Duke’s UFC Fight Night Breakdown and Predictions!!!
UPDATE: BLAYDES/LEWIS IS OFF. DUMONT MISSED WEIGHT BY 3 POUNDS. SMITH/CLARKE IS NOW A 5 RD MAIN EVENT. MORE UPDATES BELOW
This Week’s Bets
(Pinnacle) Su Mudaerji wins ITD (-139) 1.39 to win 1
(Pinnacle) Anthony Smith (-136) – 1.36 to win 1
(Bovada) Kamaka + Su Madaerji + Parisian 1 to win 1.52
You know what I like to do after I don’t perform up to my own high standards? Nothing. If you are at this long enough, you have plenty of opportunities to fail.
I’ve failed a lot across all sports and what I’ve learned from that failure is that my personal best course of action is to take a day off. Don’t chase. Don’t dwell on it too long. Once the stink of regret washes away, it’s time to get back to work and that’s exactly what I did this week.
As always, you guys know my exposures heading into the night. As a reminder, here they were just before the first punch was thrown.
Figueiredo was nice. Jouban was nice. Way too much Rua/Royval/Perry. Rodriguez just fought maybe the weirdest fight I’ve ever seen and obviously, I was all in. It didn’t work out so well. I lost just under 64% of my entry fees for a losing night. My best lineup scored 592. Who was the killer? You guessed it. Rodriguez.
Once again we saw some weird scoring by fight metric. We saw some weird outcomes when the fight went to the scorecards (Rodriguez). We had a weird injury with Royval’s shoulder popping out of the socket. But, I think a lot of the analysis was on.
We didn’t know what to expect out of Cosce if he didn’t get the KO, which he nearly did in the first, but completely punched himself out. Figueiredo is set up for a nice run here in the division and is already scheduled for another title defense against Moreno. And perhaps, most importantly, Jordan Wright continues to have the most punchable face in the promotion.
With UFC 255 behind us, let’s get going on this Fight Night card. We unfortunately had our first fight cancellation already. Zhumagulov v Albazi is off and I won’t have a breakdown below.
I’m going to attempt to get back to my initial goal of being efficient with my words here. I’ve found myself espousing about one particular fighter’s style when in truth, 40 words can be as effective as 400.
We’ll find our spots on this card and I am interested in a few fights but this isn’t chalk full with big names. We even have a fighter I LOVE to fade as a decent favorite here…hello Ashlee Evans-Smith!
Of course, we are back at the APEX in Vegas. Smaller cage means more action and we have some KO power on display.
Let’s get to it.
- DATE: November 28, 2020
- VENUE: UFC APEX
- LOCATION: Las Vegas, NV
MAIN EVENT – HEAVYWEIGHT
Curtis Blaydes ($9300) v Derrick Lewis ($6900)
BLAYDES TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID – FIGHT OFF
OFFICIAL PICK: Curtis Blaydes
Anthony Smith ($8500) v Devin Clark ($7700)
NOW A 5 ROUND FIGHT. THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING. BREAKDOWN BELOW ISN’T THROWN AWAY BUT I’LL TAKE THE EXPERIENCE AND HEART OF SMITH. CAN CLARKE WRESTLE FOR 5 ROUNDS? UNLIKELY.
I’m worried about Anthony Smith. His corner really let him down against Glover Teixeira. He took an absolute mauling that night before the ref mercilessly ended the fight in the fifth, about 2 rounds too late. Obviously Rakic is no slouch but I was hoping to see more from Smith. Rakic dropped him with calf kicks just a couple minutes into the first. Smith tried to get some things going with his grappling but whiffed on every attempt. He was on his back and taking damage instead of working submissions. It was a sad display. Against Clark, he’ll have to keep this standing and land some big right hands. Smith has finished 94% of his wins. He’s fought the best this division has to offer but this feels like a make or break fight for Smith. The guy doesn’t have any quit in him and is tough as nails and will look to reestablish his name in the division as a favorite here.
