Bet record: 17-31
, Staked: 53.75u
, Profit/Loss: +4.96u
, ROI: 9.24%,
Parlay Suggestions: 21-6 If you’re not bothered about my ramblings on last week’s opinions, scroll down for UFC San Antonio Breakdowns
(For context, my UFC 286 Preview for that event can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/MMAbetting/comments/11qh6nn/ufc_286_betting_preview_ufc_las_vegas_review/
UFC 286 Bets: 4-3, +5.74u, Parlay Suggestions: 3-1
✅ 3u Gunnar Nelson & Marvin Vettori both to Win
✅ 2u Jack Shore & Impa Kasangany to Win
✅ 1u Jack Shore to Win in Round 2 or 3
❌ 1.5u Omar Morales to Win
✅ 1u Leon Edwards to Win
❌ 1u Juliana Miller & Omran Chaaban to Win
❌ 0.25u Marvin Vettori, Gunnar Nelson, Jack Shore & Juliana Miller all to Win
As I said in my initial comments about UFC 286, I think it really under delivered from a fan perspective because of the lack of high level UK prospects. Without a Molly McCann, Darren Till, Paddy Pimblett or a Tom Aspinall, the fans just weren’t as excited or vocal throughout the card.
With that said, I’m always having fun if I’m making money! This was my third winning event in a row, a streak of over 10u profit in March. It was obviously a card of strong favourites but I’m mostly happy with the spots I chose to pull the trigger on. The Nelson/Vettori parlay was nice as both men delivered exactly what I expected them to, and Jack Shore also came through to cash a bigger priced prop bet. It’s really satisfying when your reads on fights turn out to be spot on, and your bets cash with relative ease as a result. Here's some live thoughts on the card + my breakdowns:
- So proud of Leon Edwards
man, that was one hell of a performance. The way he levelled up that takedown defence and made his shots count in the clinch. It was one of those complicated fights to score in that he was moving backwards and fighting defensively for the most part, but he certainly landed more shots and had the better moments. Really happy to have gotten 2/1 and 3/1 (boosted) on the dog there.
- Jesus Christ Rafael Fiziev is quick. The combinations he was throwing in the first minute of round three were some of the most terrifying spurts of offence I’ve seen in some time. And then just a minute or so later Justin Gaethje
starts winging massive uppercuts and cannot miss with them. That was such a good fight, real back and forth stuff. I feel like Gaethje was lowkey a really good underdog spot all week but it’s hard to give those opinions credence sometimes when the masses are all hyping up Fiziev. At least I identified Fiziev was not a good bet.
- Massive shoutout to Gunnar Nelson
for performing exactly like a -400 should, as I expected him to! He got in, landed a takedown, and found the sub soon after. I still wish he would have done that against Takashi Sato, bur he rounded out the parlay with Vettori and made it a winning night for me! Along with Hadley, he was the best parlay option on the card (as I suggested).
- Casey O’Neill didn’t shoot for a takedown. Not the fight anyone was expecting. It’s disappointing when that happens but there’s not really a whole lot you can do. Jennifer
Maia is a really underrated striker so god knows why Casey chose that path. When you consider the way Jake Hadley approached his fight and compare it with O’Neill…that’s the difference between good fight IQ and bad. I actually said in my analysis “I trust O’Neill’s dedication to her gameplan here” which is hilarious. Don’t think I can be blamed for not seeing it coming though haha.
- All week I was a little bit confused by all the love for Roman Dolidze, as I got on Marvin Vettori
pretty early and didn’t really see a whole lot of reasoning that I understood. To be perfectly honest, Dolidze had more success than I expected him to, and any fighter other than Vettori would probably have wilted and got stopped. With that said, that’s exactly why I bet Marvin, so I don’t necessarily think it was a bad read at all. A solid parlay leg.
- Jack Shore
vs Makwan Amirkhani played out exactly as I expected it to. Amirkhani’s a good grappler, so I wasn’t surprised nor worried when he clearly won round 1. In fact, I was more confident in winning my bets as soon as the horn sounded, and it showed. I don’t really understand how a professional fighter can have such a glaring cardio issue and not address it or adjust his style. I hope they keep Makwan around, those Round 2/3 props will always be good. Happy to finally win one of those bigger priced prop bets. I’ve historically been pretty good with props but somehow been on a dry patch since I started posting here.
