Duke’s UFC Vegas 27: Font vs. Garbrandt Breakdown and Predictions for your DFS Lineups!!!
Seven days on from the last article we are here again with more winners. We finally broke through with a winning betting week and saw a new lightweight champion crowned in one of the most exciting championship bouts in recent memory. Anyone else think Chandler was going to finish him in the first? I know I did and with that, we can officially put the “Do Bronx will quit if you give him a chance” crowd to bed.
Elsewhere, Tony Ferguson is finished. Also, I need to trust my initial reads. Two dogs I had picked and then switched ended up winning. Luckily, I did stick with my bet on Bontorin, but Andrea Lee was dominant. Shevchenko just got bullied around the ring.
Overall, it was about what I expected from the card. We have this card, a break next week and then we are right back at it with Rozenstruik v Sakai. Of course we are back at the Apex with the smaller cage. Will we see more finishes from these 13 fights? Let’s roll!
UFC Vegas 27: Font vs. Garbrandt Fight Info
May 22, 2021
- UFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
- ESPN+7:00 PM
- ESPN+4:00 PM
Man, I used to really like Cody Garbrandt. He was a cocky SOB but coming out of the Dominick Cruz title fight I legitimately thought he could hold the strap for a while. Unfortunately for Cody, he believed he was a bit better than he was.
To be fair, why wouldn’t he? He was undefeated at the time and just literally beat a legend at his own game. The head movement and quickness were off the charts for Garbrandt. Then he gets his old buddy TJ Dillishaw in a title fight and drops him early. At that point you’re thinking that he’s going to get it done but TJ laid him out in the second round.
With Cody’s style, he could get caught, but generally he’s slipping and ripping. His boxing is up there with anyone in the division but defensively he has some work to do. TJ dropped him twice in the first round KO of their rematch just a few months later.
At that point, Cody was on the wrong end of 2 of 8 TJ Dillishaw KOs. That’s not a great spot to be and had me wondering what he had left in his chin. Was this just an issue with TJ Dillishaw? Was he just a bad matchup?
Pedro Munhoz goes out, lands 6 of 8 kicks. Garbrandt is doing his typical chin on a plate head movement type of defense. Now you see me and now you don’t, except his leg was compromised from the calf kicks. Without his max quickness he’s relatively hittable. What transpired was an absolute slugfest for the last minute of the first round.
The commentary was stunned that Garbrandt would do that but his calf looked shot. He was pissed off. He was landing bombs on Munhoz but didn’t have the shot to end the fight. Munhoz did. Does that mean Garbrandt’s chin is shot? Nah, not in my book. He was knocked out in 3 straight fights which is a concern but it wasn’t a dusty shot that did it.
Garbrandt looked back to his best against Assuncao. His speed was back. The kicks were back. The volume slowed down. You could say that’s a bad thing but not for Garbrandt. We are hoping that he doesn’t get over emotional and get into a bar fight when he wants to dance.
Rob Font is the trendy pick in this fight but I think it has to do with Cody being a dick. Fine, hate the guy but you have to judge talent and paths to victory. Keep in mind, the guy Garbrandt just knocked out cold took Rob Font behind the woodshed for 15 minutes a few years ago.
Font wrestled his way to a victory against Sergo Pettis, who’s no longer with the promotion. He was taken down 6 times in a close fight against Ricky Simon. He was taken down twice in the first 3:30 of round one against Marlon Moraes before ending the fight with a brutal knockout. His jab was stiff and the combinations were nasty, but that was as much about Moraes being completely gassed after 2.5 minutes as Font being a monster on his feet, which he is.
And there’s the rub. I actually like Font. When he lands, he does so with power. If these two stand right in front of each other and just trade like Garbrandt did against Munhoz, Font probably wins. But I saw a more mature performance from Cody against Assuncao. It was more measured. He was in and out of the danger zone before Assuncao could land any significant damage.
Cody has the speed edge. I think the wrestling is pretty even. Font maybe has the power edge. Maybe… That probably goes to Cody as well. All things considered I like the comeback train Cody is on and I’ll stick with my guy to get it done. Am I worried about the chin? For sure, but Cody looks back.
