MadLab’s UFC Fight Night Newark Breakdown and Predictions!!! Here is what Twitter is saying…
UFC FIGHT NIGHT MAIN CARD
Robbie Lawler $7200 vs. Colby Covington $9000
When you think about this fight in a whole, you really wonder whether or not it makes much sense. For a casual fan, it probably just seems like a matchup that the UFC through together that seems a bit intriguing. With that said if you look at it in color then you will honestly start to see that you will like and dislike at the same time from a few different angles. The storyline here is being pushed like Robbie abandoned ATT and this is somewhat of a payback tour for them and their star pupil Colby Covington. However, if there was one fight that really should have been made, it was the immediate rematch with Lawler and Askren. After Askren won a very controversial fight by way of bulldog choke, it was later noticed that Lawler in fact was not out and gave Herb Dean the ref a thumbs up to let him know he was OK. Herb stepped in thinking Lawler was out and the debate started. With that said we didn’t get the rematch that we were all waiting for, but we did get a similar style matchup that really doesn’t get any easier for Lawler here. Another very talented wrestler that relies a little less on his wrestling, but still relies very heavy on it as well as his very good conditioning. Many people are on this Covington train and it is disturbing to a point, to be honest. Is he a good wrestler? Yes, he is. Does he have great conditioning and very good relentless pressure? Yes, he does. However, in MMA you need to be very well rounded because eventually you will be neutralized in your strength and you will need to reach into your back pocket to plan B and he has no plan B. The guy was getting outstruck by Damian Maia at one point and even tho he did win that fight, I would not give his striking any better grade than a C- at this point and that is actually with a curve. Eventually, he is going to be fighting guys that will be able to keep up with his wrestling and force him to stand and that is where Colby is going to get worked. So the people that really believe that this kid is going to be the “Legit” champion without that major component in his tool belt are really just fooling themselves. He is serviceable in his other areas outside of Wrestling, but you can’t just be serviceable in a division that is stacked with wrestling based fighters at the very top. The issue in this fight is that he is fighting a guy that is really much more of a striker with more experience, better cage IQ, a solid takedown defensive game, but is losing a step with age. Against someone like Covington who is young and explosive that can be a big issue when he gets leeched to his hips early and often. Covington is going to come in pretty well equipped with many of Lawler’s habits due to the fact that Lawler was a staple at ATT for so long. They have a portfolio on his tendencies and that really will help Covington in the grand scheme of it all. With that said Lawler has some of his numbers as well given that he had some open looks at him as well, so the playing field isn’t exactly lopsided in that arena. A very important piece to this fight is to see how quickly Colby has success in taking down Lawler. If he has early success then you may see Robbie in for a very very long night. However, if Lawler can keep this upright for a while, then he can really shake things up and the striking advantage is clearly in the favor of Lawler at that point. Both of the game plans for these men are quite clear cut. For Colby, he is going to really want to get in on Lawler’s hips early avoiding exchanges when Lawler has full pop in his exchanges. Make Robbie carry his weight and start to wear on Robbie’s gas tank allowing the takedowns to come easier as time goes on. Covington is not and never was much of a finisher, so if he can really get things going early then I am expecting Covington to rinse and repeat at a much more frequent rate as time goes on frustrating Lawler in the process. For Lawler, he is going to want to keep this standing and test Colby’s chin early. Keep his chin in space, work his combos to both levels. Work his body and head and really try to stun him early. If he can stun him early with something big then that will most likely add a little rubber in the legs of Covington, taking away some spark in the explosion of the takedowns. A big 1st round for Lawler is very big in this fight. He needs to really make a statement in the 1st round making Colby second guess his shots. You can’t let Colby dial in on your hips and get his timing down. Robbie needs to really throw different looks at Colby and be the Big Brother in there. I have a feeling about this fight and I can be totally off base saying this, but Colby is eventually going to get his clock cleaned by someone in big fashion. It is only a few fights away. It is going to happen very soon, and it’s going to happen in very big fashion. If this was a fight against Usman, I honestly wouldn’t even second guess it. I will say this here and now that if and when they fight each other, I will possibly call that one of my locks of the night if it actually does happen. With that said that’s not the fight we are talking about here and we aren’t at that bridge yet so I do give serious pause with picking this fight. On one hand, you wonder if the aging Vet still has enough gas to keep Colby off him for 5 rounds if he can’t keep this fight upright and connect with something big to change the complexion of the fight. On the other hand, We are most likely going to see Colby’s chin checked here a few times and there is no reason why Lawler can’t finish the job if the blood starts trickling into the open water and he smells it. I am going with the dog in Robbie Lawler here. Not by Decision but by brutal KO Somewhere midway through this fight stunning Colby and pouncing him with a barrage of strikes.
