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Michal Oleksiejczuk v Jimmy Crute

Tasmania’s favoured son versus a fighter that I needed to copy the spelling for from Google. I’ve never been especially huge on either of these guys, having faded them both in their ascent up the ranks and then descent back down the ranks. But, today, I’m more looking to fade their finishing ability moreso than picking a side in what should be a battle of the titans.

Olek’s definitely got the volume edge here, but has also been prone to overdoing it and gassing down the stretch. He almost had Ovince St Preux dead to rights in his last matchup, but gassed trying to get what I feel was a reasonable case for a stoppage and then got tapped by the Von Flue in the second.

He’s generally a capable fighter for Light Heavyweight, albeit undersized, and I feel that his KO streak’s more been a product of the fragility of his opponents than necessarily his power being incredible.

Crute’s a rising prospect out of Tasmania, and is a huge, strong customer of a human being. He’s unfortunately also fairly slow and low-paced, along with having a grappling game that’s fairly unconventional in submission selection for a UFC talent. He comes forward consistently, but doesn’t put up a ton of pace himself and I don’t really rate him to be able to sub Michal at any massive clip.

I’m expecting Olek to be the overall minute-winner here, outside of top control time from Crute, as he should be busier. I also don’t think that he’s going to be quite as capable as a KO as his previous performances may reflect. A dynamic first round, getting closer and sloppier down the stretch is my feeling


Oleksiejczuk by Decision, likely 29-28 with the fight becoming more and more competitive down the stretch.

Betting Strategy

BACK – 1u Michal Oleksiejczuk by Decision at $6.00

BACK – 1u Goes The Distance at $3.00

Marcos Rogerio De Lima v Ben Sosoli

Ben Sosoli was last seen being fairly-easily handled by Greg Hardy en-route to a dominant decision win, albeit one that was later rendered as a No-Contest after Hardy decided to use his Ventolin between rounds. Sosoli’s the model of the Mark Hunt archetype, being a durable slugger with big hands, a lack of deep kickboxing craft, and the gameplan of generally plodding forward at people.

Lima’s got a glaring weakness, which is being submitted, but is largely a good kickboxer and can play top position fairly well when he feels the need. He’s only been KO’d once in a fairly long career and, to be frank, I feel the most telling attribute is his ability to throw hard, effective legkicks against a man in Sosoli who only defended one of the 26 legkicks thrown at him by Hardy.

This is Heavyweight, so weird stuff can happen and volatility reigns supreme, but I feel that Sosoli doesn’t really have much of a gameplan or path to victory here aside from a single-shot KO. Sosoli’s not much of a wrestler and/or grappler, so he can’t pick on that glaring weakpoint, and I feel that Lima is faster, deeper and more powerful standing.

My view of this fight is that Sosoli will have little-to-no recourse for the legkicks, and thus will find achieving victory to be pretty difficult. He’ll likely need to take Lima out in the opening stanza due to the big gap in attritional striking, and I feel that Lima is even the more effective talent in a pure swinging match.


Lima by KO2

Betting Strategy

BACK – 2.5u on Lima at $1.70

Jake Matthews v Emil Meek

Emil Meek’s had a bit of time off, and was last seen prior to that being chain-wrestled into oblivion by both Bartosz Fabinski and Kamaru Usman. He’s a powerful brawler on the feet and clearly devoted to eating his Weetbix judging by his statuesque presence. His main career issue has been a liability to get held down, but I feel that he is the better conditioned and should be the winner of striking exchanges.

Jake Matthews, like Fetch, has never quite happened as the UFC intended. Many eons ago they positioned themselves behind the charismatic young Matthews during his UFC debut as a possible bastion of the sport’s development in Australia, but it’s just never quite happened.

He’s an effective grappler, but, most importantly for this matchup, he’s never really had the cardio or the tendency to chain wrestle in the same way that Usman or Fabinski have made their careers on. He’s a reasonably effective distance striker in that phase, albeit a bit low volume, and has shown front-running tendencies throughout his UFC run.

I think there’s a narrative that Meek will get controlled on the mat here, which I don’t think will ring totally true in the cage. Matthews has largely pushed away from his wrestling in recent years after falling in love with his hands, and Meek has largely been tied up on the mat by two incredibly-dedicated positional chain wrestlers.

Matthews can hit some athletic takedowns, but he’s never been a bastion of conditioning in that phase or being able to continuously take Meek down. Usman was able to dominate Meek, but I did like that Meek stuffed a lot of the initial entries and managed to acquit himself pretty well on the pure horsepower front against an athletic specimen in Usman.

