MadLab’s UFC Ottawa Breakdown and Predictions!!!
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Al Iaquinta $8400 vs. Donald Cerrone $7800
This is a very good Main Event and both men hold suits that can really run away with this one depending on if they are able to access them. Cowboy is one of the more polished guys in the UFC from a standpoint of seeing it all, being on the uptick, downtick, wins, losses, and just evolving his person and career right before our very eyes. At one time Cerrone had a roadblock in his career. He had very bad anxiety before his fights that would cause him to have serious adrenaline dump and completely hinder his performance. As time and years of experience along with some help by professionals took over, Cerrone was able to really hone it all in and embrace it instead of run from it. He is a better place now and the cowboy is now on a major surge late in his career. After dumping 3 straight it seemed like his career was on the final threads of a great UFC run. However, he has managed to win 3 of his last 4, including 2 in a row by finish. He has a child now and he is a much better place as a person and a fighter. A win against Iaquinta will not only make it 3 in a row but also give him serious leverage for title talks. With that said he will have to beat an extremely tough and gritty east coast fighter that is out to prove his worth to many that still look him over. Iaquinta is one of those guys that I really don’t think we have seen the best of as of yet. After taking a 3-year hiatus from the sport due to an array of reasons, he was called upon to fight Khabib on 1 days notice and shockingly was able to go all 5 with the current champ. It was a real eye-opener for many, but then when he bounced back and beat Kevin Lee down the stretch in their fight, just proved that this kid is not only tough but he can hang with just about anyone you throw in front of him. With good wrestling and underrated stand up, Iaquinta has a will to survive and finds himself digging deep in many situations. Against Khabib although he did go yard, it is hard to say that it really wasn’t a washout to an extent. However, he didn’t give up and he did some really nice things to make it interesting. With a 14-4 record, Iaquinta has 7 by way of KO and was submitted 3 of 4 times in his losses which came very early in his career. He is also not shy on KO power with half of his wins coming by way of KO. This is something he will be searching for considering Cowboy has had chin issues in the past, but some people just haven’t been able to take advantage of it when the time was right. He also has a good power wrestling game with good takedown defense but going ground with Cerrone is a game you really don’t want to play with too much if you don’t have to. Cerrone has an extremely underrated and slick ground game that goes overlooked by many, even opponents. With a 35 and 11 record, Cerrone has a very well rounded finishing ratio with 10 KOs and 17 Subs. In his loses Cerrone has been KO’d 4 times and submitted once. I know it doesn’t seem like he has chin issues but 3 of his last 5 losses have been by way of KO, so there is a clear indication that he is starting to rust a bit. With that said, as I said earlier, he is beginning to have a slight resurgence so you really don’t know what he has in store for us but we shall find out on saturday night. Cerrone is going to want to play the range game with Iaquinta and not get caught up in a firefight with him. Use kicks to keep him at bay and honest. Iaquinta is going to push forward no matter what but that doesn’t mean you can’t slow his reaction times down giving you easier reads. If Cerrone finds an opportunity to take this to the ground or if Iaquinta is jet set on taking it there then it really isn’t a terrible thing consider Cerrone will be able to start working his BJJ all while avoiding a bomb on the feet by Iaquinta. I just see this so much easier said than done with Iaquinta. From his wrestling game, takedown defense, solid BJJ, power on the feet and durability, Iaquinta is just a really tough kid to handle for 5 rounds and at Cerrone’s age and as weathered as he is may just be a tough task and a tall order here. Iaquinta knows what’s at stake here and I don’t see him dropping the ball on it. At one time it was a serious question mark about where Iaquinta’s heart and head were in this sport. Now it seems quite obvious that his 3rd fight in one year is a clear indication that he actually sees that he is cooking with some sort of gas here and has the ability to hang with the best. I think the Khabib fight was a very big measuring stick within himself and even he isn’t sure where his ceiling is at this point, but he is willing to find out. On a main event fight against one of the bigger names in the sport, Iaquinta will prove to the people, himself, and the UFC that he could very well be one of next in line very very soon. I think he gets it done here.
