Duke’s UFC Fight Night Breakdown and Predictions!!!
WEIGH IN NOTES:
1ST – Since this was published on WED, Lopez found an opponent so we are up to 11 fights – scroll to the bottom for that breakdown.
All fighters made weight – YES! No major updates…
Main event contestants looked fantastic. I cannot see this fight going the full 5 rounds.
Bircheck will be the bigger fighter on fight night over Lopez.
Griffin looked less muscle-bound – could help with his cardio issue. I’m backing off on my initial prediction of inside the distance but still, have Griffin winning the fight.
WE ARE LIVEEEEE!!!
There are certain phrases that get the plums all tingly and MMA is home to many. Let’s hope you guys are ready for another Saturday night filled with fights.
This go round, there are 11 fights scheduled but only 10 available for the DK MMA slate due to a positive COVID test for Lopez. Let’s be efficient with our words and careful with our money.
It’s been an insane start to my MMA coverage. I’m 27-6-1 in picking winners.
Last card was basically spot on but the Bobby Green decision was a six unit swing for our betting friends. That was costly, and complete bullshit. Looking back, there were so many other fights to pick on and I’m scratching my head why I chose Green in the first place.
On the whole, I saw a ton of success from our subs in my DMs which is what we are working for. Let’s keep it rolling.
- November 7, 2020
- UFC APEX
- Las Vegas, NV
Fights start late af.
- 7:00pm EST for Prelims — ESPN+
- 10:00pm Main Card — ESPN2/ESPN+
FIGHT BY FIGHT BREAKDOWN
Thiago Santos (-240) v Glover Teixeira (+190)
Do people forget how god damn scary Thiago Santos was prior to the Jones fight? It’s been so long since we saw that animal in the cage but he KO’d Blachowicz. In fact, he’d KO/TKO seven of his prior nine opponents before the split decision loss to Jon Jones. Ohhh buddy, don’t even get me started on that decision.
Glover is having a bit of a career renaissance with four straight wins. The 41-year-old was scheduled to fight Santos in September before testing positive for COVID-19. We’ve seen athletes across the globe and across sports come back without ill effects from the virus so we should see a fit Teixeira. I’m more worried about the potential ring rust for Santos than the virus for Glover.
We saw Santos chop down the legs of Blachowicz methodically before Jan rushed in with a combo of his own and Santos dropped him with a sharp left hook to the jaw. At that point it was hammer time and game over. That’s the key, though. Sharp left hook to the jaw. Santos has a tendency to over-swing on his punches and Glover could capitalize. The new found patience will be an asset for Santos in this five round fight and we know his power will carry throughout.
It’s easy to forget about the first two rounds of the Teixeira and Anthony Smith fight when you remember the result and see the fight metrics. Teixeira won, and rightfully so, but Anthony Smith was tagging Glover through the first 1.5 rounds. Smith was hitting him so much, and so clean, that he punched himself out. He was fighting a corpse for 2.5 rounds. Glover looked fit and powerful all the way through the 5th round.
Thiago Santos has Anthony Johnson type power. Anthony Johnson happened to KO Glover, just like Gustafsson did just two fights later. It was an upper cut both times. There are paths to victory for each here but I think they both stay standing and Santos has the power edge.
OFFICIAL PICK: Thiago Santos
Andrea Arlovski (+215) v Tanner Boser (-278)
The career arc for Andrea is certainly on the way down but it’s been fascinating to watch his game evolve. It wasn’t that long ago that he was destroying all who were put in his path. Wins over Schaub, Silva and Browne led to the big match against Frank Mir, which he won.
It’s been decidingly downhill from there and that was back in 2015. Now, he’s what I like to call a pick and poke fighter. He’ll engage, but at a distance and on his terms. That is…for as long as the other fighter will play along. Stipe slept him. Ngannou slept him. Alistair slept him. More recently, Jairzinho put him to sleep after just 29 seconds. Guys with big power can get to this man. Tanner Boser has some power but is it big power?
Let’s talk a bit about the Canadian. He’s not overly big at 6’2” and 235 pounds. In fact, he’s smallish for the division, but he’s extremely fast and light on his feet. His feints make his opponents uncomfortable and constantly on edge. He won’t tire out and I would think the smaller cage would create more engagement than a usual Boser fight.
Andrea ate some big shots against Lins and pulled off the unanimous decision. He’ll need to follow the exact same path here. I can’t see him finishing Boser. Neither fighter wants to or likes taking things to the mat so it should be a slugfest.
I’m taking the younger, faster fighter who’s simply better at most everything at this point than Arlovski.
OFFICIAL PICK: Tanner Boser
Raoni Barcelos (-385) v Khalid Taha (+285)
This line is wonky. Taha has some big time power and has dropped each of his last two opponents. Taha is big for the weight class and loads up on his power punches and kicks.
When standing, Taha can hang with most anyone in the division, but when Silva took it to the floor, Taha looked shaky off his back. It’s less technique and more power that allowed him to stand up in the third once taken down again and Taha went to work on Silva.
