Monday MMA Mashup – April 19

Kamaru Usman and Valentina Shevchenko - MMA Logo

It is a historic week for the UFC. After a fun Fight Night event to wrap up a lengthy stint at the company’s Apex facility in Las Vegas, the UFC is finally putting on a show in the US outside of Sin City.

Oh, and there will be fans!

Yes, you read that correctly. I am psyched for the event. I know everyone there will be louder than they ever have been just because. You feel like you have to but then again, they are going to be wearing masks I assume.

That means their voices will, of course, be muffled. Oh well, there will be butts in the seats and that is a big step in the right or wrong direction. Time will tell but it appears that we will always have at least the Apex facility to put on fights even if there is zero attendance.

That is what matters the most to me. Let’s just keep the fights going.

This past weekend, we were treated to several fights on the card that had mostly even betting odds. There were a lot of scraps on the night that ended in controversial decisions. Let’s revisit some of those from a betting perspective and then look ahead to this weekend’s event from Jacksonville, UFC 261.

BetOnline had the betting odds for us last week and guess what, they are bringing the heat again for UFC 261. They debuted these betting lines first and now are still offering a 50% sign on bonus as well as having the most value at least 80% of the time on their UFC betting odds.

UFC Vegas 24 Betting Review

Jeremy Stephens vs Drakkar Klose

Jeremy, you Lil’ Heathen you. That shove is legendary! If you guys don’t know what I’m talking about, just give this quick video clip a watch and listen as well. Drakkar Klose had to pull out of this fight because he was concussed.

Yup, you heard me correctly. Whiplash can get you pretty good. It isn’t how hard you are getting hit, it is how much your brain moves through the cerebral fluid and hopefully doesn’t touch your skull.

That’s why the lights go out.

Fast forward to 4:20 for the Hardest pushing 155er in the UFC.

I know that it was disrespectful and uncalled for as far as we know. Jeremy didn’t say it was something Klose said. He just said he was too close. Yea, I’m guessing Jeremy can get away with that joke. He probably has kids now.

I think we are going to have to rebook this fight and let Drakkar get a chance at revenge. Being concussed and pulling out of the fight because I guy pushed you is not a good look. Maybe it will weigh on the conscience of Klose but maybe not.

It’s possible Drakkar isn’t as much of a dog as people would like to think but we will see how it plays out.

Tony Gravely vs Anthony Birchak

This fight was wild and wacky from the very beginning and I just knew my tip of the over 1.5 rounds wasn’t looking good. Birchak does slow down significantly but it usually doesn’t happen until about midway through the second.

Well, the first round these two warriors had ranks up there in the top ten first rounds of the year I would say. They both almost finished the fight. One with a submission and the other from ground and pound.

Tony Gravely ended up catching Anthony on the chin with a short left hook that I don’t think he saw coming. You don’t have to load up or throw it hard as Michael Bisbing was commenting.

He calls it the best takedown in MMA. You gotta love that guy. I’m kidding. He was a major butthole in his career to some of his opponents and he paid for it on more than one occasion. He is smart, though, and becoming one of my favorite commentators for the UFC.

Gravely is a savage and fortunately, we invited him and Tracy Cortez to our parlay party and they both won. This paid for our loss on the over 1.5.

Luis Pena vs Alex Munoz

Every commentator and from what I read, most every fan had Alex Munoz ahead two rounds to none going into the 3rd. Yes, I believe that Luis Pena won the third round but that’s it.

One and two weren’t really close. The refereeing was atrocious on Saturday. The sport of mixed martial arts has got to do a better job than they are right now with judging. It is a massive gaping hole in the sport and it affects fighters quite often.

It’s okay, though. It was a split decision and we were on the underdog. That’s all you can ask for even if we should have got the nod from the judges.

Chase Sherman vs Andrei Arlovski

Chase Sherman was outmatched here technically and he looked absolutely physically deflated. I think he went off the sauce and really showed it against Arlovski.

I’m not just saying this because we tipped Chase Sherman but it appears that is what happened to him because he had some serious power in his hands but not anymore. He rocked Andrei in the first round but couldn’t finish the job.

That was a bad play in retrospect. It was more off of a feeling that Chase was going to put him away. Arlovski is the far more experienced and technical fighter.

Tracy Cortez vs Justine Kish

Tracy Cortez is a good-looking prospect and I am not referring to her looks, at least not at this moment. Her fan base grows exponentially I would imagine. One guy sends her IG to the next and so on.

We had Tracy by decision and straight up. These weren’t huge paydays but (-250) and (-125) nonetheless. We surely needed them.

