MadLab’s UFC Fight Night Singapore Breakdown and Predictions!!! Here is what Twitter is saying.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT MAIN CARD
Demian Maia $7700 vs. Ben Askren $8500
This is a fight that you really wonder what style will reign supreme. Although both men are grapplers, they are masters at their craft in different ways. Just because both are much more comfortable tangoing on the ground does not create make them equal. Damien Maia has made a staple in the UFC as one of the most feared submission players in the game for years and at the raw age of 40 years old, he is looking to defy the odds of age yet again against a not young but younger young gun in Funky Ben Askren. The 4th degree black belt in BJJ under Jorge Gurgel holds multiple world titles in the BJJ world. With a record of 27-9, Maia has 13 of them by way of submission and 11 by way of decision. Even tho Maia’s standup has vastly improved, we all know what he is looking for. He will try endlessly to get you to the ground and see if you can swim with the godfather shark. Smother you, transition on you, bait you, and force you into positions that you can literally smell your demise. Once you give Maia the path for a submission, the chances are, shortly after, you will be out like a light. The biggest issue with Maia is that if he can’t get you to the ground he will shoot over and over again and become desperate to land something. In recent fights, he has fought very good wrestlers who were able to stuff all of his shots. The men that beat Maia have solid foundational wrestling games but also have a striking advantage that they have the ability to stuff the shot, keep it standing, and just outwork Maia on the feet. The issue is a little different here because now you have a guy in Askren that has a superior wrestling game and his striking is on a lower level then Maia. Maia will not be able to take Maia down but he may not need to try because Askren is most likely going to do that for him. Taking him down and being extremely top-heavy is what Askren will be looking for here. So this matchup is so very intriguing in so many ways. Askren ran through ONE CHAMPIONSHIP and it seemed that the UFC was avoiding him for reasons. Considering stepping away from the game totally, the UFC finally came knocking. He jumped on the opportunity and knowing that his window is probably small, he got to work running his mouth looking for fights. In his first fight against Robbie Lawler, he was taking a beating early and was able to reverse the situation in a do or die situation putting Lawler in a controversial Bulldog choke but ultimately giving him the win in the end. In his last fight against Masvidal, he caught a knee to the chin on the opening bell and that was the wrap, handing him his first loss in his career. Now he has a matchup that really is do or die for him in some senses. You can’t drop 2 straight and have the UFC take you seriously for title talks in a division that is extremely stacked right now. So the game plan for both men is really quite obvious. Both men have never strayed, decoyed, or mislead any of their opposition in thinking that anything new should be expected. We will experience a master class in grappling on both sides in this one. An aging submission ace with a bag of tricks that is endless, unmatched and almost unfathomable that another person in the division will be able to sit at the chess table with him, never mind checkmate him. On the other side, you have a Division 1 Olympic freestyle wrestler that has mastered the art of positional wrestling, the understanding of top control using perfect weight distribution and transitions in the most unorthodox and funky forms. So this leaves us with one question. Will Askren be able to secure top control in ways that Maia will just not be able to shrimp away or get his hips loose to start working. Maia will need to get his hips loose in order to activate any kind of offensive guard from his back. However, Askren will need to be extremely aware of Maia’s signature back take. If Maia obtains your back, he instantly becomes a human back back and locks you right into a body triangle. Once he achieves this, it is not if but when he finds your neck depending on where in the round this takes place. This fight is a story long told about position over submission or vice versa. It will be 15 minutes of flaw searching, mistake seeking and window jumping opportunities. Don’t expect fireworks in this one or risky chances taken. This will be a calculated, well thought out and patient game with one man just edging the other out by the finest of lines. For me, I think position over submission wins this fight. The top control and stalling of Askren might just be enough to earn him the time he needs to edge rounds. I’ll take the younger positional wrestler in this one.
