Monday MMA Mashup – February 22

Fighters Jimmie Rivera, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ashley Yoder - MMA Logo

Derrick The Black Beast Lewis! You ruined A LOT of betting parlays. I know many many people that have had Curtis Blaydes as their anchor in a parlay for months.

By fight time, Curtis was a 5 to 1 favorite over Lewis and while many of us realized the betting line was now out of hand, we still didn’t give Derrick much of a chance.

A friend messaged me during the prelims and he asked if I thought Derrick Lewis had a chance and without hesitation, I called him Lloyd Christmas and hit him with the old “So, you’re sayin’ there’s a chance?” line from one of the greatest comedy films to ever hit the screen.

I wasn’t any different with the parlays. Curtis Blaydes had a clear path to victory over Lewis through his wrestling but he chose to strike through the first round and it paid off well as he was catching Derrick with punches and won the round.

In the second, though, Curtis, who is a highly technical wrestler, did his best “bend at the waist with no setup” shot and was met with an uppercut from the deepest darkest hills of Hades that stiffened him up immediately.

As he fell slowly, Lewis was right there to give him a couple more. Derrick really doesn’t get enough credit for his timing. Not taking anything away from his other worldly power, the timing is certainly on point too.

I believe Blaydes was starting to buy into the hype for this fight. I don’t know any other explanation as to why he felt like taking a bow without any setup at all was going to help him get in on the hips of Lewis.

I love to time guys when they dip like that but I am usually looking to kick the body. Lewis being the savage puncher that he is, put everything into that uppercut and that’s the night that the lights went out in Vegas for Curtis.

The rest of the night was upset central! In total, we had 6 of 12 betting underdogs win their fights and in convincing fashion at that.

Let’s recap the betting night from this past Saturday and also do a quick preview looking ahead to Saturday’s action headlined by another Heavyweight clash, this time between Ciryl Gane and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

I think the betting line is off for that fight as well.

The betting odds unless otherwise noted will all be provided by the beautiful people over at BetOnline.

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Lewis Betting Recap

Shana Dobson vs Casey O’Neill

Our first play of the night was a successful one when we took a chance on a UFC debut in a low level women’s MMA fight. This was a risk but I feel like that was all built into the betting line.

If O’Neill had already had a successful debut with the company, she would have likely been a 2.5 or 3 to 1 favorite instead of an incredibly affordable (-150). Also, Shana was coming off of one of the biggest betting upsets of all time in mixed martial arts when her last opponent, Mariya Agapova, more or less lost the fight on her own.

Agapova, who was a 10 to 1 favorite at the time, came out hot and heavy and looked like the betting odds were actually correct but to her credit, Dobson weathered the storm and came away with a victory when Maria gassed.

A great friend taught me an invaluable lesson at a young age when he judy chopped me in the throat and said “If you can’t breathe, you can’t fight.” I, of course, didn’t really understand what he was saying as his voice was drowned out by my attempts to get air into my lungs.

This is important for MMA betting because your pick can have every advantage you can think of but it means absolutely nothing when your conditioning fails you.

I felt that between Shana being overvalued due to a massive upset “win” in her last fight along with the fact that Casey only had 5 fights against absolutely weak competition thus far in her young pro MMA career, we had an edge on the books in this one.

The first round was a little slow for O’Neill but as she mentioned in her post fight interview with Michael Bisping, she just had to tell herself in between rounds that it was the same job just with a different uniform.

After that, she dominated and won with a TKO from back mount. 1-0 so far.

Tom Aspinall vs Andrei Arlovski

A while back, we took Tom Aspinall to get the win by submission over the 40+ PitBull Andrei Arlovski. This was a hit for 20-1! The line was absolutely ridiculous. Tom is a black belt in BJJ, raised on the mats in his father’s school.

These fighters are a different breed. Tom was having some troubles with Arlovski early on as they both were boxing. The Belarussian’s best physical attributes are his natural size and boxing ability so he was hanging on the feet but we know that the Pitbull has him beat on chin mileage so trading was likely going to result in the 15-year older man getting sparked.

