UFC on ESPN+ 9 Betting Tips, Picks and Predictions

April is over, and it turned out to be another huge month for us. We banked just over 20 units of profit across both our prefight and live bets, which combined with our profits in January, February and March are setting us up for a Monster year.

This weekend’s UFC on ESPN+ 8 card takes place in Ottawa, Canada and it’s packed full of guys making their UFC debut, as well as a bunch of Canadian fighters looking to pick up, wins on home soil. Remember that home advantage is huge in Canada, with Canadian fighters winning around 65% of the time when they fight non-Canadians in their home country. For this reason, it is vital that we take extra care when betting against Canadians on a card like this. We need to be sure that if we bet someone against a Canadian they have a very good chance of winning inside the distance or their advantages are so big that there’s no way the judges could screw up the decision if the fight went the distance.

We also have a Bellator European Series event on Saturday to look forward to. Unfortunately, it starts at roughly the same time as the UFC, so I don’t think we are going to be able to Livebet it.

Fight Betting Tip Pick
Al Iaquinta vs Donald Cerrone 1 unit on Donald Cerrone to win at odds of 2.10 | +110 | 11/10 Cerrone to win
Derek Brunson vs Elias Theodorou No bet Brunson to win
Cub Swanson vs Shane Burgos No bet Swanson to win
Merab Dvalishvili vs Brad Katona 3 units on Merab Dvalishvili to win at odds of 1.65 | -154 | 13/20 Dvalishvili to win
Sergey Spivak vs Walt Harris No bet Harris to win
Andrew Sanchez vs Marc-Andre Barriault No bet Barriault to win
Macy Chiasson vs Sarah Moras No bet Chiasson to win
Aiemann Zahabi vs Vince Morales No bet Zahabi to win
Kyle Prepolec vs Nordine Taleb No bet Taleb to win
Kyle Nelson vs Matt Sayles No bet Nelson to win
Arjan Bhullar vs Juan Adams No bet Adams to win
Cole Smith vs Mitch Gagnon No bet Smith to win

Al Iaquinta vs Donald Cerrone Betting Tip and Prediction

When I first started to research this event, Al Iaquinta was one of the first names that jumped out at me. At 32 years old he’s still in his prime, and I felt that his toughness, solid Boxing, high-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and strong wrestling would be enough to get past a 36-year-old Donald Cerrone who has been known to flake out from time to time.

But this was one of those fights where I completely changed my mind after starting my research. I never went into researching this fight thinking that Cerrone would be a good bet, but now I understand why his odds have been slowly declining over the last week. He shouldn’t be an underdog to Al Iaquinta. I think at underdog odds, Cerrone is a very good bet this weekend.

If you go back and watch Iaquinta’s past fights, you’ll see that he’s a single shot fighter. He only ever throws one kick or one punch at a time and when he does throw, he is very predictable. This isn’t enough to cause a seasoned fighter like Cerrone a problem. We’ve all seen Cerrone’s Matrix-style highlight reels, and if you come into a fight against him with a really basic, predictable, single shot style when he finds his range, he will destroy you. Iaquinta’s style of striking is really basic. It shouldn’t cause Cerrone a problem.

If this fight stays standing, I expect Cerrone to dominate. We all know that he’s a slow starter, so it’s very possible Iaquinta does well early, but as soon as Cerrone settles into a rhythm and finds his range, I think Iaquinta is screwed.

On the ground, I also give Donald Cerrone a massive advantage. He is branded as a striker, but almost 20 years of experience training at some of the best MMA gyms in the world have enabled Cerrone to develop strong wrestling and a high-level ground game. If this fight goes to the ground, I believe Cerrone will be able to cause Iaquinta big problems or at the very least hold his own.

The clinch is another area where Cerrone has enormous advantages. Since training with Joe Schilling, he has developed a nasty clinch game where he is able to beat his opponents up with knees. Iaquinta doesn’t really have any notable skills in the clinch, and I see this position as an area where Cerrone will be able to take breaks, disrupt Iaquinta’s rhythm and also use the position to land damaging knees.

But, every bet has risk attached to it and betting Cerrone this weekend does carry a decent sized amount of risk. In terms of skills and technique, I strongly feel like Cerrone is better everywhere, but there are other factors at play which give Iaquinta a legit chance of winning the fight.

