UFC on FOX 20: Holm vs Shevchenko- ‘With a Bullet!’

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The Windy City played host to another UFC on FOX event and we saw another main event upset. Valentina Shevchenko put a torch to the divisional rankings with a win over the former champion Holly Holm. With the likes of Tate, Zingano, Rousey, and now Holm all coming off major setbacks the division is in a period of transition. Edson Barboza also picked up another big win and a massive Heavyweight continued his impressive run. I went 9-2 overall with the Bet Pack returning a small amount, just missing out on a pair of sizeable parlays by 1 leg each. Unfortunately, I missed some of the early fights due to a prior commitment, but let’s take a look at some of the fights to make coming out of Chicago.

Prelims
  • Darren Elkins picked up another grinding victory over a dangerous opponent. Cub Swanson would be an excellent next opponent for Elkins. Pairing together fighters that probably won’t get a shot at the title, but are still solid Top 15 competitors.
  • With his relevancy in the division on the line, the former WEC champ pulled off a massive win in a fight that he probably was behind in on the scorecards. Eddie Wineland can hopefully stay a little more active and healthy. Even though he is coming off a loss, Raphael Assuncao would be a good next fight for Wineland in a division that is pretty booked up.
Main Card
  • What a massive win for Felice Herrig at home after taking some time away from the game. She slipped out of the Top 15, but this victory will put her right back on the map. I would love to see Herrig rematch Randa Markos from their fight on TUF. There was a lot of legit beef on the show and it shouldn’t take much to fire it back up again.
  • We have a legit prospect on the rise in the Heavyweight division. Francis Ngannou is 3-0 in the UFC with 3 finishes. He is a patient and smart fighter with fantastic gifts. He is due for a nice step up in competition, but no need to rush him. A fight with the winner of UFC 201’s Anthony Hamilton versus Damian Grabowski would give him the step up, but certainly not too much too soon.
  • After struggling through a couple of high profile fights, Edson Barboza has picked up a pair of huge victories that thrust him right back into the title conversation. Unfortunately for him, his teammate is the champ and he already said that he won’t fight him. If that is the case, no need to risk another contender that could be a win away from a shot at the gold. Will Brooks is coming off a win and is the former Bellator champion. He isn’t in line for a shot yet, but would certainly gain big traction with a win over Barboza. If Edson picks up a win, it doesn’t do anything significant to the current list of contenders. Make it happen.
  • Gilbert Melendez could have been dealing with some ring, but he had his moments- just not enough of them. Former Strikeforce fighter Bobby Green would be a solid next opponent.
  • After the opening round, for everything her opponent had to offer- Valentina Shevchenko had an answer. Valentina punished Holm each time the former champion committed on her strikes. Outside of the opening round knockdown, Shevchenko was far more accurate and more impactful. Her counter striking was on point. I’m not in a rush to see her fight Nunes just yet, that last bout seems too recent. Let’s do Valentina versus Julianna Pena for a shot at the title.
  • She started strong, but Holy Holm got figured out and had no answer. This loss was very similar to Rory MacDonald’s defeat against Stephen Thompson. She was losing the fight, she seemed aware that she was behind, but she really couldn’t do much about it. It’s a tough loss for the former champion. The post-title fight letdown is real. There are some interesting, but very dangerous fights out there for Holly. Cat Zingano or Sara McMann are both veteran fighters in a similar situation. I’d watch either fight, Cat probably makes more sense at this point.
Final Thoughts

The main event was an excellent fight, but I would have liked to have seen Holly attempt some kind of adjustment after round 3 when it became clear that what she was doing wasn’t working. At the same time, what else does she have in her bag of tricks? I like that the Women’s Bantamweight division is in a state of flux right now with a lot of movement, it keeps things interesting. It seemed like it was only yesterday that we were looking around for legit contenders for a dominant champion to chew up and spit out. I went 9-2 overall with a 4-pack of big upset wins. I really felt the extra time watching fight footage I was able to get in helped me to set up my picks. The bet pack had a tonne of solid info including a winning Silver parlay and couple near misses. The Draftking’s lineups were also pretty decent. Check out everything below. We’ve got a decent looking UFC 201 card left in July before moving into August and the push for the end of 2016. No time to waste!