Tracy Cortez + Tony Gravely

This one hit for us without too much of an issue. I would have rather Tracy gotten more takedowns but she felt fairly comfortable out there striking with a powerful woman in Justine Kish.

That will only pay dividends in the future. Time inside of there is important to a fighter’s progression as a competitive mixed martial artist. That’s why you see the first-round KO guys all of a sudden run into a wall if they can’t get their opponent out of there early.

We got the payday here of (-137) which is not bad, really.

Bellator 257 Betting Review

Paul Daley vs Sabah Homasi

Sabah and Paul had an epic first round that had me pretty scared but the Brit pulled it together and got his guy out of there with his patented left hook.

This was a decent payout but not really enough for how much sweat it caused. (-190)

Vadim Nemkov vs Phil Davis

Vadim Nemkov looked great here against Phil Davis. The Fedor trained Russian superstar isn’t very tall for the light heavyweight division but neither was Fedor for heavyweight. So, he has one of the best teachers.

The two men don’t really have the same style, though, outside of the overhand right from St Petersburg. Vadim can sling it but nothing like his coach…

Nemkov was (-190) here just like Daley and I thought this play had even more value. The two men had fought before and Vadim won a close decision but the judges got that one right. Their ages aren’t that close, though, so one went downhill, and the other improved.

Good showing from Phil but he got beat by the better fighter on Friday night.

Parlay Daley and Nemkov

Hey, Paul gave us a sweat so I can’t brag too much about this one but (+133) was nice because we normally don’t do Bellator parlays but I really liked this spot.

Fortunately for us, both men took care of business.

+1.37 Units on the Week
Wagered 9 units
15.3% Return on your Investment

I’m not mad at this. Chase Sherman rocked Andrei Arlovski. Tony Gravely and Birchak almost went for 1.5 rounds. Also, we had a bad decision in the Luis Pena against Munoz so this wasn’t a terrible week altogether.

15% is good. I would like to stay above 20% but considering the bad breaks, we did alright.

UFC 261 Betting Odds and Predictions

Jessica Andrade vs Valentina Shevchenko

Over 4.5 Rounds:
-120
Under 4.5 Rounds:
-110

I’m going under here. Jessica is so aggressive! And she does NOT keep her hands up. I think she is going to get her head kicked off to be straight with you guys.

I know Bullet is on the same track. Maybe she wants to take Jessica down and put her on her back where she isn’t dangerous. That isn’t a bad game plan but trying to fight that center of gravity is going to be quite difficult.

I don’t think there is a better striker in the women’s flyweight division than Valentina and I don’t see Jessica taking her down. I’m not saying that Andrade doesn’t pose some issues. She does but I think Shevchenko will have all the answers.

But what about the slam?

She has the strength to do it but will she ever be in the position. That I don’t think so. I do believe, however, that Valentina Shevchenko will TKO Jessica Andrade not with punches but with a shin or foot upside the head and neck area.

Andrade is a tough woman who won’t be easy to put away but her lack of defense is something I cannot ignore.

The Pick
Under 4.5 Rounds

Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal

Kamaru Usman Inside the Distance:
+275

That is a nice number right there. You know it is. I remember I chased the juiced Usman by decision line when the champion fought Gilbert Burns in his last fight. I felt stupid when Kamaru’s power seemed to be translating to both hands.

His jab is thrown at such a downhill angle, that it hurts and drives through the faces of his opponents. How can he come off the pitchers’ mound throwing a jab in an MMA fight?

Well, because his size, athleticism, and wrestling are so good. Oh, and his strength is pretty solid as well. This guy like he says “Is a problem”.

He has vowed to finish Jorge. That means he will have to give up some position and maybe get hit more, risk getting knocked out himself, but he will give himself the opportunities to blow the fight wide open.

The threat of the clinch and the wrestling alone is almost enough to even up this striking battle and I will be honest with you guys-I don’t think Jorge is coming here to lose a decision. I think he will go out on whatever sword he can find.

That’s just me.

The Pick
Usman Inside the Distance

In Conclusion

We didn’t have the worst week ever. 15% return is a healthy number although I think we can do much better.

Bruce Lee taught us not to put limitations on anything and I certainly don’t want to do that with betting predictions and profits. We had some bad judging that hurt us as well as some close ones that didn’t go our way.

The bets we won were pretty clear, though, so that is reassuring. This next weekend’s fight will be the first UFC held in front of a crowd in a very long time. We are talking pre-pandemic. It’s been at least 6, 7 years, right?

Okay, that’s what it feels like and looks like but thankfully, the heartbeat of the world is still pumping.

Let’s hope the fans can yell loud enough to make this super spreader event worth it, right? I’m kidding. I am just happy to see the fights. That’s all.

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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.