MadLab’s UFC Fight Night Jacksonville Breakdown and Predictions!!! Here is what Twitter is saying.
Ok guys, second event back. Wasn’t our night the last card so we are hoping to rebound. Tough card this week with matchups and they really are all over the place with the pricing. The rules of “Host Labology” will be in the Podcast, which should be dropping at some point tonight.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT MAIN CARD
Anthony Smith (-175) DK $9000 / FD $19 vs. Glover Teixeira (+151) DK $7200 / FD $15
Interesting main event in this one. It seems like it’s old lion vs young lion in a sense. However, even though Anthony Smith is the younger fighter, he actually has more fights then Glover does and he is about 10 years younger. Interesting stat there when you think about it. Glover is a seasoned vet with a very unique game. A very polished striker with extremely equipped grappling, Glover has been in the high air of the division for a long time. With 30 wins under his belt 17 have come by way of KO and 8 by way of submission. In 7 losses, 3 are by way of KO and he has never been submitted. Glover has fought the gamut of top guys in the division for years and at one time he was on a 20 fight win streak until he ran into Jon Jones who snapped that streak. After that, he was up and down but would win a few and lose the big fight to Rumble Johnson, win a few more, then lose to Gus. But now, at the early stages of 40, he is on a 3 fight win streak against once again some tough young customers such as Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba. Both fighters are promising but very raw at this phase of the game, so Glover was able to really apply his well-rounded ability and cage IQ to educate and beat these young guns. However, it won’t be that easy against an extremely battle-tested and former title challenger Anthony Smith. Smith has such an odd resume because, for the number of fights he has had, he really doesn’t have that many names on his resume outside of the past 2 years or so. Even those names, many were outside of their primes when he did fight them. With that said it took him quite a while to catch stride. Smith is what I like to call a late bloomer. Sometimes fighters catch fire much quicker than others and sometimes it takes them much longer. Smith had a longer curve than many fighters but still here at the only 31 years of age, he is really in his prime at this point. Starting a run against Rashaad Evans, Marcio Rua and Volken Oezdemir he was now offered a crack at Jon Jones for the light heavyweight strap. His heart was there to last 5 rounds but you can clearly see he just wasn’t in that rarified air to be a belt holder. After a failed attempt at the strap, he came back in his last fight and submitted Alexander Gustafsson, which was a very very nice win for him but even there, you wonder how much Gus really has in the tank at this point. Smith does have some incredible attributes in the Light Heavy Division. He is athletic, long, rangy and throws an array of patterns in his striking and really utilizes his elbows efficiently. Smith is also an extremely underrated grappler. The Black Belt in BJJ has an impressive 12 wins by way of submission, but most people are more dialed in on his 17 Knockouts. The issue here with him is that he has been KO’d 8 times and he has also been submitted 4 times. So there is a very clear path to finish him if you have the tools to do so. One thing I do like about Smith is that he is a patient attacker and he never really fights off emotions and that is very important in fighting. Fighting off emotions allows you to react in uncalculated ways leaving plenty of windows to jump through and Glover is not a guy that you want to leave the window open on. Even tho Glover is a very big name for the resume, he is still over 40 and it’s only a matter of time before the sands of time start to show its depletion. In fighting, it can literally happen overnight. A guy can look fantastic one fight and come back looking like a completely different fighter just a short time later. I have seen it happen numerous times before. Will it happen to Glover tomorrow night? I’m not sure. Can it? 100 percent. With that said even if he comes in ready to go, I just think Smith is the fresher fighter and the more motivated fighter. There is no doubt that Glover loves to fight or he wouldn’t be doing it at his age, but I think he understands that he more than likely won’t get a title shot on the tail end of his career, where Smith has plenty of chances to still make a few runs. That is a much different kind of motivation and that can mean all the difference in the world if push comes to shove in a close fight. I also think he believes he underperformed against Jon Jones. He didn’t pull the trigger like he would have liked to or was capable of, and that can haunt you for a long time. I think he is hungry to get back on the run and I think he gets this one done here.
