UFC Betting Pick: Gillian Robertson vs Poliana Botelho

Gillian Robertson has been a cash cow for us. I think we are 3-1 with her over the past couple of years.

Her style is quite conducive to betting mixed martial arts. She is a takedown, top control, and submission fighter. That is a dominating style.

Israel Adesanya, as good as he is, has a riskier style than Gillian.

Yes, she has taken girls down and then gotten tapped. She has not been able to take girls down like Maycee Barber and has been overwhelmed with strikes.

She just isn’t as good at what she does as Izzy. Maybe comparing one of the pound for pound greats of today and a potential future title challenger wasn’t the best idea. I love the style, though.

Sweeps and submissions from the bottom position don’t happen nearly as often as we see better technical strikers getting hurt on the feet by their opponents.

MMA is really tricky. There is so much going on all the time.

In my opinion, though, in modern mixed martial arts, as the sport plays out at the highest level, the mat is normally a simpler and safer place than being out in the open in a striking match.

Believe me, I understand that BJJ is a much deeper martial art when it comes to the number of techniques, variations, etc.

In today’s game, though, 90% of fighters are coached to stand up immediately if they are in bottom position. Don’t go for subs or sweeps. Just get up.

Up up up!!!

You have to be aware of who you are dealing with like when Mayra Buena Silva hit an armbar on Gillian.

Robertson’s coaches down in South Florida at American Top Team are some of the best in the world as you know. I’m sure she will come into this fight as well prepared as she has ever been.

Her opponent, Poliana Botelho, is a solid fighter coming out of Brazil. She is currently 3-1 inside the Octagon so far with her only loss to Cynthia Calvillo, another takedown stylist.

I rate Calvillo higher than Gil, though. She is a crisper striker and more athletic overall.

Calvillo is more game, also. We did see Robertson shell up pretty bad and even start to turn on the cage and Maycee Barber was unloading on her. Maycee can be pretty freakin’ vicious, though, once she gets going.

This isn’t going to be a slam dunk for Gil. If she gets a few takedowns, I think she cruises but Botelho is a clip better on the feet.

This one will likely come down to wrestling. Go figure. How many times have you heard that?

Let’s glance over the measurables for each woman and note any major differences.

Gillian Robertson Poliana Botelho
Fight Record: 8-4 Fight Record: 8-2
Age: 25 Age: 31
Height: 5’5” Height: 5’8’
Reach: 63” Reach: 67”
From: Port St Lucie, Florida From: From: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fight Camp: American Top Team Fight Camp: Nova Uniao

Height and reach are big here.

We are also fighting in Abu Dhabi this week in the larger Octagon. That could favor either girl depending on the situation.

Gillian Robertson has a better chance of holding Poliana down towards the center of the Octagon but Poliana also has more room to work, set up her strikes, and avoid the takedown attempts of “Savage”.

Robertson just seems to find her way into the clinch and soon on top of her opponents.

Since leaving The Ultimate Fighter reality show and joining the official ranks of the UFC, Gillian has amassed a 5-2 record inside the Octagon with all 5 of her wins coming by way of referee stoppage.

Her two losses were finishes as well. Mayra Bueno Silva tapped her out two years ago and Maycee Barber overwhelmed Robertson on the feet against the cage last October.

Poliana Botelho is a capable striker but I don’t believe she can match Macy’s ferocity and explosiveness with her striking. I hope Gillian grew from that moment Barber had her seemingly trapped against the cage and unloaded on her.

Robertson, at that moment, did not fight nor fly. She froze up. That will always be a concern moving forward betting on Gil in the future.

Botelho is coming up from 115 pounds but she fought her most recent battle with Lauren Mueller at 125 pounds after being tapped by Cynthia Calvillo, who has since moved up to Flyweight as well.

To her credit, Poliana did not look small in there. She was probably cutting a lot to make 115.

Gillian’s striking is getting better but I still see this one coming down to the wrestling.

  • If Robertson gets her down, she is likely going to win.
  • If not, then she will probably lose.

That’s MMA right now. You do see more submissions from the guard in the women’s divisions. Ladies love their armbars.

Wide hips and most women being stronger in their lower bodies than upper make armbars from the guard off their backs a very dangerous submission in women’s MMA.

I don’t think Poliana is Mayra Buena Silva, though. The former has zero career submissions and the latter has 3 in 4 UFC fights including her win on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Poliana Botelho’s best weapon is body kick. I don’t think it will be there to land flush on Robertson, though.

She stays pretty square and in her frame even when the going is getting tough; probably a little too square against the cage when Maycee mauled her but that kick really doesn’t open up unless your opponent blades their stance.

