This train just keeps on rollin, bebey…bebey…
Did someone hear Fred Durst? Must be me, sorry. The guy had some energy, though. You can’t take that away from him. I digress. Let’s progress.
This Satur(day) in the Western Hemisphere, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Boston’s Calvin Kattar headline UFC Fight Night 163 from Moscow, Mother Russia.
Start time will be 11:00 AM Eastern for the prelims and the main card kicks/punches off at 1400 hours.
For those of you who are salty about the time, how annoyed would you be if you’re halfway across the world and had to get up early on Saturday just to run your errands before you head to the arena…all because ‘Merica likes their normal time?
There are many talented fighters on the card, several of which I cannot properly pronounce their names but that shouldn’t deter you from betting and/or tuning in.
One name that is maybe not so easy to hear but at least pronounce is Greg Hardy.
Yes, the former Dallas Cowboy who fought just three weeks ago is a last minute replacement to step in against the lengthy Russian striker Alexander Volkov.
Greg added to his infamy when he used an inhaler before the start of the third round.
To hear the shock and awe in the voices of Dominick Cruz and Daniel Cormier who were calling the fight is priceless. Even coach Trevor Wittman chimed in and couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness.
Hardy won the fight but it was overturned to a no-contest and since they did it before the end of the event, online bettors were unable to cash their win. You live and learn, Greg.
This week will be a tremendous step up in competition for the former NFL All-Pro defensive lineman. More on that fight in a minute.
BetOnline.ag has the lines for us. Last week was almost perfect for our predictions.
I almost don’t want to make any for this Saturday because 9-1 on straight fight picks and 4-0 on prop bets is a PR as we say in the weight lifting community.
Jessica Rose Clark (-112) vs Pannie Kianzad (-108)
“Jessy Jess” Jessica Rose Clark is a former training partner in Las Vegas at Syndicate MMA.
The Aussie powerhouse relocated her camp down the street to Xtreme Couture and she also spent loads of her time at the UFC Performance Institute in Southwest Sin City.
She has now moved to Cali full time.
Jess trains quite a bit in the NorCal Bay Area outside of San Jose training at the famed CSA Gym led by striking mastermind Kirian Fitzgibbons.
Many of Uriah Faber’s Team Alpha Male fighters get a lot of work in with all of the professional Muay Thai fighters over there and it shows.
I had the pleasure of doing thousands of mostly friendly sparring rounds with strikers of all backgrounds during my time in Vegas and I will tell you this.
Pro Muay Thai fighters are on a different level. Sure, you get amazing kickboxers who give everyone fits like Stephen “Wonderboy Thompson and boxing stylists like one half of Saturday’s main event, Calvin Kattar.
The pro Muay Thai guys and girls make some of the best MMA strikers just look silly and Jessy Jess, who was already more than competent on her feet, has improved significantly since she started training at CSA.
She is coming off of a severe knee injury but she crushed her rehab and still took her time returning to the Octagon.
Her opponent, Pannie Kianzad, is a force herself. That’s a big reason why this a pick’em fight. The natural bantamweight was born in Iran and currently resides in Sweden. A boxer since age 14, Pannie loves to trade so I expect this one to play out on the feet.
These two women actually fought before in the Invicta in July of 2015. This was before Jess made the move to Vegas. Pannie won a unanimous decision by landing clean punches and defending takedowns effectively.
It has been public knowledge that Rose Clark was in a physically abusive relationship with her boyfriend at the time in Australia. I won’t give the guy any notoriety as I believe he is in jail now but the scumbag’s face was entirely covered in tattoos.
Coming to America was a rebirth for her and while this fight will be very tough, I know her mental, emotional, and physical states have improved dramatically since. Pannie has very good hands, though.
Kianzad is the bigger woman too. She made it to the finals of the Women’s Featherweight “Heavy Hitters” Ultimate Fighter show. That’s 145!
Jess’s frame is a natural 125. She has a little too much muscle, in my opinion, particularly in her legs to be able to compete at the highest level at Bantamweight (135). Strength and power are great. Don’t get me wrong but as the sport grows and overall skill levels even out, frame size becomes more and more important.
I really want to take Rose Clark here. She was always super cool with me and her sense of humor is golden but I have to go with the bigger girl who beat her before.
Pannie has had trouble on the ground but I don’t think Jess has been able to fully commit to a wrestling-heavy training camp coming off of a torn ACL.
Alexander Volkov (-265) vs Greg Hardy (+225)
I spoke briefly about Greg Hardy and inhaler-gate a bit ago. I don’t think he will have the same problem again.