- Chris Duncan
v Morales was a frustrating one. Morales will look back on that one and be pissed off at himself, because he should absolutely be winning that. Chris Duncan really isn’t very good and I am already looking forward to fading him in the future. Hope they try and build him up because there’ll be a good fade waiting to happen. Annoying fight to lose but fair play to Duncan for identifying the path to victory. Glad I went with a smaller stake for a volatile fight.
- A shame what happened to Dusko Todorovic. Christian Leroy Duncan
is a really exciting striker so I was looking forward to seeing more of him, but you never want to see that happen. I hope we don’t have to wait until the next England card for C L Duncan’s next fight, but I also hope they give him a bit of a lay-up for to allow for a proper “debut”.
- Nicely done from Jake Hadley
, making use of his striking advantage and not getting sucked into a grappling affair. Always annoys me when someone has a distinct advantage but doesn’t use it because it’s not their plan A. He was the best parlay piece of the card. Good for Hadley and I’m excited to see what else he has to offer. Wish I’d gone with him instead of backing Juliana Miller.
- I was keeping half an eye on Herbert/Klein and Wood/Carolina whilst at work. Doesn’t look like I missed a whole lot and haven't bothered to rewatch.
- Juliana Miller with an awful performance. Veronica Macedo
looked much improved but it didn’t take a whole lot to defeat an opponent with no plan B. I didn’t anticipate Macedo being the stronger fighter of the two, which changed a whole lot. Poor decision from me to back an inexperienced fighter at -400 like that. Grim. Inexperience really showed.
UFC San Antonio
I'm really excited for the main event of this one, very glad they put this fight together. Unfortunately the headliner is a massive cut above the rest of the card in terms of popularity and calibre, but we’ve had worse cards this year, I don’t mind it. Usually I’d rejoice over the fact we aren’t in the Apex…but we are in Texas, where judging has been historically AWFUL. There isn’t a whole lot we can really do with that information though, except consider how much of a fighter’s win probability is based around them finding a finish. Fighters who are likely to win without the judges getting involved will be the less volatile spots this week.
From a betting perspective, it’s a very weak card. The bookies have done a really good job of pricing the punters out of any value, as my conclusions to most fights see me lining it pretty close to the books, where there ends up being no real numerical edge on either side! Nonetheless, I’ve broken down most of the bouts on the card below:
Cory Sandhagen v Marlon Vera
Marlon Vera has always been one of my favourite fighters. Backing him to win inside the distance when he was a prelim fighter was a spot I always looked out for back in the day, so it’s great to see him climb so high in the rankings. I always support and ride with the fighters that make me money over the years, and Vera has been one of the best of them.
Unfortunately, Vera’s always relied on his power and finishing ability to really carry him through fights, as there are a lot of instances where he’s down on the overall scorecards, before finding a finish. His wins over Dominic Cruz and Frankie Edgar are the two best examples recently, but his issue of being a slow starter also made this applicable in wins over Davey Grant, Nohelin Hernandez and Guido Cannetti. Also similarly, he was being thoroughly outboxed by Rob Font in their main event encounter last year, but the Ecuadorian was stealing rounds with knockdowns in a very similar way.
Considering I expect this fight against Cory Sandhagen to be a closely contested one, Vera’s inability to win minutes and start strong could end up becoming a problem here. The pivotal question in this fight is whether or not Vera can hurt or finish Sandhagen, as I certainly lean towards favouring Cory if this fight goes the distance and Vera hasn’t scored multiple knockdowns.
Vera is one of the most dangerous guys P4P on the roster, with KO and Submission potential across all five rounds – but Sandhagen has been pretty damn durable in his MMA career. Aljamain Sterling was the only man of 19 able to finish Cory, and it came in under 90 seconds. Sandhagen’s performance there was such a disappointment that I’m convinced there was something else going on that hindered him that night. Petr Yan also dropped Sandhagen with a spinning back fist combo, but that seemed very much like Cory getting caught unaware – and he looked like he recover instantly.
Given the calibre that Sandhagen has fought against in the last four years – I think we have to give him the benefit of the doubt in assuming he can stay safe here. If that is the case I expect him to win rounds with superior output and a faster pace – especially considering he’s got a high likelihood of being one round up after five minutes.
I’m not super confident in that take though as it’s hardly on the level of Garbrandt vs Jones or something! So it’s a fight I’m definitely lining as quite close. Sandhagen deserves to be deemed the favourite for the above reasons, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Vera’s dangerousness was enough to tip the balance in his favour, or if he was able to win a round by just point striking anyway.
