UFN 106: Belfort vs Gastelum- “Battered and Beaten in Brazil”

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The first trip for the UFC outside of American borders in 2017 was a very entertaining one. Kelvin Gastelum continued his winning ways while fighting at Middleweight, making quick work of Vitor Belfort. Shogun Rua scored another impressive victory. While both Edson Barboza and Ray Borg furthered their pursuit of UFC title shots. Let’s take a look at who the winners from Saturday night should fight next.

Kelvin Gastelum vs Luke Rockhold

Does the Anderson Silva fight make sense? Not really, but Kelvin asked for it. He retired Kennedy, put Vitor on the cusp and now wants another legend. I’d like to go another route against arguably the only option that is not booked and wouldn’t be a step down from where Gastelum currently sits. Rockhold, a former champion, needs a fight to get back on track. If he beats Kelvin, he is in the mix. If Gastelum gets his hand raised, he vaults to the top of the division with the likes of Romero and the winners from the Jacare/Whittaker and Mousasi/Weidman fights.

Shogun Rua vs Winner of Anderson/Manuwa

Anderson and Manuwa fight a week later, so the timeframe works. Shogun fought Anderson to a close decision win. Many felt Anderson won that fight, but was hurt because they fought in Brazil. He looked like a different fighter last time out and if he gets by Manuwa, a rematch with Shogun would be a good next step. If Manuwa wins, this is a fight that was already suppose to have gone down before Jimi pulled out and OSP knocked Rua out cold. If Manuwa is going to make a run beating Anderson and then Shogun puts him on the cusp. If Shogun beats either of these men, that is a 4-fight winning streak a potential shot at a title-eliminator.

Edson Barboza vs Nate Diaz

Most of the top ranked fighters in the division are currently occupied with each other or Barboza has already faced them. He is looking for a rematch with Ferguson, but I’m assuming Ferg either faces Nurmagomedov next or fights for the title. Diaz has previously stated he would only come back for the trilogy fight or at the least for “Big Fights”. A win over Barboza could get him a shot at the champ, so that would make this a “Big Fight” in my books.

Ray Borg vs Demetrious Johnson

Unless something drastic happens, DJ will retain his title against Reis. I think Borg gets the next shot. Formiga has beaten everyone but former title challengers, which puts Borg in some elite company. Under normal circumstances, Borg should probably fight once or twice more before a title shot to refine a few things. Unfortunately, Ray could risk his spot in the division and the UFC needs new title challengers. He fights for the title before the end of 2017.

Bethe Correia vs Marion Reneau

Why not? Both girls had their moments and the fight was pretty enjoyable. Let’s get a winner.

Alex Oliveira vs Vicente Luque

The first fight’s ending wasn’t a good one for Oliveira. He quickly erased that here. Means failed to gain any momentum and then the fight was over. I’m not ready to give Oliveira a top-ranked opponent, but he is close. Luque fights next weekend and if he picks up another win let’s pair the Brazilians together and see who comes out of it.

Kevin Lee vs Michael Johnson

It didn’t start to off too well for Lee, but he persevered and picked up arguably the biggest win of his UFC career. Trinaldo had been steamrolling the opposition, but now Lee scoops up his momentum and is finally going to get the recognition he has long deserved. Johnson is coming off a loss, but he represents the next step up in competition that will push Lee to see what he has to offer. Kevin isn’t in a spot to get the Nurmagomedov fight, but a win over Johnson would make a lot of noise.

Joe Soto vs Iuri Alcantara

Soto was in an odd spot, starting with a title shot and then having to rebuild. He is finally getting his feet under him. With three wins in a row and a victory over a ranked fighter, I expected Soto to take Yahya’s spot in the Top 15. Alcantara is coming off a big win and ranked at the edge of the top 15. A fight between these two would provide some solid exchanges both on the feet and the mat. Book it.