Parlay Header

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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Holly Holm -200 
Selection 2: Darren Elkins -181 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 3: Felice Herrig +100 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Kamaru Usman -227 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: +571 Bet: 9 units
Payout: 51.38 units
 
 
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Parlay #1 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Selection 1: Edson Barboza -200 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Eddie Wineland +143 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 3: Michel Prazeres -217 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: +432  x Bet: 8 units
Payout: 34.6 units
 
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: James Moontasri +191 
Selection 2: Luis Henrique +140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 3: Jason Knight +180 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Michel Prazeres to Win by Decision +140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: +4593  x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 275.59 units
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: Edson Barboza to Win by Decision +128 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Holly Holm to Win by Decision +127 
Selection 3: Michel Prazeres to Win by Decision +140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Eddie Wineland to Win by Decision +385 
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Price: +5924  x Bet: 6 units 
Payout: 355.46 units
 
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Parlay #2
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Selection 1: Darren Elkins/Godofredo Pepey Total Rounds Under 2.5 +137 
Selection 2: James Moontasri +191 
Selection 3: Francis Ngannou/Bojan Mihajlovic Total Rounds Under 1.5 -167 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Felice Herrig +100 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: +2105  x Bet: 5 units 
Payout: 105.26 units

 

Draftkings Line up

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Kamikaze
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Fighter 1: Francis Ngannou $11500 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 2: Felice Herrig $9600 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: Darren Elkins $10300 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 4:  James Moontasri $8700 
Fighter 5: Luis Henrique $9300 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Salary Remaining:
 
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Overdrive
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Fighter 1:  Edson Barboza $10400 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 2: Eddie Wineland $9400 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: Kamaru Usman $10800 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 4: Darren Elkins $10300 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 5: Jason Knight $8800 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Salary Remaining: 
 
 
 

 

Holly Holm -200 vs Valentina Shevchenko +225 

Holm comes into this bout off of a very tough loss. She was well under a round away from retaining her title in her first defense before disaster hit. That makes this her rebound fight, which can be equally as tough. Usually a title challenger  who falls short in their shot at gold is in a worse spot in this scenario, because they got to the top of the mountain and couldn’t hang. That makes getting up for the next fight difficult. Holm isn’t in that situation. She took out the unbeatable champ and then made a mistake. Now that Nunes is the champ, Holm could be a win, 2 at the most, away from getting a shot at the title. Shevchenko was impressive in her debut, but did very little in her follow up fight against Nunes. She is a good striker, but I don’t see her style matching up well with Holly. Holm is going to sit out of Shev’s range and pick her apart while Valentina tries to counter. Once Valentina starts to get desperate, she will open herself up to Holm’s striking on a greater level. I like Holly here and had her closer to -250, Gold parlay.

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No Play here. Holly is extremely expensive and while she could get the finish, her volume won’t make her worth the big expenditure.

Edson Barboza -200 vs Gilbert Melendez +191 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This line was a little bit of a letdown. I did not expect to see Barboza as nearly as big of a favourite as he is. I had him lined up in my Gold parlay, but I dumped him back a level to the Silver section based on value. Melendez has been out for a while, but he is still capable of cracking Edson and testing that chin. I see Barboza having all the tools to take this fight fairly handily and possibly even stop Gilbert, but the former Strikeforce champion is a live dog. Silver Play.

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I have Barboza on Team Overdrive. At $10400, he is affordable and will score. Edson has 10 career finishes, and while Melendez is tough to put away, if Edson lands upstairs with a leg kick or digs one into his midsection- Gil will go down. Barboza is coming off a 73 strike performance and Melendez’s defense and heavy lead leg will open the door for another high scoring night.

Francis Ngannou -600 vs Bojan Mihajlovic +530 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

With lots of dogs on this card, there is nothing worth playing here. While I fully expect to see the big Frenchman walk away with the win, at HW anything can happen and the return is so minimal here.

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I am hammering on some underdogs in my Fantasy lineup, so there is money available for a big expenditure. Francis is just that. He has never gone to decision, finishing all 7 of his opponents. He is an active striker and has the ability to both put his opponent away with one punch or pile up some damage before the final blow comes crushing down. At $11500, a lot of players will stay away for fear of compromising their bankroll. That creates the perfect storm; finishing skills and unique points. Team Kamikaze.

Felice Herrig +100 vs Kailin Curran -106 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I love this line. Herrig is coming off a long break, which is my only major concern. Ok, she also posted a picture of the effects of the weight cut and she does look drained. I’m not going to change my opinion on this fight just because of that, although Hendricks did look like garbage against Gastelum after his difficult weight cut. All that aside, what has Curran done? She had moderate success against PVZ early before gassing out. She was winning the fight with Chambers and got over confident and subbed. She was getting outworked by Kagan, before Kagan tired out and Kailin tapped her. Curran has a lot of trouble in scrambles and tends to leave herself open to subs. She also likes to work a lot in the clinch, an area that Herrig is very strong in. I see Felice outworking her and taking over as Curran slows down. I’m sticking with my first play, Felice is in my Gold Parlay.