The Pick: Anthony Smith
Ovince Saint Preux (-140) DK $8700 / FD $17 vs. Ben Rothwell (+120) DK $7500 / FD $14
Ben Rothwell may slip the minds of people who haven’t been following MMA for a very long time. However, chances are, you know who OSP is. Rothwell was an extremely tough heavyweight for quite some time. With a 37-12 record, he has 28 wins by way of KO. In his 12 losses, he was KOd 4 times and submitted 2 times. Before coming into the UFC, he was in the IFL where he tied together a 9-fight win streak before leaving for affliction where he was KOd by a primed pit bull Arlovski in 2008 snapping a 13 fight winning run. Since then he has been on a rotating door of wins and losses until being plagued with injuries and such. He strung together 4 straight wins against very tough competition such as Matt Mitrione, The Reem, Brandon Vera and Josh Barnett. During that run, he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels after his fight with Brandon Vera and would be suspended for 9 months. Still, he would come back and win the next 3 straight until the streak was then snapped by a 2016 version of Junior dos Santos. After that fight, he was scheduled to fight Werdum in which he tested positive on his drug test and accepted a 2-year suspension, which would send him into exile until 2019 where he lost 2 straight decisions. In his last fight, he seemed to get some of his treads back winning a KO win against Stefan Struve bringing him back to his finishing ways. Rothwell is known for being a bruising durable guy that can lose a problem for anyone with his size, power and chin. How much he has left in the tank, we really don’t know, but he will test it against the adopting parent of Jason Von Flue’s choke, the Von Flue choke. OSP is a talented and athletic fighter who does have a good long and rangy standup, but what makes him very unique is his grappling ability at his size once he gets to control on you. With a 24-13 record, I can see why he doesn’t seem that appealing but his record isn’t really a reflection on his skill set. With 11 wins by KO and 8 by way of submission, it’s quite clear he can finish it everywhere. In his 13 loses he has stood the test of time and he has only been KO’d twice and submitted 3 of them. The brown belt in BJJ will come in long and rangy but a bit undersized and I am not sure he will be able to handle what Rothwell can bring for 15 straight minutes. It’s a tough ask to get someone like Rothwell to the ground and keep him there. Even tho he is hovering around 70 percent in TD defense the last time he was taken down was in 2013 by Gabrielle Gonzaga. Unless he completely gasses out or OSP finds his mark, I have to lean towards the big man here to get the W.
The Pick: Big Ben Rothwell
Drew Dober (-120) DK $8300 / FD $17 vs. Alexander Hernandez (+100) DK $7900 / FD $15
I’m not going to sit here and lie. I am super torn on this fight for a multitude of reasons. I have been high on Dober for quite some time. Training in Altitude, good athlete, ties his punches and kicks together so very well and he even proved against a decent wrestler like Scott Holtzman that if he wants to wrestle he absolutely can. The kid is a super talented striker though, with extremely thick legs that generate a ton of torque and power. Dober also has a chin that does not crack easily, at all. With a 22-9 record, he has only hit the deck 1 time back in his regional days and since then he has never lost by way of KO after that. Don’t be deceived by Dobers 9 losses, His track record in the UFC is better than the regional circuit, and that is just a credit to his growth and maturity as a fighter. Dober has beat some very stiff and tough competition and as of late Dober has been in some serious scraps. His last fight may have been one of his most impressive. It didn’t last very long, but the patience and composure he shows in the pocket is almost flawless. To be able to step into the pocket and stay completely calm, look for your spot, get your head off to the side off the center line and connect with that shot like he did was borderline picture perfect. That shows so much skill and discipline and that is what I really started liking about Dober early on. With that said, he has never really faced someone that put constant pressure on his hips before and just smothered him taking away all that space. You can not stand and play chess on the feet with Dober; I don’t care who you are. He is far too skilled and powerful in this division, and if he catches you, it is more than likely an end game. However, if he does have a hole in his game or a path of least resistance it would def be his grappling. In his 9 losses, he has been submitted 3 times, and even tho Hernandez is not a submission machine, he has shown me something that vanished and the only way he wins this fight is if he can somehow bring it back. Hernandez is someone that I was super high on as well coming into the Dariush fight. If you remember I was screaming from high heaven that you need to have this kid in some of your lineups. There was something about his swag, explosion and overall pressure game that I really liked. I knew coming in on short notice against someone like Dariush would be a tough ask for your debuting fight, but it really didn’t matter who it was, the kid had something that I dialed in on. He ended up Knocking out Dariush very early in the fight and was