Time to enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon with a nice UFC card. With an intriguing main event of Gunnar Nelson vs Santiago Ponzinibbio, this should shape up to be a fun event. In addition to several exciting fights, this could be a good card to make some money on. I did not have time to study film for Daniel Teymur vs Danny Henry, Bofando vs Ward, or Mulheron vs Willis, so I will be omitting those fights from my predictions. But I feel good about the rest, so let's get to it!
Leslie Smith vs Amanda Lemos
Lemos is a newcomer so not much is known about her. After watching several of her previous fights, she seems to be predominately a striker. I was not impressed by her performances against lower level competition, and she showed cardio issues as well. Lemos is also taking this fight on short notice, which would not help her cardio.
Smith is a high-volume striker, as you'd expect from someone who trains with the Diaz Brothers. She likes to overwhelm her opponents, and I feel she will be able to do so in Glasgow, utilizing her reach advantage. -200 is a steep price to pay for a 9-7 fighter, so I would not confidently recommend a play at the current price, given how little is known about Lemos.
PREDICTION: Smith by Decision
Brett Johns vs Albert Morales
This is another short-notice fight, with Morales coming in on a few weeks notice.
Johns is a relentless wrestler, who will constantly pursue takedown after takedown. His striking has also been improving as of late, but it is not yet on the level of Morales. While Morales is a solid striker, he likes to back up a lot which enables the takedown of Johns.
I won't be betting this fight at all due to the inflated odds and the short-notice aspect. If you must make a play, a small bet on Morales wouldn't be the worst thing because the lines are off.
PREDICTION: Johns by decision
Alexandre Pantoja vs Neil Seery
Something worth noting: This is likely Neil Seery's last fight. Make of that what you will.
Anyways, Pantoja is a promising young flyweight with a strong grappling base. Seery will have the striking advantage, but he has struggled with takedown defense in the past. Pantoja is rightfully the favorite, though I believe bookmakers have him as too big of one.
However, with a lot of question marks around Seery, the only bet I would advocate for this fight would be o2.5.
PREDICTION: Pantoja by Decision
Danny Roberts vs Bobby Nash
Danny Roberts is a long fighter with a boxing background, who has also developed a strong ground game off of his back. Bobby Nash has a wrestling base, but he has really developed his boxing as of late.
While a good striker, Roberts has looked hittable in has past fights, often leaving himself open. Additionally, his chin has not looked strong as he was rocked several times by Mike Perry and Dominique Steele. Bobby Nash has shown that he has power in his hands after dropping and nearly finishing Li Jingliang. Additionally, Roberts has shown vulnerability to the takedown in his previous bouts.
With these factors in mind, Bobby Nash is a very live underdog. I loved the play at +185, and I still like it at anything greater than +145. This is also my pick for Fight of the Night.
PREDICTION: Bobby Nash by TKO/KO (UPSET ALERT)
Khalil Rountree vs Paul Craig
This is a very volatile fight as both guys have major holes in their game.
Khalil is a VERY powerful striker, but has shown to be terrible on the ground in his previous fights. Paul Craig is a solid grappler, but he has shown porous striking defense and a difficulty in getting the fight to the ground. So really, anything could happen. At even money, I like Khalil (and bet him there), but with Craig over +150, he is a fine play. I also bet the under at -150, and think it is a solid play at anything under -200. Also, I cannot stress enough that betting either man as such a heavy favorite is a bad idea with how volatile this fight is.
PREDICTION: Rountree by TKO/KO
Jack Marshman vs Ryan Janes
With the odds as inflated as they are, there is really no reason to bet this fight. While Marshman is arguably better everywhere, he should not be -600 against anybody.
Marshman absolutely has the advantage on the feet, but Janes will be the much bigger guy. Janes may even have a slight advantage on the ground, but rarely does he ever look for takedowns. If you are to play anything at these odds, maybe a small play on Janes.
PREDICTION: Marshman by TKO/KO
Stevie Ray vs Paul Felder
The odds on this fight are due to artificial inflation, aka one source of money coming in on Stevie Ray. I capped Felder as a small favorite anyways, so at +150 I believe that he is a MUST PLAY. However, this is a very close fight that likely should be around evens.
Ray is a good striker who likes to fight at range utilizing mainly kicks. However, he often over commits when throwing punches, making himself vulnerable for counters. Paul Felder is a very technical striker with good counters, power, and a huge arsenal of weapons to work with. Knocks on Felder are that he also has shown poor striking defense, and often does not throw enough volume which can cause him to lose close decisions.
Ray is a solid offensive grappler, but has shown bad takedown defense and struggles getting back to his feet. Felder has good grappling when he chooses to use it, but that choice is not made often. I believe using some wrestling would make this an easier win for him, but this will likely be a kickboxing match. And in a kickboxing match, I still give the edge to Felder.
PREDICTION: Felder by Decision (UPSET ALERT)
Cynthia Calvillo vs Joanne Calderwood
Calvillo has shown herself to be one of the more dangerous grapplers in the 115 pound division. Calderwood has had issues with grapplers in the past, so the odds do make sense to a degree.
However, Calvillo is still young in the sport and this is a step up in competition for her. Calderwood should also possess a very substantial striking advantage with her kickboxing background. She claims to have been working a lot on her takedown defense and grappling, which will be in the key in this fight. With such a big striking advantage, in addition to experience, I really like a bet on Calderwood at +odds. She can definitely keep Calvillo at range and outstrike her for 3 rounds.
PREDICTION: Calderwood by decision
Gunnar Nelson vs Santiago Ponzinibbio
Gunnar's style of fighting is very unique, utilizing a wide karate stance and several unorthodox strikes, in combination with his high level jiu-jitsu. Ponzinibbio is a more traditional fighter, utilizing solid boxing along with being a BJJ black belt himself.
This is a very interesting fight where almost anything could happen. Both guys could finish it standing and both could take a decision. If anyone is getting submitted though, it will likely be Ponzinibbio.
At the current odds, I like Ponzinibbio. I can't say I know how the fight will play out, but I could definitely see his boxing giving Gunnar's karate style problems in the feet. He has shown great takedown defense in his previous fights, and I think he has the edge if the fight stays standing. He should be able to survive on the ground, but Gunnar has power in his hands and he is VERY dangerous on the ground if he has his opponent hurt. Really, he is dangerous on the ground at any time.
I feel that the odds on this fight should be closer, so with Ponzi at odds greater than +150, I like the bet.
PREDICTION: Ponzinibbio by Decision
This should be a fun card to watch, and good luck to all bettors!