He’s shown quite a range of skills in his short time in the octagon and looked like the better fighter in each of his contests by a wide margin BUT Bruno Silva’s a bum and Salmon has been stopped in the first round of his two UFC fights. This is a big jump in competition, hence the vegas line.
Barcelos has some good UFC wins under his belt already, including a unanimous win over Said Nurmagomedov last time out. He used his wrestling and grappling well in that fight and I’d guess he goes that route here as well. Barcelos has enough power, but, considering that is Taha’s main path to victory, I would think he takes it to the floor sooner rather than later.
My issue with Barcelos, who I have winning this fight, is his use of his wrestling. From the film, he uses his wrestling to win rounds, not dominate fights. I do have him winning this fight but I’m worried about the big power of Taha.
OFFICIAL PICK: Raoni Barcelos
Ian Heinisch (-106) v Brendan Allen (-115)
I love this fight. Brendan Allen is a DK superstar. He’s scored 90+ points in each of his three official UFC fights. He’s on a seven fight win streak and is still only 24 years old with 18 pro fights to his name.
He’s finished nearly every fight he’s won. He loves a rear naked choke (five submissions) and is so patient with his ground game. He’s not herky jerky while passing guard. It’s not big power actions. It’s technical. It’s methodical. Then he tries to grab your arm or neck and rip it off your body. He’s extremely powerful. Not in his punches necessarily but his physical body. He’s a fighter who looks better every time he steps in the cage.
Heinisch looks like a GI Joe action figure. Not a tattoo on his body and a big old block head. He’s got a lot of quick twitch actions in his striking. His move to Thailand seems to have paid off and he got a big 1st round finish against Meerschaert.
He loves going to the fake level change with the right hand over the top. He dropped Meerschaert with it and nearly caught Akhmedov with it in the first round of their fight. Why does it work? Heinisch loves a take down. He attempted a total of 18 in his two fights he lost to Akhmedov and Brunson. Both are good/great strikers and it was more of a “holy shit I don’t want to stand anymore” than a planned strategy that had an end game. By the way, he was 0/8 against Brunson and just 3/10 against Akhmedov with only 2:28 in control time.
The smaller cage will create engagement. I have this as a high paced contest with a ton of striking that ultimately ends up on the ground with Allen having the upper hand. This will likely be a bet come fight night.
OFFICIAL PICK: Brendan Allen
Claudia Gadelha (+110) v Yan Xianon (-139)
Anyone else think this goes to a decision? Xiaonan has won five straight in the UFC by decision and throws tremendous output. She’s averaging 137 total strikes landed over her last three.
Both of these studs have wins over Angela Hill on their resume. I thought Xiaonan was going to deform Kowalkiewicz with how many strikes she was landing. Gadelha would be wise to take this one to the ground.
Claudia is a UFC veteran. I believe this will be her 12th fight for the promotion and she’s fought basically everyone there is to fight. She battled Joanna twice, going to a decision in each and losing a split decision back in 2014.
She’s tough as nails but a step behind the top women in the division. She is a striker with a wrestler’s body. If she can get inside the range of Yan she can do some damage but I don’t see it.
This one is fairly straightforward for me. Gadelha gets it to the ground and she can win. Xianon keeps it standing and she’ll point her way to a decision.
OFFICIAL PICK: Yan Xianon
Trevin Giles (+100) v Bevon Lewis (-125)
I have great news for Trevin Giles, Bevon Lewis is very unlikely to submit him. Through nine professional fights he’s yet to submit anyone and isn’t exactly efficient with his takedown attempts (0 for his last 8).
He looks the part but hasn’t stepped up to the level of his competition. Losses to Hall and Stewart meant he picked up a confidence boosting fight against a UFC tomato can fighter called Dequan Townsend.
Lewis was scoring at range but continued to dirty box and engage with Townsend up against the fence. It’s a game plan that made no sense. When he didn’t get the finish there, he and his camp had to be asking some questions.
Here’s the bad news for Trevin Giles: he ain’t that great either. He needed a split decision win over Krause, a much smaller man who took the fight on hours notice. He was outstruck and outgrappled in each of his losses to Meerschaert and Cummings. This clown was showboating in his finish against Neto.
These are two average fighters. Giles has the power, Lewis has the reach and technical superiority. I want to see how each of these guys look on the scale but as of right now, I’m leaning Lewis.
OFFICIAL PICK: Bevon Lewis
Giga Chikadze (-500) v James Simmons (+355)
Giga does just enough to get the victory. That doesn’t exactly help us a ton in DFS. He’s a massive favorite in Vegas and $9.3k. Can he pay off this price?
James Simmons announced on his instagram that he signed a four fight contract. He’s not here for a pop shot hoping to earn a contract. Here’s the issue, he’s tiny. At 5’5”, he’ll be looking up to the 6’ Chikadze but he does enter the octagon off the back of three straight finishes (against absolute nobodies).
