UFN 88: Almeida vs Garbrandt- ‘Undefeated No More’

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Dana White made the claim that UFC Fight Night 88 had the potential to be one of the best cards of the year. It did not disappoint. With the exception of a lackluster Prelim headliner, the fighters came out and laid it all on the line from start to finish. Out of the twelve fights, only four bouts ended inside the distance and seven were won by the underdog. Arguably the most important action transpired in the Bantamweight division as two rising prospects took a step back in the form of their first pro defeats, with a third prospect and an unheralded veteran picked up the biggest wins of their careers. Let’s take a look at the evening’s action.

Notes from the Prelims
  • It was an absolute blood bath, Adam Milstead got the better of the action and earned the second round stoppage. At 28, Milstead is ‘young’ for the heavyweight division and while he still has a lot of development ahead of him- it’s nice to see some new blood in the weight class.
  • It was a strong start for Aljamain Sterling, but not he finish he was looking for. Bryan Caraway whether the early storm and went to work with his grappling to get the best of rounds two and three to earn the biggest win of his career.
  • Despite a long layoff, Erik Koch returned strong with a win over Shane Campbell who got off to his customary slow start and couldn’t recover before getting submitted.
  • After getting his nose smashed early and spending the majority of round one on the defensive, Jake Collier rallied to finish his foe early in the middle frame to earn his second UFC win.
  • With a couple of comeback victories already going down on the undercard, Abel Trujillo was having none of it. After winning the opening round, Trujillo dropped round two, but dug deep to earn the nod in the final round and pick up the unanimous decision victory.
  • The prelims were filled with hard-fought battles, the headlining bout on the Undercard was not one of them. Both girls appeared stunted by the moment, with each badly in need of a win, Sara McMann eventually parlayed her wrestling to a decision win in a lackluster affair.
Main Card The Dragon Rises

More blood was spilt in a gritty back and forth battle that saw Paul Felder win a close decision over veteran Josh Burkman. Burkman has his moments and pushed Felder, but simply didn’t do enough in the eyes of the judges. For Felder, he has now won back to back fights, but he continues to do so the hardest way possible.

Strikeforce Reunion

When they competed under the Strikeforce banner they fought a couple of divisions apart, but Lorenz Larkin and Jorge Masvidal met in the middle and put on a show. Larkin was the more active striker and landed the bigger strikes, even mixing in a surprising takedown. Masvidal’s lack of activity at times was once again his undoing as he simply failed to string together enough consistent offense. I had Larkin ahead on the scorecards, but Masvidal did enough to force it to a split decision.

Jacare 3?

Chris Camozzi continues to impress, picking up another solid mid-level victory. His striking was on point and he utilized his grappling against an opponent that has been notoriously difficult to handle on the floor. In his post-fight, Camozzi called for a top 10 opponent- Robert Whittaker would be a solid test.

Comeback Story

The layoff was long, but the result was well worth the wait. Continuing the trend of physically demanding fights, Rick Story used his volume and constant pressure to outwork the former Strikeforce Champion. Tarec Saffiedine landed some decent shots and even scored a temporary takedown, but the he was able to match the pace or impact of his opponent. Story has now won 3 consecutive fights, with back to back upset wins over strong opponents. He has regain the momentum he had earlier in his career and a fight against someone from the top half of the rankings should be on the horizon.

A Rude Welcome

The former Bantamweight champ left behind the 135-pound division and was soundly greeted by barrage of big power from the former Lightweight Jeremy Stephens. The opening round appeared to go the way of Renan Barao, but as the impact of the heavier puncher started to take effect Barao started to slow down. Stephens continued to pour it on, mixing together hefty haymakers and more accurate combinations. The American’s TDD held up and allowed him to remain vertical to deploy his power. Stephens continues to be a tough out for the majority of the division, and while Barao didn’t get the win it certainly looked like 145 pounds is a better home for him.

Can I Get Some Respect Now?

A pair of undefeated prospects rarely get an opportunity to square off in such a high profile fight, but Cody Garbrandt didn’t let the moment pass him by. Cody worked his way inside the reach of Almeida and landed several big shots. He broke down the guard of the Muay Thai specialist, who was unable to stop Garbrandt’s forward momentum. With the win, Cody will surely find himself ranked in top 15 of the division and while Almeida will probably still have a number next to his name- look for him to fall out of the top 10.