As such, I think this fight could easily end up playing out on the feet or in the clinch where Matthews is a lot less favoured. The current $1.40 price point would pretty much require me to assume that Matthews will spend significant stanzas of the fight on top, and I don’t think that’s the case.


Meek Decision

Betting Strategy

BACK – 2u on Emil Meek at $3.00

Corey Anderson v Jan Blachowicz

This is a rematch of a dominant Anderson wrestling exhibition a few years ago, and I don’t really see how the core dynamic’s changed. Jan’s hugely durable, been on a decent run the last few years and yet I don’t think he’s really shored up the defensive wrestling or TDD holes that lost him the first bout.

His power’s been a bit overstated ever since the win over Rockhold, but Rockhold looked bloated, sluggish, slow and depleted by any metric.

Anderson’s got elite cardio for Light Heavy, can wrestle well and has won the vast majority of his minutes in the UFC to this point. He’s had issues with getting clipped on occasion, but has largely been a dominant fighter in minutes.

If he gets through this and gets to Jones and he’s a wide underdog I’m playing him against Jones essentially purely off workrate and cardio.

Jan’s got a fairly limited window here in my opinion. He’s historically durable and tough, but I think he needs to clip Anderson in a small window in the first round or two before he gets pushed to the cage and put on his back.

He’s got solid guard retention and usually doesn’t make gigantic lapses off his back, but it’s hard to see him being able to get up despite being able to mitigate large parts of the damage.


Anderson by Decision

Betting Strategy

BACK – 3u on Anderson by Decision at $2.75

John Dodson v Nathaniel Wood

Dodson’s on the down slope, Wood’s seemingly on his surge up the ranks but there’s a massive gulf in class between the competition that these two have faced. Dodson’s worst recent loss is perennial top 6 Bantamweight John Lineker in an ultra-close split decision over 5 rounds, whilst Wood’s frankly been picking off the lower orders of the division.

This is especially concerning in light of Wood’s habit of getting clipped clean by the vast majority of fighters that he contests on the feet, including a fight with Johnny Eduardo in which Eduardo was completely shellacking Wood in the first round before diving into an ill-advised choke in the second round after getting a bit tired.

Dodson’s main issue in this, and indeed most of, his matchups is his reluctance to put up massive amounts of volume. There’s also a concern that he may have been ‘solved’ in recent years, after rather lacking performances against Petr Yan & Jimmie Rivera.

However, those two are a galaxy ahead of both Wood and anybody that Wood’s contested, and Dodson showed flashes of his moment-to-moment dangerousness in both of those fights. Dodson’s otherwise always been incredibly effective with his takedown defense, hits obscenely hard for a smaller man and still shows flashes of insane athleticism when necessary.

Wood on the other hand is a bit of a pressure monger, usually relying on throwing himself into his opponents with a whole lot of volume and pacework. I think this could be effective to get a decision against Dodson on ‘hustle’, but it’s also likely to result in a few spotty points in which he gets absolutely lamped by big shots from Dodson.

I also don’t believe he’ll be able to make his wrestling game work for any prolonged stretches against Dodson, meaning that this fight will largely be contested on the feet.

Dodson will likely have the biggest moments in the fight. He’s got durability and power edges that are considerable, but his pace can be an issue. There’s a good chance that he’ll lose this by decision if it makes it there, but I also believe Wood will push onto a lot of vicious hard offense along the way.


Dodson by KO

Betting Strategy

BACK – 2.5u on Dodson KO at $12.50

Merab Dvalishvili v Casey Kenney

Confusing line movement here. It opened at evens, got absolutely steamed and now there’s been a bounce back onto Kenney. I love Kenney like a brother, having bet him in his last 2 wins against Bermudez and Borg, but I feel that this is a bridge too far for him stylistically.

Kenney’s better suited down at Flyweight, has largely taken advantage of Bermudez and Borg not being great leaders of the dance whilst Merab is downright rabid in his aggression, size and takedowns.

Merab puts up a ton of takedowns. He’s hit 6+ in every one of his 4 UFC bouts, and could easily be 4-0 without a travesty of a decision to call a finish a second after the end of Round 3 in the Simon bout and an iffy decision against Frankie Saenz.

Nobody’s been able to really dent his sheer exuberant top control, wrestling and volume. I think Kenney’s got some cleverness off his back, but he’s going to struggle with cardio and tempo to win rounds.