The Pick: The Ruthless One… Robbie Lawler
Jim Miller $8900 vs. Clay Guida $7300
This is a fight to me that is borderline crazy to bet or pick with confidence. Both of these guys had their time in the UFC and without a doubt are legends on the sport. I had the honor to train with the Miller Brothers years back and Jim Miller was always just a standout talent in the gym. Very good Wrestling, a Black Belt in BJJ under Jaime Cruz and just a blue-collar style that was unmatched when he was younger and dialed in. Clay Guida was known for different reasons but it worked for him in the same facet. When you thought of Guida, you just thought of his pace, his endless gas tank, and his super caffeinated fighting style. Both men are grinders and both men are not afraid to get filthy in the trenches. There is no doubt in my mind that Guida will hold the Ace in the Cardio department and if this fight travels down that path then I can see him just clearly outworking Miller here. However, Guida has been known to running himself into submissions due to his frantic pace, not staying tight and just exposing windows in which limbs or his neck are exposed for the taking. The fight is really going to boil down to control here. If Miller can control the ace of Guida and slow things down a bit, then there is a good chance that he may find one of those windows and jump through it; but if Guida gets what he wants and just backs Miller up the entire fight, then I can see Miller getting tired in the latter part of the fight as Guida just takes over with pace and cardio. In the grand scheme of finishing upside, I think Miller holds that candle with his BJJ if this were to hit the Matt. Guida is really not known for his finishing abilities with only 1 finish since 2011. Going the distance in his last fight against a completely shot out BJ Penn is not a very good look, so him finishing Miller is probably unlikely. However, as I said above, in his 18 loses, 9 of them have come by way of Submission. That is something that Miller will be keeping an eye on and even though Miller has his own issues in his own aging frame, He is possibly fighting his last fight here in New Jersey, He is in a big spot for the Co-Main event, and the crowd will be rocking for him, I think the edge and the lean is in his favor here. With that said I would not put too much stock into predicting this fight with any huge amount of confidence. When you have 2 men at the end of the road anything can happen. Give me the Jersey boy to get it done for his hometown crew. Jersey Standup.
The Pick: Miller
Joaquim Silva $7100 vs. Nasrat Haqparast $9100
This fight to me is priced a bit nutty. I am a fan of Haqparast and I do like his style and potential. Anyone from Tri-Star to me has to be somewhat intelligent to really absorb the belief systems of Zahabi. He has very sharp hands and a good pace that is steady, sharp, and can also be overwhelming at times. With that said, it is also very calculated which is expected from a Tri-Star Combatant. With a 10-2 record, Hap has been impressive but the quality of opposition just hasn’t really been there yet. With wins over Gouti and Diakiese, I wouldn’t consider them quality tools in the division. In his solo UFC loss, he dropped a decision to Marcin Held leaving his UFC record at 2-1. Silva is a different fighter than he has faced before. Better known as Neto BJJ, Silva brings a very hard pace supporting a Black Belt in BJJ and some good power in his hands if you decide to play the leather exchange game with him. With an 11-1 record, Silva has never been finished and despite his very good BJJ pedigree, He has 6 of his 11 wins by way of KO and only 3 by way of decision. So as you can see he is very confident in his ability to stand and trade. There is no doubt that he holds the edge in the grappling department, but where things get interesting is what happens when they are on the feet. I dare to say that Silva may pack a little more pop in his shot, but Haqparast really has some nice tie ins to his striking patterns. He isn’t one to waste punches and he looks to make them all count. Punches in bunches looking to collect a steady stream of points in the process. Both men have paths and lanes to win here and the winner will take the next step forward in an already crowded and stacked division. I like the pace of Silva here but I think Haqparast does enough to keep him honest and pick him apart from a comfortable range. This fight is going to be a close one and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a very tight split decision, but there is an element in fighting in which patience is a virtue and picking your spots becomes a weapon. Silva comes in hot and gives Haqparast a very challenging and rough go to start the fight, but in the end, Hapqrast walks away the victor in this one.