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Herrig will join Team Kamikaze as one of the dogs that allows us to afford Ngannou. Herrig can finish and will look for subs once they hit the mat. Curran got subbed by Chambers and stopped by Herrig, both on the mat. Against Chambers, she made a pretty sizeable mistake that set up the submission loss. Herrig will be drastically overlooked, but she has faced better competition and has a sizeable experience advantage. I like her to get the better of the action on the mat, land more strikes, and possibly get the finish with either a submission or ground and pound stoppage.

Eddie Wineland +143 vs Frankie Saenz -157 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Well I did a 180 on this fight. For the first time in a while I was able to sit down and watch/rewatch a tonne of footage per fighter. I picked out various scenarios that seemed to benefit the dog here. I’m not saying Saenz can’t win, he certainly can. Wineland’s success is 3-pronged. Defend takedowns, bait his opponent to attack, hit them back harder/ more frequently. He only did 2 of those against Caraway and lost, if he only does 2 against Saenz he will lose again. Wineland will feast on Frankie’s straight forward bullrush style of attack. Caraway was unpredictable at times and never really opened up. Saenz lets his fist fly and leaves all sorts of opening for Wineland to counter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a knockdown or knockout here. If Saenz can’t land takedowns, his offense will be compromised and even if he is a little busier than Eddie, I like Eddie’s power to make up the difference. Caraway is streaking right now and by losing to him Eddie has been unnecessarily devalued. Wineland in the Silver section.

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I also like Eddie as part of Team Overdrive. At $9400 he is cheap and has nasty power for a 135er. Saenz gets hit a lot due to his aggressive style and a knockout for Wineland certainly isn’t out of the question here. Wineland presents unique points simply because he has lost 3 of his last 4 fights and is coming off a layoff. I see that layoff as more time for his jaw to recover and the fighter to regain confidence in his durability. Sign him up!

Alexander Yakovlev +212 vs Kamaru Usman -227 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Yakovlev is coming off of a big knockout win, but it was his first in a number of fights. Usman has the perfect style to shut the big Russian down. Usman is a heavy grappler, that knows how to break opponents down and isn’t afraid to deviate from his plan to get the fight where he wants it. Once on top, he overwhelms his opponent with a nice mix of positional control and strikes. Yak has had issues with fighters that have jammed him up in the clinch and even if they can’t take him down, he struggles to get out of the position. When he does manage to separate, his volume isn’t great. That means he’ll have to knockout Usman, which isn’t impossible, but it isn’t likely either. Usman gets the call as the 4th leg of my Gold parlay.

Draft-Kings-Logo

Kamaru won’t be a flashy pick here due to his high price and the general perception that he is a lay and prayer, but even if he can’t stop Yak the takedowns and top position strikes will mount and will score. 8.44 takedowns per fight, aka 6 completions in each of his 2 UFC fights is big. He isn’t afraid to advance his position and if he can’t breakdown Yak quick enough a submission or TKO victory could be in the card. Usman isn’t a big name, yet, but he will produce points nonetheless. Team Overdrive.

Darren Elkins -181 vs Godofredo Pepey +165 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I’m not a huge Pepey fan, but I gave him a good long look in this fight. There is a pretty obvious scenario where he wins. He has to either clip Elkins on the feet and sub him or grab a limb/ neck during an early ground exchange and get the tap. I know that isn’t earth shattering to anyone, in fact it is pretty straight forward. If Darren survives that early attack, he is going to grind up Pepey and spit him out. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Elkins avoid close quarters early and look to land some early strikes to take of the jump out of Godofredo’s legs. Once he starts to slow down, Elkins will work him over with takedowns and a steady diet of clinch and top position strikes. We have seen Pepey stopped twice from top position and while Elkins doesn’t rain down big heat, death by accumulation is a possibility. I’ve got Elkins in my Gold play, but I might be looking at a Counter Bet in the form of a prop for this fight.

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Going all in here. Elkins is on both of my teams, while Darren Elkins will be passed over by 90% of the playing public for their teams. 8 of his last 9 wins have come by decision, a stat that will scare a lot of players away. I played him hard against Skelly, and ‘the Damage’ scored nearly 100 points without the finish. He never stops attacking and his high paced strike/takedown combo produces. Additionally, if Pepey can’t handle that pace, he could easily succumb to the damage piled up. At $10300, we coud be looking at the biggest steal on the card.