The Pick: Ragin’ Al
Derek Brunson $8200 vs. Elias Theodorou $8000
What a horrible fight. I don’t even know how this made it to the main card never mind the co-main. On one side you have Brunson that at one time showed some good promise until we realized what horrible cage IQ he has. With an 18-7 record, there is no denying that Brunson has good power with 11 of his wins coming by way of KO. With that said, 5 of his 7 losses have been by way of KO as well. However, the big problem is that his last 2 fights were KO defeats and 3 of his last 4 were the same. Losing 4 of the last 6, Brunson is really walking very close to the devil’s door here. A lose here can really allow him to obtain his pink slip. His game isn’t bad but he just still hasn’t figured out how to tie it all together. He is dedicated to striking or wrestling. There is never really a full enrichment of both and that boils down to game planning, motoring and just plain and simple Cage IQ. This can be a problem against a guy like Theodorou. Even tho I am not high on his fighting style nor do I think he is very exciting at all, but what he is, is very very tricky. He brings a very cat and mouse style that if you are not patient, smart, and able to really wait on opportunity, then you can find yourself on the wrong side of the cards. I say the cards because Elias tends to take it there. His last 7 fights win or lose have come by way of decision. With 16-2 record he has 5 wins by KO and has never been finished in his UFC career. He has come close in some instances but he really doesn’t give you the cleanest looks to really lock him down for long enough to get that opportunity unless you clip him hard enough to put him on skates and keep him there. Brunson does hold that power but there is an element of his game that scares me when it comes to patients and cage IQ. There is no doubt in my mind that Brunson has the ability to win this fight but making it work together is a completely different animal. His game isn’t tied together enough to ever really trust him enough especially against a guy that is really tricky and makes you make decisions in there. The fight is a coin flip for sure but it’s one that I will honestly say that I feel more comfortable picking Elias here to win on frustration and the better cardio down the stretch. He will need to stay off his back which he has had problems with in the past, but I think he can do enough with his movement and better conditioning late to stretch this one to the cards and possibly pull off a split decision win.
The Pick: Theodorou
Cub Swanson $7400 vs. Shane Burgos $8800
If this fight was 5 years ago I wouldn’t really even think twice about this one, but like everything else, age will always rear its head and show signs of weakening. Cub is a very game and well-rounded fighter that has fought everyone in the division. For many years cub has been much more than a gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are tough tests, but he isn’t a test for anyone. He is more of an obstacle for great fighters. He has fought The Who’s who of fighters and held his own every minute of the way In most of them. A black belt in BJJ, he is very well equipped on the ground, but rarely uses it as a means to an end. To be honest, he does have a weak link there at times. In his 10 losses, he has been submitted 7 times. With that said, he will not have to worry about taking this to the ground against very willing striker and rising prospect Shane Burgos. Burgos comes to us from TSK in New Jersey which is a camp extremely well versed in striking. Burgos busted onto the scene with an impressive 3 fight UFC start until he met fellow striker Calvin Kattar that was able to match him and then some with his fluent movement and striking. Since then he bounced back with a submission victory against Kurt Holobaugh. Burgos, like other TSK fighters, does have a ground game, but for the most part, it is secondary for them. Burgos will keep the grappling in the back pocket in case he does decide to mix things up or is just losing on the exchanges. With said, I’m expecting both men to really try to test their chops on the feet displaying good footwork, good separation, and quality range fighting. Both men tie things together so well and really understand the science of standup that this can be a very strategic fight in the feet. Cub will have more tricks up his sleeve from just the years of experience, but Burgos being the younger fighter will have more snap and sharpness to his striking for a longer period of time. I think the fight is very close early but as time starts to find its way to the finish line, Burgos will be the one getting to the spots a little quicker and exiting the exchanges doing a little more damage in the pocket. I’m expecting this fight to be extremely competitive but a fight that Burgos starts to our point Cub late.