I saw a stat this week that said there have been 10 rounds in 2023 where a knockdown is landed but the round still ended and was scored. Of those scorecards, the fighter landing the knockdown won 8 of 10 times. Whilst it’s highly implied that a knockdown means you’re more likely to win the round based off how the following minutes take place, that does still imply the judges are leaning towards awarding damage over minute winning (I personally hate the way MMA judging has gone these days but it is what it is). Just something to consider when you think about Chito’s path to victory.
At the end of the day, it’s an intriguing fight, and not one I think anyone should be rushing to the betting window for due to the small margins in the various skill discrepancies. How I line this fight:
Cory Sandhagen -150 (60%), Marlon Vera +150 (40%) Bet or Pass:
Holly Holm v Yana Santos
Holly Holm is one of those fighters who makes your memory play tricks on you. I instinctively feel like I have a good read on her style and overall calibre, but then when I watch tape she’s always a much more underwhelming version of that fighter I have in my head. She just doesn’t really put her stamp on rounds – spending too much time in the clinch and does not have high enough volume. 3.24 significant strikes landed per 15 minutes is a shockingly low number, especially considering it’s Women’s MMA and Holm has a lot of in cage time. To make matters worse, Holm averages 0.72 takedowns per 15 minutes and is now 41 years old.
Whilst there’s a lot of data to crunch on Holm, there’s actually a surprisingly smaller sample size on Yana Santos. Considering Kunitskaya (previous surname) has been a known name in Women’s MMA for some time, it’s pretty crazy to think she only has 7 UFC appearances to her name – most of which are against a lesser calibre than Holly Holm. She’s also coming off a two year lay-off having had a child with Thiago Santos, which adds further uncertainty to an already tepid read.
As I’m sure you may have noticed by now, this breakdown is much more stat-based than I typically offer (though Women’s MMA is a lot more accessible for stats), because I honestly cannot bring myself to re-watch Holly Holm’s career and I’m instead relying on what the numbers are telling me. Perhaps that’s a bit lazy, but this is the 8th week of UFC cards in a row and I am feeling very burnt out! I just don’t think either woman has a particularly commanding style, and there’s a hell of a lot of intangibles floating around this fight (old age, post-child birth, lay-offs, levels of competition, Texas judging etc), so it’s a very easy pass. How I line this fight:
I won’t line a fight I haven’t taped, but I do not recommend Holm at this price. Bet or Pass:
Nate Landwehr v Austin Lingo
It’s a shame Alex Caceres had to pull out of the originally scheduled bout against Nate Landwehr, but good to see they managed to find Austin Lingo a fight so soon after the Ricardo Ramos one fell through a couple of weeks ago (still annoyed I didn’t get to cash some easy money there). From a fan perspective, this bout is probably the most entertaining of the three available!
Both dudes are hardnosed strikers that like to fight gritty and wear out their opponents. Neither are particularly gifted from a technique perspective, but you’d be hard pressed to find fighters that can out work these two. Pitting them against one another is going to lead to an exhausting fight.
Landwehr is the much more experienced of the two and has clearly had more career success implementing the brawling style, but I think this is just one of those matchups that’s going to be fought quite closely, given how it should play out. Landwehr relies on sheer busyness and drowning his opponents to win rounds but, if he can’t necessarily do that to Lingo, do you really have a whole lot of confidence that he’s going to be the clear round winner? The guy gets hit by 5.56 significant strikes per minute. Considering we are in Texas and there is added volatility to the judging, any fighter that can land 5.56 S.Strikes is live to win a round or two!
Landwehr’s key to winning this fight is going to be in his wrestling, as that’s where he will clearly assert himself. But can he even get it there though? Lingo’s debut performance against Youseff Zalal was a big red flag in terms of his takedown defence, but he looks to have improved it in his following two bouts. However, those came against a lower level of competition so could well be flattering Lingo’s overall ability. His takedown defence stats are quite skewed, and he’s coming off an 18 month layoff which muddies the water even more.
I think the edge in experience and overall competence at the hard-nosed styles means that Landwehr deserves to be favoured here, but I think the pricetag is a bit ridiculous. He should get the win, but I would be very surprised if he does it with the dominance of a -275. The lay off for Lingo means that he can have anywhere from a very low floor to a reasonably high ceiling. Both men are durable and will have moments in this fight, so this is one of the fights where I’m expecting some wild shit from Texas judges. If you’re convinced about betting Landwehr at -300 here, you’re crazy. Lingo the value side, but mostly based off intangibles and hypotheticals, which doesn’t fill me with enough confidence to pull the trigger. How I line this fight:
Nate Landwehr -200 (67%), Austin Lingo +200 (34%) Bet or Pass:
Andrea Lee v Maycee Barber
This one should be pretty fun! It’s speed and agility vs power and force.
