MadLab’s UFC 244 Breakdown and Predictions!!! Here is what Twitter is saying…
UFC 244 MAIN CARD
Diaz 7400 vs Masvidal 8800
I’m at an age where I have been inside the heart beat of two entirely different generations. Being on both sides of the fence, I have seen a massive shift in the quality of humanity and it hasn’t been all that pleasant. It seems that just a few short years ago people were far different, and for some odd reason the fault line has jolted us in the wrong direction. Values, morals, loyalty, wants, needs and priorities just aren’t easy traits to run into these days. It seems we have taken a massive turn for the worse, and at this point it just seems like we are too far gone as a society to even understand it. Part of it, perhaps, is for the simple fact that we have allowed ourselves to become too civilized within ourselves along with another major player which is the monster known as social media. It is a very scary thing when you think about it, because statistics don’t lie whether you want to believe it or not. The facade that so many live, the mirage that so many allow themselves to see, and the brutal lie that so many people live in will eventually come to a screeching halt. Eventually it always does. However, every once in awhile the term “real recognizes real” comes to fruition; where 2 throwbacks from when morals, pride, respect, and legacy meant more than anything else cross each others path, chomping at the bit while pressed up against the starting gates to defend their honor and code as men. The reason this fight holds so much value to me is not the skill set involved nor the magnitude of the actual fight itself. For me, its that on Saturday night in the concrete jungle under the hood of Madison Square Garden, the 95% of a weakened society will catch a glimpse of what true throwbacks are. Two men that never needed a degree or a resume to validate themselves, never needed to wear a shirt and tie, and most of all never needed to look for an easy road for comfortability. They decided that the easily paved road was for people who follow a template in life due to the fear of the unknown. In turn, if you can relate to what I am saying, then you would rather chew sawdust and nails then to adhere to laws written for you by another man. With that said, on Saturday night, Nate and Jorge will bring you back to an era that sadly doesn’t exist anymore. An era of where lacing up and throwing leather for what you truly believe in is more appealing to our blood line than having it given to us the easy way. (Probably why I was thrown out of a few grammar schools growing up. My poor mother). On Saturday night, while people are skirted around New York sipping cocktails in bougie lounges like parrots on a perch, we bring the streets into Madison Square Garden and give New York City a dose of our world. On Saturday we own this city. Both men have less than super impressive records. It really just doesn’t tell the tale of who they are. Both men have blossomed late in this game and it seems that they are both coming fully into their own at the same time. Nate comes in as an unfiltered fighter that was under appreciated for quite awhile. He was granted access to fight Conor McGregor on last minutes notice and not did he take advantage. That fight didn’t put him on the map, but it spring boarded him into super stardom. Nate Diaz was now a house hold name and after years of being brushed under the rug, the UFC just couldn’t hide it anymore. A black belt under Ceaser Gracie, Nate has an extremely smooth and slick ground game, but the boxing is where you will be mostly impressed. It doesn’t look like much and his punches come out of the barrel rubbery at times but the volume, the accuracy, and the pace he puts on just breaks people. Prideful in his cardio, Nate has the ability to get better as the fight goes on while most people are declining in the later rounds and that’s where he takes over. He will be facing Miami’s own Jorge Masvidal who in his own right has a similar story, but maybe not of Nate’s magnitude. The former bare knuckle fighter has put together a string of wins that just can not be denied. His last fight against Ben Askren will forever be stapled in the UFC highlight reels. The opening bell was followed by a flying knee that put out Askren within seconds leaving the crowd shocked. Masvidal has a very unique style to his fighting. He is one of the guys who has so many layers to his game, yet the cliche of his street fighting days, many of the uneducated don’t view him as a super well rounded fighter. He has extremely good hands as we know, but his wrestling is very good and his BJJ is extremely serviceable. What I like about his ground game the most is his defensive grappling. We all know where he wants to keep the fight, but if you don’t have the chops to keep it there or remove yourself from redlining situations then it really doesn’t matter. Damian Maia had his back for quite sometime in there meeting and he was able to elude the situation and stay safe. I think this fight stays right where they both want it to stay, on the feet. With that said it will be a battle against the gas tank and the ability to walk through volume on Masvidals end. If he manages to keep up I think he banks enough early rounds to win. It’s going to be a very interesting fight and to be honest. It’s one that should be dead lock even. However, I’m going with Masvidal here. I think he brings enough back draft on Nate’s pressure that allows him to land the more damaging shots giving the judges a little more of a liking in his favor in a very very close fight.