The Pick: Burgos
Brad Katona $7600 vs. Merab Dvalishvili $8600
Brad Katona is one of those kids that looks like something from the movie real genius. He looks like he just got his degree from Harvard and you would probably not think by looking at him that he was much of a fighter. The Undefeated fighter is 8-0 from SBG has shown some very good promise since stepping into the cage and has also shown the ability to really take the fight anywhere you want to take it. The issue with his game is his pattern of decisions. With 5 of his wins coming by way of decision, he has shown trouble finishing fights as his career travels on. His first 2 wins were by way of finish, and after that, only 1 of 6 was not that way. He is well rounded and very very intelligent which makes him a potentially good prospect with a very good ceiling. He will be facing Dvalishvili who really has a good pressure style to his game. Very good cardio and puts on pressure until it really becomes an annoyance to you. MD in his own right has an ability to just put a very grinding pace on you until it goes to the cards. Clock management from top position is what he really enjoys, and in turn, the judge will sway in his favor. With an 8-4 record, Merab has 5 of his 8 wins via decision. So as you can see both men are very reliant on a judge’s nod. So where do you go from here? For me? I go with MD and here is why. It is not very often that MD is going to be getting backed up. He is usually the one bringing hard pressure on his opposition. So it is really going to be a battle of control time here and I find it hard to believe that Katona will be the one gaining that edge. Not that he can’t but because he is going to really be looking to keep this up right and fighting off your back foot, back against the cage, and just trying to utilize defense to create offense. He will need to really put a statement on MD to show him that he can hurt him. Send a statement to proceed with caution and maybe it will tame him a bit. However, I don’t see MD giving up that pressure for respect. I think he pushes the pace hard and even tho I see this being a highly competitive matchup I do believe that MD will be the one pressuring more in this fight to gain the Judges respect.
The Pick: Dvalishvili
Serghei Spivac $7300 vs. Walt Harris $8900
Spivak comes to us with a very good polished boxing background and some very good power to back it up. With a 9-0 record, he has shown the ability to finish in all ways. Even tho he does have a good powerful stand up game, you will be surprised to know that he has more submissions then KOS. With all of his wins coming by way of finish, Spivak has 5 by way of submission and 4 by way of KO. He is a very patient striker for the most part. He will literally feel you out and wait for his spots wherever or whenever it may come. When he does finally find his opening, he will literally push forward and throw a violent assault of punches, knees and kicks that play in very well concert with each other. He ties them together very well and will continue on until he sees you are either defending extremely well or you shuck free. Walt Harris is no stranger to finishing fights in his own right. With an 11-7 record, all 11 wins have been inside the horn by way of KO. Walt Harris packs some very big power and is not accredited to showcase it at any time. Remember that’s are the big boys and anything can happen. With that said, Walt Harris has been before. He has fought the better field of competition, and I would also suggest that he does pack a little more power. His counterpart. Like I said this is a fight that can be one not to blink watching. It could literally end just like that but I will put my faith into Harris here that he is going to land the better shots that can very possibly have that one kill switch punch behind it. I think at some point into this fight, Harris times him on something that allows him to walk on to something with the possibility of advancing that 11 fight win streak with all finishes alive to 12. Give me the big ticket with more power and more UFC experience against a debuting fighter with good tools but a little bit more of a padded record.
The Pick: Harris
Andrew Sanchez $8700 vs. Marc-Andre Barriault $7500
Andrew Sanchez is one of those guys that has a very good grinding wrestling game. Very athletic and has a very grinding style that with the right cardio can be extremely difficult to deal with. The unfortunate problem for him is that no matter what his style is, it just seems as if he doesn’t have the gas tank to back it up. His sweet spot is usually Round 3 if you can hang that long with him. Around the 3rd round, if you have a good takedown defense and can show a little bit of pressure along with good conditioning, it seems as if he turns into a different man. From a pressure fighter to a guy that is literally fighting off his back foot to survive. In his last fight against Markus Perez, his losing sweet spot became his winning sweet spot in which he showed enough gas to make it to the finish line and win a decision. However, this seems to be a bad matchup for him here at least on paper and film. Barriault hasn’t fought a who’s who if men just yet and he has a lot to prove but in his entire career he has fought guys that had much more raw power and strength. He understands the keys to his success is fighting intelligently and most importantly fatiguing his opposition. He uses good movement, crisp striking, and a grinding clinch game to really control you and slow you down. Once he gets you against the cage he with throw a barrage of knees and elbows to try and soften you up and then actually look for a takedown of his own. He has also been 5 rounds before so we know he has the tank to do so. Even tho Sanchez showed a Much better tank in the last fight, you wonder if he can keep up with a pace for 3 rounds with a guy that doesn’t seem to slow down all that much. Might be a crazy call here but I have a feeling that Sanchez wins the early tornado but this kid may beat the storm late in the fight. I’ll take a swing on the dog here.