Andrea Lee is a complicated fighter to get a full read on, as her performances have really varied throughout her career. She’s well rounded enough to outstrike most equally levelled opponents on the feet, and her grappling isn’t too bad either. Takedown defence needs a bit of work though.
The biggest issue with Lee is those back-to-back losses to Lauren Murphy and Roxanne Modafferi. It’s just inexcusable to lose both of those of those fights when you’re the calibre that Andrea Lee is. I know you can argue she got robbed against Murphy (it’s probably the key example of Texas judging being so bad), but she let the fight become quite close. And yes, Barber lost to Modafferi, but that was all determined by an injury and anyone who tells you otherwise is a hater or hasn’t watched it.
I’ve always thought Barber was overrated in terms of skills, but her physicality and strength are a bit of a gamechanger in the Women’s divisions. She’s well-rounded, but statistically has lesser output than Andrea Lee…which is always concerning. I expect this one to be quite competitive, where Andrea Lee could easily stay safe on the outside and jab her way to a win, as long as she gets on her bike and utilises good footwork. Maycee will plod forward and look to land the power shot, but that’s not a particularly high percentage outcome to rely on in Women’s MMA. If she can get her hands on her and utilise the clinch, I think it’s all one way traffic from there though. Maycee is reliable to do that, at least.
I can understand Barber being the favourite based off the finishing upside, imposing striking with good metrics and ability to land takedowns…but I’m just still not wholly convinced by her ability as a mixed martial artist outside of the way she implements brute force. It might be enough here, but I just don’t like her at this short of a price. Lee has a clear path to victory that, whilst I’m not convinced she can execute it, should be taken seriously. How I line this fight:
Andrea Lee +163 (38%), Maycee Barber -163 (62%) Bet or Pass:
Alex Perez v Manel Kape
It’s just impossible to know what we’re getting from Alex Perez at this stage, isn’t it? I like Manel Kape and rate him relatively highly, but I have always maintained that Perez on his best day could well be a champion at Flyweight. I bet him in most of his fights in the buildup to the title bout against Figgy – and I bet him there as well. Unfortunately Figgy was still in his explosive prime so it didn’t work out, but I expected Perez to become somewhat of a title eliminator gatekeeper from then on. Since that loss two and a half years ago his career has taken a peculiar turn – eight fight cancellations and a 91 second loss to Alexandre Pantoja.
There are just so many question marks surrounding Alex Perez at the moment, and that makes it impossible to know what to expect in this fight. If he was at his best, I’d consider him a slight favourite here, but who knows. Kape’s weakness is clearly defensive wrestling, and he can sometimes be low volume enough on the feet that he makes fights closer than they need to be. Perez has a good enough style to make that work and win here…providing we get him at his best.
I didn’t dive into much tape for this one as I knew I wasn’t going to bet it at all. If you think Kape beats Perez based off the footage available then you’re getting a decent price! How I line this fight:
Didn’t tape, won’t line it. Bet or Pass:
Chidi Njokuani v Albert Duraev
It’s crazy how much Albert Duraev’s stock has fallen, all in one loss to Joaquin Buckley. Before that bout he looked sensational on the Contender Series, and followed it up with a dominant win over Roman Kopylov as a -450 favourite. He absolutely does his best work in the grappling and showed that he doesn’t have much of a plan B if he can’t land takedowns or settle his opponent on their back. I’m also not too convinced by his cardio, and any opponent that will make him work hard to secure top position can weaponise his questionable endurance in the later rounds.
Buckley’s such a physical and stocky guy though, I think he’s naturally going to be a tough opponent to take down when you’ve got a bit more of a wirey frame like Duraev does. Chidi Njokuani isn’t so muscular and stocky, so I think it’s fair to assume that Duraev’s going to be more of a threat with the takedowns than he was against Buckley.
The problem is, Chidi showed some really impressive get ups after the initial takedown and doesn’t usually settle on the bottom whilst he’s fresh. Dusko Todorovic isn’t the best grappler in the world by any stretch, but Chidi was doing all the right things to prevent hit back from lying flat on the mat, and if he has similar success against Duraev he’s cruising.
