Strader was able to land with the hands much more effectively. He does have really big power for the division and if he lands that left hook it could be lights out for anyone but can he get inside that reach? The calf kicks will be huge to chop down that lead leg but it is more awkward when an orthadox fighter goes against a southpaw like Jackson.
I fully expect Jackson to pick him apart. The line is probably appropriate. Strader hasn’t shown an ability to really attack the one area that Johns exposed. I’m grabbing Jackson here.
OFFICIAL PICK: JACKSON
SILVA V JP BUYS
The little guys take the stage as JP Buys makes his official UFC debut. JP Buys was on the worlds wrestling team for South Africa and you can imagine how he wants this fight to go. He can lock up a submission but he uses his power and that wrestler’s build to really get the fight to the ground and land some serious ground and pound. Buys used that Khabib leg trap when he got his opponent on his back making it super tough to progress to half guard. JP is methodical with his top game. Much is being made of the quick stoppage from Goddard but let’s not take away from a completely dominant 5 minute by Buys. He landed some big ground and pound and worked several submissions in just 5 minutes before getting the (controversial) finish. JP is still young at just 24 but physically he’s matured so much.
My goodness to the bettors love Bruno Silva. He opened at +145 and was bet to +219 within 2 days. From that point the line has steadily creeped down until this week when it’s really moved and currently sits at +120. Silva looked ok against Taha but ended up getting submitted by Taha. Turns out Taha was on the juice and Silva lost a little team in the third and that combination was too much for Silva. Against Dvorak it’s a similar story. Silva was getting the better of the wrestling exchange and then he got a little tired and Dvorak took it home in the third. Ulanbekov is a super tough opponent who is a better wrestler than Buys and got the better of Silva.
In any sport there are levels. Bruno Silva is above a fighter who’s lost 3 straight fights in the division but clearly he’s not near the elite and just below that next level. He’s fought the better competition but I like JP here. He fits the math for a bet and just all around, I like Buys’ game better.
OFFICIAL PICK: BUYS
AVILA V STOLIARENKO – fight off!!!
My goodness did Julija look horrible against Kunitskaya. Stoliarenko landed 6 significant strikes over 15 minutes. The tape study on Stoliarenko was an interesting watch. It’s pulling guard and grabbing an arm bar. For as strong as she is, she wasn’t able to get off the cage against Kunitskaya. She didn’t once try for an under hook to get off the cage and out of the disadvantageous position. It showed an extreme lack of cage IQ and skill.
I want to like Julia Avila. I really do. She’s 32 and lost to a fighter I have very little respect for in Eubanks. It was such a long way off of her performance against Gina Mazany that it has me wondering which is the real Avila. She’s a striker with a really heavy top game but she couldn’t get off her damn back against Eubanks who is not an elite fighter. Avila is big and aggressive. That is 2 for 2 on traits we love in the women’s game.
So here we have a big strong girl who loves to fight over her back so she wins by armbar (Stoliarenko) against a girl who has a super heavy top game and loves to be on top landing massive damage to her opponent. (Avila) Well that script writes itself, right? I would think so and that is what the line indicates but per usual, this is MMA and lines of the play are in pencil, not ink. IF Avila ends up on her back with Julija on top then what? Avila couldn’t get up off her back against Eubanks. Perhaps Stoliarenko’s coaches introduced an under hook to their fighter. That would have helped her tremendously against Kunitskaya. To me, once again, I’m picking one fighter and betting the other. The line seems out of whack and is discrediting Julija’s striking and overall ability.
OFFICIAL PICK: AVILA
Guess what? I took every single freaking favorite. It wasn’t on purpose and it might be square but from a betting perspective, I’m leaning toward a ton of dogs. Let’s look at that:
JP Buys -144
Roman Dolidze -120
Julija Stoliarenko +315
Tai Tuivasa -225
Jesse Strader +500
Montserrat Ruiz +265
Song Kenan +170 (borderline)
Brad Riddell +210 (borderline)
UFC 259 Cheat Sheet will be posted on Friday… DON’T MISS IT!