UFC Vegas 71
Full card breakdown
UFC Vegas 71
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Petr Yan vs Merab Dvalishvili
Petr Yan should still be champion, but yet some how he is 1-3 in his last 4 fights. That just goes to show you the style he implements. He has a defense heavy style. He relies on his superb defense early in fights to get his reads. Once he has a read on an opponent he starts to break them down. He is truly one of the great mixed martial artists of our time and he gets no credit for it at all. He has great takedown defense, once you get him down he is hard to control and has good submission defense. He has excellent offensive grappling. Some of the trips this guy hits are incredible, but it’s his striking that is a thing of beauty.
Merab has the same game plan for every single opponent and it’s just take them down over and over and over and over and over and over again. He is exhausting to watch and he’s one of the best in the world. He’s boys with Sterling and together they continue to make each other better. He beat Jose Aldo in his last fight and that is never an easy task for anyone. Merab struggled to get Aldo down throughout that fight. He does have some power in his hands and throws wild shots, rushing in on you. He’s hoping to back you to the cage and smother you. He showed he can come back from adversity against Marlon Moraes. He was rocked as bad as you can be and was able to work through it and get the win.
This fight takes place in the small cage again. That favors Merab, but that’s about the only thing that favors Merab. Yan is the better fighter. It’s not going to be a walk in the park trying to hold him down for 5 rounds. I personally think Aljo is better than Merab and I also don’t personally think Aljo has ever beaten Yan. Yan is going to destroy Merab on the feet. We’ve seen Merab hurt in fights before. Yan gets the finish and proves he’s still that dude
Alexander Volkov vs Alexander Romanov
When I saw this fight get made I was really hoping we would be getting Romanov as a dog. That didn’t happen. The books are savvy these days. Volkov has been the tale of two fighters the last couple of years. He looked great against Jarzinho and he looked amazing when he fought Overeem. After that Overeem fight I was really thinking we would see Volkov with a belt around his waste. But he looked mediocre in his win over Tybura and he looked terrible in his losses to Gane and Aspinall. He is massive at 6 foot 7 and has an 80 inch reach. He has filled out his frame and is just a big dude. He has excellent striking, good footwork and he’s very accurate. The problem has been his speed and lack of head movement. He has shown good takedown defense in his career, but didn’t show it against blaydes or aspinall. Struggles with superior athletes
Romanov has all the tools to go very far in this division. He’s very athletic, he’s stronger than just about everyone, he has the wrestling to smash you and he has power in his hands. And oh yeah if he takes you down and you’re not careful, he’s going home with one of your limbs. This dudes submission game is nasty. He tries to bull rush through people and it cost him in his last fight. He was beating the dog piss out of tybura before he gassed out. He said what he learned from that fight was just don’t leave it to the judges. I actually like this thought. You see a lot of aggressive guys try and tone it down and then they are not good at all. They’ve lost the one skill that got them where they are. Looking right at you Terrance McKinney.
Volkov better be ready for round 1 because he is going to have a big problem on his hands. I didn’t like how Volkov allowed Aspinall to bully right through him and I have a feeling that Romanov is capable of the same thing. Romanov wins in round 1 is my pick, but if he doesn’t Volkov could be a great live betting spot.
Nikita Krylov vs Ryan Spann
Already broke this one down for you. I think Krylov is the better fighter everywhere and he should smash Ryan Spann. Two weeks ago I was ready to make a big bet on him ITD, but this is a different week and I’m scared. Krylov pulled out with an illness. Who knows the effects that had on him. I’d have to think if he took this fight he’s good to go, but you never know. This fight is also at a catch weight of 215 now and I think that favors spann as well. Pick is still Krylov ITD, but I’m not as confident
Ricardo Ramos vs Austin Lingo
By all means Ricardo Ramos should be a nightmare for Austin Lingo. Ramos is a dynamic striker and grappler. He has some nice takedowns and once on the ground he’s looking for that finish. Lingo is a meat and potato’s fighter, but he does have pop in his hands. Lingo has been away a long time and that’s not a good thing. Lingo really struggled with the grappling of Zalal and he isn’t half the fighter of Ramos. The line is too wide for me. Not even using it as a parlay boost, but I expect Ramos to roll. He’s going to take him down and crush him on the ground. Ramos chin does scare me a little.
Said Nurmagomedov vs Jonathan Martinez
Why’d the UFC have to go and make this fight. These are two guys I love betting on. Said is a killer and has been fighting very tough dudes in the UFC with no name value. He gets that once again in Jonathan Martinez. Said may have the same last name as Khabib, but they are not related and they do not fight alike at all. Said is a flashy striker. Loves spinning techniques and he throws with recklessness at times because he is not scared of the takedown. He has good takedown defense and doesn’t give up when taken down. We saw a different side of Said in his last fight. He got beat up a bit by Saidyokub, but he has some dog in him. That ninja choke he hit was no fluke. Watching that fight back you can see Said setting that up all fight. He was close to hitting it on a few other occasions as well. Said goes in that cage to get finishes.