The Pick: Haqparast
Trevin Giles $8500 vs. Gerald Meerschaert $7700
Giles did not look too impressive in his last fight against Zak Cummings. I actually picked cummings in that fight but I just thought that Giles fought very tentatively for the most part. The good news is that he is young and has plenty of room to grow. You never really know what wrinkle young guys will throw into their game from fight to fight and that is the exciting thing about growth. With his record now tarnished at 11-1, you have to wonder how mentally he will rebound from this. It’s never easy coming back off your first loss against a guy that has a somewhat similar fighting style to the guy you lost to. Meerschaert’s game is really predicated on his grappling. With a 28-11 record, he has 20 wins by way of submission. The funny thing is, in his 11 losses, 8 of them have been by way of submission. Kind of an odd stat for a guy whose strength is on the ground. Coming off a 2 fight losing streak against Holland and Hermanson, I think it’s safe to say that Meerschaert needs this fight. 3 losses in a row is not a good look in any way, shape or form. With that said he really doesn’t have the greatest athletic ability and in a fight that can be so evenly matched, sometimes athletic ability, speed, and pop can be the X-factors in who gets to the spots first and last. I am expecting this to be a very close fight but a fight that I need to side with the 26-year-old in the hopes that he shows a new wrinkle in his game here and gets this one done down the stretch.
The Pick: Giles
Scott Holtzman $9300 vs. Dong Hyun Ma $6900
I understand why Holtzman is the pick here but I don’t understand why he is favored like this. At 12-3, the Holtzman brings a very powerful and grinding style to the cage. In his 12 wins half of them have been inside the horn with 4 by KO and 2 by way of submission. In his 3 losses, he has never been finished. Holtzman, to me, is a very up and down fighter even when he wins. Although a very tough out for any opposition, I feel like sometimes he is just content with cruising to a decision. Solid power, a Brown Belt in BJJ, and not afraid to tie up for a takedown, Holtzman sometimes just seems like he isn’t pulling the trigger fully. He will really have no choice against a guy like Hyun Ma who will bring the fight right back at him. With a 16-9 record, Hyun Ma has 12 of these wins inside the horn with a perfect balance of submissions and KOs. In his 9 losses, he has been finished 5 of those outings. The reason for this is due to his offensive style. He really looks for all offense all the time and when you fight like that, you tend to leave space in a reckless type of way. It is a very Kill or be Killed type of mindset and that is why Hyun Ma is always a fun fight to watch. With that said, you really can’t fight that way forever. Eventually, the blanket is ripped out from under you and your body starts to give way a bit. There needs to be a point in time where your body sets a certain bar for you until it shuts off or slows down during these engagements. Even tho Hyun Ma is 30 years of age, he has been involved in some serious tussles, and for the most part, he will come out on top, but there will be times that you run into a buzz saw that just doesn’t go your way. Holtzman doesn’t have a reckless style to him and that is where I think he takes this fight. He has the ability to stay in space if he wants to, but he also has the ability to lock Hyun Ma up if things start forming some serious fireworks. I am looking for Hyun Ma to bring the fight early and even possibly steal a round early, but once Holtzman gets comfortable in there with the tempo and speed of the fight, he should be able to control where, when, and how this fight plays out. Although I do not agree with this high price tag at all, it is hard to deny Hot Sauce the nod here.
