UFN 77: Belfort x Henderson 3- ‘Duck, Dan, Duck’

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UFC Fight Night 77 is in the books and the Brazilians went 7-5, Vitor Belfort scored another head kick knockout, and I ‘rebounded’ from a brutal start to finish 6-7 with a 5-1 run on the main card. It was ugly on my part, but the card was pretty entertaining. Let’s take a look…

Notes from the Prelims…

  • Matheus Nicolau was by far the more impactful striker and short of a 2nd round knock down, he controlled the action for the duration of the fight and submitted his opponent late in round 3 after a hard knock down.
  • Not an impossible feat, but certainly noteworthy- Jimmie Rivera took home a split decision victory over Pedro Munhoz. Rivera won the opening round by being the more impactful and active striker. Munhoz rallied and hurt him in round 2 and appear to be winning the fight before the decision was read.
  • In a largely uneventful bout, the returning Viscarde Andrade took a decision from Gasan Umalatov. Neither man look overly impressive and Gasan will most likely find himself unemployed after this defeat.
  • Both men had their moments, but it as Chas Skelly that got the last word with a crushing RNC to force the tap from Kevin Souza. The Brazilian nearly scored the opening round victory when he dropped Skelly, but he was unable to follow up and ultimately succumbed in the second.
  • In a battle of long-time UFC veterans, the fight couldn’t have played out better for Thiago Tavares as he locked up a fight ending guillotine in response to a quick shot from Clay Guida. Tavares is now 2-1 at FW and earns a big win against a ranked opponent in a manner that should propel him into the Featherweight top 15.
  • It was essentially all or nothing for Yan Cabral as he attempted time after time to drag Johnny Case to the mat. Cabral did have success throughout the fight and the argument could be made that he did enough to earn the decision. Case appeared to do more damage and that was the deciding factor when the judges’ made the final call.
  • The prelims could not end without some controversy as Gleison Tibau locked up an early RNC and before Abel Trujillo could tap or lose consciousness the official jumped in to stop halt the fight. Tibau was in a dominant position and could have finished had the action been allowed to play out, but instead he is robbed of a legit win.
  • With the Tibau “Win” I picked up my first correct prediction of the night and moved my record to a deplorable 1-6. Rough. On to the main card.

Main Card

Takedown, Rinse, Repeat

Corey Anderson’s fight plan was far from unexpected. He had a sizeable wrestling advantage and he used it to the utmost. He also demoed improving striking as he blasted Maldonado with some decent shots at range. After getting knocked out by Villante, Anderson is 2-0 and improving. As is often the case, the 1st loss for a young fighter can be a key turning point of their career. Next: Anderson vs Nikita Krylov. !

Striker 1 Grappler 0

The start of the fight was a little tense, but after Rashid Magomedov shrugged off the early attempts to take the fight to the mat it was all systems go. Magomedov fought a calculated and well paced fighter, doing damage but never over-extending himself. Burns appeared hurt on a couple of occasions, but his hope of drawing Rashid to the mat could have added to the impact of the strikes. Nonetheless, it was solid performance by the Russian and he will most likely earn him a shot at a top 15 ranked opponent next time out. Next: Magomedov vs Bobby Green. 

Cowboy Up, Hallmann Down

He might not be the highest ranked ‘Cowboy’ in the division, but he is moving up quickly. Alex Oliveira scored a brutal 3rd round knockout of Piotr Hallmann in what appeared to be a 1-1 fight heading unto the final frame. After a strong start for the Brazilian, Hallmann rallied in round 2 to control the majority of the action with his wrestling. Despite his ground-based success, Hallmann opted to stand and trade with Oliveira in the final round and paid for it dearly. Oliveira’s success will keep him a constant on future Brazil cards and for Hallmann this loss could mean the end of the line. Next: Oliveira vs Shane Campbell. 

Brutality!