As such, I feel that Kenney’s going to either need to finish or to get at least 2 massive moments in order to win this fight. Saenz pulled off the latter, but it was a relatively raw Merab in his UFC debut and Saenz is both bigger and better positionally than Kenney.

Late money usually comes for Merab since late money loves to blindly bet volume numbers, so there’s also a good chance that this is the peak of the market.


Merab by 30-26

Betting Strategy

BACK – 5u on Merab at $1.64

Jon Jones v Dominick Reyes

Jones, frankly, isn’t the guy that he used to be. Ever since his return from drug/cocaine/ne’er-do-well suspension to fight Ovince St Preux, he’s shown a lot less flair and aggression than his younger incarnation.

He’s shored up a lot of his defensive gaps, but that’s been at the expense of losing his high octane pressure game. It seems that modern Jones’ idea of fighting is predicated on a fairly low-volume kickboxing match, with even his grappling deciding to fade into the background.

His last fight against Thiago Santos was the worst of his top-flight career, especially considering Santos largely runs away with that decision if he hadn’t destroyed both of his knees over the course of 25 minutes.

Reyes looks like an elite prospect on the come up, though he definitely has some issues. Whilst he’s not a gasser by Light Heavyweight standards, his best work’s definitely done in the first stanza, and I’ve appreciated his intelligence in how he constructs his game.

He’s an effective legkicker – something that Jones doesn’t deal well with, albeit one that favors single, naked shots and has shown a solid construction to his first layer takedown defense.

We’ve yet to see the plunge from Jones on tape, but I feel he’s just not on a good trajectory going forward. This play’s largely speculative on Reyes, but I do feel that we’re reaching the end of the road with Jones.


Reyes by Decision

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 2u on Dominick Reyes at $5.00

Juan Adams v Justin Tafa

Justin Tafa fights like he’s just been picked up from the Sandown RSL after losing his Trifecta on the last race of the day. Juan Adams is a genetic freak, and he’s not normal. This price will close in the neighborhood of 1.15 after the market’s managed to get a feel for the quality of the gentlemen involved.

Tafa is 3-1 in his career, cannot grapple worth a lick and his striking is mostly ambitious hook-swinging which is a struggle considering he doesn’t like to absorb punishment. Adams has 6 inches of height, 7 inches of reach, and a manifest advantage in every phase, range and part of the sport.

I’m not usually one to play favorites, but I’d personally price Adams close to 1.05 in this spot. Tafa needs a miracle haymaker in the first exchange of the fight.

Adams is honestly a decent mid-tier UFC heavyweight, I think he has potential to be ranked for similar reasons to Curtis Blaydes, and he puts up solid pace and has elite top game for the division.


Adams KO1

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 8u on Juan Adams at $1.53

Yousseff Zalal v Austin Lingo

Honestly don’t understand the line here. Lingo’s got some nice pop in his hands, but this is essentially a regional fight that’s been dragged into the UFC as a result of a few pull-outs, meaning that they scrambled to pad out the number of fights on offer.

It’s a raw fight, but I feel that Zalal’s fought the slightly-better competition along with having demonstrated a deeper, more comprehensive skillset. So him being $3.30~ in the markets at this point is pretty dubious to me.

Lingo’s probably shown the most upside in the form of his quick regional finishes, but that’s also why I’m happy to fade him. The infrequent showings from his TDD have been pretty dire, along with his volume dropping quickly during his two trips beyond the first round. He could definitely storm out and annihilate Zalal in the early stanzas, or be covering all-round improvements to his deep game with his quick KOs, but I have to see it to believe it.

Zalal’s kind of noodly and processless, but can generally deal with most phases of the fight game. They’ve both got some power in a swinging exchange, and I feel from tape that Zalal should have the edge in functional grappling. Zalal’s been wrestled in the past, but that doesn’t really seem like Lingo’s game from what we’ve actually seen of him.

Not going to lie, there are a lot of question marks here, but I feel that the pricing is principally due to Zalal having losses on his record whilst Lingo is undefeated as a professional. I find it difficult to see how anybody could price Lingo anywhere past 55%, and whilst this is volatile I’m all about swinging into volatility.


Zalal by Submission Round 2

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 2u on Youseff Zalal at $3.25

Ilir Latifi v Derrick Lewis

Derrick Lewis shouldn’t be 1.4 against anybody. He’s a defensive liability, has massive volume issues, pretty fragile, gasses hilariously and is at a technical deficit in just about every phase against Latifi here.