The Pick: Askren
Michael Johnson $9300 vs. Stevie Ray $6900
At one time, I thought Ray would be better then he ended up being. He showed good potential, and he seemed to come from an untapped market that if he was able to hold his own, then he would soak up a small demographic of his own. However, things really didn’t pan out that way for him. Ray is 22-9 and although that is not a daunting record, the losses are frequently coming to the top. Losing 3 of his last 4, Ray has been KO’d 2 times in those loses. In his wins, his last finish was in 2015, so it seems as if he is fighting more strategically and not super engaged in finishing fights as his record would indicate on starting gate of his career. He takes on Michael Johnson, another guy who is super talented but never really reached a pinnacle of the sport It seems as if he was another fighter that would climb to a very high point only to get knocked down when he can taste a big shot coming next. Johnson has taken his biggest fall from grace as of late losing 4 of his last 6. In his defense, the talent pool was and is extremely thick for him. Fighting guys like Khabib, Gaethje, Elkins and Emmet are not losses to hang your head down about. There is no doubt that he is the better fighter in this spot but he has been through some wars and you wonder when the levy is going to just break on him. However, I am still picking him here. I think his striking is far too sharp and fast for Ray. Ray is not good in open space. He needs to buckle in and have contact within the range of fire. Johnson is quick enough to keep this fight in space and just pepper Ray from the outside using good footwork, creating angles and just getting in and getting out of the pocket. He will want to keep this as far away from the warning tracks of the cage and be very aware of where he is while being pressed by Ray. Not an easy task but given the speed differential in this fight, if he doesn’t get caught, he wins.
The Pick: Johnson
Frank Camacho $7800 vs. Beneil Dariush $8400
Camacho is one of those guys that it is hard not to like. Not the uber most talented guys out there but if you like blue-collar fighting then that is Camacho. There is no looking pretty, no showboating, and not a single easy route to this guy’s game. If fox hole fighting is what you like, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Camacho. He comes forward, eats leather to trade leather. He has a pretty damn good chin and is willing to sit in the pocket with anyone even if it means him getting merked in the process. There is something to really respect that. Not the healthiest way to fight but it works for me! With 22 wins he has 17 by way of KO and in his 7 loses he has been KO’d 4 of them, so the obvious take from this is quite simple. Finishing the fight is at a high percentage for this kid, which we always like to see, as long as it’s not in a reckless manner and the finishes are in our fighters favor. He will be taking on Dariush who at one time was so very underrated in this game. Very good striker with a concentration on his extremely sharp BJJ game. The Black Belt in Muay Thai and BJJ has 16 wins with 7 by way of submission. In his 4 loses, Dariush was finished 3 times by strikes and 1 time by submission. It seems that Dariush is starting to lose his chin a bit and against someone like Camacho, that’s probably not the greatest deficiency to have. I think Dariush is far and away the more talented fighter, but given his woes as of late, the chin really does scare me. I can see this fight going either way, but in time I trust Camacho walking through Dariush where Dariush will not be able to stand in the pocket and firefight with Camacho. This ends in a very heated exchange at some point.
The Pick: Camacho
Ciryl Gane $9200 vs. Don’Tale Mayes $7000
Mayes is nothing to really shake a stick at. The guy is a pretty athletic heavyweight with good movement, he utilizes his kicks extremely well and he has some very sneaky hip tosses if you decide to lock up with him. Not really things you usually say when it comes to a heavyweight. He will attempt things that normal heavyweights normally will not attempt and that makes me like him but also gives me pause as well. He’s athletic to a point and that will help him in many spots against lumbering heavyweights which most of them actually are, but he’s facing someone that is actually more athletic then he is which changes the dynamics of things. With a 7-2 record, Mayes has 4 by way of KO and he really does have untapped potential in his game that I do notice. However, Even tho Gane is 4-0, he really just has a special aspect to his game for being such a big man. He has speed and power even off his back foot while back peddling and even looks for opportunities to fire back when he is being put on his heels. He has speed, power, and good movement in his approach. I know he is highly untested but the guy is a specimen. He will get tested somewhere, and I am not saying that Mayes can’t do that, but when Mayes starts firing away with his kicking game, there are serious concerns with Gane catching one, taking him down and putting a load of cement on him forcing the red to possibly step in. Even if this stays standing, Gane just fights like a much more seasoned fighter then his extremely raw record would indicate. I think the UFC knows they have something here and even tho I do not believe that both these men should be fighting g each other right now given the weak talent pool in the division, it sets up a road in the sometime near future for a possible Gane vs. Hardy slugfest if Hardy can get by Volkov and Gane can get by Mayes. The UFC is always one step ahead and they know who they want to win, but performing and doing it is not in their hands. I think the story stays written and Gane finishes this in serious fashion putting the entire division on serious notice.