This is a massive step up in competition for Simmons and while he will get more opportunities moving forward, this is not the spot for him to make his mark. Giga levels above Simmons.
OFFICIAL PICK: Giga Chikadze
Alexandr Romanov (-335) v Marcos Rogerio de Lima (+245)
The big boys will be slinging leather here. Romanov brings an undefeated 12-0 record into the fight after his demolition of Roque Martinez. He’s an absolute bulldog with the strength of 10 men. He can overpower his opponent but that doesn’t mean he lacks technique. He’s also very busy with his top game, something we don’t always see at this weight class. He’s super slick in transitions as well.
Rogerio de Lima is a big boy with big old arms and big power. Frankly, he has about 30 to 60 seconds to win this fight. If he can land a big haymaker perhaps he can stun Romanov but this one should be one way traffic.
Romanov will take him down, beat him up and either TKO him or, more likely, submit Marcos.
OFFICIAL PICK: Alexandr Romanov
Darren Elkins (-240) v Eduardo Garagorri (+185)
THE DAMAGE!! Expect blood. Demand blood. There will be blood.
How in God’s name is he the massive favorite here? He’s lost four straight but has the heart of a lion and the brain of the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. All of that adds up to very exciting fights.
His last match featured 263 total strikes. Let me say that again…263 total strikes. Darren attempted 13 takedowns, only landing one and did outstrike Landwehr but was badly beaten. Ryan Hall picked him apart in another unanimous decision against him. Ricardo Lamas stopped the man who can’t be stopped. It’s got me looking across the cage to figure this one out.
Garagorri took on a tough Ricardo Ramos and couldn’t really get off. He was throwing kicks but couldn’t find his range with any attack. Garagorri is slick switching stances and was an undefeated fighter before the Ramos loss. He simply couldn’t shake Ramos when he took the back. I went to the tape against Bandenay. Again, Garagorri is firing kicks. Low. High. Low again. Again, he was taken down. He’s certainly there to be taken down.
So how in the world does Elkins win this fight? Take Eduardo down. Elkins has at least one TD in five of his last six fights. He’ll be the busier fighter. Elkins could absolutely get busy and win a decision here but I’m taking the dog. Garagorri will need to show me something I haven’t seen to date. I hate it, but I’ll take Elkins.
OFFICIAL PICK: Darren Elkins
Max Griffin (-177) v Ramiz Brahimaj (+140)
This is our first fight on the DK slate. Submission specialist Ramiz Brahimaj is making his UFC debut against the striker, Max Griffin. Ramiz is new to the UFC but not new in MMA circles. He fights out of Fortis MMA and has been making opponents tap since 2014.
However, even in his wins he hasn’t been impressive. Against Macario it was a whiff and stumble by Macario that allowed Brahimaj to get on top. Carlos Martinez looked like he read a book on how to fight in a cage and then signed up for the fight. It was one pop to the nose and down he went.
Griffin has been in the cage with some dudes. He got beat up by Colby Covington but picked apart Mike Perry. Most recently he lost a split decision to Alex Oliveira. This is not a bad fighter. In fact, I love him in this fight.
10x is very realistic here, as is a finish inside the distance. Not as confident in the finish after digging in a touch more. Brahimaj looked great on the scale. Thick and confident. Griffin still to win but might be a grind.
OFFICIAL PICK: Max Griffin
Anthony Birchak (-106) v Gustavo Lopez (-118)
Lopez found his replacement fighter and it’s not an easy fight by any means. Lopez was a -150 favorite over his initial opponent and falls to -118 here. I actually had this line flipped after digging into Birchak. Birchak will be the bigger man Saturday night. He’s a former UFC fighter who was released back in 2016 and has worked his way back on short notice here, after two big finishes inside the first round in his last 2. He’s 34 years old and has a lot of fights under his belt. He was in a bad spot after his release from UFC and lost 3 straight at Rizin before bouncing around for his last 2 wins.
Lopez should be ready for this fight. He had a whole camp to prepare. He looked great on the scales and will look to establish himself in the UFC with a win here. In his first fight, he looked ok considering he fought Merab Dvalishvili. He looks like he’s on his way to a title shot. He takes down everyone and yes, he took down Lopez 13 times but Lopez kept getting up AND he stuffed 5 of the takedowns. He showed a good chin too as he ate some big shots. Lopez isn’t on that level, but Birchak is more his speed.
Lopez has real one-punch knockout power but he puts his chin on a plate. Birchak is making a late comeback with his career here but does he throw enough volume to out point Lopez? This is basically a stay away fight from a betting perspective but for DK, the Lopez potential stoppage is interesting. He’s my winner here.
OFFICIAL PICK: Gustavo Lopez
(Bovada) BOSER + RAMANOV (-162) – 1.62 TO WIN 1
(DK) Heinisch/Allen U2.5 Rds (+150) – 1 to win 1.5
(DK) Elkins to win by decision (+130) – 1 to win 1.3
(Bovada) Romanov by submission (+125) – 1 to win 1.25