Clark fights out of Jackson-Wink MMA and has been in the UFC since 2016 but I’m trying to find a single good win in the promotion. Stansbury is a .500 fighter who was KOd a minute into his second fight in the UFC before being cut. Collier is a middling pro fighter who was just finished 45 seconds into his last UFC fight. Rodriguez only has 1 win his last 4. Stosic is someone I liked but has lost 3 straight. Townsend is on a 4 fight losing streak. Menifield came in with a lot of hype but has lost his last 2. That’s probably Clark’s signature win in the division, which should tell you everything. I’m not saying he’s bad, but when he’s stepped in with real quality he’s lost. Jan Blachowicz submitted him in the second round in ‘17. Rakic stopped him in the 1st. Spann submitted him in the 2nd. Clark is a point fighter. Take you down and grind out some top control hoping to steal rounds. He hasn’t stopped anyone in his UFC career and likely won’t start with Smith. He did have Rakic hurt twice, once right at the start of the fight and again around the 3 minute mark of the 1st round before unloaded a bevy of illegal knees and STILL couldn’t put him away. I mentioned how that fight ended..
My instinct is to go with Anthony Smith here to bounce back but he showed so little fight to get off his back against Rakic that I’m hesitating. It’s been ages since he’s fought an out and out wrestler and I do have Clark getting this one to the ground. Can Smith get up? Will he get up? I keep asking myself that question and my answer is no. Clark averages 2.76 takedowns per fight and lands just over a third of his attempts. I hate it because Lionheart was one of my favorite fighters but I have to go with Clark here.
OFFICIAL PICK: Anthony Smith
Josh Parisian ($9000) v Parker Porter ($7200)
Not exactly a Mr. America contest on the scales come Friday. These two big fellas have one goal here – finish this fight early. Parisian comes in off the back of 6 straight finishes, 5 of which were in the first round. 92% of his wins are inside the distance. He’s more athletic than he looks and goes to his kicks early. Against Rebello, it looked like he was trying to earn a contract in front of Dana White. He showed a ton of spinning techniques that exposed his back to anyone with some wrestling chops but he was looking for the spectacular finish. Ultimately he landed a spinning back fist and dropped Rebello so it worked. That was back in 2018. Here he was again against Chad Johnson on the Contender Series and got another 1st round stoppage. Dana had no choice but to give him a chance and here we are. He’s a big fella with a lot of power but this won’t be a technical display by any means.
Porter has absolute tree trunks for legs. He’ll be the shorter fighter by 4 inches and his reach will be 4 inches shorter as well. Daukus hurt him several times in the first round before finishing the fight just before the 1st rd bell. Parker threw quite a range of kicks and punches in that first and as we saw against Nascimento, Daukaus is proving to have big 1st round power in the promotion. What’s odd about Porter’s career are the long breaks in between fights. He had 2 year gaps from ‘11 to ’13 and then ‘13 to ‘15. A 3 year game until a loss against Keith Bell. Now he’s fighting far more regularly and isn’t going to be a complete walk over here.
Honestly, this could be a really fun fight. I do think these prices are a tad insane. Parisian is $9k because he’s a 1st round KO artist. That leads to big scores. Typically these prices are reserved for -300 and -400 favorites. Porter is in this fight more than his price is giving him credit for.
Neither of these guys are very good. Neither will make a run in this division. Keep in mind, Marcus Maulding picked up Parisian and slammed him in their fight. Marcus Maulding typically weights around 180 lbs. I want so badly to take a stab on the dog here but I’ll grab Parisian to win.
OFFICIAL PICK: Josh Parisian
Miguel Baeza ($8700) v Takashi Sato ($7500)
Anyone who can stop The Immortal has my respect. Baeza ate some decent shots and was stung early in the fight. He recovered quickly and just kept bringing the heat. He showed pretty good range and a good chin. The massive left hand put Brown on his ass. He’s all speed and his speed and accuracy equats to power. Obviously he got the stoppage in the second round but I loved the little takedown at the end of the first just to ensure he won the first round. That’s great awareness.
The southpaw Sato fights light on his feet but keeps his hands low. Muhammad was able to land a boatload of left hooks over that low defense and landed big strikes and took rounds. Sato was also taken down quite easily in this fight. Muhammad is a stud, don’t get me wrong, but I expect more from Sato. If Muhammad had a speed advantage, I expect Baeza to have an edge as well.
This should be a standing battle. Sato has only been stopped from striking once. I don’t know that Baeza finishes this fight but I do like this rising star to win here.