The Pick: Barriault
Macy Chiasson $9400 vs. Sarah Moras $6800
Seems like a fight that they are throwing at Chiasson to win here. Moras hasn’t really shown the ability to prove to be anything special. Losing 4 of her last 6 including the ultimate fighter fights, she just doesn’t seem like someone the UFC can really get behind at this point. The good aspect of her loses are that she is fairly durable and has the ability to last in tough fights, but outside of that and her grappling ability which is mediocre, I would t label her as someone that has a real solid future in the UFC. Chiasson, on the other hand, is a fighter the UFC wasn’t to get behind and it seems like they are by the looks of this fight. She brings a very gradual style. What I mean by gradual is that she climbs the throttle at a steady pace until she pops the clutch and starts going off. She starts very strategic and then becomes extremely violent with the click of a switch and that is something that really is just not taught. It is an instinct that she has that will carry her to victory through this fight once again.
The Pick: Chiasson
Aiemann Zahabi $9000 vs. Vince Morales $7200
This fight has a Zahabi win written all over it. Remember this fight is in Canada and remember whose brother is the mastermind behind Tristar in Canada. So keep that in the back of your mind as I break this down. Morales is what I would consider a fun fighter to watch. High octane, likes to engage in a war and really looks to hit the kill switch whenever he can do so. Morales is a sharp fighter with a snappy stand up and better than average athletic ability but when you really look at this in its entirety, there is not really a substitution for intelligence in the cage. I understand that Zahabi was flatlined in his last fight and anyone can get caught. I also understand just because he has his brother’s last name doesn’t mean he is going to be a world champion or anything like that. But there is something to be said about taking the talents you do have and springboarding them into a style that will fit you and make you very effective. You need to use your strengths and capitalize on them and you need to take their strengths and game plan around neutralizing them. That is really the name of the game and if anyone can implement that, it is the Zahabi brothers. I feel as if when you are fighting a little more of a reckless style in Morales, it is very important to be as strategic as possible. Watch for the reckless style and simply just let the fight come to you in time. The Zahabi way is patience and that game plan sets great traps here for morales to step on. It all just equates to a good matchup for Zahabi here and fighting on his home soil where he and his brother are so well respected doesn’t hurt either.
The Pick: Zahabi
Kyle Prepolec $6900 vs. Nordine Taleb $9300
Prepolec comes into his debut on short notice against a guy who enjoys the same kind of dance as him, but he just isn’t as seasoned. This fight really by all stretches of the imagination should be a fun striking affair but I am not sure it will be. Prepolec shows some good striking in his film but he can be patient to a fault and when he does throw his heat, he really isn’t all that tight when doing so. He does tend to throw a little open and wild at times and I have seen plenty of opportunities where his chin is exposed to a point. Even his leg kicks, although effective from what I have seen has just seemed to not be on a very sturdy foundation of techniques. I wouldn’t say he is a bad striker Although it probably seems that way. Because I actually think he is a pretty good striker to be quite honest. I just think he needs to really tighten some of his techniques up to generate the best fluency to maximize his performance. With that said he is going against a very very sound striker in Nordine Taleb. The high pedigree striker really has his finger on range, patience, and power. When to throw, how to generate, and just a good overall understanding of the game on the feet. In his 14 wins, 7 of them have finished by way of KO. With that said, he is on a 2 fight skid right now and both are by way of finish. You tend to think that his age might be playing a factor here and I couldn’t disagree fully. With that said, this is a hometown fight for him as well, and being from Canada, he also holds a brown belt in BJJ from Zahabi. It would be pretty hard to believe that a debuting fight that is coming in on short notice will really be able to beat him at his own game here. It would be a foolish pick to go against him and I just can’t. I think he ends the 2 fight slide here and gets himself back in the win column in a fight that the UFC clearly did not set up for him to fail.