The Pick: Masvidal
Till 7000 vs Gastelum 9200
Darren Till seemed to be a little like fools gold for a small time. The UFC paraded him around as one of the main representing faces of a country that he could hoist on his shoulders. There is no doubt that Till has the genetic tools to be a devastating fighter. His frame allows him to really generate hold power and his length allows him to really size up his opposition and put a bead on his target. The issue with Till is that he’s really just suffered from concentration on one aspect of his game and that will always bite you in the ass when you visit the well rounded shark pool. Till also has serious issues getting his weight down with his sizeable frame. Now he is bumping up and from what I hear, he may even have a little trouble in this one due to the size he put on. Till has the striking tools but his chin is suspect and his ground game does lack. He will have a major size and reach advantage against Kelvin in this fight but this is something that Kelvin has dealt with in his entire career. He has fought snipers like Style Bender and has done quite well. However, he himself has some issues with his game that has plagued him in the past. Weight cutting has been a clear issue for him and he does have spots where his cardio can fall off a shelf at times. The bright spot of Kelvin is he is extremely durable, he hits like a truck and he has a ground game that is very sneaky. He is much more well rounded than Till and this is actually what concerns me here. Another concern for me is Till’s chin. His KO loss to Masvidal in March was a head changing one and he went on a hiatus for a bit. You wonder how he will bounce back from that. Will he be gun shy or will he hunt with that reach advantage like he usually does; looking for the target to land something big. It’s so hard to gauge, especially when he is fighting in a division that suites him much better. Cutting weight to extreme levels will absolutely deteriorate your durability and this is something he will no longer need to be majorly concerned with. I’m going to lean towards Gastelum here. I just think there is more paths for him to win here. He’s going to make Till get dirty and even though Till can shut your lights off, so can Gastelum if he gets inside and catches you. I trust Kelvins chin much more than Till’s at this point.
The Pick: Kelvin
Thompson 8500 vs Luque 7700
I look at Thompson much like a riddle that needs to be solved. His traditional karate style has components to it that really don’t allow much room to work, especially when you have the movement and the sniper ability that he posses. Thompson will not overwhelm you with power nor will be really make you back off from checking you coming in, but what he will do is completely out point you until the judges have no choice but to give him the nod. Karate based fighters are premised on the points system. Thompson understands how to score and unless you are able to really get in on his hips a either take that away or have the ability to rock him with something big and finish him, you are not going to beat him in a points match. Luque is coming in with a very good streak, some crazy power, and a very slick ground game that he uses only when it really calls for it. Can he knock Thompson out? You bet ya. However, in 6 loses he has lost 4 by way of decision and only has 2 wins by decision. He is a finisher but finishing Thompson is no easy task. He has only been knocked out once in his career and it was his last fight by the hands of Anthony Pettis. A fight where he was clearly winning the fight and was caught by one of the high risk strikes that Pettis is so known for. However, he got caught. Can he get caught again? The chances are much slimmer against a guy like Luque. He just isn’t fast enough and unlike Pettis, he doesn’t bring that very tricky style with him. Wonderboy will be the faster and sharper fighter here. Going in and out looking for ways to frustrate Luque. The age of wonderboy is starting to rear its head but at the end of the day Thompson’s speed and in and out movement will ultimately be the golden factor here. Thompson outpoints Luque and a less than exciteing fight.