OFFICIAL PICK: Miguel Baeza
Spike Carlyle ($8900) v Bill Algeo ($7300)
Spike came in like a ball of fire. He’s all energy at all times. The first 30 seconds are always nuts. He’s a first round fighter. He’s better than Cosce but their issues are similar. He’s so explosive but his movements and strikes take a lot of energy. Spike was exhausted halfway through the second round but I did have Carlyle winning the first and second rounds.
Algeo is tall and long. His cardio is a weapon but he’s very hitable. I cringe when I hear everyone talk about fighters in deep waters but Algeo has been through some wars and just keeps walking forward.
Carlyle can land big shots standing. He can take the back. He can grapple. He can explode. Algeo can stand and pick shots. He doesn’t have massive power and he’ll have to hope to survive the early onslaught and grab rounds 2 and 3 to win this fight.
OFFICIAL PICK: Spike Carlyle
Ashlee Evans-Smith ($8300) v Norma Dumont ($7900)
DUMONT MISSED WEIGHT BY 3 POUNDS. LISTEN TO THE PODCAST FOR MORE DETAILS ON WHY BUT I’M CHANGING MY WINNER RELUCTANTLY TO EVANS-SMITH.
As you can probably tell from the opening, I’m not a fan of Evans-Smith. I LOVE to fade her every chance I can get. The UFC didn’t do Norma Dumont any favors opening her UFC account against Megan Anderson. Anderson and Evans-Smith aren’t in the same stratosphere in terms of body type, fighting style or ability. Norma actually walked Megan down early, landing some good low kicks and wrapping up Megan with double underhooks. Her striking looked a bit raw and she had her chin quite high. Norma did get Anderson down once but looked a little winded when they stood back up. Ultimately we know how that fight ended which wasn’t a massive surprise. She was a massive underdog but performed relatively well considering the opponent. She certainly doesn’t lack confidence but I do have concerns about her chin and gas tank.
Ashlee will throw volume but when I say they are like pillows, it can’t be understated. She doesn’t do a ton of damage with her striking. She does connect her punches well and mixes in quite a few kicks but her kicking range judgement is quite poor. She has a solid chin and will continue pressing forward. She presses the pace and has constant pressure on her opponents which typically helps in the judges eyes. It keeps her in fights she really has no business staying in.
I wish I’d seen more from Dumont to really say this with my chest but she only has 5 professional fights and only 1 under the bright lights of the UFC. She hasn’t exactly fought the toughest competition outside the UFC. If this fight goes the distance, Evans-Smith will be right in it. I saw enough power and strength from the Anderson fight to take my chances on the dog here.
OFFICIAL PICK: ASHLEE EVANS-SMITH
Martin Day ($8800) v Anderson Dos Santos ($7400)
Does the loser go home? Both of these cats are 0-2 in their UFC career. Dos Santos is by far the more experienced fighter but Day is one of those weird bodies in a division. To be 5’10” at 135 pounds is rare and Dos Santos will have to deal with that length. Day has a 3.5” reach advantage.
Day is 0-2 in the UFC but the first lost to Liu Pingyuan was a bit controversial. He outstruck Liu nearly 2 to 1 and landed the only takedown of the match. It reeked of a little hometown cooking for the Chinese fighter. I really like Day’s range management and how he uses his length. He can get a touch wild with spinning techniques but can control the octagon. What I don’t love is the fact that Day has ended up on his back multiple times in each of his appearances in the UFC. That plays right into the game plan of Anderson dos Santos.
Dos Santos has been in with some real fighters. He’s fought Ewell, Said Nurmagomedov, Ricky Simon and more. Granted, his only win from the bunch was against Ricky Simon back in 2016 in Titan FC but the ring experience is certainly there. Ewell was landing with ease but Dos Santos ate them and moved to his wrestling. That will certainly be his path to success against Day. Dos Santos was so over his skis in the striking department against Ewell that it has me leaning to the big favorite here.
This is a situation where the smaller cage will actually hurt the striker. Day has some power but Dos Santos’ chin can likely handle the strikes and the smaller cage will make it a touch easier to chase down Day and get inside that reach. I have Day winning this fight by decision but I’m much more hesitant paying the big price tag on DK.
