MadLab’s UFC Minneapolis Breakdown and Predictions!!!
Francis Ngannou $8800 vs. Junior Dos Santos $7400
For starters with Ngannou vs Dos Santos, Francis has def had his highs and lows since coming to the UFC. From the opening frame, he seemed like some immovable object that was finishing people like they were children. Then it seemed as if he lost all of his confidence after his loss to Stipe and then his lackluster, forgettable performance against Lewis. The UFC and the fans seemed to feel as if maybe they got this one wrong. Maybe he was human after all. Well after those two performances, a switch was hit and Francis went back to his old ways with two KO wins against Curtis Blades and Cain Velasquez. Now he looks to make it 3 straight against a legend that has suddenly taken form again in Junior Dos Santos. The former UFC heavyweight champion has tied 3 straight wins together putting him back in heavy contention talks. This is a 5 round fight that will stay on the feet, and that is dangerous for JDS early but will favor him late if he can elude the grenades that are bestowed upon him early. Francis is going to pick and choose his shots like he always does. He knows that it only takes one kill shot. He isn’t going to throw volume or look for an accumulation of strikes to get the job done. He is going to look for one kill shot and try and bust through the door with it. However, he has shown the ability to fade late and become extremely lethargic and sloppy with his approach and that is where JDS can take over. His cardio is superior and his polished boxing is as well. If JDS can utilize his jab, footwork and speed to outwork Francis early then I really believe that he will be able to put work him late. There is a major gap in power early tho and that is where JDS must play it safe. Stay on his bike and make Francis Hunt. Francis is a flat-footed fighter which means he will walk you down. JDS is going to really need to bait Francis into a game of cat and mouse and avoid the power early. I think JDS looks fine during the fight, but I just feel like eventually, Francis is going to hit him with a kill shot that puts JDS on skates. Stipe has the recipe to beat Francis and even tho JDS is toe to toe a better fighter, wrestling is a big proponent in beating Francis. If you ground him, then his power gets grounded as well. If this is going to be a straight up standing affair then eventually I think Francis finds his mark.
The Pick: Francis
Jussier Formiga $7800 vs. Joseph Benavidez $8400
Good fight and also a rematch. Benevidez has shown the ability to bounce back from injury and adversity. Once slated as one of the toughest competitors in one of the hardest divisions. JoeB fell on some rough times with injuries that have taken him out of the loop. After almost a 2 year layoff following his split decision win over current double champ Henry Cejudo. JoeB lost his comeback fight to rising star Sergio Pettis. He looks slow, timing was off and he wasn’t taking shots possibly due to the confidence of how well his lower extremity injuries would hold up. Since then he. Ounces back in a big way winning his last 2 fights against Alex Perez and Dustin Ortiz. JoeB seems to be somewhat back to his old speedy self and this matchup is going to be one that he is really going to have to prove that. Formiga is an extremely high-level grappler with a moderate stand up. Winning 4 straight fights he has been on quite the tear. It’s quite obvious looking at his record that he likes to finish business on the ground. With 23 wins, 10 of them have been by way of submission. With zero KOS to his merit, it is quite clear where Formiga wants this fight. He is going to have his hands full as well I’m trying to submit JoeB considering I’m 32 fights JoeB has only been finished once and it wasn’t by way of submission. When it comes to more ways to finish the fight I think it’s obvious that JoeB holds that ace. He has shown the ability to finish fights standing and on the ground. I see him being able to possibly neutralize the grappling of Formiga with his wrestling and getting the better of Formiga standing. Very close fight here in a fight that both men are at the age where every win means something. I just think JoeB has more paths here to get this one done again for the second time in a rematch that I’m sure Formiga wants back.