the slate breaker for us on the night. Now, after everyone gave him no chance against Dariush, they suddenly rebounded and started jumping on my train against OAM. Maybe not picking him but def taking him much more seriously. What impressed me most about him was the pressure he put on in that fight. He literally lived and died by pressuring, pressuring and more pressuring. Constantly looking for hip entries and just not letting OAM breathe at all. It was like he was almost tearing a page out of Colby Covington’s book. Not quite that high motored but good enough for him to come out and beat a very hot prospect at the time. Now it was his time to fight a big name guy and that man would be cowboy Cerrone who absolutely took this young man to school and finished him off in the 2nd round. I was a little confused with his approach in this fight because he seemed to want to stand and trade opposed to taking the path that he had so much success against OAM. On his rebound fight in his hometown, he fought an always tough yet aging Trinaldo and I was super intrigued on how he would look after a really tough loss. Well, he looked no different then he did against Cerrone, just a little more gun shy this time. He seemed to fight extremely hesitant and nervous. Almost like he needed to fight very safe and was afraid to just let his hands go or fight with that leeching pressure. He just hasn’t looked the same since he lost to Cowboy and I am not even more curious to see what game plan he attacks here. I can tell you this. The ONLY game plan that will work for him here is the blueprint that he used against OAM. If he thinks he is going to stand and trade with Dober, as he did with Cerrone and Trinaldo, and not get KO’d, then he is mistaking and maybe he isn’t as smart as he is well-spoken. There is only one path here. Fight with the same blueprint that got you here. If he fights as he fought against OAM, then he wins this fight, and if he doesn’t, then I am saying that he will most likely get destroyed and that is where I stand with this fight. So where am I going to lean? Well, I really think Hernandez is a very intelligent kid and I really think he understands that even Cerrone on the ground is a very dangerous ask. Maybe he thought Trinaldo was really slowing up and he can just outpace him on the feet. That is all great and good, but I think his mindset here is to minimize the damage and the way to do that is get in on the hips and put Dober on his back early and often and if he can’t get him to the ground just keep your body leached to his for as long as you can control the action. You give Dober space to work, you are dead. I think he does that here. I think he brings back that motor and if he doesn’t he will when he tastes the kicks and power of Dober. Sometimes, that will make you change your game plan real quick. I’ll take the Dog here.
The Pick: Alexander Hernandez
Ricky Simon (-170) DK $8600 / FD $17 vs. Ray Borg (+150) DK $7600 / FD $13
When I first saw this fight, I was intrigued just for the mere fact Borg was coming up from 125-135 and I thought, “Ok, maybe the weight cutting will not be an issue for him now.” However, every positive does come with a negative and we will get to that shortly. But first, let’s take a peek on what makes Ray Borg, Ray Borg. With a record of 13-4, Ray Borg really made a name for himself with his scrambling ability. This is a guy who I can honestly say, scrambles with the best of them. No matter what position you put him in, The guy can find a back door somewhere and figure out ways to either escape or turn a negative into a positive. Never known as a power puncher he only has 1 win by KO and 6 by way of submission. Ray Borg beats you with pressure and just outworking you. In his 4 losses, he has never been KO’d but he has been submitted 2 times. Borg has a very talented resume of names under his wing and even went 5 rounds with the great Demitrious Johnson. Even tho he was worked in that fight, he still showed tremendous ability to scramble and transition, and his heart was incredible until he was finally submitted in the 5th round. He comes in here undersized against a bigger, stronger and high action guy in Ricky Simon. With a 15-3 record, Simon has 5 KO’s and 2 submissions. In his 3 losses, there is a perfect balance with 1 KO, 1 Sub, and 1 Decision. Two of his three losses are his last two, which he lost a decision to the always powerful Rob Font and a shocking KO loss to Uriah Faber. Before that, he beat some very high pedigree guys such as BJJ ace Rani Yahya, up and comer/talented rising star in Montel Jackson and the takedown machine Merab Dvalishvilli (in where he should have lost that fight). Both men bring in a high ratio of takedowns and they really utilize that to their advantage. Borg averages a little over 4 per fight and Simon a little over 6. The issue I have with this is that even tho Borg is the scrambling and transitional wizard, Simon is just going to be the bigger and stronger fighter here and the takedowns and the control time might be a little too much for Borg to handle. Simon is going to look to really hard press the pace back on Borg and it’s a battle that I am not sure Borg can sustain for the full 15 minutes. I do believe this line should be a lot closer but I think Simon has a much less smokey path to victory here if he utilizes his size and weight properly in this one.
