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Israel Adesanya v Paulo Costa

The speed maps in this one are pretty easy to pick out. Costa’s an incredible come-forward pressure fighter whilst his cardio and chin last, so it’s rather likely that he pulls out the first round or two.

Israel’s also historically been a slow starter, especially in the face of the sort of ‘frothing at the mouth’ aggression that Costa’s going to represent here.

So the trading selection’s a pretty easy one. Costa’s win condition is likely a KO inside the first 2 rounds, so waiting to pick up Israel at the end of R1 or R2 is going to neatly sidestep that range of outcomes (even as Israel’s price likely improves due to him dropping rounds).

It’s a pretty clear trading spot and should be an incredibly entertaining fight. I’m fairly confident that Israel will put ahead decisively as soon as he starts putting together successful stanzas, largely due to Costa’s lack of a proverbial plan B.

Prediction

Israel KO4

Betting Strategy

BACK — Bet Israel live at 7 minutes. Good chance he’s pushed towards evens.


Jeff Hughes v Juan Espino

Always an interesting choice to have a fringe-UFC Heavyweight as a 1.33~ favorite against another one, and like in most cases of this kind of pricepoint I’m happy to play against it. Espino’s 39, a grappler by trade, and hasn’t fought in 2 years.

He’s got solid process for a Heavyweight, but there’s a bunch of genuine questions about his cardio, lack of a plan B, durability and age. I’m also rather concerned that his cardio-usage for his takedowns is pretty poor, with a big reliance on big high amplitude takedowns which I’m unsure he can reliably pull off again and again.

Jeff Hughes is nothing exciting, but that’s actually a handy attribute for Heavyweight. He’s got solid output standing, reasonable cardio for a Heavyweight and a cuboid bodyshape that makes for a decent chance that he can stay standing.

Information on his wrestling defense isn’t especially conclusive due to weak Strength of Schedule, but I feel that he’s shown the ‘right idea’ vis-a-vis wall-walking and backing into the fence to dissuade lower body takedowns.

He was a high school wrestler in a previous life, along with training out of Stipe Miocic’s gym, both of which help me feel that he won’t be completely unable to work in the grappling phases.

So it’s a bit of an odd fight. I think there’s ample scope for Hughes to look like a hindsight favorite should he be able to adequately deal with the takedown/grappling threat, especially since it’s quite possible that Espino’s cardio only allows him to threaten for a round or two.

Espino’s career experience has generally been pretty weak, with a lot of Light Heavyweight competition that he’s towered over. Nonetheless, it’s completely possible that Hughes can’t deal with the grappling and gets tapped in the first stanza.

I just think there are enough promising signs from Hughes on regional tape, combined with Espino’s age and layoff, that there’s a good chance of value in this spot.

Prediction

Hughes by KO2

Betting Strategy

BACK — Hughes for 1.5 units at $3.50


Brandon Royval v Kai Kara France

I’m not a particular fan of either of these gentlemen, but I feel that Royval’s ceaseless aggression has a good chance of forcing a finish to happen in either direction in this fight.

Kai Kara France definitely has the process edge, with effective power striking and a solid City Kickboxing approach to Takedown Defense. Royval’s a noodly opportunistic grappler if there ever was one, with a bunch of very interesting fight IQ decisions.

Consequentially, I feel that Royval will do his utmost best to force some sort of a finish in this fight. He’ll continuously be trying to pull KKF into grappling situations where he can possibly find a low-percentage submission win and has solid power standing despite his lack of any real defensive ability.

KKF does have decent power for Flyweight, along with a definite ability to punish somebody just flinging themselves at him. The main concern in this spot would be that Royval discovers a sense of self-preservation, but to this point, he hasn’t really shown much ability for it.

I also like that KKF’s generally been more interested in disengaging with grappling exchanges instead of taking ‘safe’ positions, which means that this fight should be contested in dangerous zones for the most part.

Prediction

Crazy mess.

Betting Strategy

BACK — 1 unit Fight Ends Inside The Distance at $2.30

BACK — 0.4 units KKF KO at $6.10


Current Results (UFC & Bellator)

Total Units Staked: 277.43

Total Units Returned: 290.02

ROI: 4.54%


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