Unfortunately, we kicked off September with a small loss on Nordine Taleb at UFC 242. Taleb’s one weakness throughout his career has been that he struggles against pressure fighters. I didn’t think that this would be too much of an issue against Muslim Salikhov because historically Salikhov has been very passive. He rarely lands more than 15 strikes in a round, has no urgency and is happy to get into friendly Kickboxing match in the middle of the cage.
This kind of stylistic opponent would usually play right into the strengths of Taleb, but Salikhov had done his homework for this matchup and showed up with a much more aggressive performance than usual. He pressured Taleb right from the 1st minute and threw a much higher volume of strikes than usual. This resulted in Taleb making the mistake of actually circling onto the power right hand of Salikhov, that Salikhov had been trying to set up for the first 2 minutes. The big KO landed, and our money was dead in the water. On the one hand, it was disappointing to suffer a loss, but on the other hand, it was cool to see a fighter like Salikhov completely change their fighting style to exploit the weaknesses of his opponent.
It’s not very often that you will hear me take positives from having a losing night of betting, but I was pleased to only walk away from UFC 242 with a 2 unit loss. There were so many fighters I was contemplating a bet on including Zak Cummings, Teemu Packalen and I was trying to find someone to parlay with Mairbek Taisumov. All 3 of these fighters ended up losing and had I not kept it tight; the end result could have been a total disaster. UFC 242 felt like one of those nights where no matter who I bet, I would have made a loss, so to walk away with just a small loss does feel good. We definitely dodged some bullets.
We now turn our attention to UFC on ESPN+ 16 to try and get September back on track. We also have KSW 50 on the same day as UFC on ESPN+ 16 which gives us another opportunity to make money. I’ll be sure to let you know if I find any bets for KSW.
|Donald Cerrone vs Justin Gaethje||1 unit on Donald Cerrone to win at odds of 2.65 | +145 | 29/20||Cerrone to win|
|Glover Teixeira vs Nikita Krylov||2 units on Glover Teixeira to win at odds of 1.93 | -108 | 93/100||Teixeira to win|
|Antonio Carlos Junior vs Uriah Hall||No bet||Carlos Junior to win|
|Jimmy Crute vs Misha Cirkunov||No bet||Whoever is the underdog come fight time. This is about as close to a 50 / 50 fight as you’re ever going to get.|
|Michel Perreira vs Tristan Connelly||No bet||Pereira to win|
|Augusto Sakai vs Marcin Tybura||No bet||Sakai to win|
|Andrew Sanchez vs Marvin Vettori||4 units on Marvin Vettori to win at odds of 1.44 | -227 | 11/25 – Fight is now cancelled. Sanchez pulled out with sickness||Vettori to win – Fight is now cancelled. Sanchez pulled out with sickness.|
|Jeff Hughes vs Todd Duffee||No bet||Duffee to win|
|Louis Smolka vs Ryan MacDonald||No bet||Smolka to win|
|Cole Smith vs Miles Johns||No bet||Smith to win|
|Austin Hubbard vs Kyle Prepolec||No bet||Prepolec to win|
|Brad Katona vs Hunter Azure||No bet||Katona to win|
|Chas Skelly vs Jordan Griffin||No bet||Griffin to win|
Andrew Sanchez vs Marvin Vettori Betting Tip and Prediction
I wouldn’t usually rush to get a bet out on the Sunday before an event, but I don’t think we can wait to bet Vettori because I believe his odds will decline significantly over the next couple of days.
UFC on ESPN+ 16 looks like a tough event for betting, but Marvin Vettori is the exact kind of fighter that I like to fire big and aggressively on in a matchup like this. I recommend that you lock this bet in as soon as possible because I expect Vettori to close as a much bigger favorite than this.
Marvin Vettori is a talented young fighter who is improving at quite an incredible rate. Just over 1 year ago he took the current Middleweight Champion, Israel Adesanya to a split decision and in his last fight against Cezar Ferreira he looked outstanding. It’s no surprise that Vettori is improving at such a rapid rate since he trains at Kings MMA under Rafael Cordeiro, who is one of the best coaches in the game.
This is a great stylistic matchup for Vettori because Sanchez isn’t particularly dangerous standing. Vettori should have a big advantage if he can keep this fight standing and there’s a good chance he can because he has incredible takedown defense.
Andrew Sanchez is a strong wrestler, but Vettori is difficult to take down and even harder to hold down. He’s also a high-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner aided by the fact that he trains with Fabricio Werdum every day. Even if Sanchez does take Vettori down, there won’t be a picnic waiting for him on the ground.
The biggest reason why I like this bet is that Sanchez tends to slow down a lot as the fight progresses. In the 1st round, he’s a strong wrestler with plenty of drive and explosion in his takedown entries, but by the 3rd round of a fight, he’s usually looking gassed and pretty sloppy. In contrast, Vettori has demonstrated excellent cardio over the last couple of years and can fight at a very high pace.