The Pick: JoeB
Demian Maia $8600 vs. Anthony Rocco Martin $7600
This is a very intriguing matchup to me, to be honest. Maia is what he is and sometimes when you are that high level of a grappler then that’s just enough. He is unmatched on the ground and could widely be known as The Godfather of grappling in the MMA world. There is no one that will match his skill set on the ground and there is no one that will really be able to stop him once he gets the positioning he wants. With that said, getting it there has been an issue with him against high-level wrestlers that can avoid takedowns. The problem with Maia is that once he starts to shoot and fail, he becomes tired and his shots become more sloppy in the interim. Nowadays matchups do matter for Maia. However, he’s fighting a guy in Anthony Rocco that means heavily on his ground game as well. With only 1 KO to his merit, he has finished 9 of his 16 wins by way of submission. This is a very nice stat, but not one that will likely bold well for him against someone like Damian Maia. If anything he is going to want to avoid the ground like the Black Plague and keep this standing but something tells me he may test his chops here with confidence and fail. It’s hard to go against Maia when he is fighting another submission heavy fighter. With that said, there is something about Martins game that can be tricky and he really has been getting better and better. As good as of grappler that he is, I think he understands that he is on no level of Maia. In turn, I think he may have really focused on staying long, keeping his hips in space and just game planning around utilizing the point system to really outpoint Maia on the feet. It really is a dicey fight for him and if Maia gets his paws on him it may get ugly, But Martin is showing promise and he does have the grappling to possibly stay defensively safe unlike Lyman Good did. I don’t like his chances, but I def don’t hate them, and on a card that is starving for dogs, he is def a dog with a very good in-line chance to win here.
The Pick: Martin
Roosevelt Roberts $8900 vs. Vinc Pichel $7300
Pichel is exactly what his nickname stands for, “From hell.” The guy is tough. Just all around a tough dude. The 36-year-old holds a brown belt in BJJ but he really takes pride in just making things ugly and dirty. With an 11-2 record, Pichel may be a little behind the 8-ball in years but he has adjusted quite well finishing 8 of his 11 opponents by KO. He doesn’t hold any wins by submission and in his 2 loses they were a mixed bag. (1 by submission and 1 by KO). He will have the opportunity here to blemish a perfect record in young Roosevelt Roberts. Coming in at 8-0 with all of his wins coming by way of finish. Roberts is a very opportunistic fighter. Sharp on the feet but he will have no problems shooting for submissions no matter where he is, even if he is standing. If your neck presents itself or an opportunity presents itself Roberts is going to grab it if he sees it. In this fight, sometimes you wonder how long a fighter can go undefeated. Let’s face it. Fighters like Khabib are real anomalies these days, but it doesn’t mean that time has to be right now. Also what scares me is his lack of competition. He fought some very game fighters but nothing like Pichel as far as come forward, rough and just tough. Sometimes tough and gritty is plenty but sometimes it can also hinder you and allow you to come up a little short. What I mean by that is Roberts is the far faster, slicker, and better athlete in this fight and if he can just land and score first and last, then he can steal rounds rather quickly. I see clear paths for both men here but I don’t think it’s Roberts time to lose just yet.
The Pick: Roberts
Drew Dober $9500 vs. Polo Reyes $6700
When you think of Reyes, you just think of high volume good power and the possibility of either him getting starched or him doing the starching. It’s just his style. It’s his way and it’s the way he will always fight. With an 8-5 record, he has 6 KOS and he has been KOd 3 times. So he gets the better of you half the time but there is that chance his opponent will be the one having the final word. The problem is he is facing a very game striker in Drew Dober who has proven his worth standing offensively and durability wise. An odd stat for a striker like Dober is that in 20 wins he has 9 submissions and only 4 KOS. With that said it’s nice to have a well-rounded skill set in your back pocket. If this is anything like Dober vs Camacho then we are in for a wild fight. The difference is that Camacho has a chin of granite and I am not sure Reyes can jump in the fire for that long. I firefight with Dober has proven to be dangerous, but at the end of the day, it’s the only thing Reyes knows. I am expecting Reyes to have success early because Dober is really not a pedal to the floor at the opening bell kind of a guy. He will feel you out a bit and really try to dial in range. Whereas Reyes just goes. With that said Dober is not an easy guy to back up. He has faith in his chin and faith in his striking and as the fight goes on I see him being the one to stalk down Reyes putting him on his heels and giving him trouble. Don’t be surprised if you see Dober go for the hips late a few times either.