The Pick: Ricky Simon
Marvin Vettori (-170) DK $8900 / FD $17 vs. Karl Roberson (+150) DK $7300 / FD $14
When you are looking at a matchup like this, you really have to look at the styles they both present, side by side. This is one of those matchups that sometimes is murky, and you really need to lay the cards out one by one. Roberson jumped on the map when he KO’d Ryan Spann in the contender series. Since then, he has really been up and down, rotating wins and losses until now. He has found a way to string 2 wins together and he is looking to keep that streak alive making it 3. Coming from a kickboxing background, he called it quits when he had an 0-3 record. Now with better success in MMA, he comes to us with a much more impressive 9-2 record. Roberson is a very athletic fighter but he does make many mistakes that can be glaring sometimes. In his UFC career, he has really only fought 2 contenders in which he lost to both: Glover and Ferreira. Outside of that, he hasn’t really beat anyone ultra-impressive. However, the 29-year-old New Jersey native has plenty of time and room to grow. With 2 KO’s and 4 Submissions under his belt, Roberson has shown us he isn’t only a striker even tho he would rather keep it there. If the fight does hit the floor his athletic ability more than his skill saves him in many situations but that really can’t last forever. I always say that athletic ability is a great weapon when you are raw and fighting low-level competition, but once you take that leap into the next pond, you need much more than athleticism. He takes on fellow young gun Marvin Vettori, coming to us from Italy. I like Vettori. He doesn’t get much shine because Italy is not really a hotbed for MMA, but the kid is pretty solid and tough. He actually gave Adesanya all he could handle in their fight where he executed a very good game plan and decided to bully Izzy not letting him get a ton of space to breathe. He would ultimately drop a split decision in which many people thought he actually won that fight. As big as he looks, he really isn’t a monster puncher, however, he does push a good pace. With a 14-4 record, Vettori has used his Brown Belt in BJJ to his advantage with 8 submissions checked in place. He also has 2 by way of KO. Vettori also shows very good durability, never being finished in any of his 4 fights. I like the way he presses and I like his work rate. It holds a fine balance never exceeding too much to be sloppy and not enough to lose a round. He has a very good steady pace where he switches things up when opportunities begin to present itself. Many people are saying Roberson may give him fits with his athletic ability, but at the end of the day, Izzy is extremely dynamic and Vettori was able to put him on his heels plenty in that fight. I think Vettori is a bit underrated, to be honest, and even tho Vegas isn’t showing that to be the case, the UFC has not really got behind this kid like they have some of their other prospects, but with a big win here they may not have a choice. I am going with the Italian here in a pretty competitive fight.
The Pick: Vettori
UFC FIGHT NIGHT PRELIMS
Andrei Arlovski (+135) DK $7700 / FD $14 vs. Philipe Lins (-155) DK $8500 / FD $16
Seriously… Flip a coin here. At one time, Arlovski had some of the cleanest boxing in the Heavyweight Division. Moved like a Light Heavy, good footwork, created good angles and tied his punches together so well. However, like many aging fighters, sometimes they just don’t know when to call it quits and Arlovski is in fact one of them. With that said the guy truly does love to fight and I think deep inside he really does believe that he can be relevant in the division. With a 28 – 19 record, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion is a shell of what he once was but still does surprise us from time to time. Arlovski is never going to be a walk in the park, especially if it is standing toe to toe. However, he has won 1 fight in his last 6 and that is never ever a good look. You have to start and wonder when the UFC is going to really just move on from this relationship. With that said he seems to be a staple in the division for people to make a name off of and although I don’t agree with it, it’s a part of the game and the business. However, slowly but surely Arlovski’s name is losing its allure and appeal. This is not the same guy that went on a 10-1-1 streak when he was the division’s Assassin. He takes on Lins who really is absolutely nothing special at all. He debuts under the umbrella with a 14-3 record. A natural light heavyweight that won the PFL Heavyweight tournament, Linn is a guy that fell a little short on the talent pool in his resume. However, with 8 wins by KO and 4 by submission it is quite clear that the guy looks to finish. In his 3 losses, all 3 have by way of KO. The Black Belt in BJJ is on a 3 fight win streak as he enters the cage on Wed night with much more to gain and much more momentum behind him at this point. I would say that Arlovski is obviously the more experienced fighter and probably even the better fighter at both points of their career, but what scares me is the pace here. I am not sure Arlovski is going to be able to dictate terms like he used to. He will take the center of the cage and look good in the onset. Using good hand movements, jabbing to look for angles and creating some disturbances in the tempo. However, doing it for 15 minutes is something I can’t bank on. He has also lost a long cut of his durability and although some fights he seems unphased, he has been KO’d 11 times. That is nothing to blink an eye at. Getting KO’d 11 times is a potential problem. Too many variables involved to pick him here, but I am not sold on the other Lins either. However, I have to go with the younger fresher fighter here.