The Pick: Holtzman
Darko Stosic $8400 vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu $7800
Another close fight here in which both guys are highly unproven and both coming off losses by unimpressive fighters. Stosic is a powerhouse with a judo background and the protege of the great Mirko Cro Cop. With a 13-2 record and 8 of those wins coming by way of KO, Stosic lost his last fight to Devin Clark. Now not knocking Devin Clark at all because he is an athletic specimen with very good ability when he is on his game and dialed in, but not the type of fighter that wouldn’t cause a pause when seeing tat on his record. On the flip side, you have a monster of a man in Nzechukwu that stands at 6’5 and will have a very distinct reach advantage in this fight. At 6-1 and 4 wins by way of KO, there is no doubt that this kid has talent and genetics, but he is still very very raw and has much to learn. My main issue with him is that he doesn’t seem to really have a killer style to him. I am not sure how he will handle going into these dark places when he really needs to dig very deep and that can be an issue. With that said, if he earned to really use his reach and let his hands go a little more, then you can really be looking a tough customer in this division. With that said, in his last loss he fell by way of triangle choke to Paul Craig and like Darko, that just isn’t a loss that won’t create some pause. However, the one thing that really stands out to me here is the killer instinct difference in the 2. I just think that Stosic is much less hesitant to search for blood rather than wait for it to hunt, gather and finish. Stosic may have an issue clearing range on the big man, but you know that he is going to pursue it while Nzechukwu plays more of the pop shot outside counter game. My fear with Stosic is his gas tank but I think he wins enough of the engaging control time to take this one down the stretch.
The Pick: Stosic
UFC FIGHT NIGHT UNDERCARD
Mickey Gall $7900 vs. Salim Touahri $8300
I hate to say this about a fellow NJ guy, but I just don’t think Mickey Gall is very good. I don’t think that he is very bad either, but at the end of the day, he got his name off of a win by the CM Punk project. He has a decent ground game and his striking is extremely suspect. He had his soul ripped out of him in 2 fights and that just doesn’t sit well with me. He was dominated by Randy Brown and completely dominated again by an aging Diego Sanchez. It just seems as if he is not mentally capable to overcome adversity when things are not in his favor. He fights very defensively to survive when he is in trouble instead of trying to make something happen from his back. I also have my questions about his chin which was tested against Sage Northcutt. Even tho he won that fight against Northcutt, he was in fact stunned off the only exchange in that fight. He will take on Touhari that is 0-2 in the UFC but he did lose to legit opposition in those 2 loses. Waverly Alvarez by decision and a split decision to a very tough Nakamura. Losses, yes, but 2 fights he showed the ability to hang with 2 very good and talented fighters. This is a fight in which Gall in my projections would be a much easier fight then both of those gentlemen. I know the entire narrative with Gall fighting on his home soil, but this is a fairly short notice fight for him and given his cardio issues that he showed in his last few fights, that can really be a thorn in his side yet again. Touahri is a very capable grappler and even tho I would give Gall the edge in the grappling end of things, Touahri is the better striker, the better pressure fighter and should be the more aggressive fighter in this spot. Both men should be very desperate for a win here and whoever losses can possibly get their walking papers but I just can’t find myself backing Gall until he shows me more in all aspects of the game, from Mental to technical.
The Pick: Touahri
Antonina Shevchenko $8600 vs. Lucie Pudilova $7600
Eventually, the levy has to break here. Either Shevchenko is going to be worthy of a UFC contract, or we may just need to accept that she is riding off her sister’s coattails. With a 7-1 record and only 2 wins by way of KO, Panther really just hasn’t impressed me at all. In her last fight against Modafferi, I was blown away how she just couldn’t get off against a girl that is tough but has zero athletic ability dropping a decision loss. She is really going to have to show me something here to get my eyes on her in the future. She will be fighting against Lucie Pudilova, who has dropped her last 2 fights against very tough opposition. Liza Carmouche by decision and the one that stands out the most to me is a split decision against a very very good striker in Irene Aldana. With an 8-4 record, she has 2 by KO and 2 by way of submission. In her 4 loses, she has never been finished. Lucie is game and a very tough in her approach, but she is always very very hittable and that could be a problem for her here. I think that Aldana gave her all that she can handle when it came to hands but Panther ties together her punches and kicks together extremely well and I would dare to say that her pedigree in striking alone is just is superior. Shevchenko needs a statement here and she needs to make a statement now for damage control reasons. I think she opens up here and displays a very good striking clinic that will grab her a possible 29-28 decision in this one getting her back in the win column after a lackluster performance against Modafferi.