Martinez is someone who has impressed me during his time in the ufc. We’ve won money betting on him in his last 3 fights. He uses a nice lead jab followed by the left kick. He has pop in his shots and is usually the one leading the dance. Has elite boxing for the sport. He trains at factory X with a great team. He is technical in everything he does. He had a career best performance against Cub in his last fight out
This fight is hard to pick, but I really struggle to pick against Said. The dude is a killer. He may struggle on the feet, but if he does he has the grappling to get the job done. This is going to be a very fun fight and I’m staying away from a betting perspective
Vitor Petrino vs Anton Turkalj
Vitor Petrino is a killer. He is an explosive athlete and is always looking for the finish. He throws excellent combos and rips to the body. He came in as a slight favorite on DWCS and if I remember correctly everyone was picking against him. People were saying he was going to get out grappled. Not at NeverHedge though. Petrino is so strong and explosive he is able to get out of a lot of bad spots on the ground and he usually winds up on top.
Turkalj is also a DWCS alumni and he had a much easier matchup, but he looked far worse. Turkalj is wild aggression coming forward, but in a bad way. He charges in leaving so many openings to be hit. He should have a grappling edge in this fight, but I’m not sure it will be enough to matter
Turkalj is far to hitable to have success against a striker as powerful as Petrino. Petrino by tko round 1
Karl Williams vs Lukasz Brzeski
Ive been impressed with Karl Williams. He beat Jimmy Lawson on short notice and we won money on him when he was on PFL challenger series as well. Williams is a tall guy at 6’3. Hits hard and likes to wrestle. On the ground he has great top control and brutal ground and pound. I was really hoping he would drop back down to 205 after his short notice DWCS fight, but that doesn’t seem like the plan.
Brzeski hasn’t looked the same since his return from a 9 month steroid suspension. He’s soft bodied now. He always had take down defense issues, but he looked alright in his last fight with Buday. Not great though.
I like Williams quite a bit in this spot despite the fight being at heavyweight. Williams should roll. It’s a good style matchup for him
Raphael Assuncao vs Davey Grant
This fight on paper is another great style matchup. A youthful Raphael Assuncao has the perfect technical style to beat the wild winging Davey Grant. A 40 year old Assuncao with talks of retirement I’m not so sure. Assuncao looked great in his last fight against Victor Henry, but Davey Grant has that dog in him. Grant also hits a lot harder than Henry does. After watching tape I really wanted to go with Assuncao, but due to age and retirement talks I’m passing
Sedriques Dumas vs Josh Fremd
Dumas is an ATHLETE. He’s very fast and very strong. He uses his strength to overcome technique. It’s very prevalent in his ground game, which isn’t bad by the way, but he can do things to reverse position that not many are capable of. He loves to strike and hits very very hard.
Josh Fremd is a little better than he is getting credit for. He’s tall and long, has good power. Comes from a wrestling background and has good bjj. His biggest advantage in this fight will be his cardio. Can he drag the fight out Ming long enough to use it? Who knows
The line moved so much in this fight that I think it’s a pass now. I can’t bet against Dumas and that athletic advantage. Fremd also leaves his chin out to be hit. Pick is Dumas, but I’m not as confident as everyone else seems to be
Mario Bautista vs Guido Cannetti
Mario Bautista is a monster. He’s a slick striker and has excellent submissions. He’s improved his takedowns and added them to his game. He’s looked really really good since getting knocked out by Trevin Jones. He has all the skills to destroy Guido, but to say Guido isn’t a live dog in the first round is silly. Go watch this guy fight, he’s tough as hell until he gassed. I don’t see this going to the cards. The pick is Bautista, but may sprinkle a little on guido round one.
Victor Henry vs Tony Gravely
Henry is a bit of a wild man. He trains with josh Barnett and likes to bring the pain just like Barnett does. He will dive for leg locks and has some interesting chokes in his arsenal. He brings the pressure and hits pretty hard. Loves throwing kicks to the body and has cardio for days.
Tony Gravely is a guy I am way higher on than most people. For those who know me you know he has all the tools I look for in a fighter. Gravely is extremely athletic, can outwrestle anyone and has power in his hands. He showed toughness against a really tough opponent in Basharat his last time out. His cardio seems to be improving, but it’s less of a not in shape problem and more of his style is not conducive to lasting a real hard 3
Victor Henry looked terrible in his last fight against an aging Assuncao. Gravely has huge advantages in this fight and can be had at dog money. I know people like Henry, but I see this as an easy win for Gravely
Ariane Lipski vs JJ Aldrich
Lipski has burned me in the past and Aldrich has looked better and better. The line is wide and it’s womens mma so stay away if you can, but I don’t see Aldrich losing this. It’s actually far more likely she gets a finish than anything
Tyson Nam vs Bruno Silva
Nam is a 39 year old flyweight. The reason he has been able to last so long is because of his thunderous power and his ability to counter strike. He was getting beat by Ode until he capitalized on a mistake. Nam is always in shape and has excellent take down defense. He brings good takedown defense, a great chin, insane power and a natural counter instinct to the cage and it’s a winning combo
Bruno Silva has been away from the cage for 2 years, but he also has the tools to be very successful. Bruno is a great wrestler and has beaten anyone who he could take down consistently. He throws bombs for the division as well
I like Bruno here, but the layoff scares me. Unfortunately this is another stay away
Carlston Harris vs Jared Gooden
The UFC is doing Harris a favor by finding him a short notice opponent here. I think they may feel they owe him one after putting him out there with Shavkat. Jared Gooden makes his return and I was never high on him. Harris should win this fight
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