Michel Prazeres vs Rustam Khabilov or Paul Felder

A big win for Prazeres both in quality of opposition and outcome. Prazeres had gone the distance in all of his UFC fights, so picking up stoppage of a vet like Burkman is huge. Is he ready for a ranked opponent? Not quite yet. There are several fighters floating around in the unofficial 16-20 rankings. I would pair “Tractor” with either Khabilov or Felder. Both guys have been ranked and both are closing in on the Top 15 again. I’m fine with either pairing. The winner of this fight would get a shot at a fight ranked in the 11-15 range.

Final Thoughts

Can Kelvin make a run against the elite at 185? The physical disparity could be too much, but if he opts to stay at 185 well will find out for sure. I partially salvaged my night with 3 straights win to finish the card, but the Reneau draw hurt and the losses by Means, Formiga, and Yahya were too much to overcome. It wasn’t the outcome we were looking for, but we get another shot in London next weekend. Let’s get after it!

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Depending on your betting style, you can select the Big Bank Roll Parlays which employs a betting strategy focussed on straight and 2-leg parlays that limit the risk and offer a decent return based on your financial commitment. If you are willing to take a little more risk and aren’t interested in putting as much cash in play, but still want a shot at a big return- then the Big Risk/ Big Reward Parlays are for you. Playing both of these strategies together is not recommended.

 

 

 

Draftkings Line up

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Fighter 1: Mauricio Rua $8500 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 2: Edson Barboza $8700 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: Marion Reneau $8200 
Fighter 4: Francisco Trinaldo $7900 
Fighter 5: Rony Jason $8100 
Fighter 6: Rani Yahya $8600 
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Salary Remaining:
 
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Subs
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Fighter 1: Jussier Formiga $8400 
Fighter 2: Paulo Henrique Costa $9100 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: 
Fighter 4: 
 
 
 

 

Kelvin Gastelum -359 vs Vitor Belfort +353 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Belfort’s window for victory both in his career and in this fight are limited. He needs to get it quick or its not going to happen. If he catch Gastelum clean he could take him out, but if not, Kelvin is tailormade to defeat. Gastelum’s cardio and pressure will simply overwhelm Belfort and lead to a stoppage, most likely from top position. While Kelvin doesn’t pay that well, I’ve got him in my Gold parlay alongside a coulple of other strong picks.

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There are several heavy fantasy favourites and Gastelum is one of them. I’ve got to pass here or risk crippling my lineup.

Gian Villante +124 vs Mauricio Rua -135 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Don’t look now, but Shogun has won back to back fights and could be on the verge of a 3-fight winning streak. Shogun still has power and knows how to deploy it. The key to defeating him has been superior cardio and durability. Villante has neither. His chin is a major question mark and while he can look really good at times, it doesn’t take long for his poor cardio to start breaking down his technique. Shogun will find a home for his right hand on the questionable chin of Gian for the finish. Silver Play.

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With so many heavy favs we need to uncover some lower priced fighters with finishing potential. Rua is just that. He will find his mark, potentially as early as the opening round and he leaves us a little more money in the bank to spend elsewhere.

Beneil Dariush +158 vs Edson Barboza -140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

A lot of people are on Dariush and I was almost one of them. Ultimately, he has fallen to in love with his striking to win this fight. He has drastically improved, but very few people can beat Barboza on the feet. The list is short and Beneil is not on it. That being said, he could catch Edson’s so-so chin and finish him- but I don’t want to back that scenario. Edson chews him up on the feet with kicks, takes away his base, and really pulls away late. I don’t like the way Dariush will take a strike and then look to return. If he does that too much against Barboza, he will be in trouble. Silver Play.

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I’ve got Edson in my lineup. His striking volume is solid and a finish is a real possibility if he can land those kicks with regularity. Dariush has been knocked out before and rocked in more recent bouts. It came down to him or Formiga and I like the knockout potential that Edson offers.

Jussier Formiga +105 vs Ray Borg -106 

This should be a great fight on the mat and getting Formiga at plus money is fantastic. Borg is really good on the floor, but Formiga is on another level. The manner in which he sets traps and forces his opponents to scramble into them will work great against an active fighter like Borg. Even if the exchanges on the mat are tight, the Brazilian judges should favour Formiga. The key to beating him has been counter-wrestling, avoid going to the mat- Borg will not do that. Love this play, Gold baby!