The finish to the Robocop fight was a bit of a concern, but that fight heated up to a ridiculously fast pace in round 1 that I think Chidi cardio dumped, got rocked, and kind of quit on the bottom against Rodrigues. The same could happen again, but it would rely on Duraev pushing the pace aggressively with his striking, which isn’t something he often does.
Overall, I think Njokuani definitely deserves to be a favourite here as he is much more dangerous on the feet and has shown us already that he can successfully answer the questions that Duraev will ask. The Russian also does not have much of a plan B and doesn’t always do a whole lot with his top control except set up submissions. Considering Njokuani is a BJJ Black Belt, and the judges probably won’t appreciate those kind of optics from Duraev, I’m not massively convinced by his chances here.
I’m interested to see what kind of price they’re giving for Njokuani ITD in this fight, as I’m quite convinced by his finishing ability since he moved up to Middleweight, and Duraev is very hittable if he gets stuck on the feet. If I can get + money on it I think I’d have a small wager. How I line this fight:
Chidi Njokuani -175 (64%), Albert Duraev +175 (36%) Bet or Pass:
1.5u Chidi Njokuani & CJ Vergara Both to Win (+122)
Steven Peterson v Lucas Alexander
I complain pretty much every week about the UFC’s current fighter calibre having massively declined recently, and nothing proves my point like Steven Peterson finally becoming a betting favourite for the first time in 8 UFC bouts. The guy has been the perfect litmus test to determine whether any fighter is UFC level, and those he has beaten were notoriously bad at the time and didn’t last long at the top level (Chase Hooper excluded because he had some “name value”).
He’s got some similarities to Austin Lingo in that he is some generic white guy with bad tattoos, that doesn’t have any real skill but is gritty and dedicated to the fight. If you can’t put him away, you’re going to have keep your shit together or he might surprise you by sheer output and ruggedness. No fighter that is credited mostly for their ability to take a punch and walk forward deserves to be a -175 favourite, but they also don’t always deserve to be massive underdogs either (see breakdown of Landwehr vs Lingo). The thing that baffles me the most though is that Peterson isn’t much of a finisher (6 of his last 7 went the distance), meaning the books are putting a fair bit of stock into his ability to win a decision.
So…Lucas Alexander. His UFC debut was a quick loss via RNC, but it came off a slip from a kick and the rest was kind of a formality at that point once Brito got the back as a result. Personally I don’t really put much/any stock into that loss as I don’t think it showed us anything about him apart from his defensive grappling isn’t elite? Ask yourself this…if this was Lucas Alexander’s UFC debut, would the line still be the same? It depends on what the regional tape looks like, but I’m quite sure it wouldn’t!
Therefore, we have to go back to the regional scene to actually get a glimpse of Alexander…and there is a lot more to be intrigued by than you might think. He’s a better technical striker than Peterson! He’s got great fluidity and movement, throws a varied arsenal of kicks and combos (lots of leg kicks, which will halt that forward pressure), and switches stances quite often. I’m not too sure how he’ll deal with being crowded by Peterson and his intense style, but I fully expect him to get the better of the majority of the striking exchanges whilst they’re at distance.
To win this fight cleanly, the grappling is the answer for Peterson…but Alexander’s defensive wrestling and get ups aren’t bad at all from what I’ve seen! I’ve seen evidence of him using the cage to get back to his feet and reversing position in the clinch, as well as maintaining position in top control. Apparently he’s a black belt as well, but I try not to immediately assume that makes you a good grappler (he does have 3 submission losses tbf). I did see a few submission attempts and successful reversals from bottom against Jeremias Fernandez, and was impressed with how he handled being on the bottom. The two regional scene submission losses both came in 2018, and honestly he looks like he’s improved his wrestling/grappling a lot since then so I’m not massively concerned by them.
Peterson has averaged just 1.61 TDs landed per 15 minutes, which isn’t a massively high number and doesn’t really fill you with a whole lot of confidence that he’s going to stick to a grappling based gameplan in this fight, especially when we know how much he enjoys brawling. If he does come with that kind of gameplan then I guess I expect him to be favoured (still hard to say how good/bad Alexander’s grappling is), but if he opts to strike I think he’s at a disadvantage.