The Pick: Shevchenko
Jordan Espinosa $8200 vs. Matt Schnell $8000
Keeping this one short too. I think Schnell should be favored here in DK but it is what it is. I like his overall game and he is pretty balanced everywhere. Good slick striking and solid grappling, Shnell ties his game together very well. His chin is still suspect to me, but I don’t think Espinosa packs that kind of power to really put that kind of a threat on Schnell, and as far as the Grappling, Schnell has the chops to stay safe and has some very slick submissions in his own right. Both men bring a good pace and they match up very well, but Schnell should be able to take an edge in most aspects of this fight as long as he can protect his chin and grapple smart. It is a fight that can honestly go either way, but I think Schnell is grossly underrated and the line shows it.
The Pick: Schnell
Lauren Murphy $7500 vs. Mara Romero Borella $8700
Lauren Murphy is one of those fighters that will give you all that she has, but the issue with her is she doesn’t have all that to give. With that said, she does bring a certain toughness to her game that is well above average. When you have that at your disposal, sometimes that levels out the playing field a bit. You can have oodles of talent but if you don’t have a dog in you then it will really only take you so far. What Murphy lacks in serious talent and athletic ability, she makes up for it with the dog in her. She holds a record of 10-4 with 7 by the way of KO. In her 4 loses they have all been in the UFC and they have all been by way of decision. Her record in the UFC is not an impressive one with a 2-4 record. She is just a little robotic for me and it seems that she has not really evolved all that much. She is very matchup based and this is a match up for her that is not one that is super appealing for her here. Borella comes in with a very tricky ground game with a record of 12-5 and has a pretty well-rounded background in combat sports. The Italian native holds a Black belt in Judo, a Blue Belt in BJJ and well versed in Kickboxing. In her 12 loses, she has 4 by sub and 3 by way of KO. What worries me here is that in her 5 losses she has been KO’d 3 times. Her record in the UFC is 2-1 and she hasn’t really fought great opposition, but she does have something that I do like and I think Borella will show more and more wrinkles in her game as time goes on here. The UFC and Lauren Murphy have not really seen eye to eye during her stay here, so don’t expect the UFC doing her any favors. Not a fight that is out of reach for Murphy here, but a fight that I am expecting Borella to control and win.
The Pick: Borella
Claudio Silva $9400 vs. Cole Williams $6800
I will keep this very short. Cole Williams is coming in as a late replacement for his debut fight in the UFC with facing by far his toughest test to date in Silva. Silva’s grappling is most likely going to take advantage of this opportunity with a submission inside the distance. It makes no difference if he fights Cole Williams or Cole Trickle, I just don’t see how Silva loses this fight unless he just completely shits the bed. Williams will impress you for a minute or two but once this hits the ground, it will only be a matter of time. That’s all I need to say.
The Pick: Silva
Miranda Granger $7400 vs. Hannah Goldy $8800
This fight gives me zero motivation to be excited for, to be honest. 1st fight of the night and 2 extremely raw fighters that most likely won’t last very long under the UFC umbrella. Goldy has pretty good punch combos and ties in her leg kicks mixed in very well. She has good power and moves forward with constant pressure, whereas Granger is the longer fighter, holding a 6+ inch reach advantage but doesn’t seem to have that solid ability to frame and claim her ground in tie-ups as Goldy can. This fight will really be predicated on if Goldy can get inside, slow Granger down with Leg kicks and just implore her low center of gravity to make this a dirty inside fight. If Granger can keep this fight in range or secure some kind of top control where she likes to engage in grappling then I can see Goldy having trouble with the much more Wiry frame of Granger. Someone’s “0” must go here, and I think Goldy will keep her’s intact, but a fight that has 2 fighters who are highly unproven in this type of arena. I am hesitant to be uber-confident here.