OFFICIAL PICK: CODY GARBRANDT
Another top 5 fight in our co-main event of the evening. Xiaonan hasn’t lost since 2010 and is coming off of 6 straight wins in the UFC. She’s taken down some names in the division as well. Angela Hill, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and most recently Claudia Gadelha have fallen victim to Nine.
Yan is a striker in the purest sense of the word but really struggles with the takedown defense. She obviously struggled early against Gadelha before turning it around in the second and third rounds but that has to be a concern in this particular fight because Esparza can wrestle for 15 minutes.
Carla is a little tyke who will grind you to a decision win. Her fight IQ is the big edge in the majority of wins but the majority of her wins of late are not unanimous. Her style leads to total question marks when it goes to the judges, and with how the judges have been lately, that absolutely makes me nervous.
That’s not to say that Carla can’t scrap a little bit. Go back to her fight with Michelle Waterson. The takedowns weren’t working and it turned into a standup battle. She took out one of the better strikers in the division but Waterson is also on the smaller side and Carla just turned into a bully and made it dirty.
Yan is dangerous off her back. She landed some nasty elbows from the bottom against Gadelha and rarely just accepted the position. She uses technique to sweep and get the fight back to the feet. Reminder, that is far preferred to simply exploding and using strength!
If this fight stays standing I certainly lean Yan. She’s longer, sharper and stronger but Esparza is so tough and has a great gas tank. Gadleha seemed to take Yan down with ease but took enough damage and used enough energy to slow down that path to victory.
If Carla can use that gas tank and land multiple take downs per round she’ll have a chance of winning this on the judges scorecards. Yan just has to fight her fight. I’ll take the fighter with less “ifs” in this case and go with Yan.
OFFICIAL PICK: YAN XIAONAN
Inexperience and power vs size and no skill. Vanderaa seems like a very likable guy. He’s self deprecating. He doesn’t mind eating some shots to push forward and try to land the takedown. The problem is if he doesn’t land takedowns he’s rarely up to snuff on his feet.
He’ll carry a 6” reach advantage here but can he use it? He has low level wins and gets hit in every single one of his fights. Even Harry Hunsucker is beating the brakes off Vanderaa. As a reminder, Vanderaa eventually pounded Hunsucker in the first round, but Hunsucker picked up another chance in the UFC and got knocked out 49 seconds into his fight with Tuivasa.
I do think Vanderaa could have a path to victory here if he can wrestle Tafa early and/or keep his gas tank to land a takedown late. What I mean by that is Vanderaa does not want to stand with Tafa. If he does AND he’s able to take the shots and work this fight later into the 2nd and 3rd rounds, that’s when he could potentially finish Tafa if he gets him on his back.
Tafa is just so raw. He’s only 27 and has 6 pro fights to his name, 3 of which have come in the UFC. I was impressed to see him still standing and trading late into the 3rd round with Carlos Felipe in a split decision loss the last time out but the gas tank on the big boy wasn’t a major negative.
We know he has unbelievable power. Adams, Juan would be the person to ask if you have questions. Tafa worked the calf kicks against Adams. He also showed he can fight pushing forward or going backwards. Was it a quick stoppage? Eh, maybe but the result was inevitable and Adam’s calf was already compromised. Tafa looked fantastic.
This line opened with Tafa at -205 and has come down a little bit. I get Vanderaa taking money the last few weeks but in my eyes, he’s the finished article and Tafa is looking better every time we see him. This is a jump forward for Tafa if he can win. I expect him to get it done.
Spivac absolutely overwhelmed Jared Vanderaa and could probably make 205 if he really wanted to. Tafa should have the speed advantage. He’ll definitely have the power advantage. Stuff one takedown and get to work big boy.
OFFICIAL PICK: JUSTIN TAFA
A women’s 145 fight? This is a featherweight fight even though the UFC literally doesn’t have any rankings for the division. Spencer is coming off a 5 round war with Amanda Nunes against Dumont getting murdered by Megan Anderson and taking Ashlee Evans-Smith to a decision.