Alex Oliveira -205 vs James Moontasri +191 

Another upset pick. While prepping for this fight, what I initially saw as a weakness for Moontasri turned into a strength upon further investigation. I initially viewed Moontasri’s willingness to fight with his back closer to the cage by staying on the outside as something that the clinch heavy attack of Oliveira will capitalize on. Now, I feel Moontasri’s defense built around the cage will help him to shut down Oliveira’s attack and help James to set up his counter game. Moontasri might be on the defensive early, but by making Oliveira work hard for his takedowns the Brazilian will slow down over rounds 2 and 3. This will open him up for the more technical attack of ‘Moonwalker’. He could also pull off some slick counter grappling and capitalize on a mistake from Oliveira to get in a better position and score points. I see this fight being close and having some swings on both side, but I like the dog here. A Bronze parlay play here for the Moon man.

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Moontasri has a solid striking repertoire that should be able to exploit the wild and aggressive approach of Oliveira. Additionally, he has submission skills that could exploit a fighter that has been tapped twice in the UFC and is known for making some defensive gaffes on the mat. On top of all of that, Moontasri is cheap. Very cheap. He is only going to cost you $8700 and has 78% finishing rate. He will score points and helps us to afford Ngannou on team Kamikaze.

JC Cottrell +205 vs Michel Prazeres -217 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Prazeres’s isn’t going to come out and land a massive wheel kick knockout or outpoint Cottrell by sticking and moving for a full 15-minutes. We know what he is going to do. Throw big bombs and look for openings for clinch entries and takedowns. Can his opponent stop him? Cottrell has pretty decent wrestling, but I haven’t seen anything defensively that suggests he will be able to stop Prazeres from taking him down- for at least 2 rounds. That is the general narrative here- Prazeres scores takedowns and then holds on in round 3. In fact, the offense of JC is the type of over-aggressive, move forward at all costs approach that Prazeres will level change the shit out of. If you know what I mean. Cottrell has just 2 weeks to prep and didn’t look all that great in the final round of his last fight, so he might not have the level of cardio need to make anything happen late. I initially was going to pass on Prazeres, but with Sullivan off the card I needed to fill a hole so he joins my Silver play.

Draft-Kings-Logo

We are looking at a decision here for the Brazilian and not the type of numbers that Elkins will put up- pass.

Jason Knight +180 vs Jim Alers -182 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Alers had a lot of hype surrounding him, but I haven’t been impressed. I picked against him when he fought Omer, and it was a close split decision where Alers almost got knocked out. I took Chas Skelly to beat him and I felt his loss was a direct result of a poor defensive strategy. He is very hittable and his chin is starting to become a concern. Knight isn’t an elite level striker, but his aggressive approach is going to give Alers trouble. If they hit the mat, Knight is incredibly active and will keep Jimmy on the defensive. While Alers taking the first round is likely, once he starts to slow down- holes will start to show up. Holes that Knight will be able to capitalize on. Knight’s rubber guard and subsequent submission attacks game Kawajiri all he could handle early. Tatsuya is about as strong a top player as there is in the division and Knight was coming in on short notice. If he can catch Alers in an early sub like he did against Tatsuya, I don’t see him getting out of it. Alers is too defensively vulnerable and his backup takedown plan will lead him right into the strength of his opponent. Knight will either hurt Alers during an exchange or catch him off his back once they hit the mat. Knight surprises many by finishing ‘The Beast’. If Knight can’t get the finish, fighting off his back makes it tough to win a decision- Bronze play.

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Knight has a great finishing rate, with 11 of his 13 wins coming inside the distance. Alers has been stopped twice both by knockout. If Knight hurts on the feet, he will look for a submission ASAP. Skelly wasn’t doing anything too technical when he stopped Alers, he kept spamming right hands until Jimmy went down. Knight is capable of doing that as well. Don’t fear the underdog and at $8800, he is an affordable dog with great finishing chops! Team Overdrive!

Dmitry Smolyakov -145 vs Luis Henrique +140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

We are opening with a HW bout and that can be a crap shoot. Smolyakov has been an absolute killer, but he has been doing it against low-level competition and all of his fights have come in the last 3 years. He has never been outside of the opening round and 4 of his fights have be done before the first 60 seconds were off the clock. That equates to a very shallow experience pool to draw from. How will he respond mentally to a fighter that doesn’t go away after just one barrage and physically how will he hold up if this bout hits round 2? Henrique has his debut under his belt, has fought more fighters, and has been doing it over a longer period of time. He won the opening round over Ngannou with his ground game and if he comes in with similar success, that could be enough to take the starch out of Dmitry’s attack. This fight reminds me a little of the LHW scrap between the other Luis Henrique and Jonathan Wilson. Wilson had smoked everyone he had faced with ease until that fight and faded, but faded and got stopped after he was unable to get the early stoppage. Henrique leaves his chin exposes which certainly could be his undoing against the heavy-handed Smolyakov, but a grappling heavy attack will take his power out of the equation Bronze play.

