UFC on ABC Betting Pick: Joaquin Buckley vs Alessio Di Chirico

Okay, Alessio. Whatever you do, don’t catch and scoop the round kick coming at you. We are going to need you to lean back or catch it. Wait, maybe don’t catch it…

You guys remember when the pro wrestlers would get their kick caught and then they would totally give up their bodies to land a flying head kick with the one leg they have left? I tried to find a Youtube video on it but I can’t remember the name they used.

It was a Japanese name I believe but even though Joaquin Buckley must have been a gymnast or something growing up and he doesn’t want to admit it. I am nearly positive that if you’re reading this article then you have seen Joaquin’s knockout of the century over Impa Kasanganay but here it is again.

You gotta love it! I have seen a lot of variations of kick catches watching Muay Thai fights from the Golden Era and I never saw anything like this.

The devil must have an advocate too. Let’s say Joaquin won or lost a close decision to Impa and the kick never happened. What would his betting odds be against an underrated, almost make it a close and ugly fight kinda athlete like Italy’s Alessio Di Chirico?

Would he be a 3 to 1 favorite or would he be closer to 2 to 1 or even (-150)? Alessio is a tough out. He has good takedowns as well. I don’t think he can match the explosiveness and strength of the shorter stockier man to shoot for a double.

If he can get decent head position in the clinch, though, I believe Alessio might be able to get Buckley down. He took down Julian Marquez twice! That isn’t an easy task. Phil Hawes, with a much better center of gravity and wrestling credentials, was 1 for 7 on his attempts to get Marquez to the mat.

Di Chirico knocked out Oluwale Bamgbose with a knee to the head from the clinch. Admittedly, Olu didn’t have the best run in the UFC but he did get one KO win, and his other losses were to Paulo Costa, Uriah Hall, and Cezar Ferreira.

This is a closer fight than people think. Sure, Buckley could go out there and get the TKO win but he would be the first to ever do it against the Italian mixed martial artist.

Let’s take a look at the betting odds provided to us by BetOnline.AG for this fight and potentially make a play on the underdog.

Joaquin Buckley (-303) vs Alessio Di Chirico (+230)

Some money has come in on the Italian since the weigh ins. People are seeing the height differential but it is the reach that I’m worried about. Yes, worried. The Italian is the taller man by 2 inches but will be giving up 2 in the reach department.

Joaquin is so broad and long as well. 76 inches is pretty good for someone 5’10” tall. He would probably have an 80-inch reach if he was 6’1″. That is kinda crazy when you think about it.

People always tell me how my reach is so hard for them to deal with. I’m 6’1″ tall with a 73-inch reach. I can’t imagine fighting someone my height who had half a foot of wingspan on me. That wouldn’t be very fun.

This is the advantage Jon Jones has over mostly everyone he fights. In his last title defense, he fought Dominick Reyes who stands the same height at 6’4″ with a 77-inch reach. Sounds like a big long strong guy to me.

Well, Jon has an 85-inch reach!

Madness! Back to Buckley. When you’re the shorter fighter with the longer reach, your punches over the top become even more dangerous for the taller fighter who may be standing straight up.

Chirico is going to have to balance fighting tall and using that to his advantage but not too tall to where he is a sitting duck. When he is backed up to the cage, he has minimal defense to the bombs coming down at him from below…if that makes sense.

I’m a tall narrow shouldered guy like Alessio and when the shorter, more powerful athlete gets his head in the middle of my chest, that is where I am my weakest. What is going to stop Buckley from backing up his opponent to the cage, putting his head there, and sending up mortar attacks?

That is what worries me because we know Buckley will be the aggressor and that will get him points. He will land the heavier shots more than likely and that will get him some more points.

How will the Italian score?

I think he can surely land some counter right hands but I think he is going to have to get Buckley tired or I should say Buckley is going to have to get himself tired. I don’t see Di Chirico being able to take the center of the cage and press the action.

Buckley has a much better center of gravity and power in his strikes as well as an aggressive mentality compared to a sometimes passive Di Chirico. When the Italian has a chance to turn the tide in a fight, he has the tendency to just let that opportunity pass.

The betting value is clearly on the Italian here and it is tough to take Buckley to win by TKO because those odds are even right now. That means we have to be able to honestly say that we think Buckley gets the TKO 6 or more times out of 10 in the large Octagon and I don’t feel that way.

I think Buckley gets the finish in 1 out of 3 fights if that much. The Impa KO was crazy and he just put away a rich kid named the Beverly Hills Ninja who had already shown us he didn’t mind exiting to the comfortable couch in the living room once the heat was cranked up where they cook the food.

So, I am still not completely sold on Joaquin as a guy who is going to run through top 20 fighters. Maybe he puts on a show on Saturday afternoon Eastern Time at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

I think Di Chirico can rock this guy and put him away. I really do. We could get (+700) on a TKO for the Italian but a decision win for him pays (+500) as well.

That’s what I’m looking at. 1 unit on Di Chirico to win straight up and half of a unit on him to win by decision. We get paid 2.3 units and only lose out of half which puts us at a 1.8 unit profit if Di Chirico wins inside the distance.

If he wins the decision, we are up nearly 5 units. If Buckley gets the win, we are down just 1.5. That isn’t the end of the world attacking a fight where I certainly think the betting line is significantly off by at least a dollar.

The Bets
Di Chirico Moneyline!
Di Chirico by Decision!

In Conclusion

This could be a really fun fight, guys! Alessio might as well be Rodney Dangerfield as a child with a steak tied around his neck just so the dogs would play with him because he is getting NO RESPECT!

He actually matches up pretty well against Buckley. Di Chirico has fought some very tough guys, a much higher level than Buckley, and has never been finished by strikes.

Yes, the Italian can be passive but at least he’s not chinny. There is also this. He is from Italy and when he made his UFC debut back in 2016, he was just 9-0 in his career with all of his fights on the regional scene.

Please Note:
He just turned 31 a few weeks ago before the New Year and I think we can expect the very best version of Alessio that we have seen before. He hasn’t made any giant strides in his career but I think he has steadily improved his overall game.

Kevin Holland only outstruck the Italian by 8 significant strikes in their matchup. In his most previous bout against highly skilled Zak Cummings, Alessio was only out struck by 1!

He keeps it close and his opponents never really look that good. Let’s hope he can make this a close fight and with betting odds of (+200) or more, we have to be happy with that because winning 50% of the time will still make us a lot of money.

Get your bets in now and enjoy the scraps on Saturday afternoon from Fight Island!

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.