There is a lot of controversy surrounding this card (as I would expect around any McGregor headlined event). I give you my precise picks on who I think will win each bout. Then I lay down the betting positions I am taking. My aim is to give you the best value, the right picks, and ultimately have fun doing it. As always: *I advise doing your own research before wagering.* We start with…
Andrew “El Dirte” Sanchez (+128) vs. Makhmud “Mach” Muradov (-152)
This fight smells like it isn’t going past the distance. One thing I like about “El Dirte” is he has that solid Midwestern grappling and trains at “Tristar”; a top-notch gym. Sanchez has an solid career and is looking impressive lately. Coming off a (TKO) victory, Bolstering a 12(W)-5(L) record. Fighting and beating the likes of Khalil Rountree; another fighter on this same card. More recently taking Marvin Vettori to a decision but ultimately losing the fight. Sanchez is a grinder and has the ability to go deep into fights.
Insert Makhmud Muradov and you will see brute power. Bolstering a 24(W)-6(L) record. On a tear before entering the UFC. Knocking opponents out left and right at a (67%) clip in his career. Impressive in his first two fights in the UFC. Winning unanimously and finishing Trevor Smith. The only thing that worries me is he hasn’t fought since December, 2019. However, aside from some cage rust I still believe one of these men are destined to earn a finish and impress the boss.
My wager: Fight Not To Go The Distance (-118) on Fanduel Sportsbook.
This line is moving fast. By the time I found this line, did my homework, and came back it went from (-110) to (-118).
Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (-136) vs. Michael “Iron” Chandler (+116)
Dan Hooker enters this fight after a decision loss to one of this events headliners, Dustin Poirier. Hooker will look to get back on track in this one. I see a lot of people taking Hooker on the money line and that is not a bad spot. However, I find value elsewhere. Bolstering a 20(W)-9(L) record, Hooker has gone the distance in his last three fights. Winning two out of three. Hooker has a nice edge with a standing reach advantage of 4″. Hooker is also 2′ taller. Combined with Hookers style of fighting that tells me Michael Chandler has to get inside Hookers range to make a difference.
Hooker is going to try to set-up his shots early on. Chandler is a lot more patient at this stage in his career. However, he can turn up the pace quickly. I feel the people doubting Chandler are more discounting him being from Bellator than anything. Chandler will look to surprise many haters tonight. Possessing a ton of power in his strikes, Chandler has retooled his style to become the best version of himself yet. In his last two fights Chandler has knocked out both opponents in the first round. By no means do I believe he will do that to Hooker. However, I will be banking on Hooker being a slow-starter as well.
My wager: OVER 2.5 rounds (-112) on Fanduel Sportsbook.
Although, I will play this by itself; this is a betting spot you can also use for a punching-parlay.
Amir “Prince” Albazi (-102) vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (-116)
I love this fight. Looking at the two records of these fighters you would think Amir Albazi should be the odds on favorite. Albazi was walking around at bantamweight 135lbs before making the cut to flyweight at 125lbs. Albazi has the size advantage and a small reach advantage. Albazi has been trending up in the UFC. In his UFC debut he submitted Malcolm Gordon. Bolstering a 13(W)-1(L) record Albazi will look to use his training from the great “London Shootfighters” association to get the win. Albazi doesn’t notch as many strikes per minute as Zhalgas but his defense is superior. Absorbing less than one strike per minute opposed to Zhalgas who eats 3.47 strikes per minute. Albazi has the better grappling as well.
Zhalgas Zhumagulov has some real bright spots. He has a good striking output but his success in the amateur circuits haven’t transferred over to the UFC yet. Zhalgas will empty the tank in this fight and bolstering a 13(W)-4(L) record that has proven to be an effective strategy. Zhalgas doesn’t have explosive power and has been comfortable going to decision in nine of his seventeen career fights. That doesn’t bode well for the better wrestler in Albazi. This will be an entertaining fight to kick off this event.
My wager: Amir Albazi ML (-102) on Fanduel Sportsbook.
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