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Henrique rounds out my Kamikaze lineup. Heavyweights are finishers and he has stopping skills against a fighter that will be in trouble in a fight that lasts longer than 5-minutes. Henrique’s superior experience both in quality and quantity makes him an affordable option here.

 

 

1. Holly Holm -200 

2. Francis Ngannou -600 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Kamaru Usman -227 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. Michel Prazeres -217 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. Darren Elkins -181 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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6. Edson Barboza -200 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

7. Felice Herrig +100 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

8. Eddie Wineland +143 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

9. James Moontasri +191 

10. Luis Henrique +140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

11. Jason Knight +180 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Eddie Wineland +143 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. James Moontasri +191 

3. Felice Herrig +100 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. Luis Henrique +140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. Jason Knight +180 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Godofredo Pepey to Win by Submission +410:  Seriously? This is the first time I have posted a Prop in the Counter bet section. Pepey could score a knockout, but he will be given ample opportunity to grab a limb off his back. It is certainly worth a look.

2. Gilbert Melendez +191:  This is purely a value bet as I felt the line would be closer. Gil needs to push the pace, land strikes, and work his wrestling without let up.

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bETTING SCENARIOS

Exclusive Bet Pack Content.

 

Prop Bets

Holly Holm to Win by Decision +127 

While I wouldn’t be shocked to see Holm score a stoppage victory,  Shevchenko’s style of sitting back and attempting to counter against a longer striker isn’t going to pay dividends. Rousey’s aggression got her knocked out, Valentina is good enough defensively to avoid getting stopped, but not good enough to score enough points to take a decision. Holly rebounds with a win, in effective but not emphatic fashion.

Edson Barboza to Win by Decision +128 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Barboza is a capable finisher, but Melendez is one tough nut to crack. Gil is 27 fights into his pro career and has never been knocked out and he has just a single submission loss on his record. Edson has gone to decision in each of his last 3 wins and 4 of his last 5 victories overall. Look for Barboza to maintain a composed front to avoid getting drawn into a firefight. He may hurt Melendez, but at plus money the decision is the best bet.

Francis Ngannou/Bojan Mihajlovic Total Rounds Under 1.5 -167 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Ngannou is an absolute killer and he is taking on a fighter that is debuting from a lower level MMA scene and is probably more suited to fight at LHW. He has finished his foe in all 7 of his wins. He is a patient fighter and 4 of those stoppages came in round 2, but against an undersized opponent like Mihajlovic he should find a quicker finish. Making his 3rd trip to the Octagon, the Frenchman will be much more comfortable and willing to open earlier. Play the Under.

Felice Herrig Wins inside the Distance +290 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This fight should be a scrap from the word go. Curran is aggressive, but she puts herself in some tough spots. Both of her UFC losses came inside the distance, including getting subbed by an exhausted Chambers late in a fight that she was winning. She was also subbed in one of her final amateur bouts. Herrig doesn’t have huge finishing numbers, but she is aggressive on the mat and will look for the sub should the situation present itself. She loves to target arms and Curran will leave herself exposed looking to maximize her offense on the floor. There are also some questions about her cardio as she slowed down significantly against PVZ and looked a little tired against Chamers in a fight where she dictated the pace. Herriq for the finish.

Eddie Wineland/Frankie Saenz 

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Darren Elkins/Godofredo Pepey Total Rounds Under 2.5 +137  

This play keeps both Godofredo’s snappy finishing skills and his questionable ability to take damage in play. Pepey has finished 11 of his 12 victories, but he has also suffered a pair of knockout losses. Both of those defeats came on the mat via GNP after his foe fended off his submission attack. Elkins isn’t known for his stopping power, but he can dish out a tonne of damage over the course of a fight. Godofredo’s minimal experience outside of round 1 is concerning against such an effective grinder, if the Brazilian begins to fade Elkins won’t let up.

Michel Prazeres to Win by Decision +140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I can’t believe that this prop is still plus money. The oddsmakers must be banking on the short noitce preventing Michel’s opponent from going to the distance without getting exhausted. Prazeres has gone the distance 12 times in 21 career fights, including all 3 of his UFC wins. A lot of his submission wins came early in his career, with the Brazilian tapping out his foe in just 2 of his last 10 victories. I like this play a lot.

Jason Knight/Jim Alers 

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Dmitry Smolyakov/Luis Henrique 

See the Betting Scenario Section.

 

KAMIKAZE OVERDRIVE LOGO White