UFC Fight Night Betting Pick: Gillian Robertson vs Taila Santos

If you guys have been reading my predictions for any amount of time, then you know I am a big fan of Gillian Robertson. She will fight for your money, knows what she wants and goes after it, and succeeds quite often.

She has won 4 out of her last 5 fights and is 6-2 inside the Octagon. At only 25 years of age, Robertson definitely looks like a fighter who could fight for the belt one day.

Her takedown and submission game is very strong. She does lack physicality and explosiveness, though, and that may bite her in this matchup with Brazilian, Talia Santos.

Santos came into the UFC with a red hot record of 15-0 including a Contender Series win but lost her first official UFC fight to Mara Romera Borella, a skillful martial artist that won some fights on being well-rounded but lost more for the same reason.

Santos has since gone through a physical transformation, though. She took a year and a half away from the Octagon and in her return this July, she cashed for us and beat Molly McCann to the punch and the takedown for a unanimous decision victory.

I thought Taila would just use that 6-inch reach advantage to her advantage and sprawl and brawl her way to victory but she exposed the takedown defense of Molly McCann instead. Molly is a banger with good boxing and takedowns. I guess people assumed that if her takedowns were decent, her takedown defense must be as well but we were wrong.

Will Santos take Gillian down?

We really haven’t seen Gillian operate off her back very much. This is where her long arms could get her into trouble. That’s a lot of limb to latch on to if you’re Gillian.

Enough chatter, let’s get to our prediction for the fight between Gillian Robertson and Taila Santos. Our odds for this fight are provided by the online sportsbook BetOnline.AG.

Gillian Robertson (-110) vs Taila Santos (-110)

Okay, now that I have gone back and corrected “Talia” to “Taila” in a few spots, we can move on. The sad part is that we just previewed a Taila Santos fight a couple of weeks ago. She was set to fight Montana de La Rosa and the fight was mysteriously cancelled.

I really think the UFC is using a COVID positive as an excuse to rearrange their schedule. You see a fight cancelled and then 2 weeks later, the fighter is ready to go or they just switch up opponents.

That’s what they did here. Hey, let’s pull these two from their regularly scheduled bouts and have them fight. Hey, whatever they want to do, they can do it. As long as there are fights nearly every week of the year, I’m good.

I just found out today that there will be a UFC Fight Night event between the company’s return on January 16th and UFC 257 McGregor vs Poirier on the 23rd. It will go down on the 20th.

That is great news for me because I will have 4 weeks without a UFC but also about 45 UFC fights, in particular, to handicap in that time so don’t disappear over Christmas and the New Year. We will be pumping out a lot of picks over the holiday season.

Back to these two ladies and boy do the sportsbooks look stumped on this one. I feel like this fight has everyone scratching their head. We don’t know how good Taila’s takedown defense really is and has Gillian recovered from when she folded up against the fence in the Maycee Barber fight?

Santos isn’t quite as explosive or fast as Maycee but she looks like a Bantamweight in there and much more in shape than her fight with Borella. Night and day.

Taila can be very physical in the clinch with knees to the body. I didn’t see her take the time to throw many elbows to the head but that could be the next step.

I can talk all day about both women.

They are each promising fighters but is Gillian going to take Taila down or not?

I think she can keep her there if she does and can also take advantage of Santos trying to stand up. Taila used a rubber guard to break the posture of Borella in their fight. That isn’t what you want to see. I’m sure her coaches have told her to get up instead.

Hey, I love the rubber guard and there is sure something to be said for breaking your opponent’s posture and beating the snot out of them there but you immobilize your hips in the process and it can be really tiring on your legs as well.

Please Note:
It hasn’t really evolved at the highest level of MMA like I thought it would. I have used it in tournaments and even went to an Eddie Bravo seminar on the spider web position but I still feel like it’s better to get up immediately. If you can’t get up, though, then keeping your opponent’s posture down and controlled long enough to get a stand-up is probably a good idea.

Here I am giving lessons again.

This will be one of Gillian’s toughest matchups yet and it is definitely the hardest fight of Santos’s can crushing career.

I’m going with the Savage, though. In the small cage, I think she can wear on Santos who has a tremendous frame for the weight class and good power but is still raw.

1 unit max on this fight and if you don’t want to bet it, I understand completely.

There is a reason the betting line hasn’t moved from dead center. I could sit here all day and make arguments for both women but if you’re giving me even odds, I’ll take the better wrestler with more experience.

My Pick
Gillian Robertson

In Conclusion

It’s going to be a fun one! Well, I hope. I suppose these two women might spend a lot of time up against the cage trading positions. One is more technical and the other is the larger, more physical fighter.

The Brazilian holds a 5-inch reach advantage and now that she has lost the extra weight, she is wiry and that can be the worst kind of strength to deal with. It can be a mix of leverage and strength.

Robertson just fights so smart. I thought her last scrap with Poliana Botelho was impressive. She isn’t just a takedown or bust girl anymore. Even though she has a lot of first-round finishes, Gillian is also a grinder who can take you to the deep waters.

That is the part of her game that got notably better in 2020 for me. She still has a lot of work to do in the striking department but I give her this one 6 out of 10 times against Taila Santos. I don’t think I would bet Gil as the favorite, so surely take note of that and bet accordingly.

I like our spot though with the betting line dead even.

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.