UFC on ESPN 11 Betting Picks: Lyman Good vs Belal Muhammad

Once upon a time, Lyman Good broke my wittle heart.

There was a regional fighter here in Virginia I was following. He crushed some fighters I was cornering and was just a wrecking machine.

I thought man, nobody is gonna beat this dude. Then, he gets matched up with Lyman Good, one of the most intimidating welterweights in the world.

Good blew through him and that’s when I was reminded that there are levels to this stuff.

Growing up in Spanish Harlem in a troubled home led to Lyman’s mother introducing him to martial arts around the age of 16. Luckily, it wasn’t too late for Good and he is still with the same academy, Tiger Schulmann’s. He actually teaches classes at the Manhattan location.

When the sport of mixed martial arts boomed around 2007, the state of New York still wasn’t allowing MMA fights at all. Heck, the great state didn’t even start holding fights until UFC 205 when Conor McGregor made quick work of Eddie Alvarez in the main event on his way to becoming champ champ.

Because of this and other reasons, main distractions, there aren’t a lot of top MMA teams in New York City. Isolation is best but I still believe we will see some solid teams popping up out of the Big Apple.

Good’s opponent on Saturday night, Belal Muhammad, is a rising star in the UFC but slightly undersized at 5’10”.

Maybe Belal proves me wrong this weekend. Georges and Matt didn’t struggle to get many fighters to the mat, though.

Yes, GSP was around that height and he ruled the weight class. So was Matt Hughes but they just seemed much stronger to me.

Lyman is every bit as thick but has 2 inches in height and in the reach department as well. Partly because of the muscle and likely strength advantage, I do give Belal the edge in conditioning.

Any way you cut it, even if Muhammad can’t get the takedown, I see him winning the 3rd round. That is if he hasn’t already gone nighty-night.

Let’s take a look at the betting odds brought to us by BetOnline.AG and make our UFC betting predictions for the welterweight fight between Belal Muhammad and Lyman Good.

Belal Muhammad (-123) vs Lyman Good (+103)

Fight Goes to a Decision

YES
-145
NO
+115

This is primarily a striker vs grappler matchup.

Lyman Good will hold the speed, power, and technical advantage in the striking realm while Belal Muhammad should be the stronger fighter on the mat should the fight make its way there.

The striking stats between the two men are similar but Good gets hit less, lands at a higher clip and as I mentioned already, is much more powerful. 75% takedown defense for Good and just a 31% accuracy rate on takedowns for Belal.

If Muhammad were more of a volume striker who pressures opponents towards the cage mostly to set up the takedown, I may lean his way. He is not, though. He prefers to wait for his opportunity.

Unless you have a massive edge in wrestling ability or pure strength, it’s going to be very hard for the smaller man to take down the bigger man. That’s what I’m seeing with these two guys.

Belal is more of a natural 165er and I would say that Good is on the top end of 170 and might even perform better if there was a 175 lb weight class.

I love Muhammad’s timing on his double legs but he has struggled when he is outsized in there against a dangerous striker.

Alan Jouban put it on Belal in his UFC debut and Muhammad lost a unanimous decision.

Vicente Luque got him out of there early and Goeff Neal won a unanimous decision.

Is Good quite as good, if you will, as Luque and Neal, then he shouldn’t have much of a problem. He is a little more polished than Neal but isn’t as young and doesn’t rattle off combinations as quickly.

Luque is younger as well and is more accurate and measured. As far as power goes, though, I put Lyman right up there with those guys. I really think this fight comes down to footwork.

  • If Good can control the center of the Octagon keeping Belal fighting off of his back foot, I see him winning a unanimous decision or possibly hurting Muhammad with a big punch.
  • If Muhammad throws more volume, that could get the big man to take a few steps back and those steps could be the difference in getting taken down or sprawling successfully, especially with the smaller Octagon in play.

I’ll take Lyman Good to win 6 out of 10 times these two men fight. That gives us the 5% edge we need to make a play. Just one unit here, though, guys.

This is a very close fight that could be a not so close fight.

Good could dominate and/or get the KO win or Belal could take the more muscular man down, tire him out, and win a unanimous decision if he doesn’t snatch the New Yorker’s neck first.

It’s incredibly difficult to predict whether or not Muhammad gets that takedown and even if he does, will Good get back to his feet quickly. Let’s stay on the plus money side here and go with Good.

I love Muhammad’s game and he is a great fighter to bet on because of his takedown abilities and also his relentlessness in getting his opponents to the mat.

I also love Lyman Good’s base. He doesn’t stand up tall and bends his knee to land his jab on shorter opponents. I just think the strength and power edge of Good will be slightly too much for Muhammad on Saturday.

My Pick
LYMAN GOOD

In Conclusion

This is going to be a very good fight.

If you want more value and you just want to make one pick for this week, I would say to parlay Curtis Blaydes and Bobby Green. You can get to about (-140) at BetOnline.AG.

The pick between these two fighters is more of an action play.

I say just put one unit on Lyman Good. He doesn’t punch downward and I think that his lowered stance will prove to be the difference if and when Belal Muhammad gets in on his legs.

“Remember the Name” Muhammad has excellent timing on his double leg attempts but getting your hands clasped behind the legs of a Muay Thai striker or even a boxer is easier than a Karate guy.

Lyman is a Kyokushin black belt and has been for 15 years.

Watch one of those fights. These guys don’t stand tall like a Thai fighter or put more weight on the lead leg like a boxer. The weight is balanced between the two legs and most importantly, the knees are bent. I said it before but the importance remains.

That low base is likely going to save him when Belal’s quickness and timing get him deep onto Good’s legs.

It should be a really fun fight and we will learn a lot about both fighters moving forward so don’t miss it!

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.