What was so crazy to me is how quickly this fight ended and it wasn’t from a well timed powerful strike or a combination.

It looked like Tom just got tired of boxing and don’t call me Mike Goldberg-speared Arlovski into the fence where he already had a trap set to snatch a quick choke on Arlovski.

Andrei is a legend, though. He was just 3-1 when he got his UFC debut and has been fighting at or near the highest level of the promotion’s Heavyweight Division ever since. Now at 30-20, he has nothing left to prove.

Aspinall was the bigger man in there and wow, can he move! Chris Daukaus vs Tom Aspinall, please!

Phil Hawes vs Nassourdine Imavov

We originally picked Nassourdine Imavov to get the win over Phil Hawes but that was a month ago. After revisiting the contest and betting odds, I decided to go with the over 1.5 rounds instead and it paid about as well as either fighter would have at (-115).

Hawes looked great in the fight and for the first time ever, he was composed the entire time and his cardio didn’t really fail him until half way through the third round. That is more than twice as long as he has been lasting before.

Nas hurt him late in the fight but was very tired himself having to deal with the stronger man wearing on him for 13 minutes. Imavov was one punch away for what seemed like an hour but was more like 90 seconds.

Hawes showed a ton of heart surviving after he gassed. There are fighters who gas and those who don’t but Hawes showed he is one of the few that can hit and wall and keep pushing. He earned that victory.

I see a bright future for both men.

Charles Rosa vs Darrick Minner

Our next couple of plays didn’t hit, though, and we were way off on the Rosa vs Minner fight. I thought Charles would be able to keep the fight standing and Minner would tire.

Darrick looked tremendous, though, and with the help of James Krause in his corner, the KC-trained kill or be killed fighter eventually won a decision. That would have paid at 5 to 1! We missed the mark here. It is as simple as that.

I was thinking, hey, Bryce Mitchell couldn’t put him away so it isn’t likely Minner will be able to either. Bryce still won a unanimous decision, though. Ugh.

Curtis Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis

In the main event, I felt that the only betting line that had any value left was the over 1.5 rounds. I foresaw Blaydes winning on the fence early on doing his best to tire the arms on Lewis and then get him down and comfortably work from top position.

We made it out of the first pretty cleanly and was pretty confident our last play of the night would hit for us but The Black Beast showed us exactly why there is more parody in the UFC’s Heavyweight Division than any other.

Curtis Blaydes may not be the same guy after this. We will have to see.

He has already lost to Ngannou twice as well by TKO so I imagine this will lead to hesitation and the h-word is a no-no for any MMA fighter.

I congratulate anyone who has been successful in MMA betting in 2021 thus far. Every event has had a different theme so we have to look at each show and each fight separately.

UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Gane Betting Preview

Angela Hill (-300) vs Ashley Yoder (+250)

I agree that Angela Hill should be the favorite here but the line is just out of control. Many highly successful MMA bettors will bet a line solely because they think it is a dollar or more off.

I think Angy should be around a (-150) favorite so yea, we have her winning 6 of 10 times but 8 of 10 is ridiculous. Ashley Yoder is a tough out. She always has been.

These two women have fought before on The Ultimate Fighter Finale and Hill won a unanimous decision almost doubling up Yoder on strikes even though Ashley took her down 3 times on just 6 attempts.

Both women have improved since then but Angela Hill has been fighting the better competition including her last two fights where she lost to a couple of former title challengers. Two of her other losses came against former world champs in Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade.

Hill has a lot of respectable losses but she is a 3 to 1 favorite so who has she defeated?

Maryna Moroz was probably the best win of her UFC career and Moroz is solid. She beat Calderwood and Mazo who are both top ten fighters.

Who else, Angela? Loma Lookboonme was a nice win. We cashed on that one but the Thai is still very one-dimensional. That’s it. Nobody else who is even with the company anymore other than Yoder herself.

