It's a great weekend to be a fan of MMA. The UFC have yet another double header weekend. There's also action in the Bellator card from Italy. We're really spoilt for choice and there's a few fights I've got an eye on.
The biggest fight of the weekend is definitely Max Holloway versus Anthony Pettis for the interim featherweight championship. Holloway is one of only two men in the UFC to go to the judges scorecards with former featherweight champion Conor McGregor. Pettis is looking to join an elite club of men to hold belts in two different divisions.
It's an intriguing fight and one that I think has actually been made better by being upped to five rounds. Of all the fights this weekend it's the one I'm most excited to see as a fan. Unfortunately I don't think it's the best for betting opportunities so it's one I'll sit back and enjoy.
Doo Ho Choi vs. Cub Swanson
“The Korean Superboy” Doo Ho Choi takes on “Killer” Cub Swanson in a very interesting fight for the 145lbs division. Choi is like watching a beautiful ballet of violence at times. He's equally welcoming of a brawl or a technical bout. I'm yet to see him phased in the Octagon.
He mixes an amazing ability to stay calm with an instinct in how to manipulate his opponents into creating openings that he uses to full effect. His stand up is pin-point and his boxing is crisp as just about any other fighter in the division.
Cub Swanson has fought a who's who of the featherweight division. His variety of quality strikes is undoubtedly his strongest asset. As you'll see in the breakdown video attached; Cub is excellent at improvising his attacks to catch opponents off guard.
One thing that I think is important to point out is that Cub's most recent stoppage victory is over 3 years ago. He'd got himself to the point of being a contender for a title fight that led to a two fight skid. Admittedly the two men that beat him are two of the best in the division (Edgar and Holloway). The nature of the losses were worrying though as Cub was outmatched on the feet and looked out of his depth.
I see Choi being very similar to Edgar and Holloway in striking volume. I think he's just a little too quick for Cub and having seen his chin tested against Sam Sicilia, I believe he's capable of taking Cub's best shots. Cub is probably the better offensive wrestler but Choi is very adept at scrambling back to his feet. Most notably he did this with ease against Thiago Tavares who I think is a better grappler overall than Cub.
Selection: I have to go with Choi. I don't think there's much value in his current win price. I do think the prop on him to win by decision at 4/1 is definitely a bit of value. Cub is durable and won't make the same reckless errors others have done against Choi.
Dustin Ortiz vs. Zach Makovsky
This is a must win for both men to gather traction in the men's flyweight division. I know that's something odd to say about guys that are 7th and 12th respectively in the rankings. Both are coming off back to back losses and a third straight loss may lead to marching papers. A key point to also remember is that current champion Demetrious Johnson has beaten four of the top six in the division so there's potential to move quickly to a title shot with a run of victories.
Makovsky is a former Bellator champion and an excellent wrestler. He's trained with Tri-Star in the past and I believe he's been there for this camp also. He's got average striking with a little bit of power but nothing that would make him a massive knock out artist. He's a little slow with his strikes which I think is key to this fight.
Ortiz is a Roufusport product who's got decent stand up mixed with an all energy approach. He's lost close fights to the top guys in the division in the past and he's definitely at a crossroads in his career. A loss to Makovsky will likely see him drop to the role of gatekeeper giving his record against top opposition. Ortiz does take a shot to land a shot most of the time but I think that could work in his favour as Makovsky is one of the most inactive flyweights in the division when it comes to striking.
The biggest gap is in the wrestling department but I believe Ortiz has enough skill in the defensive wrestling department to nullify Makovsky's greatest asset.
Selection: I side with Ortiz to get an upset victory at 6/4.
Andrew Sanchez vs. Trevor Smith
I'll keep this one as short and sweet as I can. Andrew Sanchez reminds me a lot of an early Demian Maia. I'm not saying his wrestling and jiu jitsu is top of the food chain good. He's got very good grappling but fundamentally poor striking. He's a little wild with how he throws things. The key thing to remember here is, the poor technical striking will not be a problem until he faces someone that's able to take advantage of it.
Smith is for want of a better term a brawler. He's got some decent power but his cardio is a constant question mark, as he peaks and valleys drastically in performance from round to round. I'm yet to see him in a fight where I am truly impressed by his performance.
Smith is also a wrestler turned Mixed Martial Artist and has a serviceable wrestling game. I see this mostly taking place on the feet. I can see Sanchez trying to clinch early on to try wear out Smith.
Selection: I like Sanchez to win this fight inside the distance. He's 7/4 with Bet 365 to do so and I think he will. Smith has a propensity to get rocked in fights and I believe Sanchez can cause him problems on the ground or in a scramble from an earlier strike. I'm tempted to go with a bet on a sub but I'm happy with the price for Sanchez inside the distance to recommend it.
With that we’re done for another weekend. These are just suggestions. Please do not bet money you can not afford to lose. Have you seen any interesting bets for this week’s card? Sound off in the comments section.
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