This fight night card is an improvement over last week’s Moscow card, and I think it’s safe to say we will have at least one 100-plus point scorer this week after seeing zero last week. At the time of initial writing, there is no screaming value on betting line versus salary, so we may see very spread ownership, and taking stands in the correct spots will be key in tournaments. This will be clear as there will be plenty of stance fights in the tournament section. I think I’ve got a sound read on this one and looking forward to bouncing back from last week’s low scoring ugliness and getting some proper favorites home.
A reminder of the fight classifications for tournaments:
I will take each fight and assign it to one of five categories for tournament deployment. Those categories are:
- “Lock It In” – This will be for fights that the build should have at or near 100% exposure.
- “Over The Field” – This will be for attractive fights that are likely to see the winner to the optimal, but not quite at the “Lock It In” level. These fights should be deployed at approximately 80% total fight exposure.
- “Stance Fight” – This will be for fights for which we have a real expectation on one fighter winning and being probable for the optimal. The exposure level will vary. I’ll explain both the level of exposure of our stance fighter and whether their opponent is a fade or low-level exposure.
- “Defensive Fight” – This will be for fights that are middle of the road for the optimal and have a wide range of outcomes. We will generally deploy the total fight exposure at 35-50%.
- “Ugly Fight” – This will be for fights in which the winner is unlikely for the optimal.
As always, check back after weigh-ins for cash, single entry, picks, bets and any other final thoughts.
**Update** we have a fighter change in the Lipski fight as she gets a one day notice new opponent. Both fighters in the Cortez fight missed weight by half a pound but the fight will proceed as scheduled. Will update further on the Lipski fight as information comes available.
Lock It In
Jan Blachowicz, -200, 8900 vs. Ronaldo Souza, +165, 7300
Fight is five rounds at 205 lbs and is -260 to end inside the distance.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza makes the move up to 205 lbs and will be the smaller fighter in this one, giving up 6 inches of reach to Jan Blachowicz. Jacare remains one of the top BJJ players in the sport, and if he ends up on top in any round, he will find a submission. We discussed that Blachowicz is not a KO artist by any means leading up to his KO of Rockhold in his last fight, but let’s be honest here, Rockhold could get slept in a pillow fight at this juncture. Jacare is tough and has been KO’d just once in the last 11 years by a head kick from Whittaker. If this fight gets to deeper water, the experience and probably cardio edges go to Jacare as well. The length and boxing of Blachowicz could be an issue, but he will have to stand his ground for that to be effective and throw at a high volume. Blachowicz may even opt to grapple in this one, and if he can drain the tank of Jacare, he could find an attrition-based KO, but this line is far too wide and should be closer to a pick’em. Get 30-40% Blachowicz with 50-60% on Jacare.
Over The Field
Antonio Arroyo, -110, 8000 vs. Andre Muniz, -120, 8200
Fight is at 185 lbs and is -120 to end inside the distance.
Andre Muniz is a BJJ fighter that will look to grapple at every turn, and this is a striker versus grappler matchup. He has great submission chops and will need to put those to work. Antonio Arroyo is a superior striker and will dominate at range on the feet. If Arroyo can keep his movement calculated and keep range, he will pick apart and eventually knock out Muniz. If he is unable to, and this is the more likely outcome, Muniz will pressure his way inside and take it to the mat where he will find a submission. Try for 25-40% on Arroyo and 35-45% on Muniz.
Ricardo Ramos, -270, 9200 vs. Eduardo Garagorri, +220, 7000
Fight is at 145 lbs and +115 to end inside the distance.
On paper, this fight should be a washout, but we can continue to have questions about the mental toughness of Ricardo Ramos. We are only two fights removed from him basically not showing up in Brazil and being finished in the first round by a fighter he had no business losing to whatsoever. Ramos has a superior skill set to Eduardo Garagorri, particularly on the floor, and that gap is wide. Ramos is moving up to 145 lbs, which is likely a good thing for him. Garagorri is the higher volume striker on the feet and will force the issue far more, while Ramos has the better power. If Ramos forces the issue grappling, he will finish the fight on the floor where Garagorri will have no answer. However, I don’t at all trust the fight IQ or mental toughness of Ramos and want to be level or over the field on both fighters. I want 45-55% on Ramos and 25-30% on Garagorri.
Mauricio Rua, -265, 9300 vs. Paul Craig, +215, 6900
Fight is at 205 lbs and is -315 to end inside the distance.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua gets another fight in Brazil, with justified speculation this could be his retirement fight. He is a very well-rounded and high-end vet, and his striking will own Paul Craig in this one. Craig remains a low-end striker that gets beat up in just about every fight and hopes to cinch a submission off his back. It’s highly unlikely Craig can take Rua down, and this one is likely to be one-sided as Rua pours it on. With Rua being 37, anything is possible, and I wouldn’t blame you for not fading Craig like I am, but he’s a fade for me, with 45-55% on Shogun.
