MadLab’s UFC Fight Night Breakdown and Predictions!!!
Here is what Twitter is saying.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT CARD
Colby Covington DK $9300 / FD $23 vs. Tyron Woodley DK $6900 / FD $17
Well, here we are. A fight we all wanted to see for quite some time, but does it still hold the wheels that it once did? After Woodley’s win over Till, it seemed that he was primed and ready for a showdown with his arch-nemesis Coby Covington. He looked sharp and was the one pressing the action on the undefeated striker in Darren Till. Earning his black belt in BJJ that night, Tyron Woodley seemed to really not lose the step that people were expecting. However, a showdown with Usman was on the horizon next for him and although Woodley looked ready, I think it’s fair to say that Usman was going to eventually kick the door down on the division. He beat Tyron from Pillar to post and it started to feel like the game was now catching up to Woodley and getting ready to pass him up. However, he would accept a fight with the surging Gilbert Burns, and to be quite honest with you, historically, it was a good matchup for Woodley. With that said, Woodley seemed to have a block in his throttle. He would not let his hands go in any facet of the fight. Even in times of the witching hour where you know you are down and need a finish, Woodley didn’t care, he just kept his foot off the gas and accepted the terms of his loss before the fight even ended. After the fight, Woodley expressed that he felt a certain peace in losing that fight and that is something that you never want to hear from your fighter. There comes a time in a fighter’s life where it gets old and the struggle becomes more of a burden than its worth. The fight is the fun part. The stuff that comes before it is where the work is put in. The training sessions, working through pain, the dieting, the final weight cutting, the media obligations and so many other things that you must sacrifice before you even step into the cage. After a while, if you reach the pinnacle as Woodley did, your belly becomes full and you’re not as hungry as you once were. You tend to look for other challenges and goals to satiate your competitive nature. Woodley looked towards music and I do believe that if you are a prizefighter, there is no room for anything else. He made that room and that tied with his age has started to play a role here. However, you can’t take away the fact that Tyron Woodley is without a doubt one of the best pure athletes that have ever stepped into the cage. Extremely fast and explosive, unforgiving power, an extremely high pedigree wrestling game, and a very underrated BJJ game. His Achilles heel is his cardio and his unpredictability when it comes to the output he puts forth in a fight. Woodley is a tough cat to lead a bead on because you can get the Hunter and you can get the hunted, it really all depends on him.
There will only be one option for him in this fight and that is to fight. Coby is going to bring the fight to him which can be a blessing and a curse on both ends and I will explain that shortly. Coby has made a name inside and outside the cage. His outside of the cage antics have been nothing short of cheesy, scripted, and very forced. His inside the cage antics on the other hand has lived up to almost everything that he stamps himself to be. Elite level motor, off the charts conditioning, and a wrestling pedigree with the IQ to match. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with Coby. He has plenty of holes in his game that unless you really know what you are watching can be hidden under the smallest of blankets. Although Coby improved his stand up very much, he is still there to be hit. He uses his volume and pressure as a means to back you up and find holes, instead of strategically creating angles with footwork and head movement. All that is fine in certain spots but it can’t and won’t last forever as we saw his fight against Usman where he was finished in the very last round. The fight was a back and forth war and both men had their spots but it was Usman that was able to really get to the spots faster, finish stronger and nullify Coby in many of his strong suits. We kind of expected that tho. The fight was very evenly matched in all facets of the game, and both men handled the adversity very well. With that said, that was Coby’s 1st loss since 2015 when he was submitted by Waverly Alves. To see how he bounces back after a long layoff and a big loss. The eye test will tell you that Coby is the rightful favorite here but what does Woodley do so well when he is dialed in that can literally change the entire complexity of the fight within split seconds?
Woodley has come across like a boring and lulling fighter for the majority of his reign, but you need to really look at what he does so well before you stake that claim. Boring to watch? Yes. Methods behind that madness? Yes. Woodley knows that he doesn’t have the 5.0 tank and understands that it takes much more oxygen to fill his muscle fibers than a less muscular fighter. Even though he is faster, stronger, more explosive, and a better athlete than 95% of the people that he faces, he also understands that his body genetically won’t allow him to just outpace someone like Coby. So he needs workarounds to hide things and create the element of mystery and surprise in his approach which he used to do so well. Woodley will bait you back into the warning track of the cage very slowly. He will pull you in, pull you in, and pull you in until he can step forward with one of the most perfectly timed pull back right hands in the game. A perfect example is Darren Till. He was drawing him in like he had an invisible lasso around his waist that he would slowly pull and pull. Then he lets the rope go, steps in, and uncorks that right hand. For someone like Till that hasn’t seen that before, it is like you just stepped into a bear trap, but someone like Coby who is hip on what Woodley does, it can be a little easier to gauge, counter, and prepare for. There is no room for error with someone like a dialed-in Woodley tho and even if you know it’s coming, you really don’t know when.