For me, this fight is clearly a pick’em, or at least leans slightly towards Peterson as the favourite. I do expect Alexander to perform better than his +150 price tag suggests, as I think he’s got the potential to keep out of danger with the grappling and actually outscore Peterson on the feet. This fight probably goes the distance and, given the hesitance I have about Texas judges, I’d much rather be on the + money side there as well. Alexander is still being regarded as a “UFC debut” fighter in my eyes so I won’t be staking much here…but if you’re betting Peterson at -180 I think you’re crazy. How I line this fight:
Steven Peterson -120 (54%), Lucas Alexander +120 (46%) Bet or Pass:
1u Lucas Alexander to Win (+150 or better…waiting to see if the juice continues)
Trevin Giles v Preston Parsons
Preston Parsons looked really good in his win over Evan Elder last year, with the latter going on to impress everyone with his latest performance against Nazim Sadykhov a few weeks ago. Parsons has a really suffocating wrestling/grappling style, forcing his opponents to work and threatening with a variety of submissions. He can be a little “submission over position” but he’s got an arsenal of really good sweeps from bottom. His striking also looked decent in the loss to Daniel Rodriguez, throwing shots at angles and landing pretty cleanly on D-Rod a few times.
He faces Trevin Giles, who has had a pretty eventful UFC career so far. Giles suffered back to back R3 losses to Zak Cummings and Gerald Meerschaert in fights he was clearly winning, where lapses in concentration saw him snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He then went on to be the benefactor of one of the worst decisions in MMA history when he beat James Krause by decision. Giles hasn’t really gone on to do a whole lot in his UFC career since, but a well-aged win over Roman Dolidze stands out as the highlight.
Giles has decent striking himself, but he is such a low volume fighter that I think he’s going to struggle to win rounds against Preston ‘Pressure’ Parsons if he doesn’t do damage. The younger fighter will be happy to push the pace in this one, varying up his striking with a few takedown entries and just overwhelming Giles, who likes to fight patiently and methodically on the feet. Giles looks clean when he’s involved in a staring match on the feet, but when the tempo turns up and things get a bit wild he kind of loses all composure and technique (see losses to Morales and Du Plessis recently). Giles is also a decent enough grappler, but he’s prone to reversals on the mat (which Parsons will definitely try to execute), and can accept bottom position if his initial guard sub or two get shut down.
I’m struggling to really see why this one is being lined as a pick’em here, as Giles doesn’t hold a whole lot of advantages that I think he’ll be able to implement. He’s clearly a good striker, but the low volume should prevent him from really being able to show that off properly, and he won’t be the fighter looking to put his stamp on rounds when he’s fighting at a tempo way higher than he wants. He’s more experienced, but we’ve also seen lots of examples of poor fight IQ consistently creeping into Giles’ game and he hasn’t addressed the flaws of his style.
I’d line Parsons as a small to moderate favourite in this fight, and I’ll be betting him for a couple of units as a result. How I line this fight:
Trevin Giles +150 (40%), Preston Parsons -150 (60%) Bet or Pass:
3u Preston Parsons to Win (+100)
CJ Vergara v Daniel Da Silva
To me, this seems like one of those fights where the UFC are acknowledging Vergara has paid his dues, and are giving him a bit of a softball as a result.
No one really knew what to make of Vergara when he got to the UFC – a KO win on the Contender Series in 41 seconds is usually a red flag more than anything! They lined him up with Ode Osbourne for his debut, where he was a +170 underdog. He put a really impressive display in that fight, with many thinking he actually won against a guy that is quite well respected at Flyweight.
Next, he was a +270 underdog to Kleydson Rodrigues, who was making his debut as a highly, highly touted prospect. Everyone and their mothers was on Rodrigues in that fight, yet Vergara fought a really smart and dedicated gameplan and won a close split decision. I had a big bet on Kleydson in his fight a few weeks ago, and rewatching the Vergara fight had me respecting him all over again. Given what we saw Kleydson do to Shannon Ross (not that the latter is a world beater) did nothing but improve Vergara’s stock.
Then, for his third UFC bout, he gets Tatsuro Taira! Probably one of the top 5 hottest unranked prospects in the sport right now. That was the first time we saw Vergara actually look like the +220 underdog that the books had him as, but given the hype around Taira that’s actually a respectable number to be graded at! There really isn’t a long list of fighters who are willing to fight Taira at the moment, so the matchmakers have probably scheduled this fight as a thank you for Vergara being a company man.