The Pick: Dober
Alonzo Menifield $9000 vs. Paul Craig $7200
Interesting matchup here. Paul Craig is one of those guys that can be sneaky good, but for the most part, people view him as a bad fighter. I kind of sit in the middle on this one. A rustic chin and a stand up that is not very good, Craig really does his best work on the ground and when he is there he can be quite hard to handle. I wouldn’t consider him a high-level BJJ world champion by any stretch of the means, but the guy knows how to get his hips moving on the mat. At 11-3 Craig has 10 of his 11 wins by Submission and that is pretty damn impressive. However, as good as his track record was in BAMMA and before, his track record in the UFC has been a dicey one. At 3-3 Craig will be looking to get back in the win column to give him his first win streak in the UFC. The concern here is that 2 of his last 3 losses have been by KO and the power is not getting easier against undefeated power puncher Menifield. At 8-0 with 7 by the way of KO, it is obvious that Menefield wants your chin early. In all 8 of his wins, only 2 have traveled outside of the first round but never leaving the 2nd. It is clear to me what is going to happen if this thing stays on the feet, but what if Craig can pull this guy into the 3rd round and get this to the ground. His Cardio hasn’t been tested in deeper waters and he hasn’t really been tested by someone like Craig on the ground. I actually would love to see what happens if these 2 elements come to fruition. I just don’t know that I see this happening. I think Menefield is just too strong and explosive on the feet for Craig really to have much of an answer for. Craig is a good grappler when he is on the ground, but getting it there can be a problem. Especially when you really have to respect the power of Menefield and be very mindful of the shots you take to clear space for that hip entry. I think it will just be a matter of time before Menefield slows him down and backs him up to a point where Craig shells up possibly. This entire fight will come down to the success that Craig does or doesn’t have getting this to the floor before he gets tagged by something. I just think Menefield has his number here.
The Pick: Menifield
Ricardo Ramos $9100 vs. Journey Newson $7100
Not too much to chat about here. Ramos was a guy that the UFC had their eyes on for a while. At 23 years of age, the 12-2 fighter has already built a 3-1 record in UFC play. In his last fight, he was KO’d in the 1st round, and honestly, there is no shame in that given how young and raw that he is. In his 12 wins, 9 (6 by Sub) of them have been by way of finish and in his 2 loses he has been KO’d once and subbed once. The issue with young fighters for the UFC is that you wonder when is a good time to pull them up. Even tho they are talented, they are still young and a couple of bad losses can really dovetail their career in another direction. With that said, outside of that blip on the radar last fight, Ramos has been impressive. I would put a question mark on his cardio but at 23 years of age that should be focused on and quite easy to at least improve on. He is taking on late replacement Journey Newson with a 9-1 record. Not a ton out there on this guy but trust me when I tell you, that the UFC did not bring him in here to win. From what I have seen, his striking is decent and he also has a lower center of gravity which allows him to pressure your hips if he wants to start grinding, but Ramos is better everywhere and I think this kid is getting put out for slaughter here. My only concern is Ramos’ gas tank and it’s a fair concern. However, the UFC will get no benefit in Ramos losing this fight and even tho he isn’t someone that is on the bracket as a rising star, he is a clear cut talent with a future ahead of him and I think the UFC knows that. I think this is Ramos fight here to win or lose.
The Pick: Ramos
Eryk Anders $9400 vs. Vinicius Moreira $6800
Anders is a frustrating fighter to really put a bead on. In one aspect, he has all the physical tools to be a really good fighter. Genetically gifted, powerful, athletic, heart, and good durability. Those are all very good building blocks to be a fighter. With that said, it just seems like he is stuck in the mud. He seems to be what he is. Just a tough and gritty fighter that walks you down looking for a kill shot. There is no real skill set tied to his game. He just goes in there and utilizes his athletic ability and power to try and take over fights. That may work on the regional scene but not when you are fighting top level talent where everyone tends to specialize or have roots to something. I’m pretty much saying he is lacking in growth and evolution. He just hasn’t really adjusted or improved at all. Win or lose, Anders seems like he will just be Anders. If he keeps up this pace then he will be very limited and extremely matchup heavy in which decides if he wins or loses. Luckily for him, he is matched up with a guy that was KOd in his last fight against a guy that has that similar hand heavy game. What makes Moreira dangerous is his ability to put grapple Anders if he can find a way to make this a chess match on the ground. With a 9-2 record, all of his wins have come by way of finish and 8 of them have been by way of submission. There is no secret that he is good on the ground but once again getting Anders there will not be easy early. He’s big, strong, fast for his size and athletic. He should be able to shake the early attack off. The worry point is his cardio when it goes deep. Anders tends to gas and gas hard. This is where Moreira can really dial in and take advantage. With that said, he is going to have to survive long enough to get there and that won’t be easy either unless Anders decides not to pull the trigger again. I wouldn’t be shocked if Anders made no adjustments and losses but this is a fight that I think he wins. He just needs to stay on his feet and not gas out. If he loses this fight then I think the UFC may need to reconsider what they are doing with him at this juncture. I think he gets it done.
