“Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leaving today. I want to be part of it. New York, New York.” I’m sure you can still hear the World Series Champion Red Sox along with their faithful belting out notes like Old Blue Eyes.
Something tells me you won’t be hearing this song at the UFC Saturday night, that is unless UFC President and Boston-raised Dana White finds a way to sneak it in there. I think Dana, along with the rest of the UFC will be laser-focused on a card that has only had a main event since UFC 229.
It feels like last weekend when Heavyweight challenger Derrick Lewis flatlined Alexander Volkov after being dominated for 14 minutes of the 3 round fight.
As shocking as this was, it shouldn’t have been. Derrick has won 9 out of his last 10 fights inside the Octagon including 7 of those victories coming by the way of KO or TKO.
Several of these wins were by way of a late 4th quarter hail mary. It’s really hard to call these wins lucky, because so much goes into every exchange. Derrick has said that he is “always” looking for the knockout even when he can barely stand from exhaustion.
The late great Vince Lombardi once said that “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
No disrespect to one of the greatest coaches in the history of sports, but Vince never met Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis.
It doesn’t help that he weighs nearly 300 pounds, but Lewis has some of the worst cardio/muscle endurance I’ve ever seen from a professional athlete.
He even said so himself, along with some hilarious jokes, that he wasn’t ready for a title shot opposite “DC” simply because of his endurance.
I can’t say I disagree at all, but he is a hit with fans not only because of his fighting style but he has absolutely mastered the art of the post-fight interview inside the Octagon. Because of this, the UFC brass quickly made the Heavyweight title matchup barely a month later.
The co-main event features former Middleweight champion Chris Weidman as he looks to secure a title shot opposite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and longtime gatekeeper Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
The card is loaded and we have odds, best bets, and a couple underdogs for your gambling pleasure.
Let’s get to it!
Lyman Good (-650) vs Ben Saunders (+475)
- Over 1.5 Rounds (+120)
- Under 1.5 Rounds (-150)
I have been a fan of both men for a very long time. Ben Saunders started out on The Ultimate Fighter television show where he stood out for his size and finishing ability on the feet and ground.
He later went on a small winning streak in the UFC before leaving for Bellator where he looked amazing. He was re-signed to the UFC with higher expectations but has yet to live up to the hype.
Lyman Good, who will be fighting in front of his hometown New York crowd, is an absolute savage. A friend of mine made his way up the ranks a few years ago and was matched up with Lyman.
I thought we had a good chance to win, but I was dead wrong. Good is that good. Saunders has been finished early in 3 out of his last 4 fights and Lyman specializes in overwhelming fighters with his power as quick as he can.
I usually love to go with the over bets in this situation because it’s plus money, but Ben hasn’t been the same fighter in years.
We could potentially add this pick to a parlay. Let’s see what else is out there.
Matt Frevola (+220) vs Lando Vanetta (-260)
- Over 1.5 Rounds (-125)
- Under 1.5 Rounds (-105)
This matchup will be the featured fight on the Fight Pass Prelims Saturday night. If you get a chance to catch it, you really should. Lando Vanetta is highly unique and a joy to watch for both the trained and untrained eye.
Matt Frevola is a bit of an unknown, although he only has one career loss. That came in his second fight inside the UFC in January of this year when the now 7-5 Marco Polo Reyes finished him in the first round.
Matt would be smart to pressure Lando as much as possible, but this will be his biggest UFC to date in front of his hometown crowd, so there could be an adrenaline dump.
“Groovy” Lando has at least 1,001 combinations he can throw at Frevola.
Finishing percentages are fairly low for lightweights and I think Frevola will try to win via control and not finish, so I like this one to go farther than 7:30.
Israel Adesanya (-300) vs Derek Brunson (+250)
- Over 1.5 Rounds (-140)
- Under 1.5 Rounds (-110)
I love this matchup! Israel is one my new favorite fighters, and will soon be the favorite of thousands more.