Anthony Birchak’s body dropped to the mat in horrific fashion after Thomas Almeida scored a brutally beautiful knockout in the waning moments of the opening round. Almeida has already cracked the top 10 and with vicious knockouts of Brad Picket, Yves Jabouin, and now Birchak on his list the ceiling is high for the young Brazilian. As Brian Stann pointed out at the end of the fight; there aren’t too many fighters requesting a fight with this guy and who can blame them. Next: Almeida vs Takeya Mizugaki

Out On His Feet

The ease at which Glover Teixeira was able to get back to his feet had to be discouraging for Patrick Cummings and when the leather started to fly there was no solace for the American. Glover repeatedly got off his back after being taken down and unloaded on Cummins until the referee was forced to stop the bout. Cummins is still very much a work in progress, but this was a risky fight for the former title challenger who was defeated by another wrestler the last time he fought in front of the Brazilian fans. In spite of the win, the ease at which Teixeira was taken down has to be concerning with regard to his chances should he be granted another title shot. Next: Teixeira vs Alexander Gustafsson.

Duck!

The start was a little tentative, but Vitor Belfort bided his time and capitalized on the first opening that he saw and finished Dan Henderson for a second time in their 3 fight mini-series. TRT related issues aside, Vitor is still a dangerous striker. At the same time, this knockout probably had as much to do with Vitor as it did Hendo being at the end of his run. Dan’s chin is clearly not what it used to be and its limitations are very apparent. Considering he is closer to 50 than he is 35, the end might not be upon us but it is soon. For Vitor, he might feel that another title run is possible, but he will have to prove himself against more than just Hendo to earn that shot. Next: Vitor vs Tim Kennedy.

Final Thoughts…

Brazilian cards are usually pretty fun and this one delivered in spades. Thomas Almeida looks like a monster and future title contender. Rashid Magomedov could be a threat as well, but won’t grab the headlines until he starts to put guys away in brutal fashion. Vitor is Vitor and Dan Henderson can’t win a fight when he doesn’t land first. It is hard to enjoy the fights as a predictor when you start 0-6, but that is the prediction game for you. I did win 6 of my last 7 fight and the DraftKings Lineup #1 finished 3rd in the contest I entered- let’s take the positives and build on them for the next show. This is the start of a huge run to end 2015, UFC 193 is less than a week away. See you then.

Parlay Header

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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: GLEISON TIBAU $1.91 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: CLAY GUIDA $1.66 
Selection 3: RASHID MAGOMEDOV $1.56 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Price: $4.95 x Bet: 10 units
Payout: 49.5 units
 
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: YAN CABRAL $3.79 
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Price:$3.79  x Bet: 4 units
Payout: 15.16 units
 
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Parlay #2
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Selection 1: PEDRO MUNHOZ $1.64 
Selection 2: KEVIN SOUZA $2.43 
Selection 3: PIOTR HALLMANN $2.90 
===================================================
Price: $11.56 x Bet: 7 units
Payout: 80.92 units
 
 
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Parlay #1
===================================================
Selection 1: CLAY GUIDA $1.66 
Selection 2: PIOTR HALLMANN $2.90 
Selection 3: GASAN UMALATOV $1.88 
Selection 4: BRUNO KOREA $2.69 
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Price: $24.35 x Bet: 5 units
Payout: 121.75 units
 
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Parlay #1
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Selection 1: GLEISON TIBAU $1.91 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: KEVIN SOUZA $2.43 
Selection 3: Vitor Belfort/Dan Henderson Total Rounds Under 1.5 $1.7112379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: PEDRO MUNHOZ/JIMMIE RIVERA Total Rounds Under 2.5 $2.65 
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Price: $21.04 x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 126.24 units
 
Draftkings Line up

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Lineup #1
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Fighter 1: Piotr Hallmann 
Fighter 2: Gleison Tibau 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: Thomas Almeida 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 4: Vitor Belfort 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 5: Kevin Souza 
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Salary Remaining: $300
 