The first factor to consider is Donald Cerrone being back at Lightweight. At Welterweight he looked strong, healthy, sharp and vibrant, but the cut to 155 pounds is huge, and Cerrone has been open about his difficulties in making weight at Lightweight. Cerrone’s cardio has never been in question but Iaquinta is tough, and he has the cardio to fight at a high pace for 5 rounds. If Cerrone isn’t at his best due to a bad weight cut, Iaquinta can definitely pick up the win.

We also have to take into account the fact that Iaquinta is still in his prime at 32 years old, while Cerrone is now 36 years old and will be declining from fight to fight.

Cerrone has also been open about his struggles with anxiety in the past, and there have been a few occasions throughout his career where he has admitted that he didn’t “show up” mentally. This means that it’s always a gamble betting him, but at the current odds, I do definitely think that there’s value.

If Donald Cerrone and Al Iaquinta both showed up and fought to their full potential, I’d cap Cerrone at having close to an 80% chance of winning this fight because his advantages in terms of skill and technique are substantial. Unfortunately his age, tough weight cut to 155 pounds and his occasional tendency to flake out means that we have to weigh these risks into our overall decision on the chance we give him of beating Iaquinta. These factors force me to cap Cerrone much closer to 60%, meaning that there’s still a good amount of value in the odds, but at the same time, these significant risk factors mean that we can’t go too big on him…

Reasons for betting on Donald Cerrone

  • Donald Cerrone is significantly better than Al Iaquinta in every single aspect of MMA.
  • Al Iaquinta is a predictable, single shot striker. His style of striking is very basic.
  • Al Iaquinta doesn’t really carry any power in his hands.
  • Al Iaquinta reaches a lot when throwing punches, this leaves him wide open to Cerrone’s devastating head kick counters.
  • Al Iaquinta tends to take a lot of damage when in Kickboxing range.
  • Al Iaquinta doesn’t really possess the footwork or high pressure style of fighting to cause Cerrone a problem.
  • Al Iaquinta doesn’t have the offensive wrestling or grappling control to take Cerrone down and hold him down.
  • Donald Cerrone has a gigantic advantage over Al Iaquinta in the clinch.
  • At 155 pounds, Cerrone is susceptible to body shots, but Iaquinta doesn’t really have body punches or body kicks in his striking Arsenal.
  • Donald Cerrone will have a size advantage over Al Iaquinta.
  • Donald Cerrone is devastating when he settles into a rhythm and find his range.
  • Donald Cerrone has dropped down to Lightweight to go on another title run. He seems to be very motivated right now.

Risk Factors with betting on Donald Cerrone

  • At 36 years old, Donald Cerrone will be declining from fight to fight.
  • Cerrone’s weight cut down to the 155 pound Lightweight limit is absolutely brutal.
  • Al Iaquinta is extremely tough and he has the cardio to fight at a high pace for 5 rounds.
  • Donald Cerrone has flaked out a few times in the past. He has admitted to not “showing up” for some fights and being beaten mentally even before he stepped into the Octagon.
  • Al Iaquinta is still in his prime at 32 years old. He should be making big improvements from fight to fight.

My Betting Tip

Donald Cerrone to win

Recommended Stake

1 Unit

[1% of your bankroll]

Odds

Decimal = 2.10
Moneyline = +110
Fractional = 11/10

48%

Implied Probability

The bookies believe that Donald Cerrone has a 48% chance of beating Al Iaquinta based on their current odds.

60%

Our Probability

I believe that Donald Cerrone has a 60% chance of beating Al Iaquinta based on my extensive research and analysis.

Brad Katona vs Merab Dvalishvili Betting Tip and Prediction

I went into my research for the fight between Brad Katona and Merab Dvalishvili without any expectations. I didn’t lean either way strongly and didn’t hold an opinion on the fight. That all changed very quickly when I began to watch footage of both guys.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Merab Dvalishvili is significantly better than Brad Katona in every single aspect of MMA.

Both Katona and Dvalishvili are primarily grapplers, so I do expect a large portion of this fight to take place on the ground, where Dvalishvili will have a significant advantage. Katona has a decent level of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but Dvalishvili is a strong wrestler. He has excellent chain wrestling, and he’s extremely difficult to hold down. If you do manage to put him on his back, he does a great job of creating scrambles and exploding back to his feet.

