UFC

[3-4] -4.72

Updated card:
1/23/21 UFC 257 McGregor vs Poirier
On the right side of the number on almost every fight. Hope these result in W's.

3*Makhmud Muradov +103
2*Amir Albazi +120
1*Amir Albazi +105
2*Ottman Azaitar -147
2*Julianna Pena +110
1*Amanda Ribas -253
0.5*Amanda Ribas by Submission +275
1*Arman Tsarukyan -172
1*Under 2.5 Michael Chandler/Dan Hooker -110
1*Under 2.5 McGregor/Poirier -116


Makhmud Muradov +103 (75" Reach) vs Andrew Sanchez (74" reach)
Current line: Muradov -140

This is a buy low situation for me. Somehow Muradov has gone 2-0 in the UFC in extremely impressive fashion and no one has taken notice. Even after TKO'ing two former UFC fighters leading up to his debut in the UFC. A great athlete with outstanding fluidity, speed, and creativity in his striking. Fights at distance and makes it look pretty as evidenced by his 2:1 strikes given to absorbed ratio. Thus far has defended takedowns very well and landed a few of his own. If there's any chink in the armor he gassed out in the last 2.5 minutes of his debut but seemed to shore that issue up in his most recent bout by looking extremely nimble in the 3rd. His opponent Andrew Sanchez is solid. I like Sanchez as a fighter. Very good durability, solid striking, solid grappling, and solid cardio. He just isn't great anywhere and his defense definitely wanes as the fight goes on (-0.35 strikes landed-absorbed). Sanchez prefers to fight at distance and seldomly uses his collegiate wrestling skills. I think this bodes well for Muradov who should outclass Sanchez at his own game. Keeping distance and sniping in for strikes and fighting off the occasional takedown attempt. If he performs well, I doubt we see him as a dog again until he starts fighting the elite. Favorite fight on the card. Muradov by unanimous decision.

Amir Albazi +120 (68" reach) vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov (66" reach)
Current line: Albazi -110

The fighting styles of these two fighters are very similar. Zhumagulov is a pest. The former FNG champ, lacks athleticism but is fundamentally sound and durable (no finishes in the last 6 years). Never seems to be out of a fight and just tends to hang around. He was able to defeat former UFC fighter Ali Bagautinov and current UFC fighter Tyson Nam by narrowly outpointing the two. He should be 1-0 in the UFC. I had bet on his opponent Raulian Paiva in Zhalgas' debut and should not have won my wager. Zhalgas easily outpointed him in rounds 2 and 3 despite probably taking more damage overall. His striking is average, but his constant movement allows him to avoid taking serious damage in the octagon and maintain distance. When feeling pressured on the feet, he lacks the power to keep opponents at bay and often relies on his sound wrestling to take things to the mat. Albazi similarly likes to fight at distance, mixing in crisp punches as he closes distance as well as takedowns. Albazi is 13-1 overall (1-0 UFC), submitting his only foe in the UFC in the first round. His only loss coming to a good former UFC fighter Jose Torres by narrow decision. The difference between the two I feel is Albazi is just a little better everywhere. Cardio should be a wash between these two. Albazi has more power, more reach, more size, and a far more decorated grappler. Taking home several BJJ championships in Europe, USA, and the middle east. For Zhalgas, I don't think the luxury of grappling when in danger on the feet will be there without putting himself in serious danger on the mat. My expectation is Zhalgas gets outclassed but his durability allows the fight to go the distance. Albazi by unanimous decision.

Julianna Pena +110 (69" reach) vs Sara McMann (66" reach)
Current line: Pena +110

Sara McMann still doing the damn thing at 41 years old. A former Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, she likes her fights on the ground. Preferably with her on top. Historically entering majority of her fights with a significant power advantage and slamming her opponents to the mat. The power is still there but the speed and agility to my eyes have started to fade. Striking is robotic and ground control is average. While being able to land some vicious ground and pound she allows her foes to escape and reverse position regularly. Often looking totally lost when reversed and having to defend off her back. McMann is 4-4 in her last 8, losing 3/4 via submission. Further emphasizing her deficiencies on the ground. So when pitted against jiu jitsu ace Julianna Pena (a physically imposing woman herself), on paper backing Julianna makes sense. I don't think McMann will carry her normal power advantage against Pena's strong frame either. Pena is 5-2 in the UFC losing only to Germaine DeRandamie and Valentina Shevchenko, the two best fighters not named Amanda Nunes. And in both fights she was starting to take control before surprisingly getting caught in submissions by these two decorated strikers. I think Pena has significant advantages on the ground and the feet and wins this fight via submission

Amanda Ribas -253 (66" reach) vs Marina Rodriguez (65" reach)
Current line: Ribas -330