Vettori is a nightmare opponent for a lot of guys in the Middleweight division because he has excellent takedown defense, a granite chin, excellent cardio and he can fight at a high pace for 3 rounds. He’s also developed heavy hands and a decent technical Kickboxing game. I expect Vettori to outwork Sanchez in all areas and win a comfortable decision. I’d be surprised if Sanchez were to win this. Vettori is a rock-solid bet. I can’t see him staying at these odds for very long.
Reasons for betting on Marvin Vettori
Risk Factors with betting on Marvin Vettori
My Betting Tip
Marvin Vettori to win
[4% of your bankroll]
Decimal = 1.44
Moneyline = -227
Fractional = 11/25
The bookies believe that Marvin Vettori has a 69% chance of beating Andrew Sanchez based on their current odds.
Donald Cerrone vs Justin Gaethje Betting Tip and Prediction
I want to make it very clear that I don’t think Donald Cerrone will win this fight. In my opinion, this is a 50 / 50 fight or at worst 55 / 45 in favor of Gaethje. If you cap this fight at either of those probabilities, which in my opinion is deadly accurate, then there’s a good amount of value in Cerrone to win this weekend at odds of around 2.65 | +165 | 33/20. These carry an implied probability of just 38%, which I believe is great value for the reasons that I’ll discuss in this breakdown.
10 years ago, my Poker mentor told me that if I consistently put my money in strong positions, over the long term, I would make money. That advice has always stuck in my head, and it has served me well over the years. I don’t know if Cerrone will win this weekend, but I do know at the current odds he’s a strong position to put my money.
Before we get into talking about this fight from a stylistic point of view I need to share with you the reason why I decided to pull the trigger on Cerrone in the 1st place because this is obviously a risky bet. Check out this interview from Justin Gaethje that was recorded earlier on today:
As you can see, Gaethje is struggling with an eye infection. He even said that it almost resulted in him having to pull out of the fight. He says that it’s not going to be a factor and that it’s not bothering him anymore. Of course he has to say that because if the Doctor’s found out it was bothering him, they wouldn’t let him compete. As we know… Gaethje’s an old fashioned guy, certainly not the kind of guy to pull out of a fistfight. He admitted to that in the interview.
Gaethje said that the eye infection wasn’t bothering him, but also hinted that it had happened recently.
The truth is, it was bothering him enough to have to wear Sunglasses because the lights made him struggle to open his eyes. This is an important detail to pay attention to because if you’ve ever been to a Live UFC event and sat cageside, you will know that the lights they shine into the Octagon are extremely bright. If he’s struggling to see due to lights in a media room, you can bet your ass he’ll struggle to see with the lights in the Octagon. There’s an old Boxing saying that goes something like this:
The shots that knock you out are the ones that you don’t see coming
Cerrone has lightning-fast combinations, and it’s even more likely he catches Gaethje with something big, now that we know Gaethje won’t be able to see properly.
Earlier in the breakdown, I mentioned that in my opinion, this is a 50 / 50 fight and that I didn’t lean strongly towards either guy. That’s because this is a terrible stylistic matchup for both guys. I understand that this is a contradiction, but I hope that it will make sense once you are done reading this…
It’s no secret that over the years Cerrone has struggled badly against pressure fighters. Gaethje is a pressure fighter; therefore, it doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to work out that Cerrone’s in trouble here. It’s also a bad matchup for Cerrone because at Lightweight his striking defense is not good. He’s quite slow, doesn’t move his head much, fights with his hands low, and he is definitely there to be hit. Gaethje has legit 1 shot KO power in every strike, so there’s a significant chance he KOs Cerrone dead.
But it is so easy to focus on one guy’s weaknesses and ignore the shortcomings of his opponent. There is no denying that this is also a bad stylistic matchup for Gaethje because his style of pressure comes in the form of Blitzes rather than a relentless smothering pace that we’ve seen from someone like Tony Ferguson.
Gaethje doesn’t have the cardio to fight with his high-pressure style for 15 to 25 minutes like Ferguson can, so to pace himself, he attacks in 30 second to 1-minute bursts. If his opponent survives that burst, he then retreats to the center of the Octagon and keeps a high Boxing guard. In these moments he then lets his opponent tee off on him while countering with the occasional heavy leg kick. In this position, he doesn’t use any footwork, no head movement and lets his opponent uncork bombs.
This kind of high guard can be very useful in Boxing because you have big gloves to protect your head, but it’s nowhere near as useful with the small MMA gloves. This means that Gaethje takes a lot of damage in these periods of the fight where he’s eating 5, 6 or 7 strike combos.