It’s no surprise that Dvalishvili is such a strong grappler because he trains at Serra BJJ with Aljamain Sterling who is one of the strongest grapplers in the UFC’s Bantamweight division. A division in which this fight is taking place. This is significant because Dvalishvili trains with one of the best grapplers in his division every day, while Brad Katona trains with a bunch of low-level grapplers at SBG Ireland.

As you can see in the Instagram picture above, Dvalishvili is also coached by Matt Serra, who is a high-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and he trains alongside Al Iaquinta who is also an accomplished grappler. Meanwhile, Katona is training at SBG Ireland, which aside from a few outliers like Conor McGregor, hasn’t historically been a very good gym to train at:

There’s no doubt in my mind that Dvalishvili has an advantage over Katona when it comes to grappling, but I am 100% sure that he has a HUGE advantage when it comes to striking. Katona is not a comfortable striker at all. He looks nervous and tentative when standing. He also has poor striking defense. You will regularly see him eat clean, hard shots because he’s inexperienced and doesn’t move his head much. This hasn’t cost him up until this point in his career because he hasn’t fought anyone with the skills or power to make him pay, but I strongly believe Dvalishvili has a good chance of knocking him out. Katona also lacks the power in his strikes to hurt his opponents.

Dvalishvili isn’t particularly technical when it comes to striking, but he sits down very hard on his punches which means he does carry legit 1 shot KO power. He’s also very tough and has a granite chin, so he doesn’t mind eating a shot to get inside and land a bomb.

Brad Katona is Canadian, so he’ll have home advantage for this fight, but that’s really the only advantage I can give him. He’s second best to Dvalishvili everywhere. For this reason, at the current odds, I think Dvalishvili is a decent bet.

Reasons for betting on Merab Dvalishvili

  • Merab Dvalishvili is significantly better than Brad Katona in every single aspect of MMA.
  • Both Dvalishvili and Katona are primarily grapplers, but Dvalishvili is the much stronger wrestler.
  • Dvalishvili and Katona both compete at Bantamweight. Dvalishvili trains everyday with Aljamain Sterling, who is one of the best grapplers in the UFC’s Bantamweight division.
  • Dvalishvili trains under Matt Serra who is a high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt alongside high level training partners like Al Iaquinta, Chris Weidman, Aljamain Sterling and Ryan LaFlare. Meanwhile Brad Katona trains with predominantly low level guys at SBG Ireland.
  • Brad Katona is a very low level striker. He is awkward and inexperienced. He doesn’t tend to move his head much, so he eats a lot of clean hard shots. He also lacks the power in his strikes to hurt his opponents.
  • Dvalishvili is very aggressive. He sits down hard on his punches and carries legit KO power in every strike.
  • Dvalishvili is a big step up in competition for Katona. He’s never fought anyone as tough as Dvalishvili who will turn this matchup into a crazy war.
  • Dvalishvili is extremely tough and he has an amazing chin. He’s the kind of guy that you have to practically kill in order to finish.
  • Dvalishvili is only 28 years old and he’s making MASSIVE improvements from fight to fight.
  • Dvalishvili has the skills to dominate Katona wherever this fight takes place.
  • Dvalishvili is very active, he fights at a high pace. He’s constantly looking to do something. He never takes a break. This could overwhelm a guy like Katona who isn’t used to going up against this style.
  • Dvalishvili is very hard to take down and even harder to hold down. When on the bottom, he does a great job of creating scrambles and exploding back to his feet.

Risk Factors with betting on Merab Dvalishvili

  • Brad Katona is Canadian, so he’ll have home advantage on his side.
  • Dvalishvili is wild and reckless.
  • Dvalishvili fights at a very high pace. For this reason he slows down a bit as the fight progresses. It is worth noting however, that his opponents often slow down with him because of his relentless fighting style.
  • Brad Katona is only 27 years old so he should be making big improvements from fight to fight.

My Betting Tip

Merab Dvalishvili to win

Recommended Stake

3 Units

[3% of your bankroll]

Odds

Decimal = 1.65
Moneyline = -154
Fractional = 13/20

61%

Implied Probability

The bookies believe that Merab Dvalishvili has a 61% chance of beating Brad Katona based on their current odds.

70%

Our Probability

I believe that Merab Dvalishvili has a 70% chance of beating Brad Katona based on my extensive research and analysis.

Allsopp
I'm a Professional Gambler from the UK. I specialize in betting on MMA. I've got 1 kid, a Shih Tzu and I've been making money from gambling for around 8 years now.

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