The Pick: Taleb
Kyle Nelson $7100 vs. Matt Sayles $9100
Interesting fight here, and I don’t think DraftKings did it much justice with the pricing. Nelson is a long and rangy fighter that will hold more physical attributes in this one making it hard for any striker to really penetrate space and do it safely. Nelson has above-average power and can put pretty much anyone in the division on skates if he hits you right. With that said fighting is not only about range and physical attributes. It helps. Without a doubt it does, but once again I take technique over physical. Matt Sayles is a very good technical striker that won’t waste punches just to waste them or throw them. He has good footwork understands how to go upstairs and down stairs and knows how to move enough to really come up underneath and be effective. He showed me a lot in his fight against Moraes and even tho he lost, he did show me that he can hang with top competition on the feet. There is a danger zone for him here because when you are fighting the bigger man you need to create more than you need to just score. So he will need to find ways to get inside and either find a pocket to sit in or slow Nelson down to get easier and more frequent access to get in there without getting his wing clipped. He will need to really keep his rhythm off kilter and not show the same entries more than a few times or Nelson will be able to time it to look for something big. There is also a danger zone with Nelson being from Canada, so anything migrantly close can really give the judges a reason to lean on the hometown kid. Not something that Sayles wants. So he is going to really have to stay cautious yet smart and aggressive. I think he does just that and I think he walks away with a win that can get a little hairy if it goes yard.
The Pick: Sayles
Arjan Bhullar $7900 vs. Juan Adams $8300
Juan Adams is one big dude, and to think, if he can wrap up a very good well-rounded game? He has potential and he really has some good tools to work with but right now he is very very raw and tying it all together is going to take some time. Don’t get me wrong, he has the physical attributes to spark you cold if you get sloppy and you let him but at this stage of the game it’s just not there yet. He still has many things to polish up before you can really trust him. He takes on a Bhullar and all though he seems to be underperforming to the expectations of the UFC, he is still a more seasoned fighter than Adams here. He has Olympic pedigree wrestling. Sharp stand up for a big man and his gas tank is pretty serviceable as well. This is really his fight to win or lose. The key here is to be safe in the first round and really avoid the overwhelming power of Adams. Adams has shown the ability to gas out rather quickly in his fights. If and when that happens, Bhullar can then really start to push forward and apply pressure while the big man is back peddling or just saying as a sitting duck. I like Bhullar here. I think he is just a little too sharp in this spot for a fighter that needs more time to grow into himself.
The Pick: Bhullar
Cole Smith $7700 vs. Mitch Gagnon $8500
All week I have been wanting to pick Gagnon here… However, something is just telling me not too. He is the better fighter, he is home and he really should win this fight. However, Something is just telling me that he loses here when he really shouldn’t. He’s on a 2 fight losing streak against Lopez and Barao and he is just too inconsistent to trust for me. There is no doubt that he is talented but this is just a spot that sounds very eerie for me. 6-0 newcomer, coming to make a late replacement debut with a very well rounded game that Gagnon really wasn’t preparing for. Gagnon was supposed to fight Kelleher in which I really though Kelleher would have probably eaten him alive, but this fight just smells like shit all over it. As much as I want to take Gagnon here, I just can’t. If he proves me wrong, then amazing. However, let him prove me wrong before I pick him. Im taking the dark horse.
The Pick: Smith
- Iaquinta $8400 / Cerrone $7800
Both men are priced for good value. In a win, I can assure you that the victor will hit their mark in a 5 round scrap. I can’t see this being a boring fight at all. However, with my pick being Iaquinta, I will have a lot more exposure his way. With that said, you would be foolish to sleep on Cowboy. Even tho I urge you to have more on Iaquinta, please save at least some roster room for the Cowboy.
- Brunson $8200 / Theodorou $8000
A fight that I won’t have too much exposure here. If I really thought Brunson was going to win, then I would be riding him at a decent pace. Why? Cause the KO potential is so real. So if you want to roster him then I have no problems with that. I just think Theodorou is going to make things ugly and boring and possibly win on the cards. I don’t expect Theodorou to get a finish and that’s why I’m not thrilled about him either. But at 8k it’s not impossible for any of these guys to hit value. Small taste on both sides is fine.