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Lineup #2
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Fighter 1: Bruno Korea 
Fighter 2: Clay Guida 
Fighter 3: Pedro Munhoz 
Fighter 4: Vitor Belfort 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 5: Kevin Souza 
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Salary Remaining: $900
 

BRUNO KOREA $2.69 vs MATHEUS NICOLAU $1.57  

I did take the dog here, but a lot of that has to do with the EPU factor. We have seen a number of EPUs cash in of late. Just taking a quick look there has been at least 1 upset in 1 of the opening 2 fights in 7 straight cards. I see this fight showing up with a lot of questions marks that make it a prime candidate for an upset. I also like how Korea lines up with the TUF trend. Young fighter, long layoff since his last appearence, raw skills =  big potential for a leap in capabilities. Arguably, Nicolau falls into the same category but with more than double the pro bouts he has already started to solidify who he is as a fighter. All in all this fight will be very low on my priority list, potentially a Bronze Parlay leg or it might not even make my final betting card. From a Draftkings perspective Korea might work as your 5th man. At just $9100, he could earn a finish and will free up some cash to spend on higher end talent in your top 4 and most people won’t play this fight so he will give you some live points.

PEDRO MUNHOZ $1.64 vs JIMMIE RIVERA $2.50 

Munhoz is an absolute killer, but the durability of Rivera is a tad concerning. In fact, it is probably the reason we are getting the value that we are. If Rivera can withstand the early action, will Munhoz slow down? He did go 5 rounds with Jeff Curran, but Rivera is a much better fighter than Curran. In that fight, Munhoz had surprising success taking Curran down, which I expect to see in this fight as well. Rivera could outwork Pedro with more volume and is his most likely key to victory. Conversely, I see Munhoz having the ability to win by sub, knockout, or decision. At this price, I feel like Munhoz could figure into my top play- but he could slip a little to the Silver section if further review gives me more confidence in a couple other fighters. At $10,400 Pedro has scored some big points with quick finishes in his last 2 fights and he is cheaper than most favourites. You are looking for quick finishes and that is a real possibility so I think he is worth consideration for your team.

VISCARDE ANDRADE $2.10 vs GASAN UMALATOV $1.88  

Both guys have been out for a long time and most likely the loser is headed home without a job. Andrade’s window for victory seems a little limited and with the long layoff it could slam shut if he can’t get Gasan out of their quickly. Gasan has never been finished and he is the type that will endure and grind down a ‘pop-gun’ type fighter like Andrade. Unfortunately, Umalatov hasn’t looked that great in the UFC either and if he can’t finish Andrade there is always the major risk that he gets screwed on the cards. Umalatov won’t make the cut in the Gold or Silver sections, but he is possible for a Bronze play. Stay away from this fight with your fantasy picks.

KEVIN SOUZA $2.43 vs CHAS SKELLY $1.65 

Skelly has shown the ability to go out and win fights with his grappling. He has also shown the ability to make his grappling a complete non-factor and get drawn into striking based fights. Technically he is sound, but he seems a little too stiff for me. Souza is a big man and he moves well. He really hasn’t faced a top level grappler before, which is a major concern. The manner in which he controls distance will make it harder for Skelly to get in and allow Souza to counter strike. Even if Skelly gets the opening round in the books, look for him to slow down- especially if it is hot. That will open the door for Souza to turn the fight in his favour and he might only need 1 strike to put Skelly on his heels. Consider a live bet on Souza if Skelly wins the opening round, but appears to be slowing. His price should climb if Skelly takes round 1. Souza should get the nod from the judges if he keeps this fight standing for the majority of the action. At this price he seems like a solid play for the Silver section, I may opt to double him up with another strong playing bet. At $9300, Souza is another one of these guys capable of scoring a finish and earning you some Fantasy points. If he figures in as your 4th or 5th man he will free up a little cash for your top picks.

