Justin’s Pick: Johnny Walker
There are “close” fights that could feature a ton of upside, and those are fights you’re going to have to target in tournaments. Johnny Walker is coming off of a devastating knockout over a surging Khalil Rountree in his MMA debut. He has displayed tremendous power throughout his career, and his size is going to cause a problem for his future opponents. He has shown one major flaw in his MMA career, and that has been a questionable chin. Luckily for Walker, Justin Ledet simply doesn’t have the power of some of the other light-heavyweights in the UFC. Ledet could potentially use his grappling to try to neutralize Walker’s power, but I expect the latter to keep this standing and find a knockout in this fight.
Jason’s Reaction: Johnny Walker is probably my second favorite “expensive” option this weekend. Ledet is horrible, but he is also very slow and frustrating, and that is worrisome.
Jason’s Pick: Livinha Souza
This Saturday hosts an entire slate of difficult, semi-unpredictable matchups, so finding consistency that also lends itself to upside is very important. Insert Livinha Souza. Souza is not a massive favorite this weekend, but no fighter outside of Magomed Bibulatov is, and Bibulatov, despite being a solid cash game option, has too high of a price tag to scream, “roster me!” Souza is -220 to beat Sarah Frota, and she has +155 odds to finish. Unfortunately, her odds to win via submission are at +180, and it is always risky to bet on submsissions. Knockouts are a little bit more predictable, but submissions require a lot more effort and positioning. Souza is a black belt in BJJ, though, and she should be able to out-grapple Frota. The pricing this week is very tight, so a first-round finish could skyrocket any team into the top of tournaments.
Justin’s Reaction: I’m surprised you picked Souza because that was my pick. Submissions are a bit more predictable for women fighters, and that is Souza’s strength. I love her to pick up the finish.
Justin’s Pick: Junior Albini/Jairzinho Rozenstruik
I’m going to take the easy way out here. I’m simply going to take the odds value on this play. At the moment, Junior Albini is a -120 favorite, but this play could change at any moment. Albini is a well rounded fighter, who has found quite a bit of success in the UFC. He has flashed knockout power and submission skills throughout his career, and that’s why I personally lean towards Albini. Jairzinho Rozenstruik is a skilled striker, who comes with elite knockout power. He hasn’t fought nearly as good of competition as Albini, and that’s another reason to lean Albini. When there is essentially a pick ‘em that is expected to end inside of the distance, I tend to lean towards the player that has more ways to win this fight. This fight could be the key to winning tournaments on this slate.
Jason’s Reaction: I actually lean slightly toward Rozenstruik right now, but this fight is SO CLOSE. There is value to be found, obviously.
Jason’s Pick: Renato Moicano
Renato Moicano is my favorite play on the board this Saturday, as his matchup against Jose Aldo does not bode well for Aldo. Moicano is the favorite at -140, and his inside the distance odds are currently set at +255, which is solid upside for his price tag. Most importantly, Moicano is a black belt in BJJ under Alex Leleco, as well as a black prajied in Muay Thai. To be fair, Aldo is a black belt in BJJ under Andre Pederneiras, as well as a black belt in Luta Livre Esportiva under Marco Ruas. Since both Moicano and Aldo specialize in BJJ and Muay Thai, it could end up being a wash, which indicates that this fight stay standing and distance is maintained. If that is the case, the edge goes to Moicano. Aldo, since getting knocked out by Conor McGregor, has shown a questionable chin at times. To his credit, he has only been embarrassed by Max Holloway, who is arguably the greatest fighter in the history of the UFC. Even so, Aldo is aging, and Moicano has only lost to Brian Ortega via submission in his entire career. It is his time to shine, and I think he finishes Aldo inside of distance.
Justin’s Reaction: If you remember Moicano’s fight against Ortega, he was winning before oddly getting caught in a sub. I believe this fight will stay standing, and I give the edge to Moicano, as well. He’s a great option for his price tag.
Justin’s Pick: David Teymur
I was going to write up Ricardo Ramos for the odds value, but that seemed a bit too easy. Instead, I’ll recommend David Teymur, who has seen one of the weirdest line shifts in recent memory. Teymur opened as a +105 underdog before moving to a -230 favorite and back to a -105 underdog. He gets a matchup against Charles Oliveira, who is a pure finisher, but also owns a questionable gas tank. This is another matchup of a striker vs a grappler, as Oliveira will have a massive advantage on the ground, while Teymur owns the better striking. Teymur is extremely good at getting back to his feet after getting taken down, and that will limit Oliveira’s opportunities for submissions. Teymur will utilize his cardio and striking to wear Oliveira down before finding a finish later in the fight. For what it’s worth, I likely would take Oliveira’s side if he were priced as the underdog, and I simply like the value here.
Jason’s Reaction: I’ll start by saying I do not think that Teymur wins this fight. However, his price tag is too low, and the odds have been all over the place, showing that this fight is much more of a toss up than DraftKings’ pricing would lead one to believe. I like this on DraftKings, but not MyBookie.
Jason’s Pick: Lyman Good
If there is one line this week that makes absolutely no sense, it is Lyman Good at +150 to Demian Maia at -170. Maia is an incredible grappler and submission specialist, as everyone knows. I don’t think it has to be mentioned, but he is a fourth-degree black belt in BJJ under Fabio Gurgel. Despite all that, in takedown attempts over his last three fights, Maia is 0-for-49. Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington, and Kamaru Usman are on another level when it comes to wrestling, but Lyman Good doesn’t need to be as good as them. All he needs to do is stop this fight from getting to the ground long enough to let his hands fly. Maia will not be able to defend against Good’s striking. Despite being a rather large underdog, Good is +235 to finish inside the distance, which just goes to show how great his upside is in tournaments. His price tag on DraftKings is far too low, and he is the best underdog, low-priced option this weekend by a fairly large margin.
Justin’s Reaction: *Rolls eyes* – You’re just stealing all of my picks this week. I understand Maia is an elite grappler, but he doesn’t have the stand-up to compete with Good on the feet. This fight is simple from a matchup standpoint, as Good will win a striking battle, while Maia will win a grappling battle. I feel the former is more likely, making Good an elite play for his price tag.