Final Thoughts

This was a great card, despite my atrocious prediction record. When this many underdogs cash it usually makes for an ugly night despite the fact that I did pick a couple upsets- it simply was not enough.  Garbrandt looked great and backed up his pre-fight trash talk effectively. The fight with John Lineker that was canceled, is a fight that I want to see if the Brazilian win his next bout. I wonder if this win will get Caraway some much-deserved respect now? The clock is already ticking on UFC 199, so there is not time to waste. Time to get to work.

Parlay Header

Parlay #1
Selection 1: Thomas Almeida -160 
Selection 2: Vitor Miranda -180 
Selection 3: Sara McMann -150 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Price: +321 Bet: 12 units
Payout: 38.56 units
Parlay #1
Selection 1: Renan Barao -185 
Selection 2: Jorge Masvidal +120 
Selection 3: Abel Trujill0 -277 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Shane Campbell -158 
Price: +653  x Bet: 9 units
Payout:  58.79 units
Parlay #1
Selection 1: Rick Story +105 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Alberto Uda -118 
Selection 3: Abel Trujillo/Jordan Rinaldi Total Rounds Under 1.5 +120 
Selection 4: Thomas Almeida -160 
Price: +1254  x Bet: 7 units
Payout: 87.78 units
Parlay #2
Selection 1: Josh Burkman +269 
Selection 2: Vitor Miranda -180  
Selection 3: Renan Barao -185 
Price: +784  x Bet: 6 units
Payout: 39.21 units
Parlay #1
Selection 1: Rick Story +105 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 2: Jorge Masvidal +120 
Selection 3: Alberto Uda/Jake Collier Total Rounds Under 1.5 +145 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Selection 4: Erik Koch/Shane Campbell Total Rounds Under 1.5 +170 
Price: +2883 x Bet: 7 units
Payout: 201.84 units

Draftkings Line up

Fighter 1: Thomas Almeida $10200 
Fighter 2: Jorge Masvidal $9600 
Fighter 3: Sara McMann $9900 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 4: Shane Campbell $10000 
Fighter 5: Alberto Uda $10300 
Salary Remaining:
Fighter 1: Renan Barao $10100 
Fighter 2: Rick Story $9700 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: Vitor Miranda $10500 
Fighter 4: Josh Burkman $8600 
Fighter 5: Adam Milstead $10700 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Salary Remaining: 


Thomas Almeida -160 vs Cody Garbrandt +150 

This is going to be a fantastic fight, it is a shame that one of these guys has to lose. Both are capable strikers, different strikers, and very dangerous. Garbrandt has looked very good, winning all 3 fights in almost flawless fashion. The same can’t be said for Almeida. Pickett hurt him and had some in serious trouble. He was tested and he passed. The Brazilian has faced veteran competition and come out with impressive victories. Pickett and Jabouin are not easy fighters to beat, Garbrandt hasn’t faced anyone on that level. Additionally, Cody is very confident is in his skills. He should be, but there is a point where too much confidence gives way to something dangerous. He gets careless. He chases the knockout and that will get him in trouble here. Almeida has the tools to exploit the holes in Garbrandt’s game and the power to make him pay. Cody reaches when he comes forward and can become a little predictable. He has been cracked by lesser strikers and survive, that won’t be the case here. Almeida is in my Gold Parlay.


At $10200, Almeida is an absolute steal. He has finished 19 of his 21 wins, 16 in the first round. Not only is he a legit threat to end this fight in the opening round, he has the ability to put up sizeable volume numbers. He landed 120 strikes in his debut decision against Gorman and scored totals of 31 and 24 significant strikes in less than a round in his 2 1st round victories. Whether Almeida finishes Cody early, goes to decision, or somewhere in between- he will cash you between 85-115 points which is a massive amount of points for the price. He joins Team Kamikaze.