The Pick: Gane
Muslim Salikhov $8600 vs. Laureano Staropoli $7600
This fight should be super fun. Both men come in with heavy Knockout potential. Salikhov comes in as legit as it gets in the art of Wushu Sanda. With a record of 17-2 Salikhov has 12 by way of KO and his fists are extremely obvious with his approach. He throws a lot of surprise spinning attacks and just has a bead on striking in general. The issue with fights like this is when you have one guy who is trained in a reckless form of fighting and another fighter in Staropoli who’s basic mechanics are throwing blindly in heated exchanges, you can be stuck in a game of Russian roulette of who lands first. The calculations on this one should be quite simple on paper but when two reckless styles collide you really need to sit back and wonder if this fight going to be a roll of the dice for both men. The difference in their styles is Salikhov will throw wild things in open space in order to create a greater good with meaning and setups behind his craziness. Starapoli’s recklessness seems to come in wild exchanges to either back some off him or just to bite down when bullets are flying and throw everything at the wall to see if something sticks. So in retrospect, the safer reckless style would be Salikhov here but do we really trust it enough to through chance and caution into the wind? It’s a fight that is going to be extremely fun. I feel like Salikhov wins this fight, but my confidence level here isn’t in the hemisphere of where DraftKings has this separated.
The Pick: Salikhov
UFC FIGHT NIGHT PRELIMS
Randa Markos $8300 vs. Ashley Yoder $7900
You never really know what Markos you are going to get from fight to fight but one thing we do know is that she is going to fight for you and never shy away from getting dirty. Her striking has improved but Markos is much more of a grinder. She will make you carry her weight, ride you, grind you, and just drag you into the deep winning most of her fights by simply outworking you. With 9 wins, she has 4 by way of submission and 5 by way of decision. In her 7 losses, she has only one by way of submission. She will be taking on Ashley Yoder a submission grappler in her own right with a striking game that also ties in well. The thing with Yoder is that she seems to be very matchup dependent and that can be an issue here. Her last 5 fights ended in decision, and 2 were by way of Split (1 which she won and 1 which she lost). Yoder is really not a finisher and it’s hard to believe that she is really going to outwork Marko in this spot. However, remember what I said above. You never know what Marko is going to show up. She can be the Marko that seems to be on a mission and just presses the action or she can be the Markos that seems to have terrible cage IQ and completely abandons what works for her because she can be easily baited. She is going to want to take this down and use strong positional wrestling here. With that said, she is going to have to watch her limbs when doing so because Yoder is wiry and if she gets her hips loose and Markos gets sloppy then she can be put into bad situations that can ultimately skin her the round. However, the person that I feel comes out on top here is Markos. I think she does enough and gets grimy enough to really suck in a close decision.
The Pick: Markos
Alex White $7300 vs. Rafael Fiziev $8900
White has seemed to turn into a bit of a stepping stone for fighters. At least that is what I am noticing in his trend. A testing pool for new fighters and a benchmark for aging fighters. He has fought an array of talents but if you look at all of them, they are either just walking in or on the way out. Despite being a solid fighter, he seems to be a contract maker or buster at this point. With a record of 13-5, his finishing ratio is balanced and impressive with 5 by way of KO and 5 by way of decision. In his 5 loses he has only been finished 1 time. The kid isn’t a bad fighter by any stretch but he is a product of beating who he is supposed to beat and when the step-up is there slightly he tends to lose. He gains ground to lose ground and that makes him basically just stuck in the mud which would make for a perfect measuring stick fighter. He will be taking on Fiziev, who is very raw but has made it clear that he wants to do his work inside the horn with his hands. With a 6-1 record, he has 5 by KO and 1 by way of submission. His sole loss is here under the UFC umbrella when he was caught with a punch by Mustafaev that would Merck him out in the very first round. Now he comes back looking to right that ship getting back in the good graces of the win column. It’s honestly a matchup where I can see the UFC wants him to pass this test, but it’s also a matchup that white tends to win in spots. So it’s a very tedious fight to decide on. I think the fight is going to really all depend on who outworks who. Who throws more volume and who is really pressing the action and that makes me lean toward Fiziev here. I can see him being the one pushing the pace and really just controlling the cage while White tends to fight off his back foot in a counter fighting position and situation that he may have been backed into. White has the chops to catch him and make this ugly for him but white isn’t a guy you hope can dial in. He isn’t trustworthy enough or good enough to have that kind of faith in. However, he will make this interesting.