CLAY GUIDA $1.66 vs THIAGO TAVARES $2.40  

Here is a play I really like. Yes, Guida is a frustrating fighter, but he is the perfect foil for Tavares. Thiago will slow down and Guida won’t. He lost his last fight becomes he was simply worn out and broke down despite holding top position for prolonged periods in the fight. His muscle-bound frame doesn’t hold up as well in longer fighters at 145 pounds. Unless Tavares can hurt Guida during an early exchange I fully expect to see Guida on top grinding out at least 2 rounds. Tavares is a good grappler, but he works far better from top position than bottom. I don’t see him taking Guida down with consistency. With a wrestler like Guida, it will be hard for the judges to take away a decision if he controls the majority of the action with his wrestling. Guida makes the cut in my top parlay for sure. He isn’t a huge point getter for DK, averaging just under 50 points but at $10200 that is a decent price for a strong lean. I could consider playing him, but Tibau costs less, should score a similar amount of points, and has a greater potential to score a finish. There is only room for 1 fighter like this on my A squad and Tibau gets the nod. Guida could find a home on a second entry.

YAN CABRAL $3.79 vs JOHNNY CASE $1.36 

Case has looked very good, but it has been against low-level competition. The same can be said for Cabral. Case’s defensive wrestling/grappling is the be all and end all of this fight. If he can stay vertical and/or get back up if he gets taken down he should win. The reason I picked against is because I don’t think he can. He has been taken down by lesser fighters than Cabral. In his debut, Tokudome scored an early takedown and kept the fight there for most of the round. He has taken down with regularity in his final pre-UFC bout and in his last 2 wins we saw small glimpses of vulnerability on the ground. I expect to see Cabral get on top, control the position, and start chaining submissions together. Of course, as I said above if he doesn’t find success with his grappling- Cabral is not winning this fight. At this price, it is a single bet in the Silver section for me. No Fantasy consideration.

GLEISON TIBAU $1.91 vs ABEL TRUJILLO $2.05 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This is a pick I really like and could arguably be my #1 play. Trujill has 1 realistic way to win this fight- a knockout. Whether it come early in the fight when both men are fresh or very late if Tibau slows down that is his best avenue. He potentially could steal the last 2 rounds of a decision if Tibau slows down, but I see Gleison having too much success with his wrestling for that to happen. Tibau is the better wrestling, better grappler, and his top position control should result in a cardio advantage as well. Tibau is also a more technically sound striker, but the aggression of Abel could mess with that a bit. Fighting in Brazil coupled with a prolonged layoff and an already sketchy gas tank is not a good combo for the American. Tibau joins Guida in my #1 parlay. At $9800, Tibau needs to be on your DK team. He has a legit chance of finishing in this fight via submission and at the very least will pull roughly 50-65 points for a top control decision win. If you are slotting in fighters it is either Guida or Tibau in spot 4 and Tibau costs a little less and has a higher point potential.

Fabio Maldonado $5.72 vs Corey Anderson $1.20 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This is a clear No Play with regard to a side bet. Anderson has all the tools to win this fight fairly handily, but if the short notice, heat, hostile environment, and/or body shots and pressure of Fabio slow him down we could see the Brazilian get his hands raised. I am almost 100% certain that if Gian Villante rematched Maldonado not in Brazil he wins. Anderson will use his wrestling and clinch game to dominate this fight, but at $1.20 it is a pointless bet. I will consider a bet on the total here and considering Anderson is unlikely to finish at $11,000 he is too expensive for the DK team.

Gilbert Burns $2.85 vs Rashid Magomedov $1.56  12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This fight is a fantastic clash of styles. Burns wants the fight on the mat and to look for a submission. Mags want to stay vertical and try for the knockot. Who get’s their wish? Burns struggled tremendously vs Oliveira when it came to both landing takedowns and then keeping him on the mat. Even with the risks that Oliveira was taking, Burns was unable to really capitalize until the final round. Magomedov won’t be nearly has loose with his offense and is a better grappler than Oliveira. Additionally, I look for him to be much more impactful with his striking. Burns was shelling up against Oliveira and wasn’t reacting well to getting tagged. That has to be concerning, especially when you go back and look at the damage that Mags put on Silverio. Even though Burns is a massive submission threat and is the favourite if this fight is contested on the mat, I like Rashid in my top play at this price he compliments Guida and Tibau quite nicely. Rashid could earn the stoppage, but if not his output won’t score you massive Fantasy points. I don’t have him on my team. The total might be work looking at as well.

