UFC: Ortega (+500/+700 – Via Submission/TKO) VS Volkanovski $$
I like Brian Ortega to pull off an upset in this fight but I he will not be able to do if the fight goes to the judges. His only chance to win to this fight is by stoppage as he simply cannot match the punch output of the champion.
Alexander Volkanovski will certainly unleash a nonstop flurry of combinations for a full 25 minutes. That is how he defeated max Holloway twice and it is a formula that has worked for him in the past, so I do not expect him to change that strategy. I would would seriously question if he actually won both fights against Max, but that is another debate.
The problem is he may be becoming a bit too predictable. As champions have multiple title defences under their belts, there becomes much more video footage of their styles and tendencies. Challengers have the opportunity to study the champ and scheme ways to take away their advantages. Ortega is a very dangerous fighter and should have multiple fight ending tactics ready in his arsenal specific for Volkanovski.
Alexander strikes me as a fairly stubborn guy and I do not expect anything new from him. I also do not feel he has the power to KO Ortega so his best, and perhaps only chance to win, is getting to the end of five rounds. He very well may do just that, but it is path full of landmines and certainly will not be easy.
I can see Ortega landing a power shot, either an uppercut, knee or elbow on a forward pushing Volkanovski that drops him to his back, followed by some heavy ground & pound or even a choke.
UFC: Nick Diaz (+145) Vs Robbie Lawler $
I wrote about this fight earlier in the week in my UFC 266 post and predicted a victory for Nick. Since then there has been multiple changes for this fight.
This is fact a five round match that I previously thought was only three which likely favours Diaz even further, but really I don’t see this fight going the distance regardless.
The fight has been changed to a middleweight contest after Diaz made the request that was approved by Lawler. This is a bit concerning to me as Nick did not look his usual ripped self at the weigh in suggesting he may not be in the great shape we originally thought he would be (both physically and mentally). There is a lot of speculation around what really went down in this controversy with few known facts, but Robbie likely accepted a larger percentage of the purse for accepting the change in weight.
The were also rumours of Nick being knocked out perhaps multiple time in the weeks leading up to the fight. None of this can be good news for Diaz and the odds makers have since adjusted the line and have understandably made Lawler a significant favourite at (-165).
I still like Nate to get this victory, but I am far less confident than I was a few days ago. I will lower the fight selection from two back to one unit as a response.
UFC: Shevchenko (-1500) Vs Murphy
I am not going to make this an official prediction because of the ridiculously short odds here on the favourite offering a marginal return on investment. But make no mistake, there are very few scenarios where Lauren Murphy gets her hand risen here.
Do not be tempted the long odds in this fight as it is pretty much burning money. Valentina is the most dominant champion we have ever seen in the UFC Flyweight division and shows no signs of being beaten any time soon. If you have to bet this fight, take it as part of a parley using it to get slightly better odds on a couple of other fights.
UFC 2021 selections, 19-8, +19.4 units
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UFC odds and analysis provided by Odds Shark.