UFC 250 Betting Pick: Cody Garbrandt vs Raphael Assuncao

No Love! This guy was well on his way to being a superstar in the UFC not to mention a heartthrob for a lot of the ladies.

He had the tattoos, the boyish good looks, the bad boy image, and he could catch fire in a bottle with his hand speed. After dethroning Dominick Cruz and winning the UFC Bantamweight World Title at the end of 2016, Cody Garbrandt would next face a familiar foe.

Former Team Alpha Male member TJ Dillashaw lost a split decision when he had his chance at Cruz and felt he matched up even better with Garbrandt.

Well, he wasn’t wrong. He KO’ed Cody Garbrandt in two consecutive fights in 2017 and again in 2018.

Garbrandt attempted to stop the bleeding against tough guy Pedro Munoz and that didn’t go very well. He has some good hands and solid power himself.

He hasn’t won a fight since 2016. That’s not good. He’s been knocked out in each of his last three losses. Even worse. The midwest kid is a very talented fighter, though.

I hope he can give us Cody 2.0 because he is still young at just 28 years of age.

His opponent on Saturday, Brazil’s Raphael Assuncao, is a no-nonsense counter puncher with excellent defense and a strong ground game.

Raphy is a long-time veteran of the UFC. He has been with the company for nearly a decade. The stoic Brazilian has been fighting professionally since ‘04, though.

He holds victories over the two men who slept Cody: Pedro Munoz, and TJ Dillashaw as well. This is a very very interesting matchup and a difficult call for betting.

We will find some value, though, in some of the various betting options available at BetOnline.AG. This is my favorite online sportsbook. They almost always have the best lines and lately, they are second to none for all the different options they give you for betting.

We have to be careful though and remember that these people are trying to play us. Traps are set every day. This is a game, though, and if we play it right, work hard, and stay disciplined, we can be successful.

Let’s take a look at the betting odds for this fight and make our pick for the UFC 250 co-main event Cody Garbrandt vs Raphael Assuncao.

Cody Garbrandt (-135) vs Raphael Assuncao (+115)

Round Total

OVER 2.5

This betting line has barely moved, guys. That tells me that the big money is steering clear of this matchup simply because of all of the intangibles.

If Cody gets hit clean, will he once again throw his defense away, sling from the hip, and senselessly trade in the pocket? It’s such a rage thing to do. I’m surprised he doesn’t close his eyes when he’s swinging.

Getting KO’ed in three straight fights is very bad for the health of your chin but the fights were spread out over 2.5 years. That helps but it’s not exactly a sign of good things to come.

So, there’s Cody’s fight IQ to worry about… His chin… His rust…

Cody Garbrandt is working with a new coach. He hasn’t left his team at Alpha Male but now cross-trains with Mark Henry in New Jersey.

The Coach:
Henry is one of the best MMA coaches in the game. He is partially responsible for molding one of the seamless mixed martial arts fighters ever, Frankie Edgar. He uses a series of code words for his athletes during a fight and the codes change for every fight.

Garbrandt needed more structure not only when he’s fighting but in camp as well.

Team Alpha Male is notorious for not having a true head coach. They have fighters who take the lead and former fighters who recently retired sharing the duties.

Justin Buckholz did probably the best job of anyone there as a leader. Duane Ludwig worked wonders for the team’s striking but aside from TJ Dillashaw, it seemed to be mostly from a technical perspective.

A head MMA coach should probably not be a young man or even a guy in his mid-thirties.

I feel like you need some fight experience and loads and loads of time training various fighters with different sets of tools and game plans.

Many of the UFC’s best who hit a rough patch gain traction again under the tutelage of Henry.

I was ready to write off Cody Garbrandt after his last loss but this move from Cali to Jersey to train with what appears to be a more disciplined camp and coach gives me confidence he can still compete with the best fighters in the world.

I believe the game plan for Cody will be to use his speed advantage and don’t get into a firefight.

He has really good low kicks and if he throws in combinations like he normally does, he should be a half-step ahead of the near 38-year-old Assuncao. That is very old for a bantamweight.

Raphy has great defense on his feet at 70%. That is outstanding especially with a massive sample size fighting nearly every round in 15 UFC contests.

Please Note:
Cody Garbrandt, though, Mr swing from the hip, has a significant striking defense rate of 64%. Both men are under 40% in landing percentage. This could be a chess match. I know that plays directly to Raphy’s strength. He is a master of winning close fights.

Cody may just have to play that game, though. When addressing a serious performance problem, sometimes you have to start at the opposite end and work towards the middle.

How do you know the midpoint of a line if you don’t know the length? My point is that it’s going to take Cody Garbrandt several fights before he can mix in a speedy defensive points style of fighting and also let his hands go when needed.

I know he has power and I know Raphy doesn’t have many KO’s but I think he is going to have to beat Assuncao at his own game on Saturday. I think he can, though, for sure.

The only man to knockout Assuncao is Eric Koch. That guy just fought at welterweight… 170.

Assuncao is a 35er. It’s going to be hard to bet on Cody here especially as the favorite but I think the over 2.5 rounds is the play. We are getting virtually the same betting odds.

The last thing Cody wants to do is go out there and swing. Assuncao lands 3 and absorbs 2 strikes per minute. Cody lands 3.5 and absorbs 3.5. All of these are small numbers. They each have low landing percentages and high defense rates.

They’re also bantamweights so I really like the over 2.5 rounds here.

My Pick

In Conclusion

The UFC truly thought they had a superstar on their hands with handsome Cody “No Love” Garbrandt. It’s not quite over yet, though.

Even though he has been knocked out in his previous three trips inside the Octagon, Cody Garbrandt has a chance to redeem himself against one of the greatest 135-pound fighters of all-time.

Raphael Assuncao will be 38 next month and after two consecutive losses, albeit to stiff competition, desperately needs a win if he ever wants another shot at the title.

I like the over 2.5 rounds here and since it goes against the narrative of a knockout from either fighter, we have value. Normally the over 2.5 rounds in a 135-pound fight is (-200) or more.

The possibility of a knockout is a little bit higher than normal in this one because of Cody’s aggression, power, and suspect chin.

That may be a sweat but I think Garbrandt knows a tactical win over Assuncao beating him at his own game would be that much more impressive.

Knockouts are cool and all but if he can beat the chess master at chess, he will prove to himself that he can remain calm and control his emotions when fighting in the future.

Get your bets in now, guys, and enjoy the fights on Saturday night!

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.