The Pick: Lins
Thiago Moises (-110) DK $8200 / FD $16 vs. Michael Johnson (-110) DK $8000 / FD $15
This line is sitting where it’s supposed to be sitting, and here is why. There is no doubt Michael Johnson has been on the decline. No one is denying that, but the hand speed and the slick boxing he does possess will be a problem for anyone, especially for someone like Moises, whose weak point is his striking. Most of Michael Johnson’s fights are really premised on if he can stay upright or not and if he can then there is no one that will just walk on him unless you catch his chin. But he has slick enough stand up to really hang with the top guys in the division when it comes to slanging leather. His record is not flattering at 19-15, but many of these losses have come in the more recent end of his career. He is 3-7 in his last 10 fights, and one can argue he was fighting killers in every way. Listen to this resume: Dariush, Nate Diaz, Poirier, Khabib, Gaethje, Elkins, Fili, Lobov, Emmett, Stevie Ray. That is his last 10 fights. So there is honestly not much shame there. In those wins, he beat Poirier, Fili and Lobov. The concerning fight for me was his last fight against Stevie Ray. Not sure how he wasn’t able to just outfox such a lumbering fighter. Another issue for me is not the losses as much as how he lost. 8 of these losses have come by way of Submission. This brings me to his opponent Moises. Moises may not be much of a striker but he is an extremely high pedigree grappler. With a record of 12-4, he has 3 KOS and 4 Submissions. In his 4 losses, he has never lost before the final horn. So you have a very big clash in styles and you need to be on the right side. On one end you have the seasoned Striker that has fought everyone in the division but has been through many rough wars against the younger grappler that hasn’t seen nearly the competition Johnson has. However, Johnson is as good as dead on the ground if he allows it there so it boils down to will Johnson be able to keep this standing by utilizing patience, precision and speed. Keeping a range that is comfortable and allowing him to elude shots on his hips. If he can’t do this, then he loses. If he can, he wins. It is that simple. I am going to say he isn’t fully washed yet and he lands the more significant shots to get this one done.
The Pick: Michael Johnson
Sijara Eubanks (-380) DK $9200 / FD $20 vs. Sarah Moras (+315) DK $7000 / FD $11
Where in the world should Eubanks be a -380 anywhere? At the end of the day, she is 4-4, so there is no justification here for that. The Black Belt in BJJ also does have some good striking behind her with 2 of her wins coming by way of KO with the other 2 by way of Decision. In her 4 losses, she has never been finished. The real issue with Eubanks for me is sometimes I tend to question her commitment. She has terrible issues with making weight in the past, and even with a full camp under her belt, she has a serious conditioning issue in spots. Her conditioning I firmly believe will be the deciding factor on which way her career goes. She is taking on Sarah Moras, who really isn’t in any better shape with a 6-5 record and no real major strengths that she can ultimately lean on, from an offensive perspective. She is quite durable with being finished only 1 time which was against Macy Chiasson, but the issue I have with her is she really just is what she is. If you keep her on her feet and have any type of striking prowess, you can eat her alive. She really lives and dies for grinding on the ground where she is most comfortable. She suddenly becomes very active once she hits her comfort zone, and she will start looking for things from her back, using an active guard. From top position, she will start to just lay hammers down unless you can avoid or escape. I would say that her top game is average but that is really her best attribute and outside of that she is serviceable we would say. Even tho I hate the line, I need to go Eubanks. She is the better striker, the better grappler and the better athlete. It just all doesn’t match up well for Moras here. However, with all that said, she does have a blueprint that may work. Make Eubanks carry your weight for a few minutes. You don’t need to take her down to slow her down. You just need to start to tax on her conditioning and make her work. Making her work in any facet requires conditioning. It does need to be a sludge fest on the ground. Lean against her, grind her, make her carry your weight, and you will see Eubanks get tired. However, I am not sure Moras is capable of that. Eubanks should be able to do enough to get this one done or gather enough rounds to still win if Moras comes storming back for some odd reason.