- Swanson $7400
$7400 for Swanson? Jesus, how do you ignore that?? Forget that I picked him to lose, I still think it’s going to be a good fight. Very hard to ignore here. Even in a decision win you know he will cover. If he still has some gas in that tank and wins it can be a good play. I don’t think he does win but I will never put it past him. So a small taste is in store. I just can’t fade him totally.
- Burgos $8800
This play scares me a little. I know Burgos can finish him and I know that he can outpoint him as well, but he isn’t one to really look outside of the stand up unless he has to so that can mean he needs some heavy volume or a KO to hit his value. I’m not really comfortable with the price here but I do think he wins.
- Katona $7600
The kids talented and the price is right. I just don’t have faith in SBG guys, and I think he will be fighting more defensively than offensively in this matchup.
- Dvalishvili $8600
His pressure and takedowns are what you’re really buying here, and at $8600, it’s a very obtainable tag for him and his skill set. I for one will have some shares in the hops there is some hard pressure out of the gate.
- Spivac $7300
He hits hard and it is a heavyweight fight. So the value is there if he clips Harris. I just don’t think he does. I think he is the one who gets clipped.
- Harris $8900
I will have shares on him for the KO aspect of it alone. You are not going to get a clinic from Harris or any heavy weight. What you will get is a possible finish tho, and for that reason, he is worth the risk.
- Sanchez $8700
He is so hit or miss in this spot. The guy can bring some really good heat and pressure but his gas tank is so nerve racking at points. He can accumulate a quick start and takedowns but making them last through the fight with a good pace has been his biggest issue. I just can’t trust him in this spot.
- Barriault $7500
I think this kid has a chance late. He will most likely lose round one and depending on how Sanchez looks conditioning-wise is really going to tell the tale here. I actually think this kid can put it on him late and at $7500 it’s def worth a few stabs.
- Chiasson $9400
Pricey but Lock City. I just am curious to see if she hits her value. That’s a pricey tag. I still will have some.
- Moras $6800
No thank you.
- Zahabi $9000
He is in his home country, representing his brother’s gym within the country. You think he’s losing this fight? Not sure if there is a finish here but he is going to be looking for one and that will be enough for me to buy in a little.
- Morales $7200
Fast and sharp with his striking but he’s also reckless and the worst person to be reckless with is anyone affiliated with Tri-Star. They are known for being patient and calculated. I’ll pass here.
- Prepolec $6900
- Taleb $9300
He’s older, but he’s also wiser, and that can win fights. I think he rolls this kid inside of 3. Get some.
- Nelson $7100
He has a chance early, and he will be motivated at home. I just don’t think he can keep up with the sharpness of Sayles for 3 rounds. I’m Off.
- Sayles $9100
I like Sayles here. Dangerous fight in the early going but he is tempting here for a few reasons. One of the biggest is that he will most likely be lower owned due to the fact he is fighting a longer and rangier fighter on enemy soil. With that said he does become intriguing on a small level due to that. Small taste.
- Bhullar $7900
I think he can win this fight with technique and conditions alone. I also think if it goes deep he may have the ability to finish the big man here. First fight of the night. Scary as usual, so I will not be burying a lot into this fight at all. But the weight will be more on Bhullar’s end for sure.
- Adams $8300
He is a heavyweight with a lot of power. You are fostering him in the hopes for a 1st round KO. His tank is not very good and needs to get this done early. I personally don’t think he does but at $8300 if you think he does it then the value is there. Small dose just for the unknown. Nothing crazy at all.
- Smith $7700 / Gagnon $8500
All week I have been wanting to pick Gagnon but I just can’t…. I can’t do it… lol… Something has told me all week that he shits the bed… Therefore, I will have a very small dose of Smith just for shits and giggles and I will be fading Gagnon.
All Bets to win 1 unit unless otherwise noted.
- Iaquinta -115
- Zahabi -150
- Dvalishvili -170
- Chiasson -750
- Taleb -375
- Iaquinta -115
1.5 unit to win 2.52
Other Picks that are optional:
- Theodorou -115
- Burgos -150
- Harris -175
- Barriault +155
- Sayles -225
- Bhullar +115
- Smith +105
Good luck ya’ll
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