Renan Barao -185 vs Jeremy Stephens +169 

Usually, you get a fighter trying to jump-start their career by cutting down a division after their title run stalled out. That is not what we have here, we’ve got a former champ, who had a dominant run, moving up a weight class after failing to recapture his title. If I had the time to go back and look, I would like to see the numbers of fighters moving up a weightclass to fight versus fighters moving down. Based on informal research, I would lean to fighters moving up as being more successful. Their body responds better to the lack of a cut, they are quicker, and their experience fighting more technical fighters (smaller guys usually are), makes everything slow down for them. I expect Barao to have similar results. Keep in mind, he was elite at 135. I rank him behind just Cruz and TJ, but ahead of the rest. Moving up 10 pounds to face a fighter that has struggled against top level comp at 145 doesn’t change that. Will Stephen’s size and power make up the gap? If he lands that big right hand it certainly could, but he has struggled with quicker more diverse strikers, which is what Barao is. Stephens will spend the fight chasing. Still with the divisional change, jumping all-in with your biggest investment is a mistake until we see Renan at 145- Silver Parlay.


Barao has fought at the highest level in the UFC, against top level competition. At $10100, we are getting a solid deal. I don’t see him finishing Stephens, but it’s not impossible. I picked Edwards to KO Stephens and I could see Jeremy getting too aggressive and walking into a well-timed counter here. If not, Barao’s volume should be there and even a possible takedown or 2. Fighters with speed and a technical edge have landed at a high rate against Jeremy. He is there to be hit and Renan will hit him. He has multiple ways to score- a possible knockout, maybe a submission, also through volume. Team Overdrive.

Rick Story +105 vs Tare Saffiedine -110 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This is an interesting fight. Saffiedine talked to the media about being injured and possibly having to pull out, but he has been cleared by the doctor. That doesn’t breed a lot of confidence in a fighter. The line has adjusted and could continue to move as the fight gets closer. I still like Story. Tarec is a good fighter, but the best guys he has beaten are flawed fighters. Story is far from perfect, but he has the tools to win this fights. Tarec likes to pick his spots- sit back and look for openings. Story won’t give him that type of space. Additionally, when Tarec voluntarily puts his back on the cage- Story will attack. Ellenberger found the most success in this position, but simply didn’t let his hands go enough to make it count. I have also been a little suspect of Sponge’s durability. I have seen signs that suggest if he gets tagged he will fold up shop. Story has the power to back him off. Still with the long layoff, Story slides to the Bronze pack as there are lots of quality betting options on this card.


The Fantasy line is set at even, but I still like Story. He is another affordable option to help save money for future picks. At $9700, he offers solid volume at 3.84 SLpM and his takedown game is pretty decent. Tarec got cracked by Ellenberger and hurt quite badly, Story is the type that will follow up on that and finish. I expect a lot of people will be jumping on Tarec with the massive layoff that Story is coming off of which will help to give us some unique points here. Story joins team Overdrive.

Chris Camozzi +175 vs Vitor Miranda -180 

This line has moved in a pleasant direction and I’m a little shocked at the value we are getting here. Camozzi wins fights by coming forward and overwhelming his opposition with his ability to take damage and keep attacking. While he has won fights in this manner, they are far from definitive. Against Miranda, getting hit frequently is a recipe for disaster. He hits hard and strings his punches together very effectively. Arguably the most important part of this fight will be the clinch fighting. Miranda can do damage there and Camozzi’s so-so takedown game is going to get him in trouble. Vitor is so good at turning TDAs into opportunities to do damage, Camozzi can’t afford to get careless. Vitor either stops him (becomes the first to knockout him) or outclasses him on the feet. Gold Parlay.


I’m still a little surprised at the price here. I had Vitor around $10700 to $10900. Camozzi turns into a bit of a punching bag the longer the fight goes. Watson landed 82 strikes, despite slowing down tremendously. Miranda should put up similar numbers and possibly even touch the 100-mark. I can forsee a large 2-round output followed by a late stoppage. A lot of people will stay away from Miranda because Camozzi has never been knocked out before. I think that changes here. Team Overdrive.

Jorge Masvidal +120 vs Lorenz Larkin -117 

Masvidal can be such a frustrating fighter considering how talented he is. Larkin seems to have really found his stride at WW and was close to taking home the Tumenov fight. I felt he needed to do more in addition to the legs kicks and the judges might have been a little more favourable to him. Masvidal’s boxing and ability to at least threaten with takedowns will be his key to success. Lorenz struggles with good boxers and his chin is a little suspect. Masvidal wins a close fight by simply being more diverse. Close fight = Silver section.