Other factors in this fight that make it interesting are the recent statements that Masvidal is training with Woodley for this fight. Very very odd to me on both sides for a multitude of reasons. Woodley is extremely close to Askren and Askren was forever highlighted by Masvidal. On the other side, Masvidal was very close to Coby. So the entire thing is like a drama show of sorts. There is no doubt that there is no love lost here and this is a legit grudge match. The interesting thing with this fight is it may actually be a fight that Dana White hopes Woodley wins and I can’t remember the last time I can say that. Woodley has not been on White’s favorite people list throughout Woodleys time there but I can honestly say that Coby has severed more nerves in the recent past where white may just want to move on from the acting and the antics outside of the cage with Coby. So you take all of these elements and concoct them into one salad bowl and you have a very interesting recipe for a storyline, a highly anticipated fight, and a major directional shift in both of their future depending on which way it goes.
I am a very what have you done for me lately guy when it comes to fighting. You need to show me before I bury my trust in you and Woodley, although has all the tools to beat Coby. You need to wonder what percentage will he bring and will he be hungry? Well if he can’t get up for this fight then I am not convinced that he will ever be able to get up for another fight again. This fight is about years of trash talk and back and forth which is now settling the dust for 25 minutes on the ultimate proving ground. I like Woodley’s chances but I just think Colby is going to bring a pace that Woodley eventually is going to realize that he is going to have to engage with. He is going to be pushed to fight fire with fire and that is where the blessing and the curse I mentioned above can come in. Baiting Woodley to let his hands go can be a curse for the opposition because if his clutch has been stuck in the wrong gear, it will give him the feeling of what it’s like to let leather fly again and if he catches you in the pocket, you are without a doubt being laid to rest. If you fight fire with fire with Wood strategically and force him to exert energy early, then Colby can literally put a conditioning clinic on him late. So it will either be Woodley catching him in the pocket before the 4th round or Coby just puts that blinding and suffocating pace on him for 5 rounds. Neither will shock me but if you don’t think Woodley is a live dog, you are not thinking correctly. He absolutely is. With that said, Coby has shown me much more despite his loss against Usman. Even though he lost that fight, he showed incredible heart and durability against the current champ and if he didn’t get finished in the end, that was a very close and entertaining fight. The smart and educated pic here is Coby, but if Woodley has another one in the tank and brings it on saturday night, he can turn everything upside down.
The Pick: Covington
Donald Cerrone DK $7700 / FD $15 vs. Niko Price DK $8500 / FD $17
What can you say about Cowboy? The guy is Steve McQueen of MMA. If you are a man and wouldn’t want to hang out with Cowboy then you really need to check your manhood. The guy lives his life in the most extreme forms and it’s when he is at his happiest. I mean when you name your children “Danger” and “Riot”, that should tell you how badass he is right there. Holding multiple records in the UFC Cerrone is the guy that is so good but has been living in that dream where he makes it to the top of the mountain but can never reach the flag at the peak. Whenever he gets there, the flag finds its way to elude him and this is no one’s fault but his own. Early in Cerrone’s career, he had a mental block in his fights that he would let the fight take over his emotions and he would suffer from severe adrenaline dumps. After seeking a specialist to grasp what is going on, he fixed the issue and began to chalk up some consistency in his life and career. However, there is a clear pattern of what happens to Cowboy in the big moments still despite all of his success. It seems the brighter the lights for Cowboy, the dimmer the performance with him. In your career, you work your entire life maybe for that one payoff pitch. That one fight that can change the complexion of your legacy forever. A perfect example is Nate Diaz and what he did against Mcgregor. Nate was springboarded overnight and Cowboy had the opportunity to do that against Conor. He completely dropped the ball and had one of the worst and shortest showings of his career. Mentally cowboy needs things a certain way before the fight. He isn’t one to have animosity and doesn’t like it when fighters are trash talking and hot-headed during the build-up. You will notice in the majority of his stare downs. Odd approach but it works for him. The crazy thing about Cerrone is if he isn’t the center of it all and he is buried on the card somewhere, you have a very good chance in seeing vintage Cerrone. It’s when he is in a glaring spot that he tends to fold and we have seen it on numerous occasions throughout his career. However, this situation he is in now is a little different than adrenaline dump and internal mental games that plagued him in the past. This is a legit question mark on whether or not father time has officially taken the reins over. Cerrone is on a 4 fight skid for the first time in his career and it is a bit concerning when you look at it from a win and lose perspective. However, the quality of opposition has been elite level and that is what can get caught in the smoke here. Losses to Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, and Conor McGregor is murders row at its finest. So that is not the major concern for me there. What does concern me is that he has been Knocked out 3 out of 4 of those losses. Whenever you get Knocked out, you lose a little more in the durability department. Your axons going to your brain tend to sheer easier and once they are sheared to a certain point after so many recovery periods, they just galvanize like they once did. That coupled with age and wear and tear, you are looking at higher percentages of it happening again because the body starts to create a pattern to deal with it and that is by shutting down.