The Pick: Fiziev
Enrique Barzola $7500 vs. Movsar Evloev $8700
At one point in time, Barzola had me tied in, and depending on the level he was fighting against, he seemed to be a lock button. Decent striking, good cardio and his takedowns seemed to just edge the rounds he needed to win. He was also improving from fight to fight that allowed me to believe he may be a very quiet sleeping giant in the division. With a record of 16-4, Barzola is all about outworking you. Even tho he has 4 subs and 4 kos, Barzola has 8 wins by decision in which the last 8 have all went to the cards. He seems to be on a bit of a stalemate with his game tho. He has become very predictable, and in fighting, that really isn’t what you want. You want to be able to really keep your opposition guessing. However, with a guy like Evloev, Barzola will not have to look far to have a fight to see who outworks who. The talented Russian fighter has a similar lay of the land on his resume with an 11-0 record. 3 KO’s, 4 subs and 4 Decision wins under his belt. He puts on a very good pace, and it will be very interesting to see if Barzola can find a way to not only get his takedowns going, but after his takedowns, not give them up. He needs to get his chain wrestling going. Control time is huge in this fight for both men. If this fight was priced closer then I would probably lean on Evloev here, but Barzola being a sizeable dog is something that I really needed to consider. Should he be the dog? Yes. But at the end of the day, by no means is he a dog without a chance. It really boils down to how quickly he can find his pace and be successful activating it and keeping it going for 3. This fight should infect go to the cards and I think I am going to take a stab at the dog here. Undefeated records do not stand forever and losing to someone like Barzola is nothing to be ashamed of. This could be the first loss delivered by a very tough and gritty fighter.
The Pick: Barzola
Maurice Greene $7200 vs. Sergei Pavlovich $9000
This fight is really tricky. Greene is a fighter that has a lot of deceptive narratives behind him. No matter what anyone says, you will never convince me that the guy is a good fighter. However, what he does have are assets that can make things difficult for people. He’s long, rangy, and for a big man, he really isn’t afraid to fire away with those long limbs. Does he really know how to use them? Not to the best of abilities but he isn’t shy about trying. He is taking on a guy that may not have his assets in length but he is an extremely strong, hard-hitting and well-timed striker. With a 13-1 record, he was stopped short in his tracks on his debut fight against Alistair Overeem. He then came back with a win over Marcelo Golm. Now here he is 1-1 under the UFC umbrella and looking to keep the win column alive. It’s a tough fight to call because he has the power to equalize anyone but the length of Greene can be a problem for someone who needs to be in close to get to his chin. Greene is that kid on the playground that would never make the starting lineup but has just enough ability to give you trouble if you don’t play your cards right. That’s the way I feel about this fight. I am picking Pavlovich here but I don’t have any real confidence nor will I be shocked if Greene keeps this very uncomfortable.
The Pick: Pavlovich
Loma Lookboonme $8200 vs. Alexandra Albu $8000
I’m not going to talk too much about this fight but quite honestly it doesn’t deserve to be on a UFC card. However, on a card that is in the morning when half of America is still sleeping it does make sense. Lookboonme comes in as a very high-level striker and I guess that’s the appeal here but that doesn’t mean it’s going to translate in the big show. Albu is a former bodybuilder in which has an extremely athletic build and is explosive in her movements. The Russian fighter has a black belt in Karate but I wouldn’t say has the level of ability as Lookboonme does on her feet. I just think this fight is so low-level women’s level MMA that it’s really hard to pick. Both ladies are 3-1 and really haven’t shown me much in film to really take a hard decisive lead in front of the other. I’m going Albu here but I have to be honest. It’s a coin flip.