You can still sneak it in under the elbow and catch the liver, sure, but you aren’t going to get that entire surface area of the shin cracking across the belly and bread basket.

I don’t think Poliana is particularly quick or fast, though.

Let’s take a look at the betting odds provided to us by the online sportsbook BetOnline and then we can make a smart play on this fight.

Moneyline

  • Robertson -225
  • Botelho +185
Round Total

  • Over 1.5 (N/A)
  • Under 1.5 (N/A)
Decision Prop

  • Fight goes (+175)
  • Fight doesn’t go (-145)

This one opened about where it is right now. Not a lot of big money has jumped on Gil here at (-225).

Maybe they are seeing the 8-4 record and getting turned off but I think she is one of the best bets in the UFC in the right spot. Her striking and her entries into her takedowns have both improved each and every fight throughout her UFC career.

Speaking of careers, Poliana Botelho hasn’t fought in 18 months and only has 2 fights over the past 2 years. Maybe she has been in the lab every single day improving her mixed martial arts game dramatically. We can count on that or not count on that.

Please Note:

The fight tape is our best friend every time. Records should not be ignored. 18-month layoffs prior to this fight shouldn’t be ignored either. We take all those things into account, of course, but the tape is our #1 resource, always.

We pretty much have to cap Robertson at nearly 70/30 to win this fight or be able to say she would win 7 out of 10 if these two scrapped that many times.

She has been so much more active. That’s huge right there. Even without that, I think Robertson finds a way to win the fight. She is relentless with her takedown and eventual submission attempts and it shows with her 100% finishing rate.

Gillian Robertson has fought 4 times over the past 20 months compared to the zero fights in the past year and a half for the Brazilian.

The first round is usually your rustiest as we see those coming off of layoffs usually take 4 or 5 minutes to acclimate inside the Octagon.

You give “Savage” the edge in the first round and you’re gonna have a hard time. Gil is a kill or be killed fighter who has finished or been finished in all 7 of her UFC fights.

She is a fast starter and I think she will dominate the first round on top. If she doesn’t get the sub, she might have a harder time taking Poliana down in the second round but the Brazilian will become more desperate, and that should work in the favor of the South Florida native/American Top Team lifer.

Path To Victory

Gillian Robertson

I suppose we just covered this but it’s no secret. Take her down and beat her up. Maybe get a submission. If not, then likely win a decision.

It’s really that simple.

Her striking is improving but I don’t think she will outpoint a specialist like Botelho who also has a few inches in reach.

Poliana Botelho

For Poliana, she will need to stay on her bike. She does prefer to circle and the larger Octagon should help her strafing. Try to get Gillian to reach and that’s when she lay that patented left body kick across the belly of Robertson.

If she doesn’t land that big kick or something else of significance that alters the attack of her opponent, I think Poliana will have a hard time keeping this fight standing.

She needs a big shot and she is more than capable.

Betting Predictions

I think Gillian does her thing here.

If you’re looking at ufcstats.com like I did, then you will see Botelho’s takedown defense of 88% and think, wow, I’m betting on her. I don’t blame you at all.

88% is outstanding!

There are layers, though, and if you just dig slightly deeper you see that Poliana Botelho defended all 15 of Pearl Gonzalez’s takedown attempts. This beefed that stat up nicely as you might imagine.

Neither Lauren Mueller nor Syuri Kondo attempted a takedown against her and Cynthia Calvillo was 2/3.

I believe I said this a moment ago in the opening but Gil doesn’t quite have the striking of Cynthia nor does she have the same level of quickness in her striking or grappling.

Her technique is nearly perfect, though, and she is only getting stronger at 25 years of age.

My Pick
Gillian Robertson

In Conclusion

Gillian works her over in the grappling department.

The fight goes to a decision prop for (+175) isn’t a bad investment here.

Gil is a kill or be killed kinda girl but not every single UFC fight is going to end inside the distance. I would say she is due for a decision but don’t listen to the guys or gals who say that.

Well, statistics show that 99% of the time…

That 1% sure is due…

I get the reasoning behind it but don’t let that creep into your capping.

Focus on fight tape mostly. In this fight, we have an activity level difference here between the two women that is impossible to ignore. 4 fights in 20 months against zero in 18 months.

Robertson is coming off of a win. Courtney Casey is a big woman with a lot of experience and decent striking and Gil cut through her like butter.

She is looking better and better and up to this point, Poliana hasn’t shown us that she has the sauce to beat Gil unless she is able to hurt her with something preferable her left body kick.

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.