Niko Price is a very very interesting fighter and matchup in this spot. I wouldn’t say that he is a better fighter than Cowboy because he is absolutely not even on the same plane when it comes to technical ability and experience, but he is one of the guys that will bring you hell with what he has to bring. When you talk about “Kill or Be Killed” Price is the poster board for it. He has been on a sea-saw of wins and losses with all of them ending by way of KO. He’s either finishing or getting finished. If you look at the last 3 guys that finished price, they all had hell bending power. Luque, Neal, and ARA. Cerrone doesn’t pack that kind of power but he does pack a perfectly placed head kick that has sent many better fighters to their tombs. The reason for prices high finishing rate, either way, is because he really just doesn’t care. He is willing to walk through fire to put on a show and I am not sure how Cerrone is going to handle that. This fight is 100 percent predicated on what Cowboy shows up. If the Cowboy against Alexander Hernandez shows up where he literally put on a clinic then he can absolutely win this fight, but if he is getting backed up and allowing Price to push and push taking away the range for Cerrone to set up that high kick then Cerrone just might dump his 5th straight here. It is so hard to believe that he can actually go on a 5 fight skid here but he will need to dig deep. You will know by the end of round 1 who is going to win this fight. If Cerrone is finding his mark early and peppering Price at range while mixing things up, then you know vintage cowboy has shown up and Niko may have a serious problem on his hands. However, the game changer for me here is the chaos that Niko lives in. He lives and thrives for the chaos. When he gets hurt he jumps right into the fire. He believes that much in his power and if he gets stung or Cerrone pursues him off of a sting, Price is going to fire back with extremely bad intent and I am not sure Cerrone’s chin can withstand that violence if it does happen. Have to lean with Price here.
The Pick: Price
Khamzat Chimaev DK $9400 / FD $21 vs. Gerald Meerschaert DK $6800 / FD $8
Ok, ladies and gentlemen. The mystery man is making his way back into the Octagon after owning the MVP of fight Island. Chimaev is a guy that we have to skin like a cat. We can’t just do the eye test here. Doing the eye test on someone that the company surely wants to push as a dark horse star needs to be handled with white gloves. We are going deep on the nuts and bolts of his career and what got him to this point. His professional record is only 8-0 so there is not much historical beef on him but I did also go back to his amateur record where he was 3-0. I noticed that all 3 men that he beat never stepped foot in a pro cage after amateurs. One had a decent amateur record, one had a 3-3 amateur record, and one had an 0-2 amateur record. He would finish all 3 of those fights inside 2 rounds. In the 8 fights that he won as a professional, 3 of those combatants had losing records and 6 had average to good records. The impressive part of this for me is that he finished them all. Under the UFC umbrella, the matchmakers matched him up perfectly for big wins. In his first fight, they squared him up with John Philips. A striker from SBG that has a ground game about as good as Howard Stern would have. In his second fight, they stepped it up slightly with a guy in Mckee that was a little sharper but completely there for the taking with his long frame and his easily targeted hips. Chimaev passed the test with flying colors and just like that, a hype train is born. Yes, a hype train. Everyone is jumping on this guy like he is the next Khabib. Everyone relax. He beat two complete bums. He has a chance to show us a little more and yes, I said a little more. Meerschaert is a good savvy vet with a polished overall game, but let’s face it. He’s older and has been 500 for his last 10 fights at 5-5. However, the interesting element here for me is the grappling and how he will handle the pressure of Chimaev once he is taken down. With a record of 31-13, Meerschart has taken his Black Belt in BJJ and found his way to 23 submissions. In his 13 losses, He has been KO’d 2 times and Submitted oddly enough 8 times.
The issue I have noticed with Meerschaert is, as good as he may be offensively on the ground he really tends to give up his position often. He will get it back but then lose it again. You can not do that against Chimaev and that is what I think the matchmakers are seeing here. Chimaev most likely won’t give the position back. However, it will make for a great look and a great scramble for as long as it lasts. There is no doubt that Meerschaert is going to take away that reckless approach of Chimaev because he will shoot for submissions off his back that he will need to really be mindful of, but I think he will end up one being in a positive position more often than not. This is really an intriguing matchup tho and I am really curious to see what happens if Meerschaertt can put him in a tuff spot. Where will that spot come? Well, I think it will be very early when they are dry. I think Chimaev will shoot reckless early and Meerschaert may grab a neck and threaten a Guillotine, if it’s deep enough then you may see a serious upset and if Chimaev pops his head out, you may see the beginning of the end from there. However, this fight can be landscaped in a multitude of ways. When the smoke clears I think Chimaev comes away with this one, in a dangerous and momentarily dangerous fight.