The Pick: Thompson
Lewis 8000 vs Ivanov 8200
Lewis was on quite the run in the cage and on social media. Outside of impressing me with how high elevates that leg for a big man and his incredible punching power, there isn’t much to really brag about. Lewis showed major holes in his character in several fights. It seems like there is two Lewis’. He will either have his back against the wall and look to land that big bomb, or he will skirt around the cage with his hands on his hips trying to really dog his was out of a fight. His cardio is one of his biggest issues but it seems that Lewis is very tender to the body. If you pepper his body enough, the chances are he is going to crawl up in a fetal position or he will start to skirt the cage with his hands down waiting for you to walk in and hopefully walk you into something. The key to beating Lewis is avoid his power and just bring him deep. It’s not so much about skill in a fight like this. It’s more about the dog and Ivanov is a real life dog. The guy was stabbed in the heart and lived to tell the tale. What the guy lacks in talent he makes up for in just sheer grit. It’s hard to gauge him because he has fought some guys on the uptick and some guys that were either out of the game and back or possibly on the down tick. He has been successful in many like against such like Tai and Rothwell. But against someone like JDS he faultered. So I think with Ivanov it is more of a speed matchup that he can’t seem to dial in. Guys like Rothwell and Tai are big but I would not consider them nimble fighter like JDS where he concentrates on his ability and speed to out work you. The good news is that Lewis is not fast in any facet. He holds some athletic ability but he will just walk forward and look to land something big. I did notice that Lewis is much more lean looking and that makes me pause for a bit. A man who once seemed like he didn’t give a shit about fighting and said he only trained a few times a week seems pretty fit for this fight. The doctors have told Lewis he needed to lose weight due to his back issues, so we should pause before we think it was strictly for training and not his ultimate health. With that said it’s not a bad thing and can only benefit him. However, my point is that it may not just be from training as much as it was a priority for his back. In any event I’m giving the big man the nod here. I think he has the power to shut anyone’s lights off no matter how durable you are. What people don’t understand is that just because you are a durable fighter with a good chin doesn’t mean that it won’t meet its match one day. The human anatomy is an amazing piece of work and everyone is built differently. However, there is a threshold that the body will just say “that’s enough” and shut off and that is the power that Lewis does posses; if he ignites your hot spot. I don’t care who you are and how durable you are. If he hits you clean, you… are….out…. He will have to do that here in order to win because him winning a decision is probably not in his cards. I think he has a chance against anyone and I proved that point in my article against Volkov and no one was picking him but me. I said “all it takes is one” and after losing the majority of the fight he connected with a grenade that turned off the power, winning him the fight. Don’t be surprised if it happens again. Ivanov is not Daniel Cormier.
The Pick: Lewis
Lee 7100 vs Gillespie 9100
If you are a fan of high pedigree wrestling and just full bore athleticism then this fight is for you. Kevin Lee is probably one of the more talented fighters in the UFC. High pedigree wrestling, great pace, good grappling, and a good understanding of the game. His issue is that he lets his mouth overshadow his cardio issues. If Lee had a better gas tank and a little more dog in him, he would be brutally good. However, that’s just not the case. When his tank is full, there isn’t many that can out class him. However, clip his wing, bring him deep, back him up and you will see it in his eyes that he is breaking. One thing that I always had the ability to do is know when a fighter is breaking. There is no poker face that will hide that from me. I know when you are hurt, where you are hurt, when you are drowning and when and how to finish off the prey when the blood is trickling in the water. It all comes out in your natural bodies mechanics. When you understand movement, weight distribution on the feet, tendencies, and the regular habits of a fighter, you then see a flaw in their normal gate. It is very clear with guys like Derrick Lewis and Kevin Lee. He will be going against someone that may be smaller than him, but can match his wrestling, match his speed, match his athleticism and most importantly match his pace. However, the caviat here is that he can match his pace longer. Gillespie has all the markings to being a great force in his division. His wrestling and pressure is unheralded and he can do it for much longer than Lee. Lee will be bigger, stronger and much longer; holding a 5 inch reach advantage. But length means nothing when you are tired down the stretch and Gillespie is on your hips. I’m expecting Lee to do very well early and as time starts to hit its mark down the stretch you will probably start to see the frustration set in as Gillespie puts on the motor in front of his home crowd. Lee gets frustrated and Gillespie grounds him to control the fight late.