They’ve given him Daniel da Silva (Lacerda) as a reward. DdS is a pretty wild fighter, with 15 bouts all ending inside the distance (and none even reaching round 3). That kind of kill-or-be-killed style is certainly fun to watch, but it doesn’t really work out as well as you’d think when you hit the big shows. Don’t get me wrong, he looks pretty decent in round 1, but Vergara is a durable guy that has shown good IQ in the cage so far. He should find a way to stay safe in that opening round, probably by landing a takedown and coasting in top control like Jeff Molina did (also, shoutout Jeff Molina for handling the social media chaos with grace last week!), or by pushing that ferocious striking pace and keeping da Silva on the backfoot.
Even so, da Silva is a liability to himself in Round 1 as well, as we saw in losses to Francisco Figueiredo and Victor Altamirano. Getting kneebar’d by Figgy’s subpar brother is a pretty bad look, and he had absolutely no answer for Altamirano’s ground striking as soon as he was on his back. His commitment to the guard sub is insane, and it’s probably going to be responsible for yet another loss here against Vergara.
I think we’re getting a decent price on Vergara here. The blueprint has been written on Da Silva and, whilst Vergara will have to be careful for the opening few minutes, I think CJ’s got him covered here. I jumped in on the -275 as a parlay piece, as I think there’s an argument Vergara should probably be a bigger favourite here?
Also, as a side note from watching Molina vs Da Silva – Damn James Krause was a good coach. What a waste! How I line this fight:
CJ Vergara -300 (75%), Daniel Da Silva +300 (25%) Bet or Pass:
1.5u CJ Vergara & Chidi Njokuani Both to Win (+122)
Vinicius Salvador v Victor Altamirano
I loved Vinicius Salvador’s DWCS performance against Shannon Ross and I’m really excited to see him make his debut, but I’m not massively sure about how good he is as an overall fighter. His style instantly makes him a fan favourite, but using nothing but head movement to defend, and having that cocky style that throws ridiculous highlight reel kicks isn’t really a positive trait when you’re looking to put your hard earned money on a fighter. It looks cool and can sometimes impress the judges…but it’s a risky game and can easily see you getting caught clean or making mistakes. There’s a reason Michel Pereira doesn’t fight like a lunatic anymore.
Salvador hits hard and absolutely has knockout power, having finished 13 of his 14 wins by KO (the other was a submission). He’s also lost inside the distance in three of his 4 losses, and Shannon Ross did have him hurt for a second or two in the DWCS fight. He’s a chaotic fighter, and I’m really annoyed we got robbed of the chance to see him fight Daniel Da Silva a few months ago. It would have been fireworks.
This might sound stupid as a genuine piece of logic and reasoning, but I have always fully believed the notion that Mexican fighters have the best chins and next level toughness. It’s kind of a dumb narrative for me to hang my hat on, but I am always hesitant to side with a knockout-based fighter if it’s a Mexican opponent they’re trying to put to sleep. We saw Altamirano eat a few clean and heavy shots from Daniel Da Silva in his last bout, which makes me think I might have to side with my illogical narrative once again.
With that said, I still think Salvador deserves to be favoured by a small margin here. Victor Altamirano just isn’t very good. His win over DdS was kind of a high variance random knee, and he was clearly losing that fight up to that point. He was competitive in the win against Carlos Hernandez, but I feel like that fight didn’t do much to show off the skills of either guy and it really solidified that they are equally matched as entry level UFC fighters. It was like an intense sparring session, where neither guy had any real sting on their shots and only looked to point score, with a bit of cage pushing thrown in for good measure.
The power discrepancy between Altamirano and Salvador is too big to ignore here. Salvador is going to come out hot and look to take Victor’s head off, and I just don’t think Altamirano is going to be able to earn back the respect of Salvador here. The striking should be one-way traffic whilst they’re fresh, simply because Salvador’s going be doing damage with almost every shot that he lands. As the fight wears on though, I expect Altamirano have a lot more success in the later minutes, as he settles into the fight and has grown confident he can withstand the power (as well as some of the sting coming off Salvador’s shots).
Altamirano doesn’t look like wrestling/grappling is his preferred skillset, but I think he would do well to lean on it a bit here. I haven’t been able to really find any tape on Salvador’s defensive wrestling/grappling, but I have to assume that a fighter with as little technical discipline as him is probably not the greatest grappler in the world.
I see Vinicius Salvador as something similar to the Brazilian equivalent of Trevor Peak. It's easy to get ahead of yourself and try to fade a guy with brute force and no technique, but it’s important to realise that the judges don’t score technique and as long as Salvador is landing something, he’ll earning favour with the judges and threatening to score a finish too.