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As I mentioned, I had it down to Jussier or Barboza. Jussier might be able to catch Borg from back mount, but I doubt it. The takedowns and transitions will score. I will post him as a sub.

Bethe Correia +105 vs Marion Reneau -109 

This fight could break some hearts on the scorecards. With this bout in Brazil, I almost had the mind to pick Correia based solely on that. Reneau is the longer striker and will keep Correia out of range. Her volume is decent and she should be the more impactful striker. In close, knees and elbows are key for the American. If they hit the mat, she has to remain active. Reneau’s age is up there, but she doesn’t have the MMA mileage. She needs to keep busy to avoid giving the judge’s an opening to take the fight from here. Silver play.

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Reneau has shown she can finish and Correia has been knocked out once. Her volume is decent and I wouldn’t be shock to see a takedown or 2. She isn’t the ideal DK pick, but with so many big favs we need to find deals somewhere. Compared to the other options in this price bracket, she is the play to make.

Alex Oliveira +175 vs Tim Means -181 

Means was a dog in their first meeting, which has several people taking the volume on Oliveira. I took Means in the first fight and it was playing out pretty close to what I had expected prior to the illegal knee. Oliveira changed his approach in their first meeting and will again for this fight- I don’t like when a fighter has to move away from what made them good. Means gets the better of the action. I hope the line moves a bit if some dog money comes in on “Cowboy”. Gold Play for Means.

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At $9000, Means is just too expensive. A finish is a legit outcome, but I can’t afford to play him without compromising the rest of my lineup.

Francisco Trinaldo +165 vs Kevin Lee -149 

This should be a really good fight between a fighter that just cracked the top 15 and one that is on the cusp. Trinaldo is getting up there, but he is improving significantly. If Lee can take him down early and often he wins the round and wears him out. That leads to either a finish or wide decision win. I see Trinaldo’s aggressive power striking give Lee fits. Escudero cracked him several times and Santos, a grappler, knocked him out. Trinaldo will punish him with knees on the inside and back him off when he does close the gap. I like Trinaldo getting the nod in a close scrap or possibly grabbing the finish. Silver Play, possibly Bronze.

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Trinaldo is the only underdog on my Fantasy team. At $7900, he is barely a dog. I think he has a legit chance of finishing and if not he has put up some decent volume numbers of late.

Davi Ramos +215 vs Sergio Moraes -223 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I am going to pass here. Lots of unknowns and Moraes could be required to win this fight on the strength of his striking. I might consider a counter bet on Ramos.

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No play here. Unless Moraes picks up a knockout, there won’t be a finish here.

Josh Burkman +225 vs Michel Prazeres -245 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This is a No Play as well. I was close to pulling the trigger on Burkman. He has been simply too underwhelming/ inconsistent at times. That being said, I will consider a counter bet on him based on volume. Burkman’s length and cardio are his keys to victory.

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I will pass here as well.

Joe Soto +165 vs Rani Yahya -172 

Yahya is a difficult fighter to beat on the mat, not impossible, but certainly difficult. Soto has a decent ground game of his own, but I think Yahya is going to do enough to earn a decision. Soto has had issues grinding out decisions and in Brazil that will be even more difficult. Look for Yahya to capitalize on Joe’s willingness to take the fight to the mat and earn a decision. I like Yahya in my Gold section.

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Yahya has a couple of recent finishes, but his points will be the product of takedowns and transitions. Simple as that. Add him to your lineup and if you get a sub out of him it is an added bonus.

Jeremy Kennedy -105 vs Rony Jason +100 

There is a lot of pressure on Jason here. His recent slump could result in a pink slip with another loss. Kennedy is taking a step up in competition here after a good debut. His style of clinch fighting will put him in the danger zone against Jason. Rony will give up the TD to attack with his guard and he is fine with that. He has a limited window to get the job done, but against a less experienced fighter like Kennedy in Brazil- I think he catches him. Bronze Play.

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Jason’s record in first round finishes is fantastic. At $8100, that is what we are looking for. If he is going to win this fight it will be early and it will be for 100+ points.