The two losses on Spencer’s record are Cyborg and the aforementioned Nunes. Pretty lofty stuff to be able to even earn a chance to fight those two legends. But to me this fight reminds me of the Spiderman meme.
Spencer isn’t much of a striker but is a big girl who will push forward and try to rip you to the ground. Her offensive wrestling is adequate but not elite. Her striking is ok but certainly not elite. It’s the whole package that can overwhelm the woman across from her and pick up a win in the eyes of the judges. She’s a true featherweight. Dumont is not.
Dumont has fought at 145 but tried to make 135 last time. She missed by a mile, coming in at 139.5. She beat Ashlee Evans-Smith like she stole something from her. It was one of the more dominant victories I’ve witnessed that went to the judges scorecards. 30-26 across the board from all 3 judges is as convincing as it gets. Spencer is a jump up from Dumont but without the horrible weight cut and having a full camp I expect to get an even better Dumont in this fight.
Spencer perhaps has the grappling edge and the gas tank edge but I’m leaning Dumont. I really like getting plus money on the Dumont in what I think is basically a pickem. I absolutely cannot pay the 1.8 to win 1 on Spencer who doesn’t have one particular skill to end a fight. Fight goes to a decision is sitting between -145 and -170.
OFFICIAL PICK: NORMA DUMONT
Paiva is another of this generation that grew up with the sport. At just 25 he already has 23 fights and 5 under the UFC umbrella. The negative for Paiva is his head movement. When he attacks with his hands he tends to leave his chin straight up and ready to be hit. The right hand tends to come from his hip but that is partially because it’s a good starting point to unleash his right leg. He has powerful leg kicks and uses those to unleash the eventual head kick.
Paiva showed decent takedown defense and immediately looked for underhooks. Unfortunately, he lost that fight after an early stoppage due to a cut above the eye but his hands were nasty early in that fight and cut Bontorin badly that required the Dr taking a look. The thing is, Paiva ate the knee that busted him open. He wanted to continue to fight. The guy is a warrior. He’s so calm and so smooth with his stand up. There is a lot to like about this kid.
Dvorak picked up a quality win over Bruno Silva in his UFC debut. When your nickname is Undertaker you can imagine he’ll be looking for knockouts but he’s won both his UFC fights by decision. He’s a striker with a very wide base. It’s a lot of popping in and out of the pocket, coming in with combinations. He has a nasty overhand right and a pounding left kick to the body. He buckled Silva midway through the first with that body kick and jumped right on him.
Dvorak is also a guy who does quite a bit of tape study on his opponents to get a gameplan going into the fight. His chin has been questioned several times in his short UFC career and he’s answered the bell each time. I like the ground game of Dvorak. He’s heavy on top and patient with his passes but displays good control. He does have 7 submissions on his record but we haven’t seen him roll with the best on this level.
This could be the fight of the night. I see this as purely a stand up battle with two really exciting strikers that could finish one another but have both displayed the ability to take a big shot and keep pushing forward. It’s ultra close but I’m going with Paiva. He’s been in with the better guys and looks super slick on the feet. I wouldn’t be shocked by literally any result other than one of them just wrestling the other to death.
OFFICIAL PICK: RULIAN PAIVA
It’s good to see Hermansson back in the octagon. He’s lost two of his last 3 but the 5 round war with Vettori seems like it was years ago. It was just last December and was 25 minutes of war. Hermansson is a pressure fighter who can do a bit of everything but will likely have the wrestling advantage here.
He has enough stand up ability and power to hang with most but I would have a slight standup edge to Edmen. I see Jack taking this one down and just wearing the kid out. He’ll use that experience, cage IQ and gas tank to propel himself to a win.
Shahbazyan is a kid I’m super high on but he’s only 12 fights into his career, coming off a loss and taking on a legit top 5 guy in the division. I know he’s ranked 7th. Shut it. Like a lot of young fighters, we get a pretty mixed bag from Edmen. He’s looked great and looked bad.