The Pick: Chimaev
Johnny Walker DK $8300 / FD $18 vs. Ryan Spann DK $7900 / FD $16
The world was all over and horned up for the Walker experience and blindly slating this guy as the next one to challenge Bones. However, you can’t sell me that fast. I take a much different approach then most and if there is one thing I know is human genetics, kinetics, and how to really read film. I was never sold on Walker and he was and is a product of Media, a great character, and obviously some decent talent and power. With that said look how the Walker train has fallen. Why wasn’t I sold on Walker? Well in the very beginning I watched his film and noticed his conditioning is terrible and his chin is extremely suspect. I am sorry but that is 2 huge elements for me. I knew it was a matter of time before the mask would be ripped off and the real Johnny Walker would come down to earth. Now, on a 2 fight skid, he finds himself in a very odd situation here. Dropping 3 straight would not be a very good look and he is going to really have to fight his way back into the mix. There is no denying that he is physically blessed with attributes of a fighter but I don’t see him as a top dog in the game any time soon. With 17 wins and 5 losses, he has 14 by way of KO and 2 by Sub. He has been finished 4 out of 5 and has made it clear to everyone that he has the skills to pay the bills on his feet but has the ground game that just doesn’t match up. The key to beating Walker is quite simple. Stay off the center line and circle away from his power hand while he chases you down, Which he absolutely will. Walker will end up forcing something and when he does, ground him and ground him quickly. Make him ride your weight and put a pin in that gas tank. Round 2 he will be extremely labored and you should be able to get things easier in terms of finding your spots. Listen don’t get it twisted. The dude hits like a truck and is extremely dangerous, but he is not a top-level fighter like people expected him to be and Ryan Spann is going to be another guy to most likely prove that.
I am not super high on Spann either and his chin does scare me a bit against someone like Walker but this guy just keeps winning. With 18 wins and 5 losses, Spann has strung 7 wins in a row and has 11 by submission and 4 by KO. In his 5 losses, he has been KO’d 2 times and subbed once. His last fight was odd with Sam Alvey. Winning a split decision against Alvery is never a good look considering Alvery throws literally no volume, but a win is a win. An issue I do see on Spann’s end is his takedown efficiency. He doesn’t really set them up all that well and he is hit or miss on most of his attempts. However, he better clean that up here, because giving up 4 inches in reach against a guy that hits much harder, more dynamic on the feet, and is a more polished striker will do everything in his power to keep it standing. So Spann will need to be careful about his entries and will also need to be strategic in his approach.
I can see Spann catching a kick from Walker off a kick or wrapping up his waist off a failed spinning back fist and it is there where Spann will be able to work. Spann needs to really weigh down on the gas tank of Walker making his power less and less dangerous as the time goes by.
I think he does just that and keeps putting Fortis MMA into serious contention for one of the most rising and solid camps in MMA.
The Pick: Ryan Spann
Mackenzie Dern DK $8700 / FD $16 vs. Randa Markos DK $7500 / FD $11
I love this fight for a multitude of reasons. I was really high on Dern coming out due to her pedigree, but it seems that her transition over to the UFC wasn’t a stellar one. However, it was stable enough to still have promise for her. With a UFC record of 3-1, Dern’s only loss under the umbrella was rising superstar, Amanda Ribas. Dern is not just a “Great” BJJ player. She is in fact elite. A black belt under her father and 6th-degree black belt who studied under Helio, Royler, and Rickson Gracie. BJJ icon Welington “Megaton” Dias. Dern is a multiple world champion in BJJ in her own right and is now looking to take over the division with the lineage that started it all. I was very disappointed with her UFC showings for the most part and I think much of my disappointment was the way she physically looked. She just didn’t seem to care. She looked overweight and she just didn’t have that same frame she did during her Gold Medal years. After a few disagreements with The Lab in Arizona, they decided to let her go where she is now training under Black Haus MMA. Since then, she has gotten pregnant, had a child and I really thought that was it for dern. Not so fast. Dern looks tremendous right now. The best shape I have seen her in, in quite sometime even before pregnancy. Dern is ready to make a move in this division and I think it all starts on Saturday night where Dern finally arrives against a very very tough out in Markos.
