UFC Fight Night Betting Pick: Kevin Croom vs Alex Caceres

UFC Fight Night Las Vegas 20 is this weekend from the company’s Apex facility and we will, of course, be inside of the small Octagon.

The small space inevitably leads to more action between the fighters and thus more finishes. Does it give us more parody, though? That will remain to be seen and counted as the sample size likely needs to grow before we can start to use that statistic to our advantage.

The main event is another top 5 UFC Heavyweight clash in an enclosed space and a finish is expected from either Jairzinho Rozenstruik or the favorite, Cyril Gane. The co-main event features a dark horse future title challenger at Light Heavyweight, Magomed Ankalaev, and his Russian countryman and betting underdog, Nikita Krylov.

Kicking off the main card action will be fellow flacco fighters Alex Caceres and Kevin Croom. Both men are used to being the taller longer fighter when they compete so it will be quite interesting to see who adjusts well.

I’m a tall and skinny guy and it is usually a nightmare having to deal with someone else who is gangly as well. These two are professionals, though, and I never made it that far so I’m sure each man is well versed against humans of all shapes and sizes.

Alex Caceres is surely more well versed fighting inside of the UFC Octagon, in particular, though, as this will be just the second UFC appearance for Kevin Croom.

Bruce Leroy has had all but 7 of his 30 professional fights under the UFC banner. It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Bruce, though, because before his recent 3 fight win streak, he was just 9-9 fighting inside of the Octagon.

Kevin Croom actually has a better overall pro fight record than Alex but it has primarily all been on the regional scene. To put his career into perspective, he was just fighting Charles Crazy Horse Bennett less than 18 months ago.

If you’re not familiar with Bennett, then you’re in for a treat catching up on some of his highlights.

That’s a wild dude. He is 20-30 right now for his pro career and considering that even he doesn’t know what he is going to do next, that’s a pretty decent record.

Kevin Croom is a bit of a wild man himself. I mean, what else would you expect from a guy named the “Hard-Hitting Hillbilly.

He has aggression, heart, and some power in his hands as well as a dangerous ground game. His issue is that he lacks athleticism and wrestling prowess. With neither of those working for you, you’re relying on someone else to initiate the grappling exchanges in order to get the fight to the mat.

Alex isn’t the best wrestler himself but he is a very effective striker who has had to deal with people trying to take him down for the majority of his UFC career.

BetOnline has the betting odds on this fight as well as many others. Let’s take a look at them and make our predictions on either a winner or a round total for the fight between Alex Caceres and Kevin Croom.

Alex Caceres (-195) vs Kevin Croom (+170)

These two will be in the small cage and we know that Alex prefers to circle the Octagon and land a good volume of punches and kicks. Kevin is more of a plodding and aggressive fighter so I believe he will take the center of the Octagon and look to walk down Bruce Leroy.

I’m just not sure if walking is going to be enough. The guy is going to bring the fight, though. We know that. He has been finished in 5 of his last 6 losses.

The narrative here is that Kevin has good submissions but weak wrestling while Caceres has questionable submission defense but better than average takedown defense. I think the latter will be enough to keep this one standing for most of the contest and Alex should cruise to a jab-filled decision win on points.

His feints and fakes should be enough to stymie Croom who will undoubtedly be loading up.

I love to jab people when they load up. I don’t care if it is clean or even lands at all. Anything to disrupt them may be a small step but that could be the split second that saves you from being put to sleep.

You can get Bruce Leroy to win a decision for even money (+100). I like that play even though Croom is a guy who prefers to go out on his sword. Unless it’s a well-timed knee or a head kick, I don’t see Alex TKO’ing Kevin.

The books say 50%. I think he is at least at 60% to get the decision victory.

My Pick
Caceres by Decision

In Conclusion

This could be a sleeper for fight of the night!

Bruce Leroy is a fighter that has been pretty difficult to bet on over the years but we have seen him grow up not only skill wise, particularly takedown defense, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Alex has never been short on talent. He might be minus a few pounds of muscle compared to the rest of the UFC’s Featherweight Division and it has surely worked against him but he has learned to use his long frame for leverage over strength, and it has made a world of difference for his defensive wrestling game.

Kevin Croom is a fighter not many folks know about. He rocked and submitted Roosevelt Roberts in his UFC debut to get the underdog win.

Can he do it again to another tall, lanky, striker?

I don’t think so. Roberts is a stationary guy and Alex is the complete opposite. Nobody rides more miles on their bike during a UFC fight on average than Alex. He will be forced, though, to hold his ground at times and fire or else he is going to be skirting the small Octagon for most of the night.

Even if you’re scoring well, there are judges out there that will see you moving back and count it against you. The rules state the Octagon control should only come into the scoring equation if the damage is even.

Tune in, turn up, and let’s get paid 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.