What’s interesting about this matchmaking is Edmen is getting an immediate chance at redemption from his fight against Derek Brunson where he was just rag dolled around the cage for 2+ rounds. He couldn’t stop the takedowns and coudn’t get back to his feet when he was down. He was completely worn out and was basically finished before the third round started thanks to the ground and pound from Brunson at the end of round 2.
You’ll see in the stat bug up top that Shahbazyan is averaging 4.44 takedowns per fight. Ignore that. He landed 8 against Darren Stewart in a split decision win and has finished the tomato cans the UFC fed him so quickly that it’s just thrown off the stats. He wants to keep this standing and use his slick striking and sneaky power to beat Hermansson where he’s not comfortable.
Could Shabazyan win this fight? Absolutely. My issue with this fight is that if he does not, where does that leave him and who do you give him next. He’s only 23. He only has 12 fights to his name. He’ll be coming off 2 losses. It’s a big risk for a kid who could be fighting for a title in the next 5 years or so. But make no mistake, this is a dangerous fight for both guys. If Hermansson loses here he’s now considered a gatekeeper, not a title challenger.
Shahbazyan by knockout or Hermansson by decision. I’ll take the vet. Just too much too soon for Edmen.
OFFICIAL PICK: JACK HERMANSSON
Algeo is the poor man’s James Krause. He has his own gym. He’s working with fighters but he’s still game and improving inside the cage as well. He’s just 31 and in theory just coming into his prime. He kicked Spike Carlyle out of the UFC with his win over him. He also held his own against Ricardo Lamas in his debut. At 38, at the time, Lamas was certainly not the best version of himself but he’s still a bjj black belt and an accomplished striker coming off a fight with Calvin Kattar.
What we see with Algeo is an improving fighter finding his level. His most recent losses are Shane Burgos, Jared Gooden, Brandan Loughnane and Ricardo Lamas. Those are all UFC caliber fighters and in most cases, high level guys. He can wrestle and is a BJJ black belt. His striking is his ticket to the win here but he needs to keep this fight standing and off the cage. Against Carlyle he accepted the clinch far too often for me and that is particularly risky against Ramos.
Ramos isn’t the best offensive wrestler you’ll see but he will clinch and rip, grab your back and try to work his bjj. He’s a decent striker but it’s just something to do before he hits the mat. Typically the standup involves a majority of kicks and generally thrown with flair. There is quite a bit of spinning techniques in the arsenal and he’s not shy with the low kicks. Those techniques were his undoing as they led right into the wrestling of Murphy and once he was on his back eating big shots it looked like Ramos had had enough. I didn’t like to see that. Ramos never went out and regained consciousness, he simply turtled and waited for the ref to step in. Maybe he knew he was beaten but I can’t see Algeo taking that route.
Avoid the chokes and keep Ramos off the back and Algeo should cruise to a victory here.
OFFICIAL PICK: BILL ALGEO
Can Rothwell actually make it fight night???
I feel bad for the dude. He’s ready to scrap and Philipe Lins kept pulling out and then the new guy Mozharov couldn’t get it done and he’s back to square one. I love that Rothwell is just like, give me someone. Who cares?!
In steps a certified fat guy. 5’9” and 265 pounds. By the way, in his last fight against Ahmed Tijani Shehu he weighed in at 300 pounds. He’s a guy under 5’10” who will be cutting weight to make 265. He has arms like a 5’8” guy and will come in with a 4.5” reach disadvantage. What he does have is athleticism. I’m not saying he has no shot but remember that he’s coming in on short notice.
He did have a fight coming up against Ben Martin in XFC next week so it’s not like he’s been sitting on his couch but this is a completely different level of opponent. He does have power and he does have a heavy top game but I have major questions about his gas tank and of course we’ll have to see how he looks on the scale come Friday. The scary thing is, I might have a bet on this fat boy…
We broke down Ben Rothwell two weeks ago. Not much has changed. As a reminder, here is that breakdown. Rothwell is super slow. He’s a big guy but his best days are way behind him but he does have the power you’d expect from a heavyweight. The edge I’d give Rothwell is that for a big man, he can go 15 minutes. He’s fairly efficient with his effort and doesn’t waste energy. He has an iron chin and even though I don’t love it, I’m grabbing him to win.