The Pick: Gillespie
Anderson 7200 vs Walker 9000
Walker came into the UFC with a head full of steam, a dynamic style that will take your head off and a persona that can sell a bridge. However, we have really never seen him tested. Not his fault, but we really have never seen what he has when the lights get hot and the heat is on. How a fighter handles adversity and how they fair under uncomfortability is a huge factor. We haven’t really seen him thrown into a weak situation that he needed to climb out of. Walker has shown us the ability to finish things quick but let’s see how he fairs if things start to go sideways. The issue with Anderson here is that his chin is a bit suspect and if he gets caught coming in then he is surely to go, but if he can get in on Walker’s hips quick and efficiently then you may see him put into a hole that he needs to suddenly climb out of. Anderson should have one game plan here and that is to literally shoot on Walkers hips early and often taking away the range and targets that Walker will be looking for. Make him carry your weight and make him work for everything he is trying to achieve. All fights start on the feet and all rounds start on the feet but it will be the job of Anderson to ground him hard and fast before getting clipped taking away any chance of a possible decapitation. The thing that I noticed in the Cirkinov fight was that he just isn’t as fast and as explosive as someone like Anderson. Walker was able to time him, but timing Anderson’s shots could be a little more difficult. I’m not expecting Anderson to try and trade for too long and I am expecting him to go out if he does decide to do so. He is going to really have to come in with the mindset that wrestling is his path and his other options are actually not options at all. If he follows that blue print, tucks his chin, and stays heavy in top control then I think he can drag this out to win a very tough decision here. The opportunity will be there and everyone has a blueprint. It will be up to him to follow that blue print.
The Pick: Andersen
Burgos 9300 vs Amirikani 6900
This fight is really tough to call for the mere reason that both men will be looking to take this into 2 different floors of the house. Burgos is much more of a volume sniper hovering around 90 significant strikes per affair if they end up going into deep water. Amirikhani does much less in terms of numbers in that category. Most of his handy work is done on the ground where he looks to wrap you up with something before the final horn sounds. In 15 wins, Amirikhani has found the loop hole to jump through 10 of those windows successfully; snatching a limb or throat to take the call out of the judges hands. With an amateur background in boxing and a product of SBG Ireland, you may find that a bit odd, but it’s where he finds himself most effective and he has all the proof at his disposal to provide that this formula is correct. Burgos is going to look to really keep this in his wheel house where I am expecting him to have a clear striking advantage in terms of volume and pace. with an over 90% takedown defense you wonder if Amirikhani will have the kryptonite to achieve this where he will be able to bleed clock and work Burgos into a slow bending fight. I think Burgos does enough to win, but there would not be a shadow of a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he loses this fight. Amirikhani is no slouch.
The Pick: Burgos
Tavares 7900 vs Shabazian 8300
Not super stoked for this one but it is a good fight style wise. Tavares is a perfect gate keeper at this point in time. Good striking, decent ability to survive and navigate himself to safety on the ground but just was never to really ever staple himself as a legit contender and that’s fine but someone like Shabazian brings what Tavares has and a little more. With a 10-0 record and 8 of those wins coming by way of KO, Shabazian has been enjoying the high life of winning. There will be a time where this kid will drop a fight but at this time I’m not sure it’s in this spot. I think the UFC knows that Shabazian has a much better future ahead him than Tavares does at this point. I think he gets to the spots faster and sharper and although Taveres is a problem for anyone standing, he will be a second behind in some of these exchanges and that may ultimately cost him the fight.
