In the words of the late great Harry Caray, “Holy Cow!”
What an outstanding UFC event we witnessed last weekend from Las Vegas!
I haven’t been able to get enough of the Youtube videos, memes, and articles. It was already Wednesday of this week before I started looking at the card from Sacramento.
As well as enjoying one of the most exciting cards in recent memory, we were able to continue our winning ways on the betting front.
Claudia Gadelha was more than 2-1 to win but we got her at (-120) to take a decision and she came through.
Yadong Song was just over 2 to 1 as well to win and we missed our chance at even money on a TKO finish but hopefully, you invested because he got the win as well.
Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal, well…
I’ve never been so excited and happy to be wrong in my life.
Luke Rockhold was (-220) as well and I thought we had some good value taking him to win a decision at (+333), but Jan Blachowicz broke the arrogant aristocrat’s jaw with a left hook as they broke the clinch.
Amanda Nunes (-420)?
No problem. Getting her at (-110) to finish the fight was probably the best bet of the night even without hindsight.
Then came the main event with the “best P4P fighting in the world” Jon Jones.
(-700) turned out to be quite a stretch.
Grabbing him at (+125) to get a sub or decision was also surprisingly valuable but hey, I’ll take it.
BTW, I feel with all my brain that Thiago won that fight.
I’m not going to make that step up on the soapbox because we will be here all day.
It was another successful week bringing our recent UFC betting record to 8-2 on the favorites and 11-1 on fairly even odds ranging from (-135) to (+135).
We are, however, 0-5 on underdog bets. I would love to change that soon but it’s not something I want to rush either.
Since this card is taking place in Sacramento, California, I have to say we have some “hella” valuable odds to play with again.
Is possibly a title eliminator featuring the fast-moving train that is Aspen Ladd against Germaine De Randamie as the latter makes her return to the Octagon after her disappearing act from the 145-pound division when Cyborg came around.
Urijah Faber leads many of his troops from Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male into battle but he will have his experienced hands full with the youthful assassin, Ricky Simon.
BetOnline has the odds for us this week.
I have several fights I want to look at so, let’s get after it!
Ryan Hall vs Darren Elkins
I remember the first time I saw Ryan Hall. It was my first grappling tournament as a white belt in Richmond, Virginia.
He was just a purple belt at the time and was not only submitting every blackbelt he rolled with but he was clearly making them lose face and verbally show their frustrations to his style.
He was using an inverted guard to give them a false sense of security and as he spun back around like a true veteran b-boy, he would grab an arm or wrist and lock up the triangle choke.
He has since opened his own school in the DC area, mastered the leg lock game, and appeared on The Ultimate Fighter reality show.
I’m very flexible with long legs, so the triangle has been my favorite technique although I’ve been trying to move on to the kimura. After I saw how he evolved into a leg lock guy, it gave me the confidence that I could do something other than one move as well.
He recently shredded the knee of BJ Penn with an absolutely filthy heel hook. As a BJ fan, that one hurt but it is what it is.
Ryan’s opponent Saturday night is a member of the home Team Alpha Male and has proven himself to be one of the most durable and strong hearted fighters to ever step into the Octagon.
I don’t really think any of those things are going to help him against a guy like Hall who likely isn’t going to hurt him with strikes or get tired trying to do so.
I could see, however, Darren just letting his ligaments tear and continuing to fight.
Elkins will undoubtedly be the better athlete and wrestler in there as well as holding a significant strength advantage.
Hall has an underrated striking game, though. It isn’t threatening at all but he uses his legs well and has a much better grasp of fighting at distance than most of his BJJ specialist colleagues.
The odds are even but a strong argument can be made each way as to why they shouldn’t be.
That might scare most bettors off but Ryan trains at TriStar Gym in Montreal under Firas Zahabi, the man that brought us Rory McDonald and George St Pierre among others.
He is one of, if not the greatest mind in mixed martial arts. We have to keep in mind as well that Ryan Hall is still getting better, at a rapid pace at that, and his opponent Elkins has recently started his way down the mountain.
Julianna Pena vs Nicco Montano
Wow, this is a fight that would be getting much higher billing if these two women have been fighting recently.
The difference is Julianna won the show at this fight’s current weight of 135 pounds and Nicco is moving up from 125.
Both winners of The Ultimate Fighter, Pena and Montano will both be looking to work there way back up the ladder in the Bantamweight division.
Julianna Pena was pretty much the favorite on the show and she dominated her opponents by takedown, ground-and-pound and/or submission.
She came up training in Washington with people like Mike Chiesa and her mentor Meisha Tate.
Nicco, on the other hand, came out of nowhere on the show winning fights on mostly will alone.
She is skilled but you can tell, she just wants it more.
Her lone defeat under the banner was against Valentina Shevchenko by armbar. We know how good Shev is, so we can’t really hold that against her.
Nicco’s strength is in the clinch where she landed some very clean knees on the show but that’s right where Julianna wants this fight because once she gets the takedown, it’s likely a wrap.