I don’t think Altamirano is the guy to capitalise on those defensive lapses of Salvador, so I think the Brazilian is the rightful favourite. However, there’s not enough value on the line to justify a bet here, and Salvador could easily be the maker of his own downfall with his reckless style, and that’s not the kind of guy I like to back.
Very excited to see this one play out. I will probably throw Salvador into a couple of my untracked degenerate parlays, but officially it’s a no-bet for me. How I line this fight:
Vinicius Salvador -120 (54%), Victor Altamirano +120 (46%) Bet or Pass:
Tamires Vidal v Hailey Cowan
The UFC are being very generous to Hailey Cowan, aren’t they!? After trying and failing to set her up with one of the worst fighters on the roster, Ailin Perez, they’re trying again to offer her a bit of a soft entry into the UFC.
The problem is that Cowan is just simply not very good, so I think she’s going to struggle against anyone that’s borderline UFC calibre. Tamires Vidal sits on the fringe, and she seems to be the much more dangerous of the two and actually has some process to her striking, so I think Cowan deserves to be the underdog once again.
The betting line here has been on a real journey already. Books opened Cowan as a +200 underdog, and it looks to have been jumped on by some opportunistic value bettors – and rightly so! I just hope the steam has come in because they think the line was wide, not because they have any real faith in Cowan!
I’m intrigued to see how far the overcorrection goes, as this one really should land around a pick’em. The books won’t mind tipping the balance towards Cowan if it means they’ve got equal money on each side, as this isn’t going to be a high stakes fight so they’ll prioritise keeping the book green.
I have to remind myself of the calibre I’m dealing with here though…both women are low level and high variance is at play! If all the money on Cowan continues to come and Vidal’s price gets bigger, then a true value bettor should pounce on any decent size + money…but you really do have to accept that you’re getting into bed with variance here. How I line this fight:
Tamires Vidal -110 (52%), Hailey Cowan +110 (48%) Bet or Pass:
Bets (Placed bets in bold, others are pending as line may improve)
3u Preston Parsons to Win
1.5u CJ Vergara & Chidi Njokuani Both to Win
0.25u Njokuani, Parsons & Vergara All to Win
1u Lucas Alexander to Win (+150 or better) Parlay Do’s
: Njokuani, Parsons, Vergara Parlay Don’ts
: Sandhagen, Holm, Landwehr, Barber, Peterson, Cowan
UFC 287 (Breakdown next week but don’t expect line to hold)
2u Michael Chiesa to Win
Best of luck with your bets!
Looking for some recommendations for a good tattoo parloartist in Dublin that will not burn a hole in my pocket please! Mainly looking to get a minimalist tattoo. Thanks!
So my players are going through Skull & Shackles, they're lv5, will hit lv6 this week, and they're starting to get interested in acquiring stat-boosting items.
As a result, I was running into the perennial issue faced by all GMs running adventures like these - planning on modifying items they can pick up in the books to include these stat boosts, and grappling with the fact that several of these items will exist in a revolving door as their novelty fades compared to new items that give better boosts.
And then... I found out about Magical Tattoos, and that they can replicate other Wondrous Items. And now I'm in love.
See, on the one hand, Automatic Progression stuff bothered me a bit because players didn't have to obtain them, even if it took away the necessity of slapping "& Dexterity +2" on everything.
On the other hand... exactly what I mentioned above. As well as making it hard to up the power of NPCs, particularly Bosses, without using Enhancement Items that the players will harvest and become OP with once they beat the boss.
But Magical Tattoos solve all of that - now, when the PCs are in a Port for Downtime, they can get the "Tattoo Of [Stat] +X" by spending the same value the normal Wondrous Item would cost plus taking the requisite number of Downtime Days to have them inscribed. (I'm currently only allowing Ability +1-6, Resistance, Protection, Natural Armor, Armor, and Mighty Fists, and ignoring the "double cost because they don't take up a Body Slot" rule as a result).
I can also jack up Bosses without fear of the inevitable item harvesting because "they have magic tattoos - nothing to harvest!"
Tattoos also don't invalidate traditional things like Belts of Strength, etc., because those have the quality that they immediately enhance stats, while Tattoos require several days of Downtime to acquire, meaning I can still sneak those boosting items in as special mid-adventute power-ups that the players find as a help to deal with the coming nonsense.
Oh, man - I love that these exist; I'd never thought of them before, but they absolutely are becoming a basic aspect of my games from this point forward.