The Pick: Shabazian
Arlovski 7500 vs Rosenstruik 8700
At one time Arlovski brought an extremely different dynamic to the game of MMA for the heavyweight division. He had some of the cleanest boxing in the division and really had a firm grasp on the dynamics and science behind it. His ability to feint, set traps and put himself in positions to land with power when the opposition was defensively thrown off and compromised was really something to watch. Now at the age of 40, he still shows flashes of it, but the reaction times are not the same. After 48 fights its expected for the human motor to eventually start to lose its power band a bit. The explosion isn’t there, the ability to get to spots like you used to may be a split second too late and the signals from your nerve center coaching your body seems to not advise you quick enough anymore. So changing your style becomes mandated. Take what you know and add elements that are more vanilla keeping the integrity and foundation of what got you to this point. Trimming away the fat and simplifying your plan of attack becomes physical and mental engineering. It’s not always easy as a prideful fighter. This is a main reason why fighters hang around a little too long sometimes tarnishing a very good career with strings of loses near the end. People only remember “what have you done for me lately” and not the dominance that you once brought. The pit bull is a little different. He stillLoves to fight and the passion for him is still there. Although a little slower and more chinny, he isn’t going quietly into the night for anyone. It’s just not in his DNA to do so. However, pride and the love for fighting sometimes isn’t enough. You still need to get your spots. The 8-0 Rozenstruik may not have the cage time under his belt like Arlovski but he is the much fresher of the two and he also has a kickboxing pedigree behind the birth of his mma career. So in a fight that will predominantly play out on the feet you fear the durability issues with Arlovski may rear its head. The odd thing is that Andrea has went in reverse. At one time he seemed like his chin was completely washed and then he started to show glimpses of durability stabilizing which usually doesn’t happen often, but it doesn’t mean it won’t rear its head again.
The Pick: Rozenstruik
Chookakian 8900 vs Maia 7300
This fight I honestly have no interest in so I will spend minimal time on it. Chookagian seems to be one of those fighters that really just just does enough to win. There is never any desire or desperation to finish the fight and that always bothered me about her. She does have tools in her belt but she just dials up and down to what she really needs to get by and that draws me away from enjoying her fighting style. Maia on the other hand missed weight again and will be fined 25% of her purse. Now the old stat has it that usually the fighter that misses weight has an edge due to possibly just giving up on the cut depending on how badly missed but in a fight like this I just think Chook will do enough yet again to just edge one out. She can sort of nullify Maia everywhere with effort but she will not win without making this one close. However, I think she edges this one out here.
The Pick: Chookagian
Good 8400 vs Recountre 7800
At first glance Good looks like something out of street fighter. Good has a nice build and is a nasty looking dude that plays the part as much as he looks it. However, it seems that Lyman has bright spots and dark spots and it’s hindered him throughout his career. A very sharp striker with good power, a good chin, and a decent wrestling game if he needs to go to that well. However, there is no secret in where Good wants things to pan out. He is much better served and more comfortable in a striking war where he can lay his hands on you and see how far your willing to go before folding. With that said he isn’t going to get that with Recountre. Although Lyman is the better fighter and really should win this fight, I’m interested to see if Recountre brings the same style he did in his last fight. Where constant pressure on the hips and a relentless takedown mindset was his main focus. No matter how powerful you are it means nothing if you can’t get a person into a spot to land. Good will need to either shuck Recountre off or catch him coming in. If he doesn’t and Recountre puts on a pace that Good can’t elude, then the pressure alone might just win him the fight. I think Recountre either gets destroyed or he wins this fight. I don’t think there is really any in-between here. I am going with the dog though. I think if Recountre can tuck his chin and just stay safe, he can apply enough pressure to outscore Good in this one.