OFFICIAL PICK: Martin Day
Gina Mazany ($8600) v Rachael Ostovich ($7600)
I’m trying to figure out what Mazany does to justify this price. She’s weak in the clinch. A mediocre striker. Perhaps she can wrestle her way to victory here? She has missed weight in the past. She’s been finished in her last 2 fights inside the There are just a number of potential issues here.
Ostovich looks more like she’d have an Only Fans than fight in a cage but she can scrap. She has a UFC submission under her belt already and is a tidy little wrestler. Per usual, she’ll be the smaller fighter but she uses that leverage to help her wrestling. She throws straight punches but struggles to get close enough to land with power. Not that I think Paige van Zant is any good, but she’s as good or similar to Gina Mazany. Ostovich took her down often but just couldn’t quite get the finish and often found herself getting reversed.
Neither of these girls are very good. I’m not going to be betting on this fight but I’ll take the dog here.
OFFICIAL PICK: Rachel Ostovich
Jonathan Pearce ($7000) v Kai Kamaka III ($9200)
Jonathan Pearce has a game that would have a ton of success on the regional circuit. He has decent enough striking but an iffy chin and an odd, almost hopping style on his feet. He LOOKS susceptible for the take down. It’s a lot of ‘bounce bounce 1-2” and then “bounce bounce 1-2” which makes the timing somewhat easy.
Kamaka is the far shorter man but has tree trunks for legs and is all explosive energy. He’s built to wrestle but likes to stand and trade. He has extremely fast hands and OK power but his only finish was a rear naked choke back in August of 2014. Kamaka is extremely young and evolving as a fighter but this should be another notch in the belt.
OFFICIAL PICK: Kai Kamaka
Su Mudaerji ($9100) v Malcolm Gordon ($7100)
Each of these men have tapped inside the UFC cage but we have quite a discrepancy here in price. Su is a young fighter with loads of potential but all 4 of his losses have been by submission. Gordon is a little powerhouse but all 4 of his losses have been by KO or submission. Between the two fighters, only 3 of their combined 31 fights have gone the distance. That’s exciting!
Su’s UFC debut came against Louis Smolka who came out with a game plan determined to get Mudaerji to the ground. Su stuffed many takedowns but ultimately Smolka got the best of him and finished it in the second with a submission. Su looked like what he was, a relative kid in the octagon. He looked a touch lost having never faced pressure like Smolka was applying. He survived as long as he could. What I was hoping to see in the second was an adjustment. Does he keep his range? Can he work the jab and circle away from the pressure? No. He was on his back 30 seconds into the round, mounted a minute into the round and finished less than 2 minutes into the round. It was a devastating loss for Su.
He came in as a decent underdog at +140 in his second fight. He showed more maturity and a look at his wide array of striking techniques, including what seemed like a million sidekicks early in the first. That’s basicall his jab. He keeps that sidekick out there to keep his opponent at distance. The straight left is where the power rests with Su. He glides around the ring, picking his spots. I liked the improvement in takedown defense from fight to fight. I like the evolution of this fighter.
I don’t like the high guard of Gordon. He essentially places his hands over his face to block strikes. There isn’t a ton of head movement. He isn’t sidestepping shots. It’s straight back and try to block the strikes, hoping they are going to stop sooner rather than later.
Malcolm is a natural 125 whereas Su typically fights at 135. Su will be the bigger man and the edge on the feet is too big for Gordon to overcome.
OFFICIAL PICK: Su Muderji
Luke Sanders ($8400) v Nate Maness ($7800)
This is an odd matchup. Maness will be 4 inches taller with a 5 inch reach advantage and will be the bigger man. Sanders is typically a 135er but this Catchweight fight will get the night kicked off. I actually have Sanders as the more powerful fighter.
Sanders has a big left hand but has decent power for his weight. Is it power across divisions? We’ll find out. Sanders was rocked several times in the first rounda against Barao before finding his range, walking through the Barao attacks to finish the fight.
Maness doesn’t do one thing particularly well. His kicks appear to be below par. He’s long and has a touch of snap on his punches but he throws technical strikes, not big power punches.
Perhaps I’m missing something, but I have Sanders closer to -170 in this match.
OFFICIAL PICK: Luke Sanders
DFS, BETS AND WEIGH-IN NOTES COMING FRIDAY…