UFC 257 Fight Island Betting Pick: Amanda Ribas vs Marina Rodriguez

Amanda Ribas is quite the talent but Marina Rodriguez has been in the MMA game for a much shorter amount of time and made her way to the ranking of 8th in the UFC’s Women’s Strawweight Division.

That is more than Amanda Ribas can say. She is ranked only 10th. While I do believe that Amanda is the better all around MMA fighter, Marina has fought the better competition inside of the Octagon.

They are each superb talents, no doubt.

How well do each of them stack up against the other, though? That is where we start to see some separation in the skill levels of the two women.

Amanda Ribas is a very high level grappler. She didn’t have to at all to get the win but she still took down world champion black belt Mackenzie Dern twice in their matchup. Amanda is still the only fighter to defeat the 10-1 Dern.

Marina has great takedown defense and a solid get up game but there is no way on earth that her submission defense is better than the submission offense of Amanda Ribas. You can’t just catch up that quickly.

How quickly is “that” quickly, you ask? Well, Marina only got her start in martial arts 7 years ago. Amanda Ribas is 27 years old and she got her start in martial arts somewhere around 25 years ago.

Please Note:
That is more than 3x the experience and we are all aware that children learn at an accelerated rate compared to adults and that just magnifies the grappling disparity of the two fighters. Amanda is still going to need to get this fight to the mat, though, if she wants to take advantage of her less experienced opponent.

That is where we will start with our prediction today.BetOnline.AG has the odds for us so let’s look at them and find the best value for this fight whether it be on the favorite, Amanda Ribas, or for the betting underdog, her Brazilian countrywoman Marina Rodriguez.

Amanda Ribas (-305) vs Marina Rodriguez (+255)

(-305) betting odds suggest an implied probability of around 70%. To make a strong play on the favorite here, we would need to confidently say that we believe she wins at the very least 75% of the time but 80 would be even better.

Are you willing to risk 3 units to make just one? You obviously think you’re going to win or else you wouldn’t be asking yourself this question so it’s not natural for us to envision everything that could go wrong.

That is what separates the sharp with the square bettors; the smart money vs the dumb money. We have to think about ourselves not as fans and not even as gamblers. Also, not simply investors either.

We have to be scientific about things at times as well.

A good scientist thinks about how to prove themselves wrong before they try to prove themselves correct. That is very hard and I am certainly not trying to talk down to anyone.

This is something that I am just starting to come around on and we have been successful thinking like this lately. Neil Magny and Michael Chiese fought in the main event at UFC Fight “Night” Fight Island this past Wednesday.

I didn’t do a lot of tape for this fight because I am pretty familiar with both guys including training on the same mats as Mike for years in Las Vegas. I wanted him to win but I didn’t let that get in the way of my all important decision making.

I wanted to back Neil Magny because I thought Mike was untested in the championship/main event rounds previously in his career while Neil has shown us a nearly bottomless Colorado level gas tank.

The more research of the numbers I did and saw that Neil is getting taken down by good wrestlers led me to believe that Mike could do the same. Whether or not he could do it 3 out of 5 rounds and keep Magny down was still a mystery but I don’t mind that if I am getting underdog odds and in this case with Chiesa, we were.

Chiesa had just taken down and controlled RDA for 3 rounds and that was the kicker for me to make the play.

The point is that we must maintain a fluid mind as we are handicapping and researching these fights. It’s only natural to favor one side when you look at a potential matchup for at that point, we should immediately attempt to prove ourselves incorrect.

This is something we should always do no matter how much like a slam dunk it feels. With that being said, my first instinct was Amanda Ribas all day so let’s make a case for Marina Rodriguez.

She is 3 inches taller…

Hmm…what else?

She is probably the better striker and Marina does an excellent job of keeping her opponents at distance and landing good shots. She has some pop on her punches and is a great athlete who also has a brain.

The former graphic designer was a star athlete in high school and her brothers are world champion swimmers. That is where it stops for me, though.

Marina is 2-1-2 in her UFC career while Amanda Ribas is 4-0. Rodriguez’s only path to victory is out striking her opponent. She can do that but will the pressure and Brazilian national team Judo of Amanda Ribas prove too much?

The three women Marina has fought inside the Octagon that she wasn’t able to defeat, Randa Markos, Cynthia Calvillo, and most recently Carla Esparza, all took her down seemingly at will.

The three women were a combined 10/18 on takedown attempts. Granted, most of these attempts were on the legs of Marina. Ribas prefers to use her Judo to get the fight to the mat. We have no reason to believe that Rodriguez will be able to defend Amanda’s takedowns.

Yes, Carla and Cynthia have some of the best takedowns in the division and Randa Markos isn’t the worst but Ribas is one of the best. Amanda has not quite fought at the same level as Marina but she is the younger fighter who also has the experience edge BY A MILE!

Marina has those long limbs and even though they are normally considered a strength, I believe they will work against her on the mat and get her submitted. Cynthia, Randa, or Carla couldn’t do it but they are primarily takedown/control fighters.

I see Amanda’s submission prowess leading the way once these two women hit the mat…

Oh, my gracious!!! Amanda Ribas by submission opened up at (+900)! What were the sportsbooks thinking? It has since been bet down tremendously but (+325) on the (-305) moneyline favorite isn’t a terrible line.

The two women will be inside the large Octagon which is a gigantic ocean for the 115ers but Marina loves to fight and that gameness could be her undoing in this matchup. I’m not sure if she has the discipline to keep this fight at range but I also don’t think she will be able to keep the fight on the feet anyway. She gave up more takedowns than she defended against her 3 highest level opponents who aren’t quite on the level of Amanda, in my opinion.

Carla is amazing but she isn’t out there tapping girls out. It’s too bad we didn’t get a piece of that 9 to 1 action on the submission prop for Ribas but better than 3 to 1 is still good enough for me.

My Pick
Ribas by Submission!

In Conclusion

Amanda Ribas being ranked lower than her opponent this Saturday night at UFC 257 is a little strange considering she is more than a 3 to 1 favorite. When you consider the level of opposition that Marina has faced, though, you begin to realize why.

Then again, taking Randa Markos and Cynthia Calvillo to draws is fairly impressive but is that realize more impressive than beating Markos and Mackenzie Dern?

Please Note:
What Marina Rodriguez has been able to do inside the UFC with only 7 years of training and now 33 years old is impressive but her time is running out. Female fighters don’t age as well as the men and smaller fighters who need faster reaction times, faster hands, and faster feet are often the ones whose careers fall off earlier than later. 33 is more or less 35 or 36 and in a couple of years, she will surely be on her way down. Amanda Ribas, conversely, is just 27 years old and full of energy. Just follow her IG or listen to any interview.

She is borderline obnoxiously enthusiastic about life and laughs at virtually everything. Her positivity shouldn’t wane against Marina and Rodriguez will likely get herself in trouble when she is trying to stand up after being taken down.

That’s when she will likely give her back and from there, Amanda will likely find a way to secure the submission and a tap.

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.