The Pick: Recountre
Arce 7600 vs Dawadu 8600
Not a bad first fight of the night. Something about Dawadu that just annoys me. I’m not really sure what it is. Maybe it’s the way he tries so hard to mean mug and it just looks so awkward. Or it can be just how I don’t think he is as hood as he was being pushed. He is explosive and he does have some good power, but he is still very raw in my eyes and someone like Julio Arce who has a much more well rounded foundation with an extremely solid boxing pedigree will not be baited into traps so easily. He understands the nuts and bolts of the game too well. I can see Dawadu becoming a little wild in this fight and Arce just sticks to the game plan. Using his patience and his skill set to wait for his moments and capitalize. Dawadu is always dangerous, but he will present opportunities and it will be up to Arce to capitalize on them. I think he does and I think he wins a tough fought decision that can get dicey in the end.
The Pick: Arce
UFC 244 DRAFTKINGS
I don’t know how he is priced like this but there is no way you can abort him from at least some of your lineups. The value is great and it is Nate Diaz. I did pick Jorge to win but this fight is razor close and the value is there. Whether you think he wins or not there is clear value here.
A bit pricey in contrast to Diaz but it is 5 rounds and I do think he wins the fight, therefore I will allocate space for him and you should too.
This is another insane price. I know he isn’t high volume and I know he looked horrible in some of his last few fights but the weight cut could have played a major role. Till is a big man and will have a huge size advantage here. I will not be fading him in this spot, I think he deserves some love at least.
Pricey here but I think DK is looking at the last KO that Till suffered in his last fight. I don’t think they are factoring in that he is now bumping up a class here and should feel more comfortable in his own skin. However, Gastelum does hit like a truck and if he connects with a shot then you can be sure that anyone will most likley hit the canvas. I am not super high on him in this spot. The price is a bit too high for my liking. This one I may have to avoid or play very small. Scares me a bit.
Lewis 8000 / Ivanov 8200
I will have more shares of Lewis here, but both of these men have the chops to take the other out when it come to Lewis’s insane power and Ivanovs ability to drag Lewis a little deeper when they go into the witching hour of the fight. Take both sides if you play but a heavier lean on Lewis.
The price honestly scares me a bit just for the mere reason that Wonderboy is not really a finisher. He is much more of a calculated counter puncher and that could change some things. However, his price is very fringe for me and unless I’m looking to get sneaky in GPP and hope for the best, I wouldn’t call him a fantastic option here. Large field GPPs I do get the naritive because I am expecting him to win.
He will have the opportunity to check Thompson’s chin and we know that Thompson has been put on his butt a few times and finished in his last fight. Although hard to finish, Thompson is one that can be hit if you hunt him down enough but it definitley won’t be easy. He will be the faster fighter and the much more calcuated one. Although the value is good I would tread lightly.
Great value here and he is worth a few plugs, but I just don’t see his motor keeping up with Gillespie. Very small dosage here.
He has the opportunity to score big in all of his fights. Especially if Lee starts to fade. I will have my shares of the Gift here.
I think Anderson can win this fight if he really focuses on his chain wrestling. Anderson will need to tuck his chin but if he does there is a path. I will have some shares here.
Walker has the ability to finish things very quickly. It is hard to pass him up even at 9k. You have to take a few plugs here even though I am picking against him in this spot. You still need to play smart.
Too expensive for me here. I think it is a very dangerous fight and 9300 is a bit too pricey against a dangerous fighter that I think is being a little over looked. I’m off him here.
At 6900 I may actually take a little stab here. Amirikhani is no slouch.
Tavares 7900/Shabazian 8300
Not super high here, but I will probably take a few stabs on Shabazian and leave Tavares alone.
Ughhh. I want to do it but I just can’t…. I mean maybe a small bite if any….
Another spot where I hate to do it, but these are heavyweights and I guess I have to take a small bite.
Good 8400 / Recountre 7800
Great value on both sides here. I will have some of both, but honestly will have a little heavier lean on Recountre. His motor and pace impresses me.
I will have a few shares here just for the mere fact that he is sub 8k and there is value here on Arce. Not sure why this fight isn’t closer to be honest. First fight of the night which scares me, but a little never hurt anyone.
Too expensive against a guy I think wins. Fade.
1.1 to win 1
1.45 to win 1
1 to win 1.20
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