Piotr Hallmann $2.90 vs Alex Oliveira $1.49  

Oliveira has really done quite well for himself after being a set up as a late notice sacrifice for Gilbert Burns. Hallmann has had a workman like run in the UFC with a couple of  wins. What this fight comes down to is Oliveira’s willingness to open up and take chances. He puts himself in vulnerable positions when he does this. He overextends on his punches and routinely gives up position on the mat. Hallmann is a great top position fighter and will no doubt capitalize each and every positional advantage that is handed to him. There is some concern that he isn’t the same fighter after failing the drug test, but that is an unknown that we have to risk. At this price, I like Hallmann’s top control and resiliency, not to mention the experience gained from 2 previous trips to Brazil. He will work into my Silver section, either a parlay or couple in a 2 leg bet. At $8900, Hallmann could be the best bang for your buck. He is cheap and has submitted his foe in both of his wins. On your depth charts he should fill the role of the #5 guy, he is cheaper than Korea and more well known.

Thomas Almeida $1.24 vs Anthony Birchak $4.65  12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Clearly we are not betting this fight with Almeida paying so poorly. We will, however take a look at the total as our best option to make some profit. From a Fantasy standpoint, Almeida is expensive at $10900, but he has averaged just short of 100 points and with the aggressive style of Birchak there is significant potential for a quick finish. He is a must have on your DK roster.

Glover Teixeira $1.22 vs Patrick Cummins $5.10  12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Just like the fight above, were not betting Glover because the price isn’t worth it. We should consider a Counter bet on Cummings. He is already 2-0 in Brazil and has the wrestling credentials that could lead to victory. I will most likely leave this fight off my bet card all together, but if were to make a move it would be on the total and the value would have to be there. No Fantasy Play here. Teixeira could earn a finish and score big or he could take a decision and produce points below where he should considering his $11000 price tag. He could also get ragged dolled for a full 3 round which would pretty much kill your team. Stay away.

Vitor Belfort $1.30 vs Dan Henderson $4.15 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Of the final 3 fights Belfort provides the most playable favourite. That isn’t saying much. We have a very small sample size when trying to evaluate post-TRT Vitor. To look at him he looks diminished physically. He did come out firing against Weidman and that type of barrage could be enough to put Dan down. Henderson has a couple of wins, but he took a tonne of damage against Shogun before catching him and his monotone right-hand heavy bull-rush against Boetsch paid dividends. It got him KOed by Belfort. This fight should be quick and violent. Both men come forward and whoever unloads wins the fight. I like Belfort’s speed, but he needs to win this fight on the first or at the very least second burst or else he could be in trouble. At this price, I might consider using him in a parlay, but it is more likely that I take a look at a prop bet. Vitor should also make the cut on your DK team. He costs you $10800, but if he wins this fight it will almost certainly be inside the first 2 rounds, most likely the first.

1. GLEISON TIBAU $1.91 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. CLAY GUIDA $1.66 

3. THOMAS ALMEIDA $1.24 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. VITOR BELFORT $1.30 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. COREY ANDERSON $1.20 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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6. GLOVER TEIXEIRA $1.22 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

7. RASHID MAGOMEDOV $1.56 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

8. PEDRO MUNHOZ $1.64 

9. PIOTR HALLMANN $2.90 

10. KEVIN SOUZA $2.43 

11. YAN CABRAL $3.79 

12. GASAN UMALATOV $1.88 

13. BRUNO KOREA $2.69 

1. GLEISON TIBAU $1.91 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. PIOTR HALLMANN $2.90 

3. KEVIN SOUZA $2.43 

4. YAN CABRAL $3.79 

5. PEDRO MUNHOZ/JIMMIE RIVERA Total Rounds Under 2.5 $2.65 

1. JIMMIE RIVERA $2.50- 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med He will be a tough test for Munhoz and as I suggested already, make a single bet on Rivera. If he wins your parlays are done, but you have the winnings from your bet on Rivera to re-invest over the next 11 fights.