The Pick: Anders
Jared Gordon $9200 vs. Dan Moret $7000
Moret is coming off 2 losses to Gilbert burns and Alex White. So in his UFC run, he is yet to capture a W. Gilbert Burns is nothing to really hang your head down about, but White is a loss you really don’t want on your record. At 13-5 Moret has 8 wins by submission and in his 5 loses he has been KOd 2 times. Moret isn’t a bad fighter but I am just not sure he really is UFC caliber as of right now. There is just nothing eye-popping about his game, but he isn’t what you would call a bad fighter at all. With that said he is much more of a slower paced fighter and that can cause serious issues with a guy like Gordon who stat wise pretty much triples his punch count and takedown count. The issue with Gordon is that sometimes he tends to get a little too wild and leave his chin on a shelf in some cases and that has riddled him in the past. Actually, in his last 2 fights, he was KO’d just from being reckless. I just don’t think in with his reckless ways will Morret be able to open that window and jump in. I think Gordon knows that he is a talent but he also knows after his last 2 fights that something really needs to change. With a 14-3 record, he has 6 wins by way of KO and 2 by way of Submission. In his 3 losses, he has been KO’d all 3 times. Strange thing is that he is a Brown Belt under John Danaher, so with his wrestling and training under JD, you would think he would be looking for many heel hooks and leg locks considering that is the JD way. JD was the guy who really brought the lower extremity game to the forefront of BJJ as a forgotten piece of the sport. In any event, whichever place Gordon wants to take this fight, he should own it and control it. This fight will tell a lot about his ability to adjust and take that next step. Protect his chin, be patient, and fight smart and he wins hands down. If he goes back to his old well and fights reckless, then you really never know what is going to happen at that point. It’s just hard to pick against him in this spot.
The Pick: Gordon
Dalcha Lungiambula $8700 vs. Dequan Townsend $7500
With a last minute pull by Justin Ledet, Townsend steps in to take his chances in the waters of the UFC. At 6’3 he is a long fighter but he is very awkward, to say the least. He looks fast visually but he really is not that fast and crisp in his approach. He is very awkward on his feet and seems to be choppy with his combos. Nothing is tied together very well and he plods forward instead of being lighter on his feet using his traits that he is working with. He does have experience with a record of 18-7 and 12 by way of KO, but who has he really fought? He spent most of his days fighting in ballrooms and low-grade regional circuits. His style fits for a guy like Lungiambula that is also debuting but at least has a camp behind him and is somewhat prepared. He himself has his own woes and his biggest fault is his cardio. He literally jumps off a shelf early for a guy that really looks to just land big overhand right. At 9-1 and 4 by way of KO, he hasn’t fought anyone to write home about either. His game is also slow and plodding, but in the pocket, I trust him much more to spark Townsend if something lands. With that said hear my words. This is a regional fight main event at best and both of these guys are really no one to trust. I would say enjoy this one and hope for a finish, but to bury your eggs on a confidence pick here would be foolish. However, I don’t think Townsend is ready for this call and this should be a win here for Lungiambula if he can keep his gas tank up enough to last. It takes a lot to oxygenate bigger muscles and hopefully he fixed that a bit here. If he didn’t then this can get dicey late. I am predicting an ugly and sloppy fight, but a fight Lungiambulu wins.