Ashley has 4 inches of height and 3 inches of reach on Angela as well as being a southpaw. That’s enough for a small half of a unit play on the underrated Yoder.

Jimmie Rivera (-145) vs Pedro Munhoz (+125)

I have to go with volume here over power as Jimmie has shown to be a highly durable fighter and I think he will be content to keep this one standing and not look for the takedown and get caught in Munhoz’s patented proper guillotine.

Rivera will be two inches shorter than his Brazilian opponent but will have 3 inches in the reach department. The taller man, of course, has his height that adds a bit of reach depending on their stance but also remember that whenever you see the shorter fighter with more reach, it lines them up very well to come over the top.

Please Note:

I think Jimme should probably be about a (-180) or (-200) favorite so we don’t have a massive edge on the books but there is something. These two fighters have also met previously inside of the Octagon.

Jimmie outlanded Pedro 96-66 in significant strikes. There were no takedowns and Rivera pulled out a split decision. Pedro got most of his wins early on in his career before the word got out about his guillotine.

Then he beat up a couple of wrestlers and knocked out a clipped and crazed Cody Garbrandt. That’s about it, though. I think this one plays out much like the first meeting of the two men with Jimmie edging Pedro in a kickboxing match.

I will take the tank to get his hand raised once more.

Cyril Gane (-275) vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+225)

The line is off. I like Gane, sure. He is bigger, will have 3 inches of reach on Rozenstruik but it’s Jairzinho that has been in there with the far superior competition.

The line is off and you aren’t going to convince me otherwise without telling me something I don’t know. This is also a 5-round main event fight and Jairzinho already has 5-round UFC experience and proved that he carries power into the 25th minute should the fight last that long.

Gane got his career started with two fighters who are no longer with the company and probably never should have been in the first place. Then, he takes out Tanner Boser. That was a good win but I think Rozy beats the guy as well.

Then, in his most recent fight, Gane stops JDS in the second round. Pretty good win but we know darn well that Junior is not the guy he used to be but will still trade with you like he is.

Rozy KO’ed JDS in the 2nd round less than 4 months prior, though. Gane got the sloppy seconds, if you will.

Rozenstruik’s only loss came in the opening minute against Francis where Jairzinho was bull charged by Ngannou who was winging the wildest ugliest punches and Rozy countered him well but Franky eventually found the chin with his 4th windmill punch.

Other than that:

Rozy was out-pointed by Overeem for almost 5 rounds but showed that he never gives up on himself by staying in the fight mentally and finishing off the Dutchman in the final minute of a 5-round fight.

We just saw what can happen in a heavyweight fight and Gane has some of that French blood and we know they aren’t known for their heart. What? They aren’t.

Mexicans aren’t usually known to be highly technical unless you’re Canelo Alvarez but the world is well aware of their corazon.

I will ride and die with my boy Jairzinho here. He has shown me more than Gane to this point. More heart, more conditioning, and more experience.

PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!

In Conclusion

Heavyweights, man. Whew, it’s hard to go with a 5 to 1 favorite! I can’t think of many big guys who should have betting odds like that unless they are top control wrestlers who likely won’t engage too much in the striking realm.

Wait, that’s what we happened with Blaydes! There are no sure things in this game and that’s what makes it so much fun. I love the fact that we don’t have to deal with nearly as many variables in an MMA fight as we do if we bet on an NBA or NFL game.

Think about how much the referees affect the score and even the outcome. If you’re playing point spreads in the NBA and winning over time, then I salute thee.

I am just starting to get into the point spreads in MMA. They definitely make things more interesting but that doesn’t always equate to betting value, winning, and return on your investment.

We will pick our spots and do a few of the point spread betting predictions for Saturday’s fights. The lines aren’t released yet or I would touch on them today. While it is important to broaden our betting horizons, we also must remember that with every prop, method of victory, and now point spread, we are limiting our opportunities to win the bet.

Of course, the payout might increase but the majority of the time, the moneyline remains the milk and bread to our Texas-sized snowstorm of weekly MMA betting.

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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.