I’ve got Masvidal on Team Kamikaze. When you can’t grab a fighter that has a high percentage/likelihood for finishing you need diversification. That is what Masvidal gives us with his striking, wrestling, KO power, and under the radar submission skills. I don’t see Lorenz finishing, so even in defeat he should put up some points. Masvidal is too talented a fighter not to play at $9600. Team Kamikaze.

Josh Burkman +269 vs Paul Felder -250 

I took the dog here, but he’ll need to fight a very good fight to get the nod. Felder hasn’t impressed me, even in victory. Cruickshank, who has been anything but a world-beater of late was probably ahead on the scorecards prior to getting finished. I don’t like the lack of functional volume that Felder employs in his striking and his position miscues are going to cost him in a close fight. Burkman will gut this one out, land more volume, and find success on the clinch and on the mat. Close fight, I favour the big dog. Burkman’s isn’t facing the anemic KJ Noons here, but he does have 1 fight at 155 under his belt which should help. Bronze Play, possible single bet.


Burkman also makes an appearance in my Fantasy lineup, joining team Overdrive. He is cheap and fits nicely into a lineup with the more expensive picks I opted to make. I’m hoping for between 65-80 points, which is reasonable at $8600.

Sara McMann -150 vs Jessica Eye +143 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Neither one of these girls have looked good in their recent fights. As a predictor, I went 1-3 picking McMann’s last 4 and 4-0 picking Eye’s last 4. I have a pretty good handle on what Eye does well and what she struggles with. McMann has what she struggles with in spades- wrestling and top position control. Additionally, Eye doesn’t have the type of power to back McMann off and unless her ability to take a punch is almost non-existent- McMann is taking her down and keeping here there. Gold Parlay


I have McMann in my lineup for a couple of reasons. 1) At $9900 she frees up a little cash and is a fighter I feel has the ability to be dangerous. 2) She is a fighter that most with not take, so the points scored will be rarely picked up by other players. 3) Her takedowns and hopeful uptick in output should score points. A finish isn’t that likely, but not completely out of the realm of possibility. Sara joins team Kamikaze.

Abel Trujill0 -277 vs Jordan Rinaldi +270 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Despite his checkered past, Trujillo is a fun fighter to watch. He is violent, very violent. I expect more violence here. Rinaldi is debuting in a tough spot and doing it on short notice. Trujillo’s brand of high octane power striking will give him all sorts of trouble. Rinaldi is a decent striker, but doesn’t have the skill/power to back Abel off and his wrestling is at the level of those that have beat Trujillo on the mat. I don’t need Trujillo in my Gold parlay, but he adds a little pop to my Silver play as the 4th leg.


Trujillo has finishing ability, but his price is too high and he will probably be a common pick. Let’s let everyone else cripple their bankroll by playing him

Erik Koch +150 vs Shane Campbell -158 

While some fighters don’t impress in victory, others can still look good in defeat. That is the case with Campbell. His striking has looked good and his grappling ability has been a pleasant surprise. Koch has had issues with both of those areas. His chin has been exposed, he lacks volumes, his TDD is subpar, and he has been out of action for a long time. Campbell will be able to capitalize on all of that. If Campbell’s name had a little more cache then he would probably be over -200, but for us this line is perfect. He narrowly misses out on being a Gold Parlay member. I considered using him as a 4th leg, but he will work nicely as the anchor to my Silver play.


Campbell at $1000 is a must-have! He could win by knockout, is a high volume striker, and will mix in his grappling as well. On DK he has averaged just 37.8 pts per fight, that number will scare away potential buyers. We know better. He joins team Kamikaze.

Alberto Uda -118 vs Jake Collier +110 

Uda is debuting and filling in for a fighter, but he is doing it on 2-months notice. That should not be a factor. Collier is a scrappy fighter and to me he is a less capable/ durable version of Camozzi. Big fighter, willing to fight anywhere, but lacks a dominating skill set. On the downside, he isn’t nearly as durable, which has cost him a couple of times in recent fights.  Uda is good in the clinch and capable enough on the feet to capitalize on the aggressive, but defensively flawed striking attack of Collier. Jake might look for a takedown in this fight, but Uda is very good off his back. Against Yang, Collier was diving on subs, but once the Dong started to drop some GNP it was all down hill. Uda starts to unload and Collier relents. Uda is a debuting fighter and there are more known commodities on the card, so he falls to the Bronze play.