Marina Rodriguez is an outstanding striker. But she can't defend a takedown to save her life. Marina is 3-1-2 in the UFC. In her 1 loss and 2 draws, she got taken down 10 times. Ribas will do whatever she wants. Most likely repeatedly getting Rodriguez to the mat to showcase her high level jiu jitsu and on her way to a 5-0 record. Her striking, pace, grappling, and cardio are high level. I am not sure how her power will stack up with the divisions elite but with lesser fighters like Marina, she should dominate. Ribas by 2nd round submissio

Under 2.5 Rounds -110 Dan Hooker/Michael Chandler
Current line: 2.5 Rounds -110

Hooker is a high end 2.5 round fighter. Really advanced striking, good defensive grappling, great chin and solid foot movement. As the fight goes on, his cardio tends to wither rapidly, output decreases and his defense goes to shit. His chin is ridiculous at times but its allowed him to take a beating in his last few fights (Absorbed 100+ strikes in 3 of his last 5 fights, looked like death at the end of all 3 too). How many more big shots can he take? Not sure. The play is mostly based on the style of fighting Michael Chandler brings to the table. Like Hooker, he is a real high output offensive fighter early on and he is most likely the most powerful fighter Hooker has ever faced. Relies on his speed to close distance and either take you down (elite d1 wrestler) with vicious ground and pound or finish you on the feet with big punches. Long story short he tries to make quick work of people. Since 2015 only 3/11 of his fights have gone the distance with most ending in the first round. And I expect the approach to be the same. Chandler is trying hard to enter the title mix as a UFC newcomer and knows he has to make a splash to do so. Publicly saying he only has a few years left in his prime to prove himself in the UFC. With that being said, I think his aggressive forward style is going to give ample opportunity for Hooker to counter at his chin. Hooker also never backs down from a fire fight which should give Chandler chances to take it to the mat or land a big shot. With my questions on Hookers durability and me expecting real high intensity 2 rounds, I think someone ends up waking up on the mat.

Under 2.5 Rounds -116 Conor McGregor/Dustin Poirier
Current line: 2.5 Rounds -190

I expect a similar high intensity fight for McGregor/Poirier. Except from a skill and power perspective, I think Conor is far superior. People forget how elite and powerful of a striker Conor is after his fights with Diaz and Khabib. Diaz is a zombie (survived 3 knockdowns in their last fight) that has a unique ability to just eat shots in hopes of you wearing down and beating you late. Khabib is just Khabib and Conor is the only one imo who has made it a real fight with him. However, it is hard to back Conor in a 5 round fight because of his cardio issues. Conor is an uber high energy starter. Uses loads of energy to maintain distance defensively and land big combos offensively. But this fighting style saps energy quick. If Poirier can weather the storm, I think he has a clear cardio/output advantage in rounds 3-5. Rewatching their fight in 2014, it's clear whos strikes carry more weight. I understand it was 6 years ago, but I have a hard time believing the power differential has changed. The play is based on my expectation that Conor finishes the fight in the first 2 rounds if he wins and laying -116 on the total is far more appealing than laying -240 on Conor. (Conor now up to -340 since writing this)
 
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Just announced Tsarukyan would face Frevola and the matchup got me salivating. But it opens as Tsarukyan -675 and now up to -700. So much for that shit
 
Timur Valiev -150 (67" Reach) vs Julio Arce (70" reach)
Current line: Valiev -165

Julio Arce is another striker out of Tiger Schulman in NYC who has produced alot of UFC talent recently. He has some very quality wins under his belt with a decision win over Dan Ige in 2018 and a KO win over Julian Erosa in 2019. Arce relies heavily on his boxing and maintains distance very well. Also presents with outstanding takedown defense (93%) through 6 UFC bouts. While I am a fan of Arce's game, I feel he falls short everywhere against Valiev. Timur has almost no deficiencies in his game. Another Dagestan product who's trained with elite MMA fighters for years now (Jackson-Wink, Mark Henry, etc). He's much more Zabit than Khabib with a very well rounded game grappling, striking, etc. Simply put Timur is good to great everywhere. I think Arce will struggle with Valiev's superior speed, defense and overall diversity in his game. Valiev isn't invincible. He was stopped in his last UFC fight where he had Trevin Jones on deaths door outlanding him like 60-5 but got a little too aggressive and got caught on the chin in the process. Shit happens. Not very often you see a fighter get finished despite outlanding the opponent 66-26. The way in which he loss was out of character too, as he is generally a patient technician and outpoints his foes. His only loss prior to that was a split decision loss to Chris Gutierrez in 2016 who has been very impressive and is currently on a 4-fight streak in the UFC. Valiev avenged that loss with a unanimous decision win 5 months later. My expectation is Valiev easily outpoints his way to a unanimous decision.
 
