I update this page regularly with new Livestream videos as I work my way through each of the fights. You can watch these Livestreams when they take place on the Livestreaming page.
Download the Telegram app on your mobile phone and then click here on your phone to receive push notifications whenever I start a new Stream.
For legal reasons I cannot feature much fight footage in these videos, but you can follow along with me if you have a UFC Fightpass subscription. All you need to do is sync up the start of each round with the clock in my video and hit play Fightpass at the same time as me. It works exactly the same way as how Joe Rogan does his Fight Companion podcasts.
I don’t go into as much detail in these Livestreams as I do when I use footage to research fights on smaller promotions because constantly stopping and starting the fight to break down individual techniques and positions would make it very difficult for you to follow along with me because we’d lose track of the clock position.
Brandon Moreno vs Jussier Formiga
Jussier Formiga was the first name that jumped out at me as a potential bet this weekend, but after completing research I was really disappointed in what I saw from him. This turned out to be one of those weird fights where it’s actually a bad stylistic matchup for both guys.
Brandon Moreno has really bad takedown defense and a low level ground game. This makes this a great stylistic matchup for Formiga because Formiga has good offensive wrestling and a super high level ground game. Formiga should be able to get this fight to the ground easily. Moreno also gives his back up a lot, which is suicide against Formiga because Formiga is one of the best back takers in the UFC.
Unfortunately things aren’t all good for Formiga though…
Formiga doesn’t have the ability to grapple hard for 3 rounds, so he has to pace himself. This involves him avoiding striking with his opponent for large periods of a round and to then steal rounds with takedowns. This makes him incredibly predictable. He uses the same gameplan in every fight. If he can’t get a takedown or if his opponent quickly pops back up to his feet, you start to see Formiga lose confidence and fade hard.
Moreno is a tough young Mexican with cardio for days and he’ll have an enormous advantage over Formiga when it comes to striking. Moreno has excellent combinations that incorporate the use of fluid headkicks in a way that I haven’t really seen before. It’s truly impressive.
Many of Formiga’s recent opponents have been so afraid of being taken down by him that they haven’t really pushed the pace standing which has enabled Formiga to conserve energy and implement his grappling heavy gameplan. We saw in the Joseph Benavidez fight that as soon as he realised he wasn’t going to be able to hold Benavidez down, he lost confidence and faded quickly in the 2nd round.
Moreno is wild and reckless and while this would usually be a bad thing, it might actually work in his favour here. He won’t respect the threat of Formiga’s takedown and he’ll push a crazy pace standing which may make it difficult for Formiga to implement his gameplan deeper into the fight. If he can force Formiga to exert a lot of energy early to complete takedowns and establish dominant positions, I think we could see a big momentum swing in Moreno’s favour in the 2nd half of the fight. Based on Formiga’s recent performances against Benavidez and Figueiredo there are subtle signs that he doesn’t have the gas tank to fight at a high pace for 15 minutes. Moreno on the other hand is a cardio machine.
Betting advice: Formiga should be the favorite here because his grappling enables him to dictate where the fight takes place. He also has home advantage on his side. Having said that, Moreno does pose significant risks to him that are too substantial to bet Formiga at the current odds of around 1.60 | -167 | 3/5. If you must bet this fight, take Formiga. He should win, but just know that you’re not getting any value in his odds.
Enrique Barzola vs Rani Yahya
Enrique Barzola was the 2nd name that jumped out at me as a potential bet this weekend after Jussier Formiga, but just like with Formiga I was incredibly disappointed when researching Barzola’s past fights to the point where I’m strongly considering a bet on Yahya here.
Rani Yahya has made huge improvements since moving to American Top Team and now appears to have the cardio to fight at a decent pace for 3 rounds. This is a big deal because poor cardio has really held him back throughout his career.
Yahya is a sloppy striker with poor offensive wrestling, but if he gets you to the ground he’s a nightmare. Yahya is kind of like a Demian Maia type fighter where he has a crushing top game and very high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If Yahya can get Barzola to the ground, he should dominate. Problem is we haven’t seen Barzola fight many wrestlers since entering the UFC so it’s tough to gauge what his takedown defense is like. It doesn’t look good from what we have seen, but he does train with guys like Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov, so it’s tough to say.
Betting advice: If Barzola can keep this fight standing, he will most likely put a pace on Yahya that Yahya cannot keep up with and end up winning a decision. If Yahya can get this fight to the ground, Barzola is probably doomed. This is a clear dog or pass fight. There’s no way I’d bet Barzola at these odds. We just don’t know enough about his takedown defense to feel confident that he’ll be able to keep this fight standing.
Bea Malecki vs Veronica Macedo
Bea Malecki has bad striking defense, bad takedown defense and a low level ground game, but she is huge for a female Bantamweight at 5 ft 9 with a 74 inch reach. In contrast, Veronica Macedo is one of the smallest Bantamweights in the division at just 5 ft 4 with a 64 inch reach. This means that Malecki will have an enormous size advantage over Macedo and we so often see size and physicality dictate the outcome of Women’s MMA fights.
