Currently 29-15 in predicting the winner and 21-23 in predicting the outcome. Even though I am under .500 on predicting the outcome, I am still positive in winnings because the odds are almost always plus money.
This Saturday UFC 212 heads to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to unify the Featherweight Championship between current Champion Jose Aldo and Interim Champion Max Holloway. In the co-main event is a #1 contender fight between Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz to see who will challenge champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk again.
Bantamweights – Iuri Alcantara (35-7) vs. Brian Kelleher (16-7)
Alcantara has 14 professional fights in the UFC with a record of 9-4 with 1 no contest. Coming off back to back submission wins he faces Kelleher who has finished 13 of his 16 professional wins. Alcantara is a very offensive fighter and is a terrible defender on his feet. Kelleher will look to take Alcantara down and use and abuse him. Neither man has ever been knocked out, look for this one to go the distance.
Prediction: Alcantara (-350) by decision
Bantamweights – Johnny Eduardo (28-10) vs. Matthew Lopez (9-1)
Eduardo has thrived on counter fighting throughout his career and Lopez is known to be an aggressive attacker. Lopez has found himself in vulnerable spots that his aggressive style fighting has gotten him into. Eduardo will look for that opportunity and take full advantage.
Prediction: Eduardo (+160) by TKO
Middleweights – Antonio Carlos Junior (7-2) vs. Eric Spicely (10-1)
Carlos Junior won TUF Brazil 3 (heavyweight) and faltered out of the gates. He dropped to light heavyweight and lost, then dropped to middleweight and went 1-1 with a no contest. Since, he has won two in a row and looks to continue that streak against an over-matched Spicely. Spicely has the same skill of striking as I do (not much) and looks to grapple. Carlos Junior will be able to defend the grapple and takedown and just pick Spicely apart on his feet.
Prediction: Carlos Junior (-235) by decision
Bantamweights – Raphael Assuncao (24-5) vs. Marlon Moreas (18-4-1)
Assuncao’s only loss over the past six years was to T.J. Dillishaw in a title eliminator fight. He has been almost unstoppable in his chase for the belt. One can only imagine he will get a title shot against the winner of Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillishaw, when it gets rescheduled, if he beats Moreas. Moreas is making his UFC debut and is assumed by some to already be placed into the top 5 in the bantamweight rankings. Moreas has won 13 straight and finished the fight in eight of those. Moreas will look to use his state of the art low kicks to keep Assuncao at distance because Assuncao’s striking is pure gold. Assuncao will have to get close to take advantage of his uppercuts. This will probably be the fight of the night and the winner will be the one who executes his gameplan perfectly.
Prediction: Assuncao (+145) by decision
Welterweights – Erick Silva (19-7) vs. Yancy Medeiros (13-4)
Silva, a UFC veteran, has never really found success in the octagon. A just above .500 fighter and getting older, his time in the UFC is limited with the younger generation taking over, like Medeiros. Medeiros is a very dangerous fighter and uses a nice combination of punches and kicks. His defense is what opens any kind of opportunity for Silva to sneak out a win. Medeiros won’t check a low kick, I don’t know if he doesn’t feel comfortable doing so or just doesn’t care, but Silva can take advantage of that and really slow him down. Silva will want to get this fight to the ground and use his wrestling on Medeiros. Medeiros does defend 82% of takedown attempts and should be able to defend Silva because he doesn’t really shoot, he is more of a counter wrestler. Medeiros will try and stand the whole fight, he has never attempted a takedown in the UFC.
Prediction: Medeiros (-155) by TKO (+180)
Middleweights – Paulo Henrique Costa (9-0) vs. Oluwale Bamgbose (6-2)
Probably one of the only times a knockout is minus money. Costa to win by KO/TKO/DQ is -180. These guys both throw so hard for the middleweight division it is almost like watching miniature heavyweights. Costa has stopped every one of his victories by KO or TKO except one, which was a submission. Bamgbose as won all six of his wins by way of knockout. Costa is an aggressive fighter and expects his opponent to respect that, which they should. The problem is Bamgbose is so wild and nontechnical that he will not be scared of Costa. This fight ends in the 1st round without a doubt. The odds for under 1.5 rounds is at -260. Bet both fighters to win by knockout; Costa -180 and Bamgbose +340. Root for the Bamgbose knockout and use the Costa knockout as insurance to at least win your money back.
Prediction: Costa (-310) by TKO (-180)
Middleweights – Vitor Belfort (25-13) vs. Nate Marquardt (35-17-2)
This fight would have been a ppv main event had it been made five years ago. This is Belfort’s goodbye, he wanted his last fight to be in Brazil. With Belfort losing four of his last five fights (one loss did get overturned), it is time for him to retire. He will forever be a legend in the UFC, no reason to tarnish that legacy with unnecessary losses at the end of his career. The next time we see Marquardt fight, it will probably be his goodbye as well. He has lost seven of his last ten fights and the only reason he is still in the UFC is because of his name. This fight should have been on the prelims to allow everyone to see Belfort’s goodbye. No need for an analysis, never bet against a person retiring; John Elway, Ray Bourque, Tim Duncan, Tony LaRussa, Ray Lewis, Peyton Manning.
Prediction: Belfort (-180) by TKO
Women’s Strawweights – Claudia Gadelha (14-2) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1)
The winner of this fight will most likely get another shot at Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The irony of the winner gets Jedrzejczyk scenario, is that the three combined losses between Gadelha and Kowalkiewicz are all to Jedrzejczyk. So this match is essentially a winner gets another loss match. Gadelha had easily won the first two rounds in her last fight against Jedrzejczyk, but then her gas tank was empty. I think that is something she has to improve on in this fight with Kowalkiewicz. Kowalkiewicz is a tough cookie. She isn’t the most technically sound fighter by a long shot, but she wins because she can grind it out. Gadelha is one of the best takedown artist in the UFC and will need to utilize that strength against Kowalkiewicz. Kowalkiewicz will need to get her back on the cage when Gadelha shoots, from there she will be able to impose her aggressive clinch striking. She will let Gadelha wear herself out working in the clinch and Kowalkiewicz has great cardio and will be able to capitalize in the later rounds.
Prediction: Kowalkiewicz (+280) by decision (+400)
UFC Featherweight Championship – Jose Aldo (26-2) vs. Max Holloway (17-3)
Aldo was unstoppable and was arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world, and then a :13 loss to Conor McGregor derailed all that talk. He is still one of the best, if not the best, featherweight of all-time even after that loss to McGregor. Holloway is riding a ten fight win streak and has beat top talent during that streak. He won the Interim Featherweight Championship after beating Anthony Pettis by TKO in the 3rd round. Holloway has finished seven of the ten fights during his streak. Aldo is a more controlled fighter and finds when and where to throw his attacks. Holloway is a very aggressive fighter and has a very high output. Neither fighter looks for the takedown often, and both are great defensive fighters. Look for this fight to stay standing unless someone gets hurt and shoots to recover. The arsenal of kicks we are going to see between these two will be world class. It’s really a toss-up.
Prediction: Holloway (+125) by (+300)