Parlay (Jan Blachowicz +225 & Islam Makhachev -310) +330
Jan Blachowicz +225
(78" Reach) vs Israel Adesanya (80" reach)
Islam Makhachev -310 (70" Reach) vs Drew Dober (70" reach)

I'll start with Islam vs Drew. Islam is an incredible fighter. Long time close friend and exclusive training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov, his baseline of competition is against the best P4P fighter in the world. His style is very similar to that of Khabib but seems much more comfortable on the feet. However, he definitely prefers his fights on the mat. Averaging 3.4 takedowns a fight. He absorbs 0.76 significant strikes per minute (which is absolutely absurd), while dishing out 2.1. Islam boasts an 18-1 record and is 7-1 overall in the UFC. He got caught by Adriano Martins 1 minute into the fight in his only loss. None of his wins were close. Absolute domination. How good of a grappler is he? I am going to assume Khabib bests him but when guys like Deron Winn say he is the strongest wrestler he has ever faced. That is extremely high praise. Consider they both train out of AKA in California with the likes of Daniel Cormer, Luke Rockhold, Khabib, and Cain Velasquez (Winn is an outstanding takedown artist in his own right). In the right matchup, I love backing Dober but he's barking up the wrong tree in this one. Drew Dober can shut the lights off of any fighter in the division. A ferocious skilled striker with bigtime explosion and power. Unfortunately, he can also get taken down by just about anyone. Takedown defense is poor (58%) and he has been submitted in 4/6 of losses. He has not faced anyone in the same echelon of grappling as Islam either. I thought this line would be higher -350-400 range but the respect oddsmakers have given Islam with a -300+ price tag is 100% warranted to me. I expect Islam to smother him, disarm his fearsome strikes and render Dober helpless. Why the parlay? Despite how I feel, I hate laying this much in the fight game. Especially against a guy with a legit punchers chance if he gets lucky and lands clean. I laid it with Ribas because women don't hit hard. The likelihood of a sudden KO is far more unlikely because they lack raw power. My prediction is Islam wins however he chooses to. Sub/TKO/decision.

Really don't need to say much about Izzy. A rising star in the UFC that casual MMA fans are very familiar with, his striking represents the future of the sport. His takedown defense continually improves and somehow his striking seems to get better as well. I backed Costa vs Adesanya in his last bout. Probably about as poor of a pick possible. My expectation was Costa could eat strikes, close distance, and unleash on Izzy. Instead Izzy hit him from distance, baited him to close, and counterstriked the piss out of him. Hindsight is 20/20 and what's become crystal clear to me is charging in on a guy of Adesanyas caliber is a recipe for disaster. Robert Whittaker suffered the same fate when his blitzing style was thwarted with ease. With all this being said how do you beat this guy? I look to the Romero vs Adesanya fight for an answer. I personally leaned in Romeros favor after the fight (felt he landed the more impactful shots) but had no problem awarding the win to Izzy. Both did very little to swing the decision in either direction. Romero understood what I didn't prior to the Costa fight. Coming at Izzy was an exercise in futility. Instead Romero, stood on the outside and tried to bait Adesanya to him. The fight lacked action as both fighters patiently waited for the other to present an opening and attempted to land big counters on each other (Strikes were 48 to 40 through 5 rounds in Izzys favor). The fight was labeled as a snooze fest but to date this was the most effective strategy against Adesanya. Looking at other fights, particularly Woodley vs Wonderboy, Tyron employed a similar strategy against an equally gifted striker in Wonderboy Thompson. Very low activity and this battle consisted mostly of waiting for the other to present an opportunity to land big counters. Long story short, trying to conventionally go strike for strike with top of the food chain strikers yields very poor results and this is how lesser strikers have adjusted to even the playing field. I liken it to ball control in the early 2000's vs Peyton and the Colts.

My guess is Blachowicz will employ a similar strategy. He already fights at a low pace and has a gift of making higher pace strikers fight at the pace he wants to fight.(Reyes, Krylov, Manuwa, Canonnier). However, Thiago Santos bested him in these minimal exchanges and eventually scored a TKO in the final round. In Jan's last 9 fights (where he is 8-1) only two fighters have exceeded 26 significant strikes landed on him. The others were 37 (Manuwa) and 52 (Santos). I think Adesanya will be too slippery for Jan to take him down, but if the fight somehow reaches the mat, best believe Jan will have a mighty advantage. He is a gifted grappler with very heavy top control and submissions.