Notice that edge. He can go 15 minutes. I simply can’t imagine Barnett lasting a full 15 against a legit to 20 heavyweight in the world. KO #23 incoming for Rothwell? It might due to pure exhaustion on the other side.
OFFICIAL PICK: BEN ROTHWELL
Hello all and welcome to Dana White’s home for senior citizens. 36 v 38. Not exactly a fight for the future. In fact, what is the point of this fight?
Claudio Silva does tend to find a way to win and more often than not it’s by finish. He was coming off 3 straight submissions plus a win off Leon Edwards before his recent loss to James Krause. It’s never pretty but more often than not he’s winning. Offensively, his wrestling isn’t great but if he can clinch him up and yank it down perhaps he can work his BJJ and snag a submission.
Court McGee is the younger man here at 36 but coming off 3 losses and 5 of his last 6. Court likely has the gas tank here and certainly has the chin to hold up anything Bruno Silva will throw at him but I’m not excited to put my money behind Court McGee.
This is a stricly no bet, no play from me. Literally anything is on the table but regardless of who wins, I do see Court McGee being ahead for the majority of the fight. Maybe the entire fight in a win. Maybe all of the fight in a loss with Silva locking up a random submission.
So yeah, backing a guy who’s last win was in 2018 against Alex Garcia isn’t exactly how I want to explain to my wife that we lost money on Saturday night but I gotta pick him to win this fight.
OFFICIAL PICK: COURT MCGEE
We mentioend Bruno Silva earlier when referencing the loss to Dvorak but he gave a really good account of himself. He worked his wrestling and was landing some clean shots with his standup. He dropped Dvorak with a front kick at the end of the first. Honestly, he was starting to get a bit disrespected and almost underrated before his return KO against JP Buys.
Remember, he was a dog against Buys and earned a FOTN bonus for his KO in the second round. It wasn’t just the knockout that impressed me about his most recent performance. He had almost 4 minutes of control time and doubled up JP’s strikes. It was a dominant performance against a guy that was pretty hyped coming into the fight. Bruno’s power is underrated and he’s a well rounded fighter.
Rodriguez might be getting a bit of the short stick here as you take your UFC debut on short notice against Adrian Yanez and there was only going to be one guy with his hand raised at the end of the fight. He certainly has shown power on the regional scene and has finished all 7 of his wins inside the distance. At 125, I’m always looking for the guy with more power but that’s basically where his best chance is in this fight. He comes in with a full camp and his debut behind him.
Bruno is coming on short notice here after Bondar was removed from the card but he’s simply better at everything. I would assume people think Bruno is going to come in and just wrestle this guy to death but Rodriguez has been knocked out twice in the first round. He has not fought the level of striking that Silva will bring to the cage. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Bruno let his hands fly and put this dude on his ass. Either way, Bruno is the pick for me.
OFFICIAL PICK: BRUNO SILVA
I gotta be honest here, it was impossible to find tape on Shayillan. Nothing on Fight Pass. Nothing on Youtube. He’s only been training MMA for 5 years and is ready to make his UFC debut. He’s certainly doing everything he can to get caught up to speed by fighting 6 times in 2020 alone.
The pictures I’ve seen of Shay show a built fighter who physically looks ready for the scrap. His record indicates that he’s equally adept with striking and grappling but is another fighter out of the UFC PI in Shanghai. To put it nicely, they’ve had mixed results in their debut in the octagon. What I do like is that he considers himself a wrestler and that’s one way to avoid a potential gap in the striking advantage that Culibao will certainly have.
Culibao hasn’t exactly had a decorated start to his UFC career. He was knocked out by Jalin Turner in a fight Josh was never really in and ended up with a draw against Charles Jordain where one judge had it 30-27 Jordain, one had it 29-28 Culibao and the other a draw. Hooray for judges.
