After a rare week off, the UFC is back in action on Saturday with a return to the APEX that starts off a three-event run. UFC Vegas 80 is headlined by a lightweight matchup between rising contender Grant Dawson and divisional staple Bobby Green. Ten other matchups precede the main event, with a lot of big favorites and live dogs on the card, so let’s jump right in.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Alex Morono, +142
Morono is a very live dog against Joaquin Buckley on the Vegas 80 main card. Buckley is coming off that great knockout win over Andre Fialho, but Fialho has also lost four fights in a row. Morono, meanwhile, has won five of his past six fights, and he was well on his way to winning against Santiago Ponzinibbio before a third-round comeback happened. Buckley is the more powerful striker and wrestler, but Morono throws way more volume and stays in the fight down the stretch, where Buckley has faded in the past.
Diana Belbita, +130
I’ve been riding the Karolina Kowalkiewicz train longer than just about anyone, but here is where I disembark. In her prime, Kowalkiewicz was the better fighter, but the Polish fighter is about to turn 38, and though she’s one a good run of late, eventually Father Time catches us all. Belbita is much younger and much larger than Kowalkiewicz, and has the kickboxing and grappling for those advantages to make a difference.
Belbita likely wins a decision here, but since you aren’t getting much extra for the prop bet, I’m playing her straight up, just to cover the bases.
Joe Pyfer to Win by Submission, +550
They to key to betting is to zig when everyone else is zagging. Pyfer has entered the UFC in spectacular fashion with three straight knockout wins (including his Contender Series performance), and so everyone and their mothers are all on Pyfer to get another knockout against Abdul Razak Alhassan.
But here’s the thing: Alhassan is very tough and has only been knocked out once. Plus, he is also a knockout artist in his own right (every one of his wins has come by way of KO or TKO). Pyfer is a smart fighter and a very quality grappler, as well, so I think there’s a strong chance he goes for the takedowns in this fight to minimize risk. And even if he doesn’t, a club and sub is always in play, a la Jack Della Maddalena and Randy Brown.
Parlay of the Week
Grant Dawson, -410
Don’t get me wrong, Bobby Green remains a very difficult out for anyone in the lightweight division. But I’m super high on Dawson and his prospects among the upper echelon at 155. Green is certainly the more fluid striker, and if he can stop Dawson’s relentless grappling game and start building a head full of steam, then all bets are off, but that outcome seems very unlikely.
Look for this to be a repeat of Bobby Green vs. Islam Makhachev, only slightly less dominant.
Joe Pyfer, -410
See above for more details, but Pyfer is being set up for a coming out party here, and I think he delivers.
Drew Dober, -425
Dober is the wild card of this parlay, because sometimes he’s a wild man. That being said, Ricky Glenn is not Matt Frevola and considering how easily Christos Giagos got Glenn out of there in April, Dober should be able to do something similar.
Parlay these three bets together for -110 odds.
Long Shot of the Week
Grant Dawson to Win by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 3. +2000
As discussed above, this fight lines up well for Dawson, as his wrestling should ultimately bury Green in activity. But while Dawson should get plenty of takedowns, submissions are another thing entirely. Green hasn’t been submitted since 2009, and even Islam Makhachev decided the simpler strategy was simply to mash Green’s face instead of fish for armlocks. Dawson should have the same sort of realization as this fight carries on and Green keeps showcasing his excellent defensive grappling skills, and given that three of Dawson’s last four wins have come in the third round, he’s starting to build a little bit of a reputation.
Brutal outing the previous time out. We were on pace to come out ahead and then the freak injury to Rafael Fiziev crushed us. And we just barely missed the Long Shot of the Week! Close but no cigar. On to the next one.
Until next week, enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!
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