The Pick: Goldy
UFC FIGHT NIGHT DRAFTKINGS
At $7200, I’m taking some stabs here. If Lawler wins this fight he will need to do it and catch Colby fairly early. After watching Colby getting peppered by Maia on the feet in spots, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Lawler can’t catch him with something big.
If he gets his groove on, finds Lawler’s hips early and protects his chin, then he can score big with the rinse and repeat. At $9k, he is in play obviously.
Love Jim, but $8900 in a fight that with two aging vets is too dangerous of a stab. However, he will be low owned so in large field GPPs I can make some sense of it but outside of that, I would not put heavy weight in it.
He has 1 finish since 2011. He isn’t finishing Miller, but he can outwork him. The price is cheap and tempting. If you draft him, you may have company. For that reason, I’m off him here. I picked him to lose anyway.
He’s underpriced, but he has his hands full in this one.
His volume is very good, and Silva is going to make him throw. I’m interested.
Not super high on him in this spot with this price tag. I’m not too high on this play.
He is so predictable. Even tho I picked him to lose, he does have a clear path to victory. I just don’t think he wins. This fight may be off the board for me.
$9300 is a big price tag, but Hyun Ma has been in some wars, so how long his body withstands more of them is anyone’s guess. There is an inline shot for a finish here, and even tho it is a scary task every time Hyun Ma is on the other side of the cage, the levee can break any day with him.
Hyun Ma $6900
I wouldn’t say no, but I wouldn’t encourage all that much either. The tough fights may be taking their toll on his body.
I see many people liking the other side of this fight, and that intrigues me here. $8400 is a sweet spot for a fighter with very good fight-ending power if he lands.
He is in play with his size, reach and raw talent, but I think he needs to show me a little more before I jump on the bandwagon. A sprinkle here is not out of line tho. The guy is a specimen.
Gall $7900 / Touahri $8300
I hate this fight, but the price is right for both guys. I am leaning Touahri, but Gall is right there with him. I don’t trust either man, but I will have a taste of both with a stronger lean on Touahri.
People are going to be frightened off by her last performance. I think she boxes Pudilova up here, and I think she has a chance to hit her value. I’m slightly interested.
I don’t see Pudilova being able to keep up with the volume of Pantera here.
Espinosa $8200 / Schnell $8000
You know what to do here, but I do like Schnell in this matchup. I think Schnell has the ability to win this fight everywhere, and his price is right if he can keep his chin safe and not do anything stupid in the process. In a fight that I usually split in situations like this with the pricing, I will add some heavier lean on Schnell here. I think he has the opportunity to get the finish, and at $8k, that is nice value.
Another fight I see people leaning towards Murphy a bit. I don’t see it. I’m off her.
I like Borella. The Italian prospect has a lot of potential, and I can see her just grinding Murphy out. Murphy is durable, and getting the finish may be very difficult so that $8700 price tag will be a tough pill to swallow in your lineups. Very fringy here. I may take a few small stabs in large GPP, but outside of that, she is a very dangerous play given Murphy’s Durability.
I will have Silva in some lineups, hoping he seals up a submission early. I think he does.
I won’t even entertain this. He does have pop, but I just don’t see it.
She is long and has a 6+ inch reach advantage. I don’t see her winning this fight, but the level of MMA here is not the best, so anything can happen. With that said, it’s a fight that I won’t have too much stock in.
Her tag is extremely expensive, and I won’t have this fight in play that much at all. However, in a large field GPP, I can see an argument for a bullet. Outside of that, I am not interested.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT VEGAS BETS
Not much room on this card for huge profits or solid confident plays, but I am taking some swings on some plays I feel have a good path to hit minimizing laying heavy wood.
2 to win 1.67
2 to win 1.33
Silva Over 95.2
Haqparast Over 82.2
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