The Pick: Albu
Raphael Pessoa $7400 vs. Jeff Hughes $8800
This fight is a heavyweight bout, and usually, you really need to play those safe, but I really see nothing appealing from Pessoa. He was completely worked over by Gane and if you really watch his film and really isn’t athletic, his genetic code is lopsided and his striking is just so unhinged. He throws standing upright, keeps his chin on a shelf and has really bad mechanics. It amazes me that he is 9-1. But that’s why we do the homework. His record is cushioned and if you watched his film you would just shake your head at some of his movements. However, he is a heavyweight and he isn’t afraid to throw leather so anytime you have that something can land making things a bit hairy for anyone on the other end of it. With that said Hughes is just the better fighter here. Tough, gritty, and understands how to tie things together with his approach. He is going to walk Pessoa down, making things very uncomfortable for him, and in turn, Pessoa will start to throw to keep Hughes off of him. In turn, I think this is where Hughes can make a choice to back him up further or pin his back up against the cage and level change creating an arena on the floor to lay on some heavyweight. Like I said in these fights anything can happen but all roads lead to Hughes in this one.
The Pick: Hughes
UFC FIGHT NIGHT DRAFTKINGS
Demian Maia $7700
No matter how old he is, you just don’t ever fade Maia totally. Even when he is picked to lose, you need to be smart.
Not a must-play, but I am picking him to win here. I just see this fight being sluggish and not a super high scoring affair.
I will have my shares of Johnson here. He should be able to beat Ray to many spots, and he has plenty of snap in his punches to either score with volume or a possible finish.
I’m fading him here.
Listen to me here. He is NOT the better fighter, but he is durable and he has the style that can really test the durability of Dariush here. I’m buying into that but cautiously.
He is priced right, and if he can withstand the pressure of Camacho and his chin holds up, then he is far and away the better fighter. So he is not in a position to fade here.
He’s expensive, but he really should finish this one inside the horn. Get some.
Talented and not all that bad, however, this is not a very good spot for him here.
This fight is going to be very fun, but damn, it can be a flash KO on either side. However, he is my choice here. I won’t be heavy on him at all tho.
He does have a good chance in winning here, so a sprinkle of him will not hurt anyone. Don’t play one and not hedge or avoid totally in others.
Markos $8300 / Yoder $7900
Not a huge fan of these girls, but both have paths to win. Markos has more potential to score if she decides to use her wrestling as a weapon. They are both reasonably priced. I will have a little of both with a heavier lean on Markos. Small sprinkles of Yoder.
White $7300 / Fiziev $8900
This fight is a full fade for me.
Any time I can get Barzola at sub $8k, I’m taking a swing here. He has the potential to score well if he gets his wrestling rolling.
I’m fading him here. I know it’s extremely dangerous to do so, but I don’t see him finishing Barzola and I think Barzola does enough to keep his point totals down, even if he wins.
I hate this guy, but I feel he has a path. I’m not telling you to fade him if you don’t want, but I will tell you that I personally am fading him. I actually think he may get some love too.
So expensive here. But he does uncork power. I’m willing to give him a few SMALL swings.
Lookboonme $8200 / Albu $8000
I’m fading this fight. Nothing about these two are appealing to me even tho Albu is my pick. If I really need to clear some space, then yes, I will roster Albu.
Heavyweight fight. I think he may fly under the radar a bit, which is fine. Doesn’t mean you can’t take a couple plugs here in the hopes he can get this done inside the horn. It be safe…. first fight of the night.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT PRIZE PICKS
3.2 units to win 2
This is the only bet that I like in this one. The lines are a little inflated for my liking and the dogs aren’t getting enough to get my taste buds going.
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