The only reason the odds aren’t 3 to 1 is that the favorite has been on the shelf since January of 2017.
I have to go with Pena here.
Sheymon Moraes vs Andre Fili
“Touchy” Fili has beaten me twice before on wagers. He was “eh” a few years ago but I really do respect how much he has grown as a fighter since.
Andre has taken advantage of the recent unofficial partnership between his Team Alpha Male and CSA Gym in San Jose.
If you’re unfamiliar with CSA Gym, they don’t have a ton of top contenders in MMA but the place is packed with professional Muay Thai fighters.
I trained with pro MMA and pro Muay Thai fighters almost daily for years, and there are levels to this stuff.
Pro Muay Thai guys make the majority of UFC fighters’ striking look elementary at best.
As good of fighter and explosive as Sheymon Moraes is, I think Andre can edge him.
Fili has a great jab and the 2 inches of reach advantage to play with.
If he can withstand an early barrage from the Brazilian, Fili can take this one on points.
This contest definitely has the potential to be Fight of the Night, though, so don’t throw too much cash on this one.
Ricky Simon vs Urijah Faber
I’m not sure why Urijah is coming back.
I have a couple of good ideas, though.
For A, he loves to fight.
B, he likes money.
This show is also in front of his hometown crowd where he has lived nearly his entire life.
He is a celebrity in the city of Sac and always will be.
How do you not love the guy?
He continually has a smile on his face and a non-egotistical peaceful response to nearly every comment thrown his way including the most negative.
His time coaching on The Ultimate Fighter opposite Conor McGregor lacked that hateful tension so many viewers love to see but he won us all over including McGregor with his charm.
None of that is going to help him this Saturday, though, against Ricky Simon.
My old training partner and brother of current UFC rising star Khalil Rountree Jr, Donovan Frelow took Ricky to a split decision on Dana White’s Contender Series back in August of 2017.
He has since gone on a tear defeating Mirab Dvashivilli and Rani Yahya.
One of Simon’s strengths is his takedown game averaging 4.3 every 15 minutes.
I’m not sure if that will be his strategy in this contest because Faber has one of the best guillotines of all-time.
Ricky hasn’t defeated another high-level fighter his size, though. Frelow is as natural a 125-pounder as they come. He could fight 120, really.
Rani Yahya is pretty slight in frame as well.
Faber has never really shown to be weak in the chin at all and the only man to ever stop “The California Kid” inside the distance was a pre-USADA Renan Barao who was doing that to everyone at the time.
The more I look at this fight, the more value I can see in a bet on Urijah.
It definitely shouldn’t be 3-1.
This will by far be the biggest stage ever for the favorite and Urijah has nothing left to prove.
I think Simon chills on the takedown attempts early because of Faber’s guillotine until he gets clipped with an overhand. Then he shoots, gets his neck snatched up and the crowd goes wild!
Aspen Ladd vs Germaine de Randamie
I remember when I started following Ladd on Instagram. I just thought she was a fighter who had some cool wolf dogs and was always hiking.
I love all three, so why not?
This was before I had even seen her fight and she’s yet to lose since.
Aspen isn’t particularly fast but has never really needed to be.
Her opponents have not been that speedy or nearly as savvy on their feet as Germaine.
De Randamie is a high-level striker who keeps women on the end of her punches quite well and has a takedown defense percentage of an astounding 88% according to ufc.com.
Her 5-inch reach advantage and Muay Thai experience can spell trouble for Ladd who is tough but will have a hard time walking through one punch at the range of nearly half a foot.
She will likely have to eat a couple and by that time, Germaine will probably have moved her feet.
Aspen is as strong and dominant in the top position, though, as any woman in the UFC so she might only need one takedown to finish the fight.
Most of the money is rolling in on Germaine too.
If this were a 3-round fight, I would say go with the underdog for sure but Aspen will have plenty of time and opportunity to secure the clinch and a trip.
Then again, there is Germaine’s Muay Thai experience. She has a strong clinch game as well. She has defeated some of the best in the world at that level.
Ugh, tough call here. I will be pulling for Ladd but I’ll take the value with Germaine.
I would watch the weigh-ins, though, and if she looks heavily depleted going down a weight class then take Ladd.
The UFC is fighting off an undergrad rush week level hangover this week.
After Masvidal did what he did, Jon Jones being challenged nearly as much as ever, and Luke Rockhold being shot into another dimension, it’s hard for some fans to get excited about UFC Sacramento.
There has even been a lot of talk online on the hardcore websites about how weak this card is but I just don’t see it.
The storyline is great.
You’ve got all those Team Alpha Male guys fighting in front of their current home city, defending their turn per se.
Urijah Faber is coming out of retirement in a winnable fight where nobody is giving him a chance.
The main event it a title eliminator between two top five fighters with absolutely opposite styles.
Ryan Hall is literally the exact opposite, at least physically and skill-wise, of Darren Elkins.
I’m loving Fight Night 155. Some of the fights are hard to call but that makes it that much more fun.
Hopefully, we can put together another week on this side of the decimal point.
Until next time.