The Pick: Eubanks
Omar Morales (-175) DK $8800 / FD $16 vs. Gabriel Benitez (+155) DK $7400 / FD $14
I really don’t see how this line is where it is. In my eyes, this fight should be a lot closer here. Morales is a good fighter, and I like what I have seen from him thus far. With that said, he should not be a -175 favorite here. With a 9-0 record, after my research, it seems to be extremely padded. Here’s a tidbit for you. In his first 6 fights just a few fights ago, his opposition had a combined record of 1-12. Only 1 fighter in 6 had a win on their record. So his actual competition on any decent level started just a few short fights ago. However, if you look at the way he won those fights, I find it very very hard to believe he is going to be able to finish someone like Gabriel Benitez in that fashion. If you look at the way he finished Nawrocki, he came in with his chin low and exposed and was caught with a head kick by Morales. In his contender series fight against Park, he crippled him with a leg kick and then finished him off when he was an injured animal in the corner. Now, Gabriel Benitez is an extremely talented and seasoned striker. His leg kick game may be one of the most underrated in MMA and boy does he know it and love to use it. At 31 years of age, he holds a 21-7 record and he has only been KO’d twice in his career: once by Yusoff and once by Andre Fili. He can fight moving forward and back-peddling on the run. He understands range very well and he has a lightness about his striking style. It just comes out very fluently. In his earlier years, he was actually a submission machine with more submissions on his record than KOs, so he is very well crafted if Morales wants to take this to the ground, where he too has more submissions then he does KO’s on his resume. With that said there was something that did bother me in the Morales and Park fight. When he chopped the legs out of Park and he was sitting in the corner defenseless, Morales really hesitated before he finally went in for the kill. That was a little troublesome for me. However, the kid does have a good pressure game and does have a pretty decent, yet raw, skill set, but I don’t translate him just yet. I would have liked to see him for Hernandez to really get a measuring stick on him. However, Benitez just brings a little more experience here and if these guys are going to stand and trade, It is hard to think that those leg kicks from Benitez aren’t going to start to add up. One thing we will learn is if Morales checks leg kicks or not. I have to go Benitez here for the value alone.
The Pick: Benitez
Hunter Azure (-175) DK $9100 / FD $18 vs. Brian Kelleher (+155) DK $7100 / FD $13
Azure comes to us after his stint in the contender series win and then debuting against Brad Katona, an intelligent young SBG fighter who has been now let go from his contract with the UFC. Azure is a Class-B 4 time state Champion for Poplar High School in Montana and brings that into the cage with him as his ace in the hole. One thing I did notice with Hunter is that he tends to load up on his punches and that fix will come in time, he is still very raw there. When you have confidence in your stand up, loading up really doesn’t exist at that point, because you understand how combinations work and tie together to create the openings that you need to land flush. It becomes a science and a game. Loading up is when you are looking for the home run and when you look for the homerun you will find yourself defensively exposed and you will also tire out much quicker. He will take on Brian Kelleher, who is a scrappy vet that has had his ups and downs in his UFC run. With a 4-3 record under the UFC umbrella, he does have the experience over the young and undefeated fighter, but the matchup just doesn’t seem to sit so well with me here. Kelleher seems to be a bit distracted with other things and when you are in this stage of the game that just can’t happen. He looked very good in his last fight cinching up a beautiful submission early but that in itself doesn’t tell much of a tale. The body of work in that fight just wasn’t long enough to make a true assessment of where he is right now. Kelleher ultimately has a decent takedown defense at over 80% but it isn’t so much about the takedowns, it is much more about the pressure that can throw things off a bit. I am expecting Hunter to really bring pressure hard, wrestling pressure because I do think that Kelleher is the better and much more polished striker here. So constant pressure from Hunter looking for hip entry and level changes would really serve him quite well from a control factor. Kelleher is good enough to beat Azure, and one day he probably will in my opinion, but trusting him at this stage and shooting off a limited body of work on the rebound after dropping 2 straight is hard to pick him against a kid who is riding youth, hunger and momentum. I think the fight is close early, but Hunter pulls away late with his motor in this one.