Charles Oliveria, -360, 9400 vs. Jared Gordon, +280, 6800
Fight is at 155 lbs and is -270 to end inside the distance.
Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira is one of the more fun fighters the promotion has to offer overall. He has always had an extremely high-end BJJ submission skill set for MMA, but his striking is now catching up, which is a scary thought for opponents. Oliveira will have a 6-inch reach advantage in this one, and Jared Gordon will be in for a long (or short) night on Saturday. Gordon has a rounded skill set, but he doesn’t have an area of advantage to turn to in this one, and for me, the biggest question in this fight is whether do Bronx gets the finish in the first round or not. Gordon’s chin is also quite questionable after being knocked out in two of his last three. It’s always a bit scary to fade the cheapest of fighters, but this fight is truly a wider gap than the betting line suggests. Jam in 50-70% do Bronx with Gordon being a fade candidate.
Markus Perez, -125, 8600 vs. Wellington Turman, -105, 7600
Fight is at 185 lbs and is +165 to end inside the distance.
Markus Perez is pretty well rounded and a sound fighter, but his striking is predicated on looking more dangerous than he actually is. He throws dynamic strikes, but they are low percentage, and he isn’t a KO threat to UFC level competition. His two wins in the promotion have both come via submission. Still, he will likely not have that avenue available as Wellington Turman is the better grappler and more dangerous submission fighter. Turman is more basic on the feet, but that plays to his advantage in this matchup as a high guard makes the lower percentage attacks from Perez even less likely. Turman is going to improve each fight as well as he’s just 23 years old, and I think he ultimately gets the back and a submission in this one as he works his way inside. Perez is a strong fade candidate capped at 10% while Turman is 35-45%.
Francisco Trinaldo, -125, 8400 vs. Bobby Green, -105, 7800
Fight is at 155 lbs and is +185 to end inside the distance.
Francisco Trinaldo is still fighting at lightweight at 41 years old. His speed and output have waned in his older age, and his approach is now to edge forward and look for a big KO shot. Bobby Green will be the much busier and quicker striker, and I do believe the incorrect fighter is favored here. Green was robbed of a decision in his last fight and even floated retirement, so he may look to pour it on and secure a finish and leave the judges out of it. He will also be the lone fighter that may look to wrestle and add up some DK points. He puts volume out there at the level that he can find the optimal in a decision win while also being capable of a finish. If he presses the issue, he will be more susceptible to a big overhand from Trinaldo, but I view that as Trinaldo’s lone path to victory. 35-45% on Green with Trinaldo at 0-15%.
Douglas de Andrade, -245, 9100 vs. Renan Barao, +200, 7100
Fight is at 145 lbs and is +105 to end inside the distance.
Renan Barao is still a seasoned MMA vet with a rounded skill set, but his physical abilities are on the decline. He had a strong chin for the majority of his career but it gave out in his last fight and he’s lost four straight and six of seven. The matchup with Douglas de Andrade is not the best one with that being the case as he has both pace and power. Barao may make this competitive early with kicks controlling the striking, but the cardio and quickness advantages will belong to Andrade. It feels like just a matter of time until the big shot gets home and Barao gets slept. The path for Barao is one in which he can work grappling early and get a dominant position on the floor. It’s enough of a path that I’m leaving in a little bit of Barao in the 10% range but wanting 40-50% on Andrade.
Ariane Lipski, -105, 7700 vs. Veronica Macedo, -125, 8500
Ariane Lipski, -255, 7700 vs Isabella de Padua, +210, 6700
Fight is at 125 lbs and is +175 to end inside the distance.
*** UPDATE*** Macedo is out of this fight due to headaches and the Brazilian commission would not clear her to fight. She is replaced by Isabella de Paduam who weighed in five pounds over, which is understandable on just hours notice. More updates to follow once salaries and betting lines are updated.
Veronica Macedo is a short-notice replacement and an unfortunate one for Ariane Lipski. Macedo already has another fight booked for December and is apparently ready to be extremely active. Lipski is a striker who is 0-2 in the UFC and has fallen short of extremely high expectations. She has been out-struck and out-grappled, and she was supposed to have a lower-end opponent in this fight, and it’s unfortunate for her she now draws the superior prospect in Macedo. Macedo, despite being just 24 years old, is already trending towards being an elite MMA grappler and she will own this fight once it hits the floor. She also has developing striking with some dangerous kicks and she is unlikely to be at a true disadvantage in any spot in this fight. Lipski is also a young prospect at just 25, but she is far less polished and has the more incomplete skill set. The most likely outcome here is a submission win for Macedo, while Lipski has enough power to not be completely removed from the build. Get 35-45% on Macedo and 0-10% on Lipski.