The Pick: Lungiambula
Emily Whitmire $8500 vs. Amanda Ribas $7700
Whitmire seems to get better every fight. In her debut fight against Robertson, she was submitted and started her UFC career got off on the wrong foot. Since then she is on a 2 fight win streak and looks good in the process. With a 4-2 record, it is quite obvious that she is young and raw, but she is getting better every fight and that is really all you can ask for in a fighter. It seems that she understands adjustments and fixing holes. That is worth its weight in gold when it comes to grooming a fighter. The issue with her is that she only has 1 finish and obviously from a DK standpoint we tend to shy from that. However, that 1 finish came in her last fight and that just brings me back to my point of growth and adjusting. She will be looking to keep the momentum flowing with her 3rd straight win against Amanda Ribas. Ribas is formerly of Jungle Fight and has been off the map since 2016. She was popped on a 3-year suspension, but it was recently lifted and here she is. So the debut comes now. The issue with long layoffs is that you just really don’t know what you are getting. You don’t know what is going to take place, and you can’t gauge a fighter from 3 years ago. But what you can gauge is the momentum that her opponent is on. Whitmire is gliding right now with a bit of an attitude as well. Even tho Ribas former record was quite impressive at 6-1 with 5 finishes, we just don’t know what we are getting. Although still extremely young in the game at 25 we can be very pleasantly surprised, but do you take that chance blindy? Or do you go with the fighter that you know who she is right now? I take the one I know what she is serving now and that is Whitmire.
The Pick: Whitmire
Maurice Greene $8200 vs. Junior Albini $8000
This fight is complete garbage but t is a heavyweight fight and there is a reason you may have some interest in it for DK reasons. The problem is that it really is just not a fight where either fighter is very good at all. Both men are sloppy, and both men really will NEVER be contenders. Greene is the longer fighter and will have the ability to own the ground if it by some chance gets there. Where Albini can win this fight is on the feet with the power that he clearly does have. With that said he has looked absolutely terrible as of late and how do you really have any confidence in him at all. From his fight IQ to just his overall ability, he has started to really burn his candle on both ends. After his debut KO win against Timothy Johnson, it has been nothing but really bad. With 3 straight losses, he is in serious threat of being cut here. So he will be coming in with nothing to lose as far as going for broke but it really doesn’t matter if you can’t make the right decisions or you are just not very good. Greene is really no better but at least he has a little momentum behind hi and also has some physical attributes that can make him potentially dangerous. Coming off a 2 fight win streak, he actually looked decent in his last fight. The problem with him is that he is lumbering and sloppy at times and his cardio is really nothing to be too impressed with for the length and range that he does have. With that said he does have a slippery ground game and if he can somehow get it there, I think Albini can be in a bit of trouble. Both guys really are not good at all and as far as betting, I wouldn’t touch it, but I have to make a pick and I am going to go with Greene here. I just feel he has the better attributes and he is the guy coming in with some momentum.
The Pick: Greene
Jordan Griffin $9300 vs. Vince Murdock $6900 (CANCELED)
- Francis $8800
He is still a question mark to me as a fighter, but his power is not a question mark to me and at $8800 if he wins it WILL be by KO. Therefore, Get some.
- Dos Santos $7400
His avenue here is to get this deep where he can use his speed, cardio, and movement. With that said, all it takes is 1 shot to get sparked from Francis. However, at $7400 it still is JDS and fading him in a 5 rounder in which there is a possibility that he can drag this deep and steal this one is not wise. I wouldn’t fade him here at that price, but I am expecting Francis to win this one.
- Formiga $7800
There aren’t many times that I go against Formiga. I like this guy but it just seems like a rough sport for him here. Formiga wins this fight if Benavidez starts to show a drop off in this fight. I just see more avenues here for JoeB, but I won’t hate you for hedging a bit with Formiga because he has a good inside track here in a close fight.
- Benavidez $8400
He is fast; He is well rounded, and outside of his return, he only loses to guys like DJ and Cruz. If he is back fully, he can be active enough to hit his mark here even in a decision. He is priced fairly well here and I will surely have some.