With Uda sitting at 10300, most will shy away in favour of names that they recognize and cost less. Based on Collier’s recent fights, I just don’t see him surviving the entire fight without getting hurt and finished. The points are there and  his lack of notoriety makes them valuable. Team Kamikaze.

Aljamain Sterling -370 vs Bryan Caraway +353 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

No Play! No Play! Stay away from Sterling. Please. He should win this….but this line is partially a product of how poorly Caraway is looked upon amongst the general public. In fact, between the value and how close I came to picking Caraway on the strength of his grappling- a small Counter Bet is the way to go here. Enjoy the scrap, either Caraway or keep your money in your pocket.


No Play, too expensive and Caraway is a tough nut to crack on the ground.

Adam Milstead -235 vs Chris De La Rocha +221 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Inexperienced Heavyweights with my coin on the line? No Thank you. Look at the total for a better option.


Milstead isn’t cheap, but he is my final play (or first on fight night) for Team Overdrive. De La Rocha got smoked by a guy not known for having knockout power. Milstead is a physical specimen and is more than willing to exchange. He lands something early and grabs you 90+ points with a quick stoppage.


1. Sara McMann -150 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Abel Trujill0 -277 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Shane Campbell -158 

4. Vitor Miranda -180 

5. Thomas Almeida -160 


6. Renan Barao -185 

7. Rick Story +105 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

8. Jorge Masvidal +120 

9. Aljamain Sterling -370 

10. Alberto Uda -118 

11. Adam Milstead -235 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

12. Josh Burkman +269 

1. Rick Story +105 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Jorge Masvidal +120 

3. Josh Burkman +269 

4. Alberto Uda -118 

5. Sara McMann -150 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Bryan Caraway +353- 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med Sterling has looked good of late, but this is a step up in competition for him. If Caraway can find success with his takedowns this fight is there to be won.






Exclusive Bet Pack Info.

Prop Bets


Chris Camozzi/Vitor Miranda Total Rounds Under 2.5 +150 

Camozzi has never been knocked out in his career, but he gets hit a lot. Miranda has serious power and a lot of tools in his tool bag that he can rely on. Miranda has finished all 3 of his UFC wins and has finished 11 of his 12 career wins. Camozzi’s biggest area of concern has been on the floor where he has been submitted a number of times. Miranda doesn’t have a strong submission game, but he has solid ground and pound and knows how to  put guys away on the mat. Take the value and the rounds.

Sara McMann/Jessica Eye

See Betting Scenario Section.

Abel Trujillo/Jordan Rinaldi Total Rounds Under 1.5 +120  

Trujillo looks to finish from the opening bell so anytime you can get plus money on the under, take it. Rinaldi is coming in on short notice and is making his debut. That is a lot to deal with even before Abel starts letting the leather fly. Trujillo has finished his last 4 wins and has gone the distance just once in his UFC run. Rinaldi has been finished twice, but he also has 8 wins inside the distance and could look to go for broke early considering his minimal prep. Play the Under.

Erik Koch/Shane Campbell Total Rounds Under 1.5 +170 

Campbell has 7 finishes compared to 5 decisions and has yet to finish an opponent in UFC. So why is this line set at 1.5. Koch has a much better track record of finishing opponents, but he has also been stopped in 2 of his last 3 defeats and got hurt a couple of times by Poirier. Campbell brings the type of volume, power, and technique that can lead to an early finish. He also puts himself out there and could find himself on the wrong end of a stoppage. Play the Under.

Alberto Uda/Jake Collier Total Rounds Under 1.5 +145 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Collier has been finished twice in the UFC a third time pre-Octagon, accounting for all of his career defeats. He also has stopped his opponent in 7 of his 9 wins, 5 in the opening round. Uda’s numbers are pretty decent as well, with 8 of 9 wins coming inside the distance and split evenly between submissions and knockouts. Of his 8 wins, 5 would count for the Under 1.5 total and 2 more missed by a few seconds. Finishes could happen from both sides, play the Under.

Aljamain Sterling/Bryan Caraway

See Betting Scenario Section.

Adam Milstead/Chris De La Rocha 

See Betting Scenario Section.