One week ago Conor McGregor stood on the verge of history. This weekend we've Invicta, Bellator and two UFC cards to fill the void left by New York's UFC 205. Whilst this a quiet week on the major fight front, there is still a lot for fight fans to enjoy.
Invicta will have two title fights on Fight Pass this Friday night. Irish fans will be able to enjoy UFC Fight Night 99 from Belfast on Saturday night before racing home to catch UFC Fight Night 100 from Brazil. They also have a Bellator option open; as Benson Henderson looks to match Eddie Alvarez's feat of having held the lightweight belt in both Bellator and the UFC.
After a successful batch of selections at UFC 205, lets see if there's any value floating around.
Bellator 165 selection:
Benson Henderson vs. Michael Chandler
I think this match is razor close and a lot will depend on whether Benson Henderson still has the ability to take punishment and recover. I think the wrestling is a wash (even if Chandler did wrestle at a higher level in college). Henderson has a much greater variety in his striking but Chandler has a power advantage.
Both men have dominated the lightweight division in their respective company's in the past prior to Bendo joining Bellator. I think his original expectation was to compete and take the belt at welterweight so this change may have not been his original plan.
Chandler and Henderson both had difficult times after losing their belts. Chandler seems to have rebounded better although it's difficult to estimate given roster differences and you get into MMA math territory when you try to make comparisons.
I think Henderson's potential plans to retire at 33 are a key element in this fight. This is the fight that will either cement him as one of the all time great lightweights or see him drift into a little bit of obscurity.
Selection: I think this is a coin-flip. However I see more potential for Henderson to claim the belt than I do for Chandler to find that killer blow. I side with Benson Henderson to win at 6/4. Given I think this should be at pick'em odds I'm willing to take a chance.
UFC Fight Night 99 selection:
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Ali Bagautinov
Two of Demetrious Johnson's former victims meet on Saturday's fight night card in Belfast. A win for either could see them jump back in contention for a future contender's bout in the flyweight division.
I think Horiguchi has advantages in speed, grappling and conditioning in this fight. I think Bagautinov is most certainly the harder hitter of the two but not to an extent that he'll finish Horiguchi.
This will be high paced and a potential contender for fight of the night, now that Seery and McCall are off the card.
Selection: Horiguchi takes a decision at 11/10. It will be competitive but Bagautinov will slow and this will be his downfall.
UFC Fight Night 100 selections:
Thales Leites vs. Krzystof Jotko
On the bare face of Jotko's record he looks like one of the top prospects with a record of 18-1. I believe this is a case where the numbers don't the full story. I think the level of competition he's faced has been poor. He takes on a former title challenger in Leites who has improved drastically over the last five years. His improvement standing has been a great addition to his world class Brazilian Jiu Jitsu base, as he moved up the middleweight ranks. His only two blips since returning to the UFC were a loss to the current champ and Mousasi.
While Leites is no longer in his prime I believe he has a much wider range of skills. Jotko is primarily a kick boxer with decent power but is very often caught. The Pole has a good chin and this has potentially aided his willingness to take a shot to land one in the past. His kicking game is the biggest worry I have for Saturday night as he does have some decent body kicks in his arsenal.
Selection: I believe Leites is tremendous value to finish the fight at 21/10 with Bet 365 and if you're looking more at specifics I would side with a submission. With the 4/6 price for a win he's acca material should you be inclined.
Jack Hermansson vs. Cezar Ferreira
This is a strange fight. I genuinely think it's closer than the bookmakers have it. If Cezar Ferreira hadn't displayed chin issues in the past I think he'd be a 1/2 favourite. That's the big question mark here and I don't think Hermansson is a guy with the accuracy or horrific power to frighten Ferreira enough not to shoot for the legs.
I think there will be a world of difference on the ground and I think this is where the fight will most likely take place. I think Ferreira has greatly underestimated grappling and it's been evident in his last few fights.
Selection: When the odds on this fight opened it was a pick'em. Money has flown in for Hermansson and being a smaller fight it's badly skewed the market. Ferreira is now tremendous value at 19/10 and he's the pick to continue his winning streak.
That's all from us for another week. As ever please do not bet what you can not afford to lose. Sound off in the comments if you've any bets that take your fancy this weekend.
Enjoy the fights.
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