This fight was listed as a stance fight in its original version but now moves somewheres between and Over The Field Fight and a Defensive Fight. Ariane Lipski opened well over -300 but was bet down nearly 100 points almost immediately, and rightfully so from the film I watched on Isabella de Padua. De Padua has a hint of Andrade to her. She presses forward seeking big right hands and pressing for a finish early and often. She is somewhat hittable and can be countered by higher end fighters but there is true debate whether Lipski fits that bill. With Lipski now being a -255 favorite and priced at just 7700, it’s a virtual certainty she becomes the highest owned fighter on the card and is likely upwards of 50%. While fading her in a build isn’t in play, I’ll accept being under the field at 25-40% and want to be over the field on de Padua, who is extremely live here and brings good value as cheapest fighter on the card. 30-40% on her as we shoot for leverage on the field and some binks.
Sergio Moraes, +165, 7200 vs. James Krause, -200, 9000
Fight is at 170 lbs and is +115 to end inside the distance.
Sergio Moraes limitations in his overall skill set has caught up to him in his last two fights. He is an extremely high-end BJJ fighter that throws bombs with no fear of takedowns but just doesn’t have a strong striking skill set nor good wrestling. James Krause is a very well-rounded fighter on a five-fight winning streak and will likely be able to wear down Moraes and eventually find a late finish or a lopsided decision win. Without a finish, Krause will be quite dicey and unlikely for the optimal as he will be forced to work without any grappling points in this fight. Moraes is not incapable of landing a massive shot and is a force on the floor so he can’t be faded, but just 10-20%. Krause is a higher exposure at 20-30% but his exposure can be dropped if necessary to fit the other 9k-plus fighters at proper exposure.
Warlley Alves, -125, 8300 vs. Randy Brown, -105, 7900
Fight is at 170 lbs and is -120 to end inside the distance.
We get two fighters with ability that have not realized their true ceilings to this point, and have had both shining moments and ugly moments in their UFC tenures. Warlley Alves is a fighter that needs to press forward and have things go somewhat his way to stay mentally checked in. No matter what he ultimately accomplishes in his career, Randy Brown will have a hard time shaking the mantra of being the guy that was KO’d in top position. Brown will have a 6″ reach advantage and he will have to force his will and press forward, which is truly the key for both fighters. Brown is the better wrestler, but Alves has stout takedown defense and he has a nasty guillotine that he’s finished three UFC fights with, so Brown needs to be careful where he sticks his head. While I’d label Brown the fighter with the better overall striking skill set, Alves holds the power advantage and he can change a fight with leg kicks. It will get ugly for Brown if Alves can chew the lead leg up early. Both fighters have a legitimate path to a finish and the optimal and it is an extremely tight one to call. Taking 25-30% on each fighter is prudent in a fight that will have ownership. Simply put, don’t let this fight be the one that wrecks the build.
Vanessa Melo, +165, 7400 vs. Tracy Cortez, -195, 8800
Fight is at 135 lbs and is +260 to end inside the distance.
Vanessa Melo makes her second octagon walk to face newcomer and DWCS vet Tracy Cortez. Melo was exactly as advertised in her debut: flat-footed, tough as nails counter striker that never stopped moving forward, eating a wealth of strikes to do so and showing strong chin. Cortez showed okay striking but took an extremely grappling heavy decision against a green grappler on DWCS. I would label Melo the better striker here and this will do well for her if she can stay off the mat. Her takedown defense is subpar but Cortez does her best takedown work on the fence and Melo is probably safe if she can keep any shots to the open mat. Cortez will need to win the battle of wills as both fighters look to move forward. Grappling will ultimately be necessary for Cortez and she’s sound with passing and in play for a submission. Melo will eventually hurt Cortez on the feet if it’s predominantly a standing affair. 15-20% on each fighter and that will likely put us over the field on this one.
Both fighters missed weight by half a pound each. Fight will proceed as scheduled.
No fights fit this criteria.
Cash and Single Entry
We have an insane situation with a 7700 salary fighting a 6700 salary. Lipski will be so owned that fading her in cash is a death knell if she hits, so she’s a must, but how about a stack of this fight? We can jam in three attractive favorites that are highly likely for ceilings this way, and only have to play one other underdog despite having three salaries over 9k. If we stack that fight, we can then fit do Bronx, Shogun and Ramos. We then have 7700 remaining which gives the option of two live dogs in Turman and Jacare. Jacare is the better cash play from an ownership perspective.
For single entry I want to fade Lipski and aim for the top of tournaments. Leave the core of de Padua with the top three salaried fighters and add Green and Jacare as the underdogs.
Picks and Bets
Picks With Personal Confidence Percentage
- Cortez 65%
- de Padua 51%
- de Andrade 85%
- Alves 70%
- Green 63%
- Ramos 85%
- Krause 72%
- Turman 65%
- Muniz 61%
- do Bronx 99%
- Rua 97%
- Jacare 65%
- de Padua +210
- Alves -130
- Green +110
- Turman -110
- Rua -275
- Jacare +145