When researching this matchup it became quickly apparent that this is a Rizin style freakshow fight. Macedo is more technically skilled, but Malecki’s huge size advantage could be a great equalizer. I have no interest in betting this fight.
Betting advice: If you really have to bet this fight, take Malecki as the underdog for a better risk to reward ratio, but just know that you are betting on a very low level fighter here. She has massive holes that Macedo can exploit.
Francisco Trinaldo vs John Makdessi
Betting advice: I recommend betting Francisco Trinaldo. Click here to find out why.
Mayra Bueno Silva vs Maryna Moroz
It’s impossible to form a strong opinion on this fight because there’s less than 10 minutes of footage available on Silva.
Betting advice: There’s not enough footage available on Silva to form a strong opinion on this fight. You have to pass.
Amanda Ribas vs Randa Markos
This is a great stylistic matchup for Amanda Ribas and she should win this fight easily. Unfortunately her odds reflect that. They carry an implied probability of around 76%. In order to bet someone in this odds range they need to tick every box and Ribas doesn’t. Against Emily Whitmire she looked extremely weak off her back and we don’t know much about her takedown defense.
Betting advice: Amanda Ribas should win easily, but her advantages are baked into her odds. There’s no value here. On the flipside, I’m not tempted to bet Markos as a big underdog because there’s a good chance that Ribas runs through her. Markos’ paths to victory are limited. Especially with this fight being in Brazil.
Demian Maia vs Gilbert Burns
So often we research fights and identify easy paths to victories for a fighter, only to see them make life difficult for themselves and fight with a completely different strategy. We often use the analogy of fighters behaving like “Moths flying into the Bug Zapper”. This is a good stylistic matchup for Gilbert Burns, but in a recent article with Bloody Elbow he said some things that are a major red flag. Click here to check it out.
Burns is a very high level grappler. If he used his grappling in reverse to keep this fight standing, he would stand a very good chance of beating Demian Maia. My concern is that he will come out and try to prove a point by winning a grappling match and get himself into trouble.
In Gilbert’s own words he described Demian Maia’s style of grappling as being slow and positional based, while his style being fast and aggressive. Fast and aggressive BJJ can get you into trouble against a guy like Maia because it involves aggressively pursuing submissions and positions that in turn give your opponent an opportunity to improve their position and put you in a bad situation.
Many high level grapplers have tried to mix it up on the ground with Maia and failed. It could be a big mistake for Burns to think he can do better.
Betting advice: I definitely lean towards Gilbert Burns here because he’ll have a big advantage when it comes to striking, wrestling and cardio. Unfortunately I can’t bet him as a favorite because I have a feeling he’s going to get sucked into a grappling match and that is likely to be a big mistake against a guy like Demian Maia.
Alexey Kunchenko vs Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos
Every once in a while a fight comes a long that I struggle to get a strong read on and this is definitely one of those fights. Kunchenko is technically more skilled than Dos Santos everywhere, but he’s a slow starter and very passive. That might not mean much in this matchup though because Dos Santos is aggressive, which may force Kunchenko to engage and bring the best out of him.
Betting advice: I lean towards Kunchenko in this matchup, but not with any amount of confidence. I’d pass on this fight.
Damir Hadzovic vs Renato Moicano
Renato Moicano is significantly better than Damir Hadzovic in every single aspect of MMA and should win easily. He can comfortably outstrike Hadzovic. Hadzovic also has really bad takedown defense, so Moicano could win easily by taking him down and dominating him on the ground. Unfortunately Moicano has a habit of getting dinged hard. He’s been wobbled in 3 of his last 4 fights.
Betting advice: Moicano should win this fight easily, but his odds reflect that. He’s a big favorite. He has a habit of getting tagged hard, which makes it dangerous to bet on him as a big favorite.
Charles Oliveira vs Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee has the skills to dominate Charles Oliveira if he shows up and performs like he did against Edson Barboza. Unfortunately Lee is incredibly inconsistent and we’ve seen him look slow and flat after just a few minutes in 4 out of his last 5 fights.
It’s impossible to know which version of Lee we’re going to get on Saturday night. On one hand you could say that he will have improved his cardio since moving to Tristar, but we don’t have any evidence of this and missing weight by 2.5 pounds yesterday is a red flag.
The most concerning thing about Lee is that his striking defense and ability to defend himself on the ground go out the window when he starts to become even just a little bit tired.
Betting advice: I lean heavily towards Lee here because we’ve seen Oliveira quit in the past when put into bad situations and I am optimistic that Lee will have trained a corner now that he’s moved to Tristar. Problem is, I can’t ignore the fact that Lee has slowed down significantly after just a few minutes in many of his recent fights. If you want to bet this fight, take Lee, but I think his odds are exactly where they should be due to how inconsistent he is.