 

Garreth McLellan +257 vs Paulo Henrique Costa -250 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I’m not going to touch a debuting fighter with no pro experience beyond the opening round at this price. I will take a look at a prop bet though.

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I wanted to add Costa but he is too darn expensive. If you can work him in, he is worth a look because of his lack of name value and finishing potential.

 

1. Kelvin Gastelum -359 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Tim Means -181 

3. Rani Yahya -172 

4. Jussier Formiga +105 

5. Mauricio Rua -135 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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6. Paulo Henrique Costa -250 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

7. Edson Barboza -140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

8. Marion Reneau -109 

9. Francisco Trinaldo +165 

10. Rony Jason +100 

11. Sergio Moraes -223 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

12. Michel Prazeres -245 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Jussier Formiga +105 

2. Francisco Trinaldo +165 

3. Rony Jason +100 

4. Marion Reneau -109 

5. Mauricio Rua -135 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Davi Ramos +215:  Looking past the divisional change and short notice, I don’t think Sergio should be this big a favourite based on his striking. Ramos is worth a look.

2. Josh Burkman +225:  Burkman is a tough out and presents a couple of key aspects needed to win this fight- length and decent cardio. He could pull it out.

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bETTING SCENARIOS

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Prop Bets

Kelvin Gastelum to Win by TKO/KO/DQ -140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Belfort is not going to last 5-rounds with his gas tank and the pace that Gastelum sets. Kelvin wore out Kennedy and will have a similar approach against Belfort. The only concern here is that Belfort catches him for the knockout or Kelvin locks in an RNC from back mount instead of pounding him out. I will take that risk.

Mauricio Rua to Win by TKO/KO/DQ +180 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Villante’s cardio and chin make him susceptible to getting knocked out. The aggressive atmosphere in Brazil won’t help either. Look for Shogun to crack him with that brutal right hand during a flurry somewhere before the midway mark of the fight. Nice bang for your buck.

Jussier Formiga to Win by Decision +185 

Formiga is a beast on the mat, but he has just a single submission win over his last 8 fights covering his entire UFC career. If he can’t get the sub, the knockout is most likely not going to materialize despite the improved striking. Borg is very talented on the mat and should be good enough defensively to avoid getting finished- similar to Ortiz and Makovsky. Formiga on the cards works for me.

Marion Reneau to Win by Decision+204 

Winning by decision in Brazil as an outsider isn’t easy. Reneau will need to put on a show, but her skill set should give her that opportunity. Reneau can finish, but Correia is a tough out so I expect to see this fight hitting the cards. Be sitting for the decision just in case we get screwed, but I like the value here.

Alex Oliveira/Tim Means 

See Betting Scenario Section.

Francisco Trinaldo/Kevin Lee 

See Betting Scenario Section.

Davi Ramos/Sergio Moraes Total Rounds Over 2.5 -160 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This fight is being touted as potentially the best collection of grappling talented to ever face off in the UFC. Unless someone really screws up or exhausts themself, a submission finish is unlikely. This bout my spend limited time on the floor if respect each other’s grappling skills enough to avoid testing them. While Moraes has a recent knockout win, it’s not his forte. I expect this bout to go the distance and don’t want to risk cash on the winner- take the over.

Michel Prazeres to Win by Decision +110 

Why break from the norm here. Prazeres has gone the distance in 8 straight fights, including all of his UFC wins. His last finish came in 2012. While Burkman has been submitted a lot, he isn’t an easy guy to get on the mat. This is the type of fight where Prazeres will most likely get off to a strong start, fade a bit, and get some help from the judges. Let’s ride with another method of victory prop.

Rani Yahya to Win by Decision +120 

Similar to the Formiga/Borg fight, I like the Brazilian as the superior grappler to beat but not finish an opponent who is equally as capable on the mat. Yahya does have a couple of recent submission wins, but he will most likely be focussed on controlling position against an opponent that will be looking to reverse and get on top. I like Rani to win a pair of rounds and hold on in the 3rd for a decision victory.

Jeremy Kennedy/Rony Jason 

See Betting Scenario Section.

Garreth McLellan/Paulo Henrique Costa 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

See Betting Scenario Section.

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