Alexander Volkov is a very very good striker. Standing 6’7” tall with an 81-inch reach, the Russian striker will be fighting in his residence and hometown of Moscow. He would be on a 7-fight win streak right now but he lost his last one against Derrick Lewis with just a few seconds to go in the fight after dominating nearly the entire contest.
The Russian has a great gas tank and we already know Hardy needs assistance. Greg could land a big punch over the top as he has virtually the same reach but Volkov is polished.
The most important thing here is that he took an extended amount of time off after the KO defeat to Lewis.
There could be rust because it’s been over a year now but I think that’s much better than coming back too soon from being concussed.
(-265) is pretty steep, though. Betting 100 bucks will only net you 37 dollars. That’s a lot of risk for a heavyweight fight where it only takes one punch and the underdog is a world class athlete.
The over/under odds are a bit more juicy. I am on a bad streak with picking the over’s but Hardy has shown to be fairly durable and Volkov is more of a volume striker.
Even though he knockout out Werdum and Struve, both came late in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Derrick Lewis is very hittable and Volkov couldn’t put him away.
I’ll take the over 1.5 rounds at (-120). If he kicks Hardy in the head in the first, though, it won’t break my heart.
The former footballer hasn’t earned his spot on UFC main cards and you are probably aware of his domestic abuse conviction.
I think Volkov takes him out but Hardy hasn’t shown a ton of aggression in his recent outings so let’s hope it takes longer than 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
Zabit Magomedsharipov (-285) vs Calvin Kattar (+245)
My twin! I can’t help but love Zabit. 6’1 and fighting at 145 pounds, the long lean Russian is a phenom!
I really thought I had the Abe Lincoln look down pat. Every Halloween, I would don my black suit and top hat and enjoy the love wherever I went. It’s been a few years. Maybe I’ll bring it back next October.
Zabit may have his toughest test to date on Saturday. Calvin Kattar is on a roll as of late. He has won 12 of his last 13 and is 4-1 in the UFC. Calvin’s only UFC loss was a unanimous decision to Renato Moicano.
It should be noted that this fight will only be three rounds despite the fact that it is a main event. This favors Zabit because there is less of a chance that he gets knocked out by the more powerful puncher and Magomedsharipov has slowed significantly in the third round a couple of times in the UFC already.
This fight is no gimme, though. Kattar is a live dog. We have to remember that it was only a year and a half ago when Zabit had a hard time with Kyle Bochniak is 2-5 in his UFC career.
He’s an aggressive puncher, though, just like Calvin except not to that level.
- Zabit’s last contest against Jeremy Stephens got a little dicey but the Russian’s takedowns saved him.
- Zabit’s striking is almost too relaxed. I’m all for being cool in there. I get it but he can be a little too overconfident and has a bad habit of backpedaling.
He has the technique to trip and throw his opponents down but not the strength to keep them there.
Just like the co-main event, the favorite is not worth the price but I don’t think the underdog will win.
Zabit’s submission game is legit and Kattar is listed as just a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so a tapout is definitely a possibility.
I will take the over 2.5 rounds, though. The pressure and power punching will likely keep Zabit on his bike and at distance for most of this one.
The (-210) is pricey still but I found Zabit by decision at (-105) on Bet365.
- Zabit to Win -285
- Volkov to Win -265
- Bet 100.00 to Win 84.00
This should be a fun card. There may not be a ton of your favorite fighters and big names scrapping on Saturday but tune in still. You will learn a lot. It will pay off next time.
Last week was loaded with popular fighters and valuable picks. I’m glad we took advantage, of course, but there is a let down this week.
I really wanted to pick my friend Jessy Jess in her comeback fight but there are just so many factors going against her. She left the MMA and wrestling heavy academy of Xtreme Couture for a striking based academy in Cali.
When you’re kickboxing or practicing Muay Thai including sparring, you pretty much have control of what happens to your knee.
The clinch is a little different so maybe coming off of major surgery, she hasn’t been doing much of that either. There’s also the flight, jet lag, and time change to deal with.
Kianzad coming from nearby Sweden won’t have to deal with that. She is also the bigger woman naturally and Jess said on her social media a couple of weeks ago that she is lighter than ever before.
That’s great but when you’re already dealing with a size disadvantage, you will have to rely on speed. She is short on range and boxing ability as well. This is going to be a tough fight.
Kattar is 10x the martial artist Greg Hardy is and could take out the Russian superstar at any moment. He has the aggression and grit we haven’t seen from Hardy.
I think the former Cowboy’s tentativeness and Volkov’s patience should lead to the over bet hitting.
Zabit hasn’t been defeated in over 6 years and that is the sole loss of his career.
Let’s hope he plays the points game and Calvin can defend the potential submission attempts.
Remember to tune in the afternoon, guys!