2.Patrick Cummins $5.10-  This looks too much like Davis/Teixeira not to take a shot. Cummins is a wrestler, a more gifted athlete than Tex, and is already 2-0 fighting in Brazil. At this price you can take a small shot and get a big return. Hit it.

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bETTING SCENARIOS

Exclusive Bet Pack Content.

 

Prop Bets

BRUNO KOREA/ MATHEUS NICOLAU

See Betting Scenario Section.

PEDRO MUNHOZ/JIMMIE RIVERA 

See Betting Scenario Section.

VISCARDE ANDRADE/GASAN UMALATOV Total Rounds Over 2.5 $1.56  12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Paying out slightly better than your normal Over 2.5, this line is certainly playable. Both men have a history of hitting the Over with 4 of their combined 5 UFC bouts going the distance They have a career total of 21 total fights that required the judges and Umalatov has never been finished. With both men coming back from long layoffs, this fight could be a grinding affair as both try to shake off the ring rust. Play the Over.

YAN CABRAL/JOHNNY CASE Total Rounds Under 2.5 $2.22 

I considered playing Souza/Skelly Under with both men have the skills to finish, but the threat of Skelly’s grappling eating up a round and a half without  finish backed me off. At a reduced price and 2.5 rounds I would be all over it. That is what we have here. Cabral can finish via sub and has done so prior to the 3rd round in 10 of 12 fights. Case can also finish, with 21 of 25 fights ending in round 1 or 2. I think the Under is a solid investment here.

GLEISON TIBAU/ABEL TRUJILLO 

See the Betting Scenario Section.

Gilbert Burns/ Rashid Magomedov Total Rounds Over 2.5 $1.63 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Both fighters have the ability to finish and have finished in a combined 19 of 29 wins. I still like the Over. Burns’s average fight time took an abrupt upward turn since entering the Octagon with 2 of 3 fights going into the final round compared to 7 straight 1st round finishes to start his career. Magomedov had gone to a decision in 5 straight fights and was 3 seconds away from doing it again against Silverio. 50% of his fights have gone the distance and he has only had 3 1st round finishes in his last 14 fights with the rest all going into the final round. Play the Over.

Thomas Almeida Wins Inside the Distance $1.88 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

The Under 1.5 is a viable option and pays a little better if that is your only option. I like this play better if you have the option. Almeida’s finishing ability is well-documented and Birchak’s aggression should give him ample opportunities to end this fight inside the distance. The reason I am not taking the Under 1.5 is because I feel that after getting cracked a couple of times in the Pickett fight, Almeida might come out a little more patient. He also might blow up Birchak in the opening minute, but this play gives him the full fight to pile up the damage. Play the Under 1.5 if this play isn’t an option, but this is my prefer prop bet for this fight.

Glover Teixeira/ Patrick Cummins Total Rounds Over 1.5 $1.78  

This is a bit of a risk with Glover’s power, but I think it is your best option for betting this fight. Glover could blast Cummins in the opening round and it could be all over before the popcorn is gone. That being said, he could also come out and try to wrestle Cummins (like he did to OSP) and throw him off. Glover might be a little tentative before engaging to avoid getting taken down and spend some time fending off TDAs. In a parallel scenario, Cummins might not engage for fear of being knocked out. On top of all that, we could see Cummins either land early takedowns and control the position. All of these scenarios can easily eat up a round and a half. Play the Over.

Vitor Belfort/Dan Henderson 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

See the Betting Scenario Section.

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