Handicapping the Fights to Make After UFC 260

Whats Next UFC 260

If you want to get good at something, what should you do?

I feel like I’ve heard it all at this point. When I was doing personal training, people would ask me what lifts they could do to get better at Jiu Jitsu?

No lift is going to make you better at a martial art.

You can improve your strength, power, and flexibility which can complement your BJJ skills but not make you better at the game. We can do things to complement our handicapping skills and become more profitable and effective bettors but if it’s simple guys.

Please Note:
If you want to get better at something, you should do that something a lot. The more tape study I do, the quicker I am to identify and note a flaw or strength. And then, I have that many more seconds to identify something else that the next guy, or sportsbooks, could not.

If you remember math class as a kid, you always had to practice with pretend numbers or word problems. That’s what I want to do today is play pretend but play it to the best of our abilities. I want you guys to be able to fish on your own.
We will dive into the handicapping process and to make this more fun, we will use all of the fighters from the previous event, UFC 260. So, we get to play matchmaker as well as handicapper.

You want to know why kids get better at Jiu Jitsu at a much higher rate?

Because they are playing. This is important for us to do at times because when there is money on the line, anxiety increases and thus can decrease the possibility that we will be the ones to see something the sportsbooks don’t.

It’s like a cloud and we want as much clarity as possible. With no UFC event this week, it is the perfect time. Let’s calm our nerves and work our way through some no pressure handicapping.

Fabio Cherant

Did you guys really think a guy named Fabio was going to come into the UFC and win? He did everything wrong and now has a quick submission loss and what looks like a broken rib to go along with it.

The company brought in Fabio as a very late replacement for William Knight to fight the frightening Alonzo Menifield. It wasn’t even close as Alonzo showed proper fight IQ immediately backing his opponent up against the Octagon and scooping/skying him for the takedown.

As soon as Fabio tried to wrap up a guillotine with his back against the fence, the slam was inevitable. With his arm still trying to wrap the neck of Menifield, this left his rib exposed and crack.

That is a rough injury. I have had one bruised and the whole time, the only thing that kept me positive was telling myself that at least it wasn’t broken. The way Fabio was holding it, though, seconds after the fight ended tells me that he is feeling it already for a reason.

He certainly isn’t a UFC level guy but almost always, the company will give you at least one more fight against someone more comparable to your skill level if you take a fight on such short notice.

Here is the thing, though. Alonzo Menifield is nothing to write to mom about. He had a couple of flashy wins early in his career but that was against very low level competition. So, his win against Cherant doesn’t mean anything to me other than a possible fade in his next bout.

I say that because coming off of a big win like that, he is more likely to be overvalued.

We will keep a look out.

As for Fabio, let’s give him Carlos Ulbuerg, the Kiwi City Kickboxing prospect who had a tough time in a disappointing debut. This gives the New Zealander another chance to shine as well as Fabio getting an opportunity to strike with someone without too much worry of a takedown.

We didn’t get to see much from Fabio’s stand up but from watching his tape for the Menifield fight, he isn’t bad but without a complete skill set and the broken rib, I would really like Ulberg here.

Ulberg (-240) vs Fabio Cherant (+180)

The Bets
Fabio Cherant

Alonzo Menifield

So what? Menifield got the win but against who? Exactly. A guy named Fabio. I suppose a fellow by the name of Francis just won the UFC Heavyweight Title so I should probably shut up.

Hey, we gave Ulberg to Cherant so why not have the guy who just beat Carlos take on Alonzo Menifield. To me, Kennedy Nchukwu is a better fighter but I think the public may still get behind Alonzo here because he is more of a one punch KO kinda guy than the voluminous Menifield.

They both kinda have the same story in the UFC.

They made a lot of noise in their first couple of fights, only for their respective hype trains to be derailed. It’s not their fault, though, and that’s what fans need to remember. It’s not them that are doing the overhyping. That’s the UFC and the media.

A lot of times, these athletic talents/physical specimens like Francis Ngannou or Nchukwu. I don’t think Menifeld is quite there yet, but I could be wrong. They are signed because of their ceiling, but they don’t have enough time to catch their skills up to deal with the top 20.

At least, not yet. Let’s handicap Nchukwu and Menifield. Kennedy is a volume guy, and volume guys do get hit because their hands are away from their faces more than the next guy. They aren’t really sitting down on punches, though, and that means they are less likely to get knocked out.

When a fighter sits down hard on a shot, they are risking that energy being used against them. If their opponent has the timing and or speed to get them first, then they could be in a lot of trouble.

I don’t believe Alonzo is that guy.

I have not been impressed with his timing at all so I think the volume of Kennedy will wear on him and Nchukwu could possibly get a finish in the second half of the fight.

We can’t get carried away with the betting line, though. I think Kennedy wins 7 out of 10 but there is no way the books are going to give him that much respect. They almost always overvalue Menifield too.

I think they would line this one at (-160) for Kennedy to open but I would raise it almost a point to (-250). To me, Menifield needs to get the knockout to win this fight and I don’t see him doing that 40% of the time.

Kennedy Nchukwu (-250) vs Alonzo Menifield (+200)

The Bets
Kennedy Nchukwu
Alonzo Menifield

Vicente Luque

What a massive victory for Vicente Luque at UFC 260! Well, he did beat a deflated Tyron Woodley. And I’m not just talking about a mentally and/or emotionally drained “Chosen One” either.

If you go back and look at pics of the pre-USADA Tyron Woodley, you can see a massive difference in his physique. He still looks great, though, so a lot of people haven’t noticed but the roids affect your confidence for some fighters as much as their testosterone levels-which kinda go hand-in-hand.

As for Luque, being the first man to submit a former world champion is cool and all but that still doesn’t mean the Brazilian can get over the top 5 hump.