“The Last Stylebender” not only has one of the best fight names, but one of the best fight games as well. He can counter or press the action with ultra high-level striking along and superior takedown defense.
His opponent Derek Brunson, though, has gone three rounds opposite the greatest MMA striker of all-time in Anderson Silva.
Adesanya isn’t 40+ years old, though. He’s not even close. In fact, he’s not even 30.
Israel will have the height and reach advantage and he isn’t a skinny guy at 6’4”.
I definitely think Adesanya wins the fight, but (-300) is pricey. He could be an anchor to a parlay if you like, but the best bet here is the over bet.
Derek throws many of his power punches upward as he comes forward and mixes that in with a power double leg takedown. The upward punches are awkward and may be harder to counter than a straight or looping punch.
You can counter with a kick, but Israel may be hesitant to throw many of them to the body in fear of the potential takedown.
I don’t believe Derek will be able to take him down but this is only a 3 round fight, so Brunson may switch his gameplan to that of more control instead of running with his hands down at a longer sniper.
Brunson fights smart and does some cage work early. Maybe he even lets Israel come to him. Israel has gone to a decision in his last 2 fights including going the full 25 minutes in the main event opposite Brad Tavares.
Israel by unanimous decision.
Chris Weidman (-194) vs Jacare Souza (+169)
- Over 2.5 Rounds (-110)
- Under 2.5 Rounds (-120)
This is a tough one. I like both guys and their styles are quite similar. Each man is a dominant world class top position grappler. I would say they each have comparable power as well.
The biggest difference is Jacare is a bit more of a submission threat while Weidman has the better takedowns. He is an Olympic Trial level wrestler. You don’t hear that much from the media.
I don’t think either of these slight advantages will have much impact on the outcome of the fight. This will probably turn into a striking battle where I give Jacare a slight advantage.
Probably just turned into not likely when I saw a whopping 6-inch reach advantage for the Long Island native Weidman.
Weidman has shown no issues with his chin, so his length should be the deciding factor in what may be a slow fight with two grapplers striking for 15 minutes.
Daniel Cormier (-675) vs Derrick Lewis (+500)
Dang it! There are no over/under lines up right now. Daniel can finish Derrick inside of one round if he wants. I have absolutely zero faith in “The Black Beast” fighting off his back.
Men his size spend nearly all their time on top, naturally.
Daniel Cormier, as you may know, is an Olympic wrestler and has taken down every opponent except the only man to beat him, Jon Jones.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you to jump on the (-675) bet, but Daniel is the absolute worst matchup for Derrick Lewis.
Or is he?
According to ufc.com, Derrick’s favorite technique is the head kick. If you remember correctly, that’s how Jon Jones was able to catch DC in their last fight.
Derrick may be the largest man Cormier has ever fought. He fought Bigfoot Silva, but he doesn’t have near the athleticism Derrick possesses. The same can be said of Josh Barnett who is maybe the next largest opponent.
This is a carefree bet and Derrick has 7 inches of reach advantage. Throw 20 bucks on “The Black Beast” to win you a crispy bill!
Win or lose, I hope Lewis has an interview inside the Octagon because he is awesome!
The main event is a bit of a surprise as many fans thought Brock Lesnar would be next for the Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. Brock is dealing with some declining male hormone levels as he enters the USADA drug testing pool.
I guess whenever he gets straight, we will see this matchup. Maybe not, though. Jon Jones is reinstated and ready to reclaim his belt and the Heavyweight strap as well.
I focused on the over/under bets today because they are much more likely to hit than an under bet, on average.
There were also several 1.5-round over/unders. I love those because many times, it’s because two early finishers are matched up. That’s okay, though. More often than not, fighters will give that opponent more respect and the fight lasts longer than expected.
Anytime the UFC visits the Big Apple, there are fireworks. You know Jon Jones will be in attendance and we might see Brock too!
Enjoy the scraps!