Markos is as tough as it gets and she is going to bring you hell on earth if you let her. There are fighters that live on the outside and then there are some that live inside the fox hole and Markos lives inside the fox hole. She doesn’t want a fight, Markos rather a war. Filled with dirty boxing, wrestling, grinding, and control. Since 2014 Markos has had a very odd blend of wins and losses. She has not tied 2 wins or losses together since that time. Now I am not a guy for MMA math but this girl has not skipped a beat with her win and loss rotation. It’s actually fascinating. So if you really believe in MMA math then there is no doubt that you are choosing her to win here. When Markos wins her fights it seems she is successful with her takedowns and her top control but is she going to really play that game inside the guard of the highest pedigree female grappler in the UFC? Knowing Markos? Probably and it won’t fare well for her. She will be much better served to keep this in range and to switch up what she normally does. Dern hits with a lot of pop but her striking is sloppy as expected and really is just used as a means to an end. Her entire M.O. is to get this to the ground where she knows that it is her world. I see paths for Markos here but not enough for me to give her the Nod. Eventually, this hits the floor and you are going to see what high-level jiu-Jitsu is. Finishing Markos? Well, that’s a different story, but if anyone can do it from the ground it without a doubt would be Dern.
The Pick: Dern
Kevin Holland DK $9100 / FD $20 vs. Darren Stewart DK $7100 / FD $11
This is an intriguing fight for me. Darren Stewart came into the UFC with a lot of bad luck. In his 1st 4 UFC outings, he ended with 1 draw and 3 losses. Since then the pattern has changed. He is now on a rotation of 2 wins and a loss times 2. In his last win against Maki Pitolo, he really looked like he was fighting with a level of rage that I am not sure that I saw before. Very aggressive and carried himself with a certain confidence that translated in his power and also allowing him to cinch up his first submission since December 2017. Stewart is always going to be one of those fighters that can be difficult to lay a bead on. You get guys like this sometimes. They can come in and have showcase performances and then in the very next fight look like they climbed into someone else’s skin. I am expecting him to bring that power and pressure to Holland because the only avenue for Stewart here is to clear space and fight on the inside. He isn’t going to range fight with Holland and depending on where he can ground Holland, I am not comfortable with him maintaining control on the ground with someone as creative and well versed as Holland. Whenever I think about guys that have that deceptive power that could give Holland issues, I stem back to a few fights. 2 that stand out to me is his fight against Geoff Neal who hits like a truck and was finished on the feet by Holland and obviously the late notice fight against Santos in which he was able to survive all 3 rounds and have a good time doing it. The kid is durable and has the ability to be a very solid fighter in the UFC. He has all the attributes, but there are times I question his efforts until he is actually pushed into the corner. He tends to play around a bit in some of his fights. I would like to really see him go in there with the intent to finish and not to slow roll the fights as they come to him. I have noticed that he does fight up or down to the competition and sometimes will make fights closer than they really should be. If he does that with Stewart then he can have an issue on his hands. With that said, he holds most of the aces here and is a little better everywhere. He loses this fight if he doesn’t show up. If he shows up to fight like he can, this is his fight to win.
The Pick: Holland
David Dvorak DK $8200 / FD $17 vs. Jordan Espinosa DK $8000 / FD $15
Not an easy fight to call here. Dvorak has not lost a fight since 2012 and carried that over into his UFC debut against Bruno Silva. Dvorak holds a record of 18-3 and has proven to be very well rounded in his finishing approach. With 8 finishes by KO and 7 by way of submission, Dvorak is looking to keep things rolling against high motor athlete Espinosa. I really am looking at this in that perspective. I would say that Dvorak is the more well-rounded fighter. It seems that he always has an answer in spots no matter where it goes. He may not always succeed in the situations, but you can clearly see he at least knows and has options for how to progress the position. However, Espinosa is not far behind and has the more explosive and athletic style. It really boils down to when Espinosa gets to his spots here which he most likely will faster, Will Dvorak be able to nullify the situation or turn a negative into a positive if Espinosa gets to what spot he wants. This is such an evenly matched fight and it makes me nervous when a guy has the winning record that Dvorak does since 2012. It is not like he is a Khabib. He isn’t going to run through the UFC division undefeated, it’s just not happening. So it makes you wonder how well off his competition was in the recent past. After further research, They were competitive but that is obviously in promotions where many fighters would not hang on the UFC level. However, I think Dvorak is well equipped enough to pass this test in Espinosa but he is going to face plenty resistance here and sometimes resistance is all you need. I am going with the dog here. Give me Espinosa and his speed to get this one done.
The Pick: Espinosa
Mirsad Bektic DK $9500 / FD $22 vs. Damon Jackson DK $6700 / FD NA
There has been no price set for the late replacement in Jackson, so I am not sure what the deal is with this from a DK perspective. However, This is not Jackson’s first rodeo in the UFC. Back in 2014 he had a 3 fight stint where he lost, had one NC, and 1 draw. The UFC released him and now it seems they needed some food for Bektic. So why not give Damon Jackson another call. To his credit with all kidding aside, he has strung together a decent record since his stay under the umbrella. With an 8-2 record since his release, Jackson seems poised for a 2nd chance. However, the notice is not going to help him in a fight against a guy that has a super high motor like Bektic. Bektic is known to really put it on you early and if you can actually survive then there is a chance he blows his wad. He did it against Darren Elkins. I mean he was beating him from pillar to post for the entire fight. Even grabbing 10-8 rounds and all of a sudden the pin met the gas tank and Elkins came storming back with one of the most primal comebacks in UFC history. However, usually on a late notice like this, you would rather a guy that starts quick. Like a Bektic. Look to get him out of there and go balls to the wall until you have nothing left. The problem is Bektic is the one with the camp and he is the one that has that style. So Jackson will need to do it more on calculation and timing and when you have a short call like this and will take you some time to catch your timing. That timing can be a little late to come if Bektic starts putting it on you early. Gotta go Bektic here.