The Pick: Hunter Azure
Chase Sherman (-155) DK $8400 / FD $16 vs. Ike Villanueva (+135) DK $7800 / FD $15
Kind of strange Ike Villanueva is making his UFC debut at 36 years of age. You wonder what the UFC is doing here. It seems this is just a card filled with a fight that can be fun but 2 guys who really aren’t going anywhere fast. Despite his regional circuit long stay, Ike has fought some UFC caliber fighters which will prime him for someone like Chase who has some UFC minutes already. Fighting guys like Rashaad Coulter, Trevin Giles, Robert Drysdale and Justin Ledet. With that said outside of Robert Drysdale who is an Elite Talent in BJJ how many of those other guys really belong in the UFC outside of maybe Trevin Giles in which he lost to. Keep in mind now that Giles is a middleweight and Ike is fighting Chase Sherman at Heavyweight so this is a very different animal here. Giles was still able to stand and trade with Ike even though he was rocked during their dance. Giles ended up submitting him in the 3rd round. Rashaad Coulter is a testament to how his power translates from division to division tho even though Coulter is no longer with the UFC. However, will his power translate up at heavyweight against a true heavyweight in Chase Sherman? Chase has not had the greatest success in the UFC, and he has been making ends meet in all arenas recently, accepting fights in BKB, which quite honestly I don’t mind at all especially since BKB teaches you range and working off a stiff jab. You also have a much smaller target zone to avoid hand injuries. So this most likely helped him with much more calculation and crisp patterns in his striking. With that said, His success hasn’t been great in the UFC. He is 2-5 under the umbrella and his fights are highly likely to end in a finish either way. In 14 wins, 13 of them have been by way of KO and in his 6 losses, 4 have been by him getting KO’d. Since exiting the UFC, he has been active with Island Fights where he has a 3-0 record all by the way of KO. However, the competition was obviously not stiff, but between Island Fights and BKB, he did stay active for the most part. The issue here with putting a bead on this is that this was one of the last fights put on the board, so you really don’t know how in shape these gentlemen are. Ike is the smaller fighter, the faster fighter, and I would say in a normal setting does have the better cardio here. However, Chase will hold the size, much longer range and power advantage here. So, it will really boil down to Chase learning range much better in BKB and if he can last in that 3rd and final round without completely nose-diving with no gas left if it gets there. He is going to need to really fight long here, use his low kick game and utilize his jab to keep Ike honest. Ike is going to want to bring some heat and make Chase work. He doesn’t want to fight out of sorts or wild, but he wants to apply enough pressure where Chase is constantly moving and working putting small pinholes in Chase’s gas tank to slow him down without getting clipped by the big man. It is really a fight that you can lay a confident bead on but I am going to lean Sherman here, for the mere fact that he is younger, longer, rangier and he also is the natural heavyweight.
The Pick: Chase Sherman
UFC FIGHT NIGHT DFS
Anthony Smith – DK $9000 / FD $19
$9k is a tough price to pay for Smith against a seasoned guy like Tex, who seems to be aging slowly, and even tho he is the younger guy in this matchup, he actually does have more fights. However, I think he is carrying a bit of a chip on his shoulder from being a little too gun shy in his fight against Jon Jones. He is looking to get back there rather quickly if he can, and he can’t be slowing down now. Every fight means something here. In a 5 round fight, I think his window is down the stretch when things tend to start getting a little sloppier, but I do like his chances here if his conditioning is right and he does not get caught. With that said, I will not load up on him here because this fight should be priced much leaner than this. I will have some with the hopes he can possibly finish the job at some point. But tread lightly.
Glover Teixeira – DK $7200 / FD $15
Glover looked awfully good in weigh-ins. No matter who he is fighting, at $7200, he deserves a few plugs period. Don’t fade him!
OSP – DK $8700 / FD $17
I don’t see how he is this expensive here. I know Rothwell is on the comeback and hasn’t looked all that great, but I think this price is insane, especially how tough Rothwell actually is. This is one I am staying away from.
Rothwell – DK $7500 / FD $14
Rothwell is actually worth a few small plugs here. He is not high volume, and OSP is kind of durable, but $7500 is a cheap price for Rothwell against a guy in OSP who you really never know what you are going to get. I am slightly interested.
Dober – DK $8300 / FD $17
This dude is so overlooked by many. Very good striker, good chin and decent wrestling. He also trained alongside JG for this fight. $8300 is not a big tag to pay at all for a guy who is involved in a fight that goes 1 of 2 ways. If he keeps this standing, he wins… Don’t avoid him.