We could give him Michael Chiesa in a nice contrast of styles but I think the better matchup is with Gilbert Burns.

Burns is a better prospect but if the two stay standing, I think Vicente has a decent chance of getting the victory. This is a fun one! Two Brazilians bound and determined to defeat the other.

I love it.

How do we line this one? You have to make Gilbert Burns the favorite because of his grappling ability and dare I say a power edge of the TKO machine that is Vicente Luque. The latter seems to put everyone away he defeats, and Burns was TKO’ed in his last fight.

This is a closer fight than a lot of people think. The two men do train together, though, so the possibility of this one going off not for the title belt is low.

I still want to see it, though. Let’s cap this thing closely with Gilbert Burns opening up as a (-150) favorite with the underdog, Luque sitting at (+120).

Gilbert Burns (-150) vs Vicente Luque (+120)

The Bets
Gilbert Burns
Vicente Luque

Tyron Woodley

Retire, bro.

Just retire.

Omar Morales

I really want the best for this guy. Venezuela is a country I hold quite close to my heart, and it would be very special if they could have their own world champion in mixed martial arts.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Omar Morales is on that level, but he is a very skilled fighter with a nice frame, good power, and the heart of a lyon.

I would like to see Omar fight a big name and also someone he has a good chance of defeating.

Jeremy Stephens’ name is the first to come to my mind.

He has excellent striking, perhaps better than Omar but the Venezolano has the size and, most importantly, is younger with far less mileage on his body and brain.

I would open this one up with Morales as the slight, slight favorite at (-120), with Jeremy Stephens coming in as a popular bet at even money.

Omar Morales (-120) vs Jeremy Stephens (+100)

The Bets
Omar Morales
Jeremy Stephens

Miranda Maverick

Wow, did she look impressive against Gillian Robertson. I told y’all. Well, I’ve been telling you guys since she made her UFC debut.

This is my student’s student and she is incredible.

It isn’t like my guy taught her all she knows or anything, but as far as Muay Thai goes, he pretty much did. She won her first fight with an upward elbow that split her opponent so badly, they had to stop the fight.

I don’t think they should rush Miranda along too quickly.

She has a world champion ceiling, but she is still just 23 years ol.

So walk down the hill, and you know the rest.

9 women in the top 10 of the Strawweight Division already have fights lined up so let’s give her Antonina Shevchenko. She is, of course, a very talented striker herself but can be taken down and dominated.

I think Miranda has more paths to victory here for sure.

Miranda Maverick (-165) vs Antonina Shevchenko (+145)

The Bets
Miranda Maverick
Antonina Shevchenko

Sean O’Malley

Ol’ Salty Sean has redeemed himself!

Or has he?

I think his skills are outstanding. I thought that before his dominant TKO win over Thomas Almeida, though. The Brazilian, stylistically, was a perfect matchup for Sean, and it showed.

There is a BOATLOAD of talent throughout the UFC’s Bantamweight Division. 135 is simply stacked, and there are a multitude of exciting matchups we could make for O’Malley.

I want to see him rematch Chito Vera, but strangely enough, Sean doesn’t feel that is the fight for him right now…hmmm…

Let’s go with a fighter coming off of a huge win as an underdog, and that is The Matrix Kyler Philipps. This kid is as well rounded as they come but has a strong enough wrestling game to threaten most in the division with the takedown.

I would actually make Kyler the betting favorite here.

The two men train together, but who cares? They are both on a collision course anyway that will have them fight in the future.

Kyler has the grappling edge, so I have to give him the edge. It is close, though, as O’Malley has shown stellar takedown defense in his short UFC career.

Or has he? He isn’t getting taken down because he keeps getting fed below average strikers he can knock out.

Kyler Philips (-160) vs Sean O’Malley (+140)

The Bets
Kyler Philips
Sean O’Malley

Stipe Miocic

Retire, brother. Unlike Woodley, people still like you and would love to see you hang them up. At his age, it would take so long for him to get another title shot.

Also, after seeing how he was easily dominated by Francis, I have to go with Joe Rogan on this one.

Francis Ngannou

I think we all know who’s next. Well, if 8-10 million bucks was enough for Jon Jones, then we would certainly see this fight next, but it is not.

No matter how much dough, though, you won’t hear me telling these guys how to make their money, and negotiations is a major part of that.

As for the fight, I have got Francis Ngannou.

At first, I had Jones, but after we saw Francis level up x2 or x3, I have to give him the edge. Jon’s only chance in this one is to take down and control the champion.

After seeing how Stipe didn’t even get close and also how freaking big Francis is…

Ngannou is the play.

Also, Jones is adding a ton of muscle, and a friend asked me about this. He was saying Jones is going to be so much faster than all the heavyweights. Jon Jones has never been fast, first of all.

Second and most importantly, he is gaining weight on his frame that isn’t natural, and fighters who do that slow down their strikes as well as the ability to recover their muscle endurance as the fight wears on.

Francis Ngannou (-220) vs Jon Jones (+180)

The Bets
Francis Ngannou
Jon Jones

In Conclusion

Francis Ngannou stole the show.

I’m pretty sure most people aren’t going to remember much other than the Sean O’Malley knockout simply because he is such a polarizing figure in the sport.

I wanted to play matchmaker as it is always fun and a nice way to expand our minds in the handicapping process, see the different styles, and identify how they can change the betting odds and outcome of the fight.

Francis and Jon Jones appear to be next once all of the negotiations are through.

You can’t blame anyone for trying to get more money.

This also helps the little guy.

The more the big guy gets, the more the little guy will get as well. The UFC needs a union, and hopefully, the fighters can band together and make it happen.

No strikes, though!

For goodness sakes, no freaking strike. I would lose my poor little mind.

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Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.