UFC Fighter Focus x 3!

UFC Fighter Focus Jordan Leavitt Jimmy Flick And Ilia Topuria

Normally, when we do a fighter focus blog, it is just that. We are focusing on one fighter but I could not decide which prospect or career resuscitation that I liked the most.

Unlike last week, this Saturday’s fight card has some excellent talent from top to well, almost bottom. We will just conveniently forget about the opener this weekend: Gian Villante vs Jake Collier.

This fight will be the highlight of the weigh in and the lowlight of fight night. That’s my prediction at least. Both men looked like they gained half their body weight over the lockdown.

There is a ton of talent on display this weekend and I wanted to highlight a few of those guys and also see what the most valuable betting play would be for each athlete.

All of the betting odds we will use today are provided to us by BetOnline.AG.

Quick Note:
Jordan Leavitt is a fighter I am highly familiar with. I started working with him when he was 18 years old but I honestly had no idea. I thought he was 24. The kid is incredibly intelligent.

I think he read a book/week for a year. He started wrestling at a late age and still won a state championship. Now, he is 7-0 and fighting Matt Wiman this weekend in his first official UFC fight.

Wiman has been around and never submitted in his entire pro career but I know Jordan and the now 25 year old man loves a challenge.

Also, Ilia Topuria, the Georgian fighter born in Germany formerly fighting out of Spain and currently in South Florida at MMA Masters is in action against a dangerous veteran Damon Jackson who has 16 of his 17 wins by stoppage.

Topuria burst onto the UFC scene by bursting everyone’s favorite bubbly personality, Youseff Zalal, in a 3-round short notice dominant victory. Ilia was able to do pretty much whatever he wanted to Zalal in that fight.

He did tire late but it was short notice and to be expected.

Finally, let’s touch on Jimmy The Brick Flick. I believe this guy is the best version of himself and one of the most dangerous submission artists in the UFC’s Flyweight Division.

Jimmy isn’t getting the respect he deserves, in my opinion, against Cody please call me Tyler Durden. Flick, after an outstanding performance on Dana White’s Contender Series, is a problem for almost anyone in the division.

That is if he can get said fights to the mat.

Accepting the bottom position and not being a good enough wrestler to use his BJJ advantage has been his Achilles heel in the past.

Let’s crank up the magnification for each of these three guys and use this info to dial in the best play for this Saturday.

Jordan Leavitt

The Monkey King!

Where do I even start with this guy? He is an individual in life and he lets that attitude and overall freedom lead him into the Octagon and through a fight.

The key word for him is freedom. He is a guy that always puts in the work whether it means working a couple of jobs through college or being the first in the gym and the last to step off the mats virtually every day.

He is doing this at a gym where you could have anywhere for 30-50 professionals on the mat in a daily MMA class run by head coach John Wood.

I feel like because Jordan is so disciplined in life and he appears to have always been that way, it allows him to be completely free in his fights.

There are certain levels of intelligence the vast majority of us will never reach. Well, Jordan is on another level than that.

He does have a tough test in front of him against long-time pro Matt Wiman. On paper, Wiman is a better striker and has never been submitted in his career. So, at the very least Jordan will likely have to take Matt down a few times to get the win.

I feel like he can do that and even though my gut is telling me that Jordan will get the submission, Wiman is a tough old guy and is going to make him work for it.

My pick hasn’t changed. Let’s stick with Jordan Leavitt by decision.

(+150)!

Ilia Topuria

Ilia is a big part of the current Georgian invasion of the UFC. I have been talking about it all week with two Georgian fighters on this week’s card. Roman Dolidze and Ilia Topuria will both look to represent their home country with pride as they will hopefully get the wins as favorites.

I’m not too sure about the potential of Dolidze but Topuria is a killer. I’m buying the hype on Ilia.

There is a reason the UFC let him fight such a surging, confident, and skillful opponent in Youseff Zalal. It was a win-win for them because both men have the potential to be a star in the UFC.

Topuria proved to us that there are levels to this stuff, though, with a dominant decision victory over Zalal.

The Georgian fighter is the total package. I don’t think he has a ton of weaknesses other than possibly being a little bit over muscled. That was the worry against a long lean cardio machine like Zalal but the strength advantage as well as the technical edge was enough to make the difference.

Now, against Damon Jackson this gap may close. I feel like Ilia will still have a strength advantage but Jackson is older and appears stronger than Zalal so it won’t be as pronounced.

A lot of people I respect are on Jackson here but I’m not buying it. I think he is a live dog, sure. The guy is a live dog against almost anyone he fights but Ilia is a black belt in BJJ as well and will more than likely be the fighter on top.

That’s if they go to the ground. I think Topuria has the edge in wrestling and striking so if wants to keep it there, he should be able to do so.

I’m going with Topuria by decision.

(+375)!

Jimmy Flick

The Brick!

I don’t really understand the nickname because he is mostly a submission specialist but whatever, it rhymes with Flick. I guess you can’t get too creative in his particular situation.

Jimmy is fighting Cody Durden in the 125 pound Flyweight Division and this will be the first trip down as a pro for Cody.

I have all the respect in the world for Cody and his game but he likes to press and clinch and takedown…

That’s just not the smartest move against a submission grappler the level of Jimmy Flick.

You have to love Jimmy. He is 15-5 and has taken his bumps in his career including being finished by strikes more than once. Cody Durden can box a little bit and has a wrestling tattoo.

That’s pretty cool but Flick has been there and done that. He is at a different point in his career than his opponent Saturday night.

I love his confidence as well. Jimmy said recently that he is already an elite UFC Flyweight. Even if he wasn’t, this is the same attitude that Conor McGregor has said to have. Show respect but also know that you belong there and always be looking to move on.

I think Jimmy gets Cody down and submits him this weekend.

We tipped the over 1.5 rounds earlier in the week but I think Jimmy is a solid bet straight up as well as by submission.

(+110) by sub!

In Conclusion

Those are your three today! I don’t necessarily believe that these three are my most confident picks but they may be the most talented of anyone else on the fight card.

I left out Movsar Evloev but that guy is so special that he deserves his own article. He is such a massive favorite as well.

If you want a breakdown on that fight as well, check it out here.

As far as Jordan Leavitt goes, he is a name we will be hearing for a while. A lot of folks are sleeping on his striking and no, it isn’t overly powerful or polished but his defense on the feet is severely underrated.

Maybe it’s just me but the last time I sparred him, I couldn’t touch the guy, and that is a far cry from the first time when he was 18. Jordan has the athletic ability and intelligence to do anything he wants including being a top ten fighter or title contender at 145 or 155 pounds.

Ilia Topuria is smart and technical as well but he brings another element to the fight with his power. The guy’s ground game seems legit as well.

We will learn a lot more about him in his matchup with Damon Jackson this weekend.

As for Flick, I think he should have gone with the Bic nickname. Flick your Bic, right?

I don’t know. I do know he has some of the most dangerous submission games in the Flyweight Division and that should be enough to carry him to a win this weekend.

PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!

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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.