We kick off our first Fight Island series in Abu Dhabi with three title fights on the main card. There is no better fighting in the world than what you will see on this fight card. We have Masvidal and Usman, which could literally turn into a street fight in the hotel or Paige Vanzant who is fighting for a new contract. Or lack thereof, as she demands higher pay. There are story lines, big names and they’re all on an island. This should be epic!
Kamaru Usman (-245) vs Jorge Masvidal (+205)
Masvidal is coming in on six days notice but the rumor is that he’s been training for this fight hoping someone would pull out. Dustin Poirier also chimed in saying Masvidal as been flying in high caliber wrestlers while also helping Poirier prepare for his fight with Dan Hooker. Six days notice shouldn’t be a huge issue, especially since he just made weight as I’m currently writing this.
This is an interesting fight and I don’t see a ton of holes in Usman’s game. I don’t think Usman has never spent more than two seconds on his back in the UFC and he’s impossible to takedown. On the feet, we’ve seen improved striking but it’ll be nothing compared to what Masvidal is going to throw at him.
There’s something about Masvidal that is enticing about this betting number. Many view him as a striker, and that’s true. However, he’s not easy to take down and he does have the ability to threaten with submissions. Not to mention, his get-up game is good and he will be able to hopefully stand up if he’s taken down.
For my pick, I have to take Usman by decision. I despise Usman as much as the next man but his wrestling is so good. He can take heavy punches and dish enough on his feet to keep Masvidal honest. With all that being said, Masvidal +205 is a decent number. He has the confidence, he’s training different, his cardio has improved and he’s a better striker by a landslide. Give me Usman by a 48-47 decision.
Prediction: Usman wins via 48-47 decision. The wrestling will steal rounds.
The Bet: Throwing Usman into parlays is risky if you ask me. I won’t bet this fight but +205 Masvidal is certainly the fun bet.
Max Holloway (+185) vs Alexander Volkanovski (-220)
I’m really with Volkanovski when he says that Holloway has changed and doesn’t seem himself. Holloway is doing a lot of complaining and genuinely thinks he won the fight against Volkanovski. Holloway needs to take a step back because he was hammered in that fight. A lot of people are steaming Volkanovski because Holloway said he hasn’t sparred for this fight. I don’t buy it, Holloway wasn’t going to snitch on his gym for opening during the pandemic.
I just think Volkanovski has the fight IQ to continue solving Holloway. Even though he’s short, his arms are super long. He can get into the pocket, land, and get out. Holloway has to punch down to land on Volkanovski which is a different trajectory than your typical fighter. I also have to mention those heavy kicks that chop Holloway’s skinny legs. I’m just not sold on Holloway. He looks drained and he continues to ramble some off-the-wall things. His camp once pulled him from a fight for this type of abnormal behavior. Give me Volkanovski by dominant decision, sending Holloway to lightweight.
Prediction: Volkanovski wins via an even more dominant decision than the first fight. I think TKO/KO is an interesting thought here.
The Bet: I’ll pair Volkanovski in some parlays. Volkanovski via TKO/KO is +325 in some spots. It might be worth a look.
Jose Aldo (+184) vs Petr Yan (-214)
I’m not sure how Aldo is even here. He lost his only fight at bantamweight and now he gets a title shot. He is stepping up against one of the most technical boxers in the entire UFC. I hate talking about Aldo like this but where is the path to victory? I don’t think he out boxes Yan and if they scramble, I think Yan has the advantage there. The only way Aldo wins this fight is if he can land leg kicks but even that seems like a stretch because he would have to land them at will.
We once thought Aldo would move to lightweight, not down to bantamweight. The cut to featherweight was significant on multiple occasions. I’m not sure how many times he can make this cut before getting absolutely sparked. This could be that fight, I think it is.
Prediction: Yan wins via vicious KO in round two.
The Bet: I’m actually betting Yan at -214 and have no issue laying that money. I think we will look back at this line and agree it should’ve been -314.
Jessica Andrade (+166) vs Rose Namajunas (-191)
I said something similar about Yan, Namajunas is one of the more technical strikers in the UFC. She can stick and move and rarely gets hit. Namajunas was winning the first time these two girls met before she was slammed on her head in round two, which knocked her out. During the first two rounds, Andrade was outclassed and even knocked down at one point. I like Andrade because she is never out of fights. Her explosiveness and athleticism allow her to change the momentum at any given time.
I just expect Namajunas to stand clear of the grappling or clinch work. I expect her to be hesitant in scrambling with Andrade who could slam anyone at any given point. Namajunas will stick to her striking and just piece Andrade up for three full rounds. We have a gift of a line here, in my opinion.
Prediction: Namajunas wins via dominant decision.
The Bet: Namajunas -191 is a little watered down because she lost the fight. The first seven minutes of that first fight scream -300 to me. That slam won’t happen again.
Amanda Ribas (-1000) vs Paige Vanzant (+675)
This is just a complete mismatch and I think Vanzant took this fight with a nothing to lose mentality. Win or lose, she will make millions advertising, acting, dancing, or in a smaller organization where she’s featured as a premier fighter. I’m afraid there isn’t a path to victory for Vanzant. Ribas is elite in every area and is on a path to eventually become a UFC champion.
This could be bloody and brutal for Vanzant. I expect Ribas to dominant on the feet and get her to the mat, eventually mounting her and finishing her. Vanzant is certainly tough but I don’t think there’s anyone that can stand in front of Ribas, except the current UFC champion.
Prediction: Ribas wins via KO/TKO in round three.
The Bet: This isn’t advice I typically give but Ribas will be attached to any small parlay or single bet that I make. If there’s ever a lock, this is as close as it’ll get.
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