The Pick: Bektic
Mayra Bueno Silva DK $9000 / FD $17 vs. Mara Romero Borella DK $7200 / FD $11
When Borella 1st came into the UFC, She won as a dog coming in from Italy. She seemed to have a very sneaky submission game that could surprise the division and just maybe Italy could have had a possible prospect in WMMA. However, her streak would come to a halt in a big way with a 1-4 record in her last 5. That 1st fight wasn’t misleading but I don’t think she evolved much since then and that is the problem. She is a decent wrestler and a solid grappler and that’s about it. It ends there. Silva seems to have an edge in most of the avenues here. There is no doubt that on the feet the advantage is Silva. On the ground, it is much closer, but I think Borella’s time may be short here with a loss and although I do not like how wide this pricing is, I do think Silva hands Borella yet another loss in a 29-28 type decision.
The Pick: Silva
Jessica-Rose Clark DK $8900 / FD $16 vs. Sarah Alpar DK $7300 / FD $12
Watching Alpar’s film I am not really impressed all that much. She has a wrestling style approach to her game but she really just doesn’t do anything technically that will wow you or raise an eyebrow making you super impressed. With a record of 9-4, she has 2 by KO and 2 by submission and in her 4 loses she has lost 2 by the way of Submission and has never been KO’d. There is just something about her game that I am not particularly excited about. I don’t see her as a blooming prospect. Clark is a riddle in itself as well. I think she has the motivation and the drive to do well, but her skills aren’t exactly to par either to be some blooming prospect. With that said I have been following her closely and I like what I see from a training aspect. She is really transforming her body and she seems to be working very very hard to get into good shape. I am expecting a different Clark here. I think she walks into the cage looking better visually and with that comes confidence and the ability to just trust the process and let it flow. I think Clark makes a statement in this fight and makes a good step in the right direction in her career here.
The Pick: Clark
Journey Newson DK $8400 / FD $17 vs. Randy Costa DK $7800 / FD $16
Interesting fight here. When you look at both guys, you will see that they both hold some serious KO power. So what makes who different? Well in Costa you are getting the longer, rangier fighter that really throws caution to the wind and tends to load up on his strikes looking for that home run right out of the gate. He does tend to stay on the centerline a little too much but when he starts hitting stride, he has the ability to really start tying things together so well. With that said it’s hard to get away from the fact that he does expose himself to get what he wants and against someone like Newson, that may not be the best approach. Expect Newson to be the more patient fighter. The more calculated of the 2 for sure. However, he is patient to a point. He knows he has power and he also knows that he has the ground game to match. Newson won his last fight by KO, but he had it overturned when he tested positive for a little mary jane. Even though it goes on as an NC, you still can’t ignore the fact that he won in spectacular fashion. This is a fight that I think patience and waiting for the moment wins. Costa backs Newson up and will have his spots, but it will be Newson dialing in and laying a bead on Costa to find lanes to land the more significant strikes while changing levels and mixing things up just a little more in this one.
The Pick: Newson
Andre Ewell DK $8800 / FD $18 vs. Irwin Rivera DK $7400 / FD $14
I think we can expect this one on the feet and with some light work on the ground. When you match these guys up on the feet, it just seems a little more clear cut to me that Ewell has the advantage here. Although he is not really a trustworthy fighter, Ewell just has some very crisp boxing when he has it going. Good footwork, changes angles very well, understands how to bait and set traps, and works behind his jab extremely well. He really is a talented striker and if he really learns to use his length a little more and works on his ground game and takedown defense, he can actually surprise some people. If you take that he is the better and more formulated striker here and then add in that he has a 7-inch reach advantage on top of it, I think you know where I am going with this. I am not really seeing him getting a finish here, but I do see Ewell just pegging Rivera off at range which will most likely give him the edge in this one causing Rivera really having to dive in and work very hard to clear space and get on the inside. Something that is easier said than done.
