UFC On ESPN 8 Betting Picks: Claudia Gadelha vs Angela Hill

Brazil’s Claudia Gadelha is a bettor’s dream. Now that I’ve jinxed myself, take the underdog Angela Hill and call it a day. See you next time, guys. Kidding.

The Notorious Conor McGregor had a nice take on superstitions when he was asked if he had any pre-fight rituals that he couldn’t miss. I loved his response. He said it’s weak.

If something so small can get into your head and lower your confidence even the slightest bit, you’re not as strong as the guy who is confident no matter the circumstances.

You guys know Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong, will go wrong.

Much like one of our picks from last Saturday, Carla Esparza, Gadelha is a takedown machine who dominates better strikers and submission artists as long as she has the wrestling advantage to get them to the mat.

If you look at her career in the UFC, she would have been the champ if it weren’t for Joanna Jerdjzyczyk.

Even though Angela Overkill Hill has the same style as the Pole, Joanna, the levels are not the same. If they were, Hill would be the champ right now.

She has had all but one of her professional fights in the UFC. Wow, I don’t think anyone fighter in the past 20 years can say that.

Dang it! Brock Lesnar had one as well but impressive regardless. This is definitely true for anyone with 19 or more pro fights. Hill is just 12-7, though, albeit on a 3-fight win streak.

This is a stylistic slamma jamma for the Brazilian but Hill has Uncle Mo’ on her side even though those last 3 opponents were stylistically favorable.

The online sportsbook BetOnline.ag has the best lines I could find on both the favorite and the underdog. Let’s get to the betting odds and make our predictions for the UFC on ESPN 8 co-main event between Claudia Gadelha and Angele Hill.

Claudia Gadelha (-196) vs Angela Hill (+174)

I would list the over/under but you don’t want to see it. The price is ridiculous like always. The best price I could find was (-330) for the over 2.5 rounds.

We could see a submission here as Angela is a gamer and may give her back to stand up, but banking on that is not advisable. Randa Markos did get her with an armbar at the end of the first round just over a year ago.

Claudia is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and definitely capable. If you wanted to take a stab at that, I think we have some value on the betting line. It’s (+525)!

Rose Namajunas submitted her 5 years ago but I know the Muay Thai based fighter has improved her submission defense since then.

Back to the Markos armbar for a minute. Randa is a journeywoman with 14 UFC fights and her submission over Hill was her only finish inside the Octagon. I guess that is her move. 3 of her 4 pro wins pre-UFC came by way of elbow hyperextension. Pop-pop…

I just had a flashback from a brown belt going belly down on my skinny hand-rail of an appendage and trying to rip the thing off. Then, coach comes by, gives me a pat on the back, and says: He does that to everyone.

As much as the armbar is Randa’s move, you could say the same about Claudia. She had 5 armbar finishes at the professional level in Brazil before she got to the UFC.

Since then, though, it has been a slew of decision wins and losses for Claudinha. She is 6-4 in the UFC with 5 decision wins and a rear-naked choke over Karolina Kowalkawicz.

The Brazilian was undefeated when she debuted with the promotion and has never been finished in her career. I mentioned she was a takedown machine, right. 3.34/15 minutes is pretty solid.

She has the ability to keep her opponents there also. That part of her game is overlooked. Fighters are training get-ups more than ever now as any guard play from the bottom is most likely going to be discouraged from your corner.

Angela’s takedown defense of 70% is very good but Claudia is likely only going to need 2 or 3 to get her hand raised. She also doesn’t have to deal with knockout power to close the distance on her opponent.

Their reach is actually about the same but Hill has 5 inches in the legs. Length is cool and all but if someone wants to walk through your pillow fist to grab you, they will. I think that’s what is going to happen here.

  • Claudia is very consistent with her approach and pretty successful also. Two of her four losses were to Joanna Champion and the first one was a split decision.
  • Nina Ansaroff beat her but she is stronger than Hill, has a better wrestling base, and also more impressive boxing and power in her hands. Nina is more aggressive than Hill also. Plus, Claudia can get lost in there if she doesn’t have her opponent against the cage or on their backs.
  • Her other loss was to possibly the only woman in the division physically stronger than her who has power in her hands and slams people through the mat. Yes, I am talking about former champion Jessica Andrade.

The Ansaroff fight is pretty close on paper and Gadelha may win 4 of 10 fights against her but the other three losses are against former champions who are nightmare matchups.

If Angela had power in her hands and/or a wrestling base, I would say let’s cash in on the underdog money.

Hill does have 3 wins in a row after losing 5 of her last 8 but I think this is more accurately explained as stylistically advantageous more so than a 35-year-old all of a sudden breaking through.

That’s another thing. Claudia is 31 and Hill 35. The smaller the weight of a fighter, the more age plays a factor in picking fights.

This is particularly true for striking based fighters who rely more on fast twitch muscle fibers, reaction time, and explosivity than they do squeezing, holding, slow twitch fibers as we see from grapplers.

I don’t like the juice here, though.

Banking on that Gadelha by submission line is not advisable but a few bucks wouldn’t hurt. (+525) suggests an implied probability of 16%.

That means if these two fight 6 times, Gadelha gets the sub once or she has a 1 in 6 chance to tap out Hill on Saturday. I give her about a 1 in 3 chance which is twice as likely.

Let’s go with Claudia Gadelha to win a decision at nearly even money (-103). I think that line has excellent value. She is a (-200) favorite with 5 of her 6 UFC victories coming by way of decision.

Put 2 units on the decision win for the Brazilian. If she cuts her with an elbow and they stop the fight, I’m going to be mad. 10 or 20 bucks on the sub win is a fun prop but the decision win for Claudia is the smartest play here.

The Markos armbar was the perfect storm. Hill’s head was against the cage and her escape side was blocked by the fence also.

My Pick
GADELHA BY DECISION

In Conclusion

I love that these two women are the co-main event.

Claudia Gadelha has fought the very best of the women’s strawweight division and come out ahead at 6-4.

Angela Overkill Hill has become the Cowboy Cerrone of her division. She has taken several fights on short notice lately and this will be her 7th UFC fight in 14 months.

I really like Angela Hill. She’s a long lanky striker like myself. She’s from Clinton, Maryland in scary PG County just outside of Southeast DC.

That was right next to my first station, Andrews Air Force Base nearly 20 years ago.

I know what it’s like having stronger, better grapplers dragging you to the mat and temporarily stripping you of your advantage. It sucks and us skinny people aren’t that strong.

Why do you think Jon Jones took steroids? He has the technique, frame, mindset, and athletic ability to be the best. Strength, much like speed, though, can be a heck of an equalizer.

The only significant advantage Hill has on paper is the length in her legs but kicks can get you taken down. That leaves decent hands with minimal power to keep Claudinha off of her.

I think the Brazilian wins a unanimous decision.

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.