Hernandez – DK $7900 / FD $15
I have been high on Hernandez since before he came into the UFC. He won us a lot of money in his fight against Dariush. I would say his best showing was OAM where he just went full in on OAM’s hips the entire fight. He has strayed since then and really became trigger shy, especially since the Cerrone beating. Some think he is shook and lost confidence, and he claims his injury just wouldn’t allow him to get a hold and grip anything. Now, post-surgery, he feels 100 percent and you wonder what guy is going to show up. The high-pressure kid who looks for your hips? Or the lulling striker who has not had the greatest success with just that style? I picked him here so I will have more shares than I do Dober. I am hoping he is back to 100 percent and we see the Hernandez who I scoped out a while ago… Get some…
Ricky Simon – DK $8600 / FD $17
I know he seems pricey against a guy like Ray Borg, who is so slippery, but I can’t look past the size difference here. I feel like Borg is going to be outmatched in a lot of different categories here, and even though I hate going against Borg, I think Simon looked great on the scales today and could be in for a pretty decent day if he plays his cards right and protects his limbs.
Borg – DK $7600 / FD $13
Borg is such a high volume guy with his transitions, and such that he always scores well if he wins. At sub $8k, with a win, this guy would probably blow the roof off his value. For that reason alone, in large field GPPs, he’s worth some shares.
Vettori – DK $8900 / FD $17
I like Vettori to win the fight, but I just don’t know if he is going to be able to finish Roberson. He tends to go to the cards a lot lately, and that would def hinder his value. There is a chance he can submit Roberson, but I don’t know how interested I am here or in this fight in general. But I can tell you the small shares I take on Vettori in case he can lock something up would be based on how many lineups I do build.
Roberson – DK $7300 / FD $14
He does have paths here, but I am going to sit it out I think.
Arlovski – DK $7700 / FD $14
Lins – DK $8500 / FD $16
I don’t have a good feel for this fight at all. Too many variables involved for me to take too much action here. I think I sit this one out, but my official pick is Lins…
Moises – DK $8200 / FD $16
Johnson – DK $8000 / FD $15
You know what to do here…. We discussed this ad nauseam… You can swap in and out without disrupting your lineup if you stay within that 200 cage. I will have a bigger lean on Johnson tho.
Eubanks – DK $9200 / FD $20
I would never bet her at her odds, and I am finding it very hard to pull the trigger on her here at this price. Her conditioning scares the shit out of me. However, her price and her 4-4 record on paper may steer people away. So, in large field GPPs, I expect her ownership to not reflect the favorite she actually is here. Small dose just because I think she will be underappreciated.
Moras – DK $7000 / FD $11
Most likely a fade here.
Morales – DK $8800 / FD $16
I can’t see this price tag being correct. I know he is high octane, but what is going to happen when he eats the first solid kick from Benitez? Will he hesitate after that? Seems a little too high for my liking here.
Benitez – DK $7400 / FD $14
Such an underrated kicking game, and at sub $7500 when you’re giving me a guy who has 6 of his 9 opponents only compile 1 win, I think it would be foolish not to see him tested here.
Azure – DK $9100 / FD $18
Another heavy price tag, but I can see people climbing on Kelleher here from name value. I would much rather have Anthony Smith in a 5 round affair for 100 dollars cheaper.
Kelleher – DK $7100 / FD $13
He has paths, but he hasn’t really been super serious about his craft as of late. As a punt play, fine, because his pricing is without a doubt wrong. But outside of that, do not make him a solid dog leg in your plays.
Sherman – DK $8400 / FD $16
Villanueva – DK $7800 / FD $15
Both these guys suck. However, they are Heavyweights and that makes it a bit intriguing. I am telling you this right now; if you play this fight, I would def have some small action the other way. I am picking Sherman here, but I am not sure how much exposure I will have. I can tell you, it will be small.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT VEGAS
Ok Guys… I actually may bet the board on this one guys minus the Eubanks fight. However, you do not have to. Usually when I do bet the board it is to win a unit or to win the unit plus on the dog end of it. However, You do not have to.. Below are the picks that I feel most comfortable with, but there are so many fights on this card that can go either way. I trust my overall sometimes more than a few darts..
Rothwell +120 (OSP is fighting at Heavyweight for the first time. Rothwell is
a huge Heavyweight. Its worth a swing).
Benetiz +155 (Way too much value here not to plug win or lose)
1 Units to Win 1.5
Come listen to the Labology MMA Podcast!