The Pick: Ewell
T.J. Laramie DK $9200 / FD $19 vs. Darrick Minner DK $7000 / FD $13
In Minner’s film that I studied, I can tell you that he is very unchained which I thought can work in his favor a bit in a lower level MMA fight but I will get to why it will hurt him momentarily. Minner does have a good wrestling base which I can’t understand why he is so unchained. He dives in with a reckless way about him and that is dinner time for a patient and composed fighter. Laramie is extremely patient and calculated in so many ways. One thing I noticed that I love about this kid is that when he throws a punch he snaps his hands right back into a defensive position protecting his face. That is so important in striking and so many people fail to see that, even trainers. Such a minor correction that if it turns into a bad habit, it will be hard to break. However, TJ snaps his hands right back and that was honestly the first thing I noticed out of the gate. The other thing that was very impressive was his timetable on his delivery. He lets the fight come to him and waits for the moment to deliver not wasting useless energy. Another very important element in fighting. Not wasting useless energy. Laramie seems to have a very good base and I am hoping that he sticks to this blueprint here. If he does, he should start frustrating Minner late and walk away with this win.
The Pick: Laramie
Tyson Nam DK $8600 / FD $17 vs. Jerome Rivera DK $7600 / FD $16
I have followed Rivera for a while and I can honestly say he suffered one of the craziest injuries I have seen in a while. In his fight against Royval, he was getting taken down and as he was getting pushed towards the cage he outreached his arm and snapped it at the elbow capsule. He would obviously lose the fight. However, the kid is not a bad fighter. Very tough and is pretty well rounded. Much more of a submission threat but Rivera is dangerous in many aspects. Coming off a big win in contender series, Rivera will look to expand his record with a very tough official introduction against hard-hitting Tyson Nam. This is where the issue with Rivera lies with me. Rivera is young, rangy, and moves very well, but Nam just has that game-changing power and is actually the more technical on the feet. There is something to be said about muscle maturity and strength maturity. Nam is there right now and you can see it just the way he throws his punches now. They tend to come out of the barrel much quicker, stronger, and sharper than Rivera. Can that be the size and the way he is wound together? Yes, but there is also a maturity that he has that I am not sure that Rivera has just yet. Would it shock me if Rivera wins this fight? No, it is really not but I have seen him put on skates against lesser fighters and I am not sure he has the power to put Nam down. Nam has also never been submitted, so that isn’t working the favor of Rivera either. I can see Rivera spitting more activity but at the end of the fight, the more significant strikes will be clearly in the favor of Nam and that should be enough to get the nod if it isn’t finished before then.
The Pick: Nam
UFC FIGHT NIGHT DFS
Tyron Woodley DK $6900 / FD $17
There is something to be said about fading a former champion at 6900. You need a set of balls to do so. Woodley has been unbearable to watch as of late and there is no doubt on paper and then the eye test as of late will tell you that this is Colby’s fight to put a stamp on, but if you fade Woodley and that right hand then it’s your own fault. You have been officially warned… I am picking Coby to win but him getting caught by the pullback right hand of Woodley will not shock me at all. Therefore, Wood will be in some lineups.
Colby Covington DK $9300 / FD $23
He’s going to have to really work and I am not sure his takedowns will tally up like they usually do against other people. Wood has very good wrestling and takedown defense and Coby still has to be mindful of that right hand. I think Coby is going to be high owned and I will have some but I will not be as exposed as many.
Donald Cerrone DK $7700 / FD $15
Is he old? Yep. Can Niko knock his block off? Yep. Can Cerrone beat him with technical striking and grappling? Yep! Get some Cerrone. He may just surprise you if he can land that head kick.
Niko Price DK $8500 / FD $17
This fight actually scares me for him. I see him with major upside for a finish but he is nowhere near the technical fighter that Cerrone is. He is really going to have to be mindful here. I will have some of him with the KO upside but be careful here, please.
Khamzat Chimaev DK $9400 / FD $21
I literally can’t stand this guy. He is going to lose and I can’t wait for the spot to crush the dog that I think does it. Is he good? Yes. is he a complete unproven hype train? Yes. I am telling you that he is facing a huge upset loss soon. I just don’t know that it is going to be here. This dude may be the highest owned guy on the card. For that reason alone in a large field GPP, I will be looking for other paths to angle. He has the upside to score big but he also has the ability to shit the bed here if he gets sloppy. I am going light here.
Gerald Meerschaert DK $6800 / FD $8
Ladies and gents…. Please do me a solid. Don’t fade him here. Take a small swing here if you are running multiple lineups. I know I am picking against him but there is a path here for him. He could get tossed like a ragdoll but if somehow gets the first shot and ends up on top you are going to be watching a legit black belt with the most submissions in the UFC go to prove a point. Just please find a place to plug him in a lineup or 2. Not to mention if he wins you will be nixing out ¾ of the field. Also if you don’t want to play him, then avoid this fight altogether in a few spots just to see what happens.
Johnny Walker DK $8300 / FD $18
Ryan Spann DK $7900 / FD $16
Major upside for both men. I am picking Spann so I will have some more of him in this spot. Walker has the upside for a big KO finish early and Spann has the potential to wash him on the ground if he survives the early onslaught. You want some of this fight so don’t avoid it.