Yes, he’s fun, but his UFC career has been him hitting in -EV spots again and again and again and again. He’s always live in competition due to his power, but he isn’t disciplined enough in any phase to justify this sort of pricing.

Latifi’s also a big hitter, finally going up to heavyweight after a stint at light heavyweight, and gassed out in Lewisian fashion in his last bout against Volkan Oezdemir.

He’s recently struggled with pace, but the pace is not what Lewis brings to the table. Lewis brings swanging, banging and low tempo to the table.


Latifi by a mess

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 2u on Latifi at $3.20

Conor McGregor v Donald Cerrone

Click here for Gugabe’s full breakdown of the UFC 246 main event and other fights on the card.

Chan Sung Jung v Frankie Edgar

Frankie Edgar’s definitely not in the best years of his career, but this fight was made last year with a line close to 1.4 for Edgar. Now, a year later, without KZ answering the relevant question (how good is his takedown defense?), Jung has become the firm favorite at around $1.57.

There’s no shame in any recent Edgar performances, in my opinion. His TDs being stuffed by Holloway in a close-but-clear outhustling isn’t a huge deal for my estimation of him and, in fact, makes it clear that Edgar’s still got the cardio, durability and willingness to go for takedowns that he needs.

Zombie’s only had one fight that really means a ton since his return from a few years on the bench. That’s his noodly, messy, strange striking match with Yair Rodriguez. A fast-paced, aggressive striking match that ended in glorious fashion when Yair landed a miracle buzzer-beating comeback reverse spinning elbow for the KO.

I don’t put huge stock in his wins over Moicano and Bermudez, as they’re both KOs in the first few exchanges whilst both parties are fairly ‘cold’.

Edgar can compete effectively on the feet with Zombie, and should look like a solid favorite if his takedowns are working. It’s been years since we saw Zombie deal with a takedown, but he wasn’t especially good at defending them back in the days of his championship bout with Jose Aldo in 2013. If Edgar can get on top, he will likely stay on top, and he has the cardio to achieve this frequently and assertively.


Edgar by decision

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 2.5u on Frankie Edgar at $2.62

Mike Rodriguez v Da Un Jung

The algorithm optimized to this fight card told me to fade everybody called Jung, so I’m merely obeying it. But, in all seriousness, I’m expecting a fairly middling kickboxing match between these two in which Rodriguez possesses solid edges in power, target diversity and athleticism.

Jung’s good for durability, cardio and straight punching. He’s not especially good for takedowns, which have been the majority of Mike Rodriguez’ issues in the UFC. I’m expecting an essentially-pure kickboxing bout in which I’ll have to lean Rodriguez for reasons of being a lot bigger hitter and more diverse on the lead. Jung’s also poor at defending kicks

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 2.2u on Mike Rodriguez at $1.90

Pingyuan Liu v Kyung Ho Kang

This fight won’t likely be a bastion of intelligent fight IQ and great decision-making, but that’s why I’m happy to take the value on the dog in Pingyuan Liu. He was last seen losing an inexplicable fight in which he refused to wrestle whatsoever, or even close the distance, against a superior outside-range striker in Jonathan Martinez. Kyung Ho Kang’s coming off a series of close split decisions, as that just seems to be how he rolls in life.

I don’t think there are many people in the UFC community who think Kang can reasonably be in $1.40 territory against. Kang’s style can only really be dominant if he’s finishing, as he has a notable lack of defensive nous standing and his grappling game is… intriguing.

Anybody who’s as comfortable off his back as Kang, plus the fact that he’s not especially positionally-sound (positional soundness referring to a fighter’s willingness to cling to a sniff of top position with zeal and relentlessness instead of going for low percentage submissions since they seem like a good idea at the time), is just not easy to trust at that kind of price range.

Kang is at home, however. That might help him in the event of the split decision that we’re most likely getting, but I trust Pingyuan to stay on top should he get the takedown or Kang does something bizarre in a grappling engagement. I also think Pingyuan’s got a few athletic steps on him, and I like that Pingyuan’s out of Team Alpha Male in recent history.


Messy split decision

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 2u on Pingyuan Liu at $3.25

Kamaru Usman v Colby Covington

Whilst for fandom reasons I’d like to see Colby Covington win this bout, as the far-more engaging fighter, personality and PPV draw, I feel that Kamaru Usman’s got him essentially trumped everywhere that counts.

Usman’s the bigger man, has the better cardio, will dominate the clinch/wrestling exchanges, and will likely continue to be the UFC Welterweight champion until taken out by a flash KO.