- Maia $8600
It’s a great matchup for him against a guy that really likes to lean on his grappling as well. In all facets of the game, this is Maia’s fight to win or lose. With that said, something smells here. I know his upside for the submission and that’s why I won’t avoid him totally, but I will temper my shares in a fight that does raise an eyebrow. Careful here.
- Martin $7600
He is going to have to fight a very very good fight here to win. He will need to use distance, range, and cage IQ to keep this off the ground. If it does go ground, he is good enough to stay safe, but who is really safe against Maia? I actually like his chances here, to be honest. I am going to have some here.
- Roberts $8900
I like him but Pichel is tough… Real Tough… and finishing him is not going to be easy at all. This fight scares me a bit, to be honest. I like him to win but I think I am passing from a DK perspective here. I picked him to win but he is going to have to work to get Pichel out of there.
- Pichel $7300
I picked him to lose, but his toughness and gritty way puts him in line for a few punt plays. I wouldn’t expect much here but if he drags this deep and makes it ugly, then you can be looking at an upset.
- Dober $9500
I like Dober and I can tell you that people will be passing on this price and I really can’t blame them. I am not high on this price tag at all and I think it is very inflated. With that said he is going to be low owned and can make that tasty, but I am not willing to drop that much wood on him here.
- Reyes $6700
He is kill or be killed and that is a blessing and a curse for DK. Problem is that Dober is very durable and he has no issue with standing toe to toe with you. Don’t see him beating Dober here. I will pass.
- Menifield $9000
He is raw but he is going to be searching for a highlight finish against a guy that is not very well versed on his feet. I am going to have some Menifield.
- Craig $7200
Craig either gets worked, or he gets worked and then gets a hail mary submission. We have seen it all too many times with him. I think he gets worked here and I am not sure he comes back with a hail mary win here… I think I am passing.
- Ramos $9100
Ramos is just the better fighter here, and I like his chances wherever it goes, to be quite honest. I think he may fly a bit under the radar, which makes him slightly appealing, and he can be sneaky so I am interested here in spots. People may get blinded by prices of the Dobers and Anders of the world and may overlook this. He is worth a look. Just keep in mind he is young and raw, but he is a talent.
- Newson $7100
Outside of Ramos gassing out and maybe just looking bad, I am not sure Newson has the skill set to beat this kid. mehhh.
- Anders $9400
$9400 for Anders is really steep here. You are rostering him for his ability to just walk you down and hit the kill switch. I hate his price, and I don’t think that he is worth it, but I do see him winning this fight.
- Moreira $6800
His shot here is to tire Anders out and work a submission on the ground. I just don’t think Anders is a guy that you are able to ragdoll to the ground. It’s not going to be that easy before walking onto something sharp and hard. I think I’m off this.
- Gordon $9200
If you look at the pricing of some of these other guys on the board, this really isn’t terrible. He has the output and he will always look for the finish. For that reason, I will overlook the reckless approach and the question mark chin and roster him. He could score well here.
- Moret $7000
I am passing here. No offense to him, but Gordon should be able to just outwork him here.
- Lungiambula $8700 / Townsend $7500
I am not sure I want anything to do with this fight. This seems like it is going to be like a bar fight for some reason…. Both guys really are just bad, but hey! Sometimes these call for the best finishes! I think I am off this fight.
- Whitmire $8500
I like Whitmire here, and I will have her in spots. Nicely priced and she is fighting someone on a 3-year layoff. I am riding her momentum and her gradual growth from fight to fight. She can be a very good play if Ribas has some cage rust. Keep an eye on Whitmire and don’t be afraid to give her a couple spots.
- Ribas $7700
She’s on a 3-year layoff, and she is debuting. You are rostering her blind so just keep that in mind. We have all seen strange things in MMA, and this would be one of those times if she beats Whitmire coming off such a big layoff entering her debut. I am very weary here.
- Greene $8200 / Albini $8000
They both suck… Seriously… I am not even joking… Both are terrible… But they are lumbering heavyweights so there could be a finish. I lean Greene, but I will play this both ways on the rosters I utilize this fight.
2 Units to Win 1.43 Units
1.7 Units to win 1 Unit
1 Units to win 1.46 Units
Rest of picks:
Good luck, y’all!