How does he differ from Romero? For one Blachowicz is a much more technically sound boxer. Prior to his KO victory of Dominic Reyes, Reyes' camp commented numerous times pre-fight about how they worried about his tight boxing. Jan had an answer for everything Reyes threw at him and eventually finished him with punches in the 2nd. Secondly, his power is far greater than what Romero brings to the table with his fists and feet. I don't think people realize how big of a size/power differential this fight will be. Izzy is a light 185'er. Consistently coming in at or below championship weight (Last 4 contests weighed in at 184, 184, 185, 183). Whereas Blachowicz is considered large (cuts alot of weight) and a huge power puncher in a weight class 20lbs heavier. After rehydrating, these two could be 40-50lbs different in weight when they enter the octagon. In a low pace fight where I expect strikes thrown and landed to come at a premium, you'd have to think the guy packing significantly more power can have an advantage. And with a guy with Jan's power it really only takes 1 to land flush. This is true for much bigger opponents than Izzy as well. Do I think the wrong guy is favored here? No. I think Izzy hasn't given us any indication that he is the lesser fighter, but I think Jan has a better shot than the odds seem to indicate. And with Islam in the parlay to sweeten the pot, +330 seems appetizing. I'm biting and will be rooting for Goliath to upset David.
 
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[9-6] +3.04

Splendid 6-2 night. Ribas getting caught hurt both my pockets and ego haha. Was pretty adamant a KO wouldn't happen. And of course, killshot. Poiriers game plan was a thing of beauty.

GRADED:

1/16/21
3*Dusko Todorovic -140 L Closing Line: -175
1*Max Holloway -180 W Closing Line: -160
1*Max Holloway -155 W

1/20/21
1*Mike Davis -180 W Closing Line: -165
1*Tom Breese -122 L Closing Line: -155
1*Tyson Nam -130 L Closing Line: -125
1*Michael Chiesa by Submission +250 L Closing Line: +250

1/23/21
3*Makhmud Muradov +103 W Closing Line: -220
2*Amir Albazi +120 W Closing Line: -120
1*Amir Albazi +105 W
2*Julianna Pena +110 W Closing Line: +100
1*Amanda Ribas -253 L Closing Line: -345
0.5*Amanda Ribas by Submission +275 L Closing Line: +165
1*Under 2.5 Michael Chandler/Dan Hooker -110 W Closing Line: -110
1*Under 2.5 McGregor/Poirier -116 W Closing Line: -190
Hit Chandler KO +350 for 0.25* but only posted it in BB thread. Wont count it

PENDING:

2/6/21
3*Diego Ferreira -110
2*Seung Woo Choi +101
2*Alexander Volkov -160
2*Alex da Silva -115
1*Danilo Marques +205
1*Alexandre Pantoja -125
1*Timur Valiev -150

2/13/21
1*Gabe Green +103
1*Maycee Barber +159
1*Kelvin Gastelum -219
1*Gillian Robertson +153
1*Anthony Hernandez +300

2/20/21
2*Jamall Emmers -155
1*Jai Herbert +130

3/6/21
2*Thiago Santos +232
2*Kyler Phillips +169
1*Parlay (Jan Blachowicz +225 & Islam Makhachev -310) +330

3/20/21
2*Derek Brunson +145
 
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[9-6] +3.04

Splendid 6-2 night. Ribas getting caught hurt both my pockets and ego haha. Was pretty adamant a KO wouldn't happen. And of course, killshot. Poiriers game plan was a thing of beauty.

GRADED:

1/16/21
3*Dusko Todorovic -140 L Closing Line: -175
1*Max Holloway -180 W Closing Line: -160
1*Max Holloway -155 W

1/20/21
1*Mike Davis -180 W Closing Line: -165
1*Tom Breese -122 L Closing Line: -155
1*Tyson Nam -130 L Closing Line: -125
1*Michael Chiesa by Submission +250 L Closing Line: +250

1/23/21
3*Makhmud Muradov +103 W Closing Line: -220
2*Amir Albazi +120 W Closing Line: -120
1*Amir Albazi +105 W
2*Julianna Pena +110 W Closing Line: +100
1*Amanda Ribas -253 L Closing Line: -345
0.5*Amanda Ribas by Submission +275 L Closing Line: +165
1*Under 2.5 Michael Chandler/Dan Hooker -110 W Closing Line: -110
1*Under 2.5 McGregor/Poirier -116 W Closing Line: -190
Hit Chandler +350 for 0.25* but only posted it in BB thread. Wont count it

PENDING:

2/6/21
3*Diego Ferreira -110
2*Seung Woo Choi +101
2*Alexander Volkov -160
2*Alex da Silva -115
1*Danilo Marques +205
1*Alexandre Pantoja -125
1*Timur Valiev -150

2/13/21
1*Gabe Green +103
1*Maycee Barber +159
1*Kelvin Gastelum -219
1*Gillian Robertson +153
1*Anthony Hernandez +300

2/20/21
2*Jamall Emmers -155
1*Jai Herbert +130

3/6/21
2*Thiago Santos +232
2*Kyler Phillips +169
1*Parlay (Jan Blachowicz +225 & Islam Makhachev -310) +330

3/20/21
2*Derek Brunson +145
i saw hooker was -153 an hr before fight, you sure it closed -110?
 
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