Covington’s essentially trying to fight Usman with a less-effective version of Usman’s own skillset. I feel that he’s largely trumped by what Usman’s able to do as an athlete, with a forward-pressure gameplan that focuses on putting volume onto his opponents through superior wrestling, pressure and cardio. Unfortunately for him, I feel that Usman’s got considerable advantages in wrestling, pressure, cardio and athleticism.

Not to entirely cap it off one fight, but I feel that their respective Rafael Dos Anjos fights are the most indicative of the difference in calibers here. Covington went to war with Dos Anjos, barely getting over the line in an incredible display of tenacity, courage and grit. Usman mauled Dos Anjos, putting the fear of god into him, and dominated practically every exchange in the clinch and grappling.

I feel that Colby most likely needs to finish to get the win here, and he’s strikingly non-powerful.


Usman by domination

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 5u on Kamaru Usman at $1.60

Amanda Nunes v Germaine De Randamie

The first bout between these women was defined by Randamine having essentially no facility off her back at that point in time. It is very plausible that that, again, is the deciding factor to the bout… but I feel that should this fight exit the first round that it’s a lot more competitive than Randamie’s current $3.50 pricetag would indicate.

Randamie was able to competently fend off Pennington’s takedowns in a recent bout, and I feel that Nunes cannot afford to really push the tempo with wrestling due to cardio concerns if she isn’t getting takedowns with great ease.

If Nunes knows she’s going deep, she’s sufficiently aware of her own cardio that she tends to turn her volume sliders way down.

Randamie’s likely the better volume striker, along with having greater fundamental skill in an outside kickboxing match. I feel that if this shows any likelihood of going down the stretch, that Randamie will take over.


Randamie late KO

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 1u on Germaine De Randamie at $3.50

I’ll be looking to add another 2 units to Randamie as an underdog after round 1 if she’s shown takedown defence ability or if Nunes has receded into her cardio-conserving mould.

Omari Ahkmedov v Ian Heinisch

Bit of a bizarre fight. Heinisch has a great story, but honestly, his 2 UFC wins have more been a product of his tenacity and pace than being especially good anywhere. He’s not an especially effective striker, his offensive takedown game isn’t really there and he’s got defensive issues all over the shop.

Akhmedov is an incredibly old-looking 32, and may be susceptible to the cardio/hustle approach. However, he’s also not as reliant on the BJJ game as Heinisch’s prior UFC wins Antonio Carlos Junior & Cezar Ferreira. ACJ is rather notorious for gassing at any pace, and the Ferreira fight was wildness personified.

I’m confident that Akhmedov can create a slow-paced striking match on the feet here, and hits hard enough to keep Heinisch honest. It’s hard to go massive since I feel that Heinisch taking a scrappy decision on pure tenacity and work rate is live, but I do like the current price on Akh.


Akhmedov Decision

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 2u Akhmedov at $2.20

Matt Brown v Ben Saunders

This fight will most likely be over quickly. Both men have serious durability issues, with Saunder’s chin last being seen in 2016 & Brown getting hurt badly every time somebody goes to the body against him. Which is why I’m looking to get in on it, as I’m happy to take 3.9 any day in what I considered to be a coin-flippy glass cannon fight.

Matt Brown’s definitely had the better career of the 2 men but is also coming back from 2 years of retirement in order to fight Saunders. His last bout was a win against a visibly depleted Diego Sanchez, and his previously legendary toughness has generally started to fail him.

He’s always been hurtable, but has been reliable to grit through the damage and come back. That’s the attribute that was failing him towards the end of his run. His resistance to body shots has always been a noted issue.

Saunders is also a durability-depleted, offence-first fighter. His chin’s been just about gone in recent years, which has not combined nicely with his tendency to be fairly hittable and constantly come forward. He’s arguably the better grappler than Brown, but I’d be shocked if that ever came into play in any significant manner.

Stylistically they’re actually pretty similar. Forward-moving aggressive combo strikers who thrive on pushing into the clinch and make heavy use of knees & elbows. Saunders never reached the same heights as Matt Brown (Who had a brief run to almost title contention), but I think that’s more a matter of opportunity and the bounce of the ball than any massive difference in their capabilities.

I do lean Brown, but I don’t think you can have confidence beyond the 60% mark considering the layoff, his classic body vulnerability and the large overlaps in their games.


Quick KO for either party.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 2u on Saunders at $3.90

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