125 lbs.: Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko
Rematch for the belt. In the first fight it was about to be 2-2 heading into the final round before Grasso got the submission win. Grasso won the 1st round by landing the better shots on the feet then Shevchenko took the next 2 with top time. In the 4th round, Grasso made adjustments and started to defend the takedowns while Shevchenko appeared to slow down. Near the end of the round, Shevchenko made a big mistake throwing a telegraphed spin kick which led to Grasso taking the back and sinking in the rear naked choke.
I expect this to be another close fight and it will come down to who can make the better adjustments. I think Shevchenko will lean more on her grappling this fight, but she may be wary after getting submitted and Grasso did a good job defending on the ground in the first fight. I favor Grasso’s boxing and speed on the feet over Shevchenko’s kicks. Grasso is also in her prime at 30 years old and still improving while Shevchenko is regressing at 35 and is arguably 0-2 in her last two. The record on champions getting their belt back in immediate rematches isn’t good, especially when there’s an age gap. I like the +150 odds on the younger fighter to make the necessary adjustments and think the line should be tighter.
170 lbs.: Jack Della Maddalena vs. Kevin Holland
Jack is a prospect with good pocket boxing and suspect grappling. His competition hasn’t been the best so far, but he has handled most of them accordingly besides his last fight where he went to a split decision with a fairly unknown fighter- though it was a short notice opponent with a grappling heavy style. Holland is a dangerous rangey striker who never really shoots for takedowns but is very dangerous with submissions when the opportunity arises. Besides a round 4 corner stoppage in a fight where he was injured, Holland has never been knocked out in 35 fights. He is historically very durable so I expect him to take Jack past the first round and give him more adversity than the lower level fighters Jack has been facing.
The difference in experience and level of competition is significant with Holland having 19 fights in the UFC vs Jack’s 5. Jack likes to operate in the pocket but Holland will have a 4″ height advantage and huge 8″ reach advantage so it could be difficult to close the distance consistently without taking damage, and Holland packs KO power in both hands. If any grappling exchanges occur, a Holland submission is live as we’ve seen Jack in deep submissions against lesser submission grapplers in Emeev and Loosa. Jack still has a lot of questions to answer at this stage and Holland is a dangerous, experienced opponent so I’m taking the dog shot at +125.
135 lbs.: Terrence Mitchell vs. Raul Rosas Jr.
The UFC are giving Rosas the definition of a softball after losing his last fight, where he was undeservedly put on a PPV main card and got dominated over 3 rounds. He is extremely young at just 18 years old and in reality should be being developed in a regional promotion, but the UFC have given him a fighter off the sketchy Alaskan regional scene with no grappling to rebound with a win. Rosas should be able to shoot a takedown and get a submission whenever he wants, but the lines are priced accordingly and there’s no clear angle to attack here.
155 lbs.: Christos Giagos vs. Daniel Zellhuber
Another big favourite here with Zellhuber coming in at -275. Zellhuber is still fairly unproven but he’s the better striker and Giagos has historically slowed down after the first 5 to 7.5 minutes. Hopefully Giagos can have a good start to open up a live bet on Zellhuber at a better line.
115 lbs.: Loopy Godinez vs. Elise Reed
Godinez is in the -400 range which makes sense. She has massive grappling upside and even if she chooses not to use it like she has in the past she can still win on the feet. Reed is predictable and mostly only throws a right straight, slows down as the fight goes on and has nothing off her back. I have a small stab on Godinez to win by submission at +370 – if you can get +250 or better I still think it is worth a small shot. We’ve seen Reed submitted by lesser grapplers and Godinez usually attempts chokes and armbars when in dominant positions on the ground.
185 lbs.: Josh Fremd vs. Roman Kopylov
Kopylov is sitting in the -400 range. This line would’ve been off if we were dealing with the Kopylov from 2019 but he has clearly improved in recent years, especially his cardio and physique. He is a talented, dangerous kickboxer and has improved his biggest weakness which was defensive grappling. Fremd is a game grinder but doesn’t have much drive on his takedowns and may have to rely on cage pushing without taking any damage to win rounds. We saw him get finished against Gore who has a much lower ceiling than Kopylov then beat two of the lowest level fighters in the division in Dumas and Pickett where he didn’t impress. This is a considerable step-up in competition and he is also on short notice. I think he struggles to close distance consistently and Kopylov catches him at some point but the ML and under prices are not tempting me.
125 lbs.: Edgar Chairez vs. Daniel Lacerda
Lacerda is one of the most predictable fighters in the UFC. He is 0-4 in the promotion and every fight has been pretty much the same – going crazy trying to get a round 1 finish, gassing within the first few minutes and getting finished himself shortly after. He is fighting Chairez, a tough mexican who we’ve seen take big shots and work out of bad positions on the ground against a legit BJJ artist in Taira. Maybe Lacerda can finally get an early finish but if he doesn’t it’s highly likely he gets finished himself imminently. The price is too high at -250 to take him pre-fight but I will be fishing for a better price on Chairez live after the opening frame if Lacerda has a good start, though I’m expecting the bookies to suspend the line or put out an unplayable line with how obvious the angle is at this point.
125 lbs.: Tracy Cortez vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius
I was going into tape thinking Jasmine could be a bet due to her size and Cortez’s long layoff but I came away after tape thinking it’s more of a coinflip like the odds suggest. The layoff could go either way for Cortez, the time off may have helped her to improve or it could be to her detriment, we just don’t know. Both of these girls’ fights often end up turning into competitive decisions where the striking numbers and grappling exchanges even out after 15 minutes and it won’t surprise me if we see a split decision.
155 lbs.: Alex Reyes vs. Charlie Campbell
Reyes is coming off a massive 6 year layoff so we have no idea how he’s going to look. We have only seen him fight once in the UFC, where he stepped in on short notice in a nightmare match-up against Mike Perry up a weight class and predictably got knocked out in the first minute. He is now fighting in his own weight class against Campbell who is a wild striker who packs big power and has a lot of wins by round 1 KO. I’ll pick Campbell to get another early KO but any bet on either side would be a blind dart so it’s best to pass.
115 lbs.: Josefine Knutsson vs. Marnic Mann
Knutsson is approaching the -1000 range. She’s solid in all areas of MMA and looks to have potential while Mann doesn’t look UFC level. I was looking at the finish prop but while she should dominate she has gone to decision in 5/6 fights which included similar if not weaker level of competition and we’re still dealing with lower level WMMA, so the odds on the totals are probably about right.