If you go back and watch Gaethje’s fights against Alvarez and Poirier, you’ll see that he repeatedly lets them tee off on him, but the difference here is that Alvarez and Poirier are primarily Boxers. They don’t have many kicks in their Arsenal, certainly not head kicks like Cerrone does.
The high Boxing guard that Gaethje uses to buy himself time while he recharges his batteries to uncork another Blitzing attack is a flawed technique in MMA, but still somewhat effective against punches because you can protect the crown jewels like your chin and temple to some degree. For this reason, Gaethje was able to last a good while against Poirier and Alvarez’s Boxing attacks, even though he was taking a ton of damage in both those fights.
Using this strategy against a guy like Cerrone will be ineffective because Cerrone is one of the most devastating head kickers in the UFC. When you block punches on the hands it hurts, but it takes away a lot of the impact, and it protects your head. When you block head kicks on the hands, you can still get knocked out, rocked, wobbled or hurt bad. If you survive the head kick, there’s also a good chance it will break your hands or arms. Hard head kicks can shatter hands and arms.
This is a crucial detail to pay attention to because Cerrone’s head kick is devastating, and he can throw it up very quickly out of nowhere. Remember what we said earlier… The shots that knock you out are the ones that you don’t see coming…
Gaethje’s high Boxing guard may have enabled him to survive for a while against Poirier and Alvarez, but he’ll most likely get KO’d dead if he tries to use that defensive tactic to survive Cerrone’s head kick attacks.
So this is a very complicated fight because on the one hand we have a guy in Cerrone who is there to be hit and doesn’t like pressure and on the other hand we have a guy who invites guys to give him their best shot and has paid the price for it on more than one occasion…
The difference is one guy is a big underdog, and one guy is a big favorite. I know who I’d prefer to have my money on…
Reasons for betting on Donald Cerrone
Risk Factors with betting on Donald Cerrone
My Betting Tip
Donald Cerrone to win
[1% of your bankroll]
Decimal = 2.65
Moneyline = +165
Fractional = 33/20
The bookies believe that Donald Cerrone has a 38% chance of beating Justin Gaethje based on their current odds.
Glover Teixeira vs Nikita Krylov Betting Tip and Prediction
August was a month full of opportunities to get our money in rock-solid positions, but so far, September has been very different. The bets we’ve been forced to play this month like Nordine Taleb and Donald Cerrone are much riskier. But it is important to remember that win or lose, a good bet is a good bet, and some bets will carry more risk than others. Our 3rd bet for the month is also risky, but out of the 3 bets we’ve had, this one is definitely my favorite.
Glover Teixeira is never going to be a safe bet because he’s 39 years old, extremely slow and very easy to hit, but out of all our bets so far this month he is the guy with the best chance of exploiting his opponent’s weaknesses.
If you go back and watch any of Nikita Krylov’s recent fights, you’ll see that he has very bad takedown defense and an even worse ground game. Even in his last fight against OSP, OSP was able to take him down repeatedly and even had him mounted at one point.
On the ground, Glover is lightyears ahead of Krylov, and his offensive wrestling should be good enough to take Krylov down. If this fight goes to the ground, there is no doubt in my mind that Glover will dominate.
Krylov is an explosive, dangerous striker, which poses a significant risk to Glover because at 39 years old he’s now a little chinny, extremely slow and very easy to hit. But it is also worth noting that Krylov comes from a Kyokushin Karate background and the majority of his attacks are kicks based. He’s nowhere near as dangerous with his hands, and it’s Boxing attacks that have caused Glover big problems over the last few years.
This is one of those fights where both guys have big weaknesses that the other can exploit. Krylov has no takedown defense or ground game, and Glover has no striking defense and no chin. The difference is, after studying both guys, it’s far more likely that Glover hits a takedown and dominates Krylov on the ground than it is for Krylov to land the kill shot that KOs Glover dead.
We also know that Krylov has quit when he has been put in bad positions in the past and also has bad fight IQ. In contrast, Glover is a warrior who never quits. He’s the kind of guy that you have to kill in order to beat. He’s also the kind of guy that won’t give up no matter how bad you hurt him. We’ve seen him hurt really bad over the last couple of years and find a way to recover and get back into the fight.
I also like how Glover now understands his limitations. He built his career on being an aggressive Boxer, but now he understands that at this stage in his career, he can’t take a shot like he used to. For this reason, he always comes into fights with a heavy grappling gameplan. Krylov will get dominated if Glover can turn this into a grappling match.
I cap this fight at 60 / 40 in favour of Glover, which makes him a decent bet at around even money.
Reasons for betting on Glover Teixeira
Risk Factors with betting on Glover Teixeira
My Betting Tip
Glover Teixeira to win
[2% of your bankroll]
Decimal = 1.93
Moneyline = -108
Fractional = 93/100
The bookies believe that Glover Teixeira has a 52% chance of beating Nikita Krylov based on their current odds.