Overall, I don’t love Culibao’s game but he trains with Volkanovski every day and is young enough to continue to improve. He struggles with his wrestling but has a decent stand up game and some power in his hands. He has a sharp left cross from the southpaw stance and can move smoothly between stances.
He’s a monster favorite and I’m always scared of the unknown but I’ll go with Culibao. You look at known opponents for Wolverine and Rong Zhu stands out. That was a fight that only lasted 2 minutes with Shayillan on the wrong side of the knockout. Culibao could be in for a bonus if he lands a big right hand here.
OFFICIAL PICK: JOSH CULIBAO
Medeiros is coming in on short notice at 155. I’m not sure I love that. His best wins were at 170 and he’s coming off 3 straight losses and hasn’t fought since Feb of 2020. For those who struggle with math, that’s over a year. He has good striking and uses his range well.
He’ll carry a near 6” reach advantage in this fight but again, he’s not impressed at 155 and is coming in on short notice. He’s been knocked out in 2 of his last 3. We all know when you are tired your chin can’t eat punches it can if you are at full fitness. Let’s see how he looks on the scale before making our move on Yancy.
I had to go back and realy study Hadzovic. For whatever reason his fights were flashing before my mind’s eye when I saw this matchup. That’s typically not a good sign. Then I remembered he was that guy Moicano absolutely steamrolled in under a minute. Hazovic gave up his back and was completely clueless with Moicano on his back.
For what it’s worth, Moicano was knocked out in his two fights prior to the Hadzovic fight and the one just after. Just saying. Hadzovic has a tight stand up guard. His elbows are tight and his hands up but he tends to throw one punch at a time. He does throw with power and can split your face open if he lands. He also mixes in the sporadic level change and lands a takedown. It is mostly used to win rounds but he does have 3 submissions on his record.
Hadzovic is very muscular and lean and tends to breath heavily after just 1 round but Yancy is coming in without a full camp. The fight is actually lined to go the distance but I can see this one ending inside the distance for either fighter. I’m leaning towards Hadzovic ever so slightly but if Yancy comes in and looks great on the scale I won’t hesitate to make the switch over to Yancy.
OFFICIAL PICK: DAMIR HADZOVIC
This line is hilarious. Alves was supposed to fight Pat Sabitini at 145 and missed weight by over 10 pounds. He’s now up to 155 but will still need a cut to get there. If you like the dog you have to like the fact that there is a chance this fight goes the distance. Right now it’s -220 to start round 3. It’s -435 to start round 2. That’s because Ismagulov is a surgeon in the cage but he certainly takes his time in there and doesn’t rush or hunt for a finish. He’s rarely if ever in trouble so what’s the rush?
The win over Thiago Moises was particularly impressive. We know Moises is a stud but Ismagulov was able to enjoy himself on the feet and consistently fire that right hand over the top. He hides his kicks really well with feints and strikes. Moises’ lead leg was heavily damaged in the first and played a role in the fight. Ismagulov has really good takedown defense and overall just looks like a complete fighter and potential title challenger.
Alves comes in on a bit of a hot streak but I have so many questions about his chin and game overall. He has power in his hands. He was rocked several times against Felipe Douglas and was still able to quickly switch stances and land a big looping right hook to the chin to sleep Douglas.
He was finished in back-to-back fights against guys who are no longer in the sport back in 2016. He simply hasn’t fought this level of competition and walked away with success. This is too much for Alves and in my eyes, a bit of punishment from the matchmakers for missing weight by 11.5 pounds last time out.
He’s the biggest favorite on the card for a reason.
OFFICIAL PICK: DAMIR ISMAGULOV
- Edmen Shabazyan +130
- Yancy Medeiros +110
- Chris Barnett +280
- Yan Xiaonan -125
- Tafa -185
- Rafael Alves +425 (borderline on math)
- Rob Font -110 (borderline – likely won’t make the cut)