UFC: Corey Sandhagen (+170) Vs Petr Yan $$
This should easily be the best fight of the card and features two of the best strikers in the history of the Bantamweight division.
Sandhagen is coming of a loss is coming off a loss to TJ Dillashaw in a very questionable judges decision. The judges seemed to overvalue the back control TJ was able to capture in that fight multiple times and seemed to overlook the fact that Corey did significantly more damage.
One of the least technical yet highly efficient way to judge the winner of a fight is the simple ‘face test’. All you have to do is look at the faces of the two competitors and the one with the most blood, cuts or contusions is the loser. This would have been useful in the Dillashaw/Sandhagen fight as TJ was a bloody and battered mess at the end while Corey looked like he had just finished a moderately long run.
The fight result was even worse for Dillashaw as he also sustained a severe knee injury when he failed to submit to a heel hook that Sandhagen locked in early in that fight. The resulting injury was actually the reason TJ could fight against Yan in this interim championship fight. So regardless of the judges decision, it appears that Sandhagen did in fact win that fight.
Without a doubt Sandhagen is the most awkward and technically difficult striker in this division and is very bad matchup for Petr Yan. Yan is shorter and outreached in this matchup so he will attempt to be the aggressor and push the action against the fence. If he can get into boxing range and limit the leg kick from Sandhagen’s arsenal, he should find success.
Getting into range for Yan is not going to be easy however and will come at the expense of a lot of counter jabs and heavy leg kicks. Don’t get me wrong, Yan will get his strikes in as well. He is a super pit-bull and will not easily be deterred, but he does need to be cautious of a knock knee if he gets too aggressive in his approach.
I see this fight going the full five rounds despite the heavy hands of both fighters. Sandhagen should find a home for his jabs and leg kicks while keeping his range the majority of the fight. Let’s hope the judges get it right this time.
UFC: Jan Blachowicz (-300) Vs Glover Teixeira $$
I am highly confident this fight will end with Blachowicz knocking out Teixeira.
Teixeira is 42 years old and this is his 40th career fight. I am happy to see Glover get another UFC title shot but to me, his age could be a barrier. The biggest problem fighters over 40 have is a reduction in speed and a softening of the chin. 40 career MMA fights plus another 20+ years of sparring can do a massive amount of damage to the brain. Every time you get knocked out or even take a big shot, the brain’s ability to recover is reduced and it results in even quicker knockouts.
Jan possess hands of stone and you know he will be looking to put Glover’s lights out with every punch and he simply is not going to avoid all of them. Teixeira’s only real path to victory is getting multiple takedowns and sustaining a top position for the majority of the fight. I just do not think he will be able to achieve this especially considering he could be knocked out at any given moment.
UFC: Islam Makhachev (-650) Vs Dan Hooker $
There are a lot of one sided fights on this UFC card, at least on paper and this may be the most lopsided of them all. Islam is the one fight in the UFC Lightweight division that no one wanted to face and Dan Hooker seemed to pull the short straw. This fight is seen by many as simply a stepping stone fight for Makhachev in his ultimate path towards the UFC Lightweight title shot in this stacked division. I happen to agree with most of the hype around Islam as he has been quite impressive so far in his career.
Islam has often been compared to he training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov. Both fighters are masters of the take down and smothering their opponents. I like Islam to get a submission in this fight but I do not like having to lay such long odds (-650) so I cannot make this a premium play. What I will likely do is parley this selection with Jan in the main event to get slightly better odds.