Mackenzie Dern DK $8700 / FD $16
People are shitting on Dern a little bit but I have been watching her before these people even knew who she was. When Dern came into the UFC she was not Dern. She was overweight and she just for whatever reason was not taking this seriously. After her pregnancy I thought for sure she was done. However, she is not and she looks the best physically than I have seen in a long time. You take that with her pedigree on the world-class stage in BJJ and I am very intrigued here. I know her striking is very bad but she uses it as a means to get to the ground. A little pricey here but I don’t think she is getting the respect she deserves in this spot so I will be going in.
Randa Markos DK $7500 / FD $11
Her price is cheaper than it should be. Markos lives in the grind and she can without a doubt put Dern into trouble. I just don’t think she has faced anyone with the chops on the ground that Dern has. I’m not willing to fade her but I am not going in as hard as most.
Kevin Holland DK $9100 / FD $20
I like Holland to win in a much closer fight than people are expecting. I actually hate this fight for him because Stewart is such a dog. This is going to be a very tough fight and I think I may take a ballsy chance here and stay off Holland in this spot. Unless I am running a lot of lineups, I may leave him alone here.
Darren Stewart DK $7100 / FD $11
He is totally worth a look. Holland has a tendency of starting late and sometimes taking fights a bit lightly. I am not expecting Holland to finish Stewart and if you give Stewart 15 minutes he can do some damage if he is dialed in. Not a play I am super high on but I will give him a look in some spots.
David Dvorak DK $8200 / FD $17
Jordan Espinosa DK $8000 / FD $15
You know what to do here. Almost the same price in a fight that should be really fun. My lean is the dog here so I will have more Espinosa. I think his speed and athletic ability will pull him through in a really close fight.
Mirsad Bektic DK $9500 / FD $22
I think people will be avoiding him here. That price is really high for him but he is a top-end fighter in a sense he goes full-tilt early so the upside is there for him to get the finish. You need to take shots on cards like this and I’m willing to pay the high price for Bektic in this spot to separate myself from the common high priced pics.
Damon Jackson DK $6700 / FD NA
I am taking a stand here and fading Jackson. There is enough value to scope out who has better chances in my book.
Mayra Bueno Silva DK $9000 / FD $17
Mara Romero Borella DK $7200 / FD $11
This fight is a fade for me. I will however have a small play or two on the Italian.
Jessica-Rose Clark DK $8900 / FD $16
Sarah Alpar DK $7300 / FD $12
This fight is also a fade for me.
Journey Newson DK $8400 / FD $17
I like his ability to wait and be patient. I like his price. I like his chances to connect with something before the horn. I’ll have some.
Randy Costa DK $7800 / FD $16
He has a lot of power and the upside is there for a finish, but he is too wild for me. Outside of maybe a small play I am off here.
Andre Ewell DK $8800 / FD $18
I like Ewell and I am expecting him to win this fight. However, I am not sure he will get a finish. 8800 you need to give me a lot of volume or you need to get a finish. Especially if you are a striker which Ewell is. Very very pricey here but I bet no one will respect him in this spot. So on secondary lineups, I may have a few swings here.
Irwin Rivera DK $7400 / FD $14
I don’t see him getting by the reach of Ewell. This is Ewell’s fight to win or lose. I am not high on Rivera here. I think this is a bad matchup for him.
T.J. Laramie DK $9200 / FD $19
Kid is very composed and technically sharp. The issue is that he really is labored and not a high volume guy. So 9200 is a tag that can be dangerous. However, I think he may be able to capitalize on Minner’s unchained approach. He will be very underappreciated and that’s when I fly in…
Darrick Minner DK $7000 / FD $13
His unchained ways and wrestling can keep him together here. I just think he is going to get sloppy, but I can’t fade him here because there are too many unknowns for both men.
Tyson Nam DK $8600 / FD $17
I hate Nam when he is high priced because he really is unpredictable but the KO power is always there and Rivera is going to give him the opportunities. He may be a bit overlooked due to being the 1st fight of the night on such a huge card but the upside is there. I’ll have some in a small dose.
Jerome Rivera DK $7600 / FD $16
The only reason why I will take a stab or two here is to back myself a bit against an unpredictable Nam. But I really don’t like the matchup for him. I think he is tough and like his potential, because he is still young, but Nam is going to be hunting for the kill shot and this kid needs to be very aware of that. Small dose if any in this fight. I am not high on this fight, to begin with, so I won’t have much in its entirety.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT VEGAS
I am playing a little less conservative today… Taking a few more stabs on less sure things. Feel free to follow or fade at your discretion.
1.65 to win 1
1.25 to win 1
1.40 to win 1
Bectic ITD +145
.5 units to win .725
Ewell by Decision -100
.5 to win .50
2 units to win 3.45 Units
Come listen to the Labology MMA Podcast!