Finally. Clear the schedule, shut off my phone, hopefully the wife goes to her sister’s and I can watch this behemoth of a card alone on the couch with a fridge full of boomsauces and a spliff of the devil’s lettuce. 28 fucking people will fight each other inside the UFC octagon at Jerry’s World in Dallas Texas this weekend, including five fighters that have held UFC gold around their waist.
A card this stacked with interesting style match ups, old vs young match ups, and two championship matches rarely has this level of low variance lines. The top five fights on the card are all under -200 for the favorites. This is one of the best cards on paper for fights but unfortunately I think it’s pretty bad for betting. Instead of a long winded story or technical breakdown for this card (it’s too good, too long, who has the time?) I’m gonna blast thru the better fights on the card with picks. That’s “picks” ladies and gentleman, not bets.
Courtney Casey vs Jessica Aguilar
There’s a few fights on this card that I think pin an up and comer against a vet; this is the first one to kick off. Casey laying a price tag of -120 to Aguilar’s even money still feels like good value. Casey has shown more and more with every fight that she isn’t just a pretty face, this girl came to scrap. She’s coming into her own with her striking and went from violent to crisp with her punches in her last outings. Aguilar has been there done that but I think this is a fight that’s more “done” than “done that.” People always say “powers the last thing to go” when talking about heavyweights. Conversely speed, agility, and explosiveness are first. Basically the most important things in the lower weight classes (where people aren’t getting knocked out with the same frequency) are the first aspects of your game to dwindle away. That being said Aguilar is fucking 35 and a 35 year old woman is gonna be far more diminished that a 35 year old man. I think the dinosaur gets a mercy stoppage after taking a hellacious beat down from the rangy 5’6″ strawweight.
Dustin Poirier vs Eddie Alvarez
45 fucking cent movement on this fight. This was my fight. I talked about on the Scratching the Surface podcast, Poirier opened as a +120 dog! I was excited to get on that plus money train but being an experienced gambler with the self control of a nun I decided to wait till I watched tape and found a clear path to victory. In the mean time and in between time the public drove Poirier to a -125 favorite. Live and learn. I don’t think I’ll have any action on this but I will say I think that Alvarez kinda jumped the shark. He looked just eh in his last few fights despite being a world champ… I know that sounds stupid but all I can say is that “I was not impressed by your performance” Poirier can crack on the feet and he’s only 28. He’s still learning and I think the loss to Conor was a turning point in his career. I think he can put the lights out on the former champ if this stays on the feet. No bets at that price but I like The Diamond in a late stoppage.
Frankie Edgar vs Yair Rodriguez
Don’t make me do it UFC, don’t make me pick against Frankie Edgar. I could watch Yair beat the fuck out of old ass BJ Penn because I had a lot of money on him winning that fight inside the distance. I’m not putting a cent opposite Edgar, this guy is too tough for his own good and he’s going to put that toughness to the test this weekend. You’re going to hear this in every breakdown but Rodriguez looks better and better every time he gets in the octagon. He just looks some comfortable and confident there. After his last fight I was saying things like “wait till he faces an elite striker” but for some reason when I heard Edgar was the next opponent I wasn’t as confident in the vet as I thought I would be. I can’t figure out why but my gut tells me Edgar loses the first and third round and ends up on the wrong side of the score cards. 29-28 Pantera.
Jorge Masvidal vs Demian Maia
Broken record says that the old guy loses. But holy shit these fights are fantastic and we’re not even at the co-main event yet. This is a throwback match up, I wrote a long piece on the “striker vs. grappler” in my “Julianna Pena vs Valentina Shevchenko; Styles make fights” blog a few months back. This fight is different tho, it could go one of two ways. The 39 year old BJJ wizard either looks like Michael Jordan on the 95-96 Bulls and drags Gamebred down to the mat, works his way to the back and slaps on the RNC. Or he looks like Wizards #45 Jordan and gets his old head caved in by one of the slickest strikers in the division. Masvidal has made me a lot of #easymoney as of late, including a TKO of Cowboy. I’m gonna ride the hot hand; I think Masvidal has the perfect skill set to keep the fight at range. Everyone in the building knows exactly what Maia wants to do and Jorge is smart, talented, and explosive enough to pop in and out of range. Making people look foolish on the feet is what he does best and I think it’s not going to be hard to do it to the geriatric Brazilian. Gamebred 2nd round TKO.
Jessica Andrade vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
JJ (don’t think for a second I didn’t copy and paste that fucking name, it’s JJ for the remainder of the article) is hitting her stride. The way she dismantles fighters with her stand up and discourages girls with her hand speed and accuracy is special. I love watching her fight, I love watching her talk, I love Joanna Champion. Her attitude and showmanship really comes thru on the embedded series. Doing the right things by moving to ATT in Florida and saying the right things in her interviews. It’s hard for me to pick against her right now. That being said, Andrade has been trending in the right direction as well. I really liked what I saw from her in her last bout with Angela Hill and her finish of Calderwood. Stylistically this is a really tough fight for the Champ; she’s going to have her hands full and hopefully they don’t break while smashing them off Brazilian’s skull. She’s had issues with hand injuries in the passed and she is going to have to hit and hit and hit and hit Jessica with everything she’s got. “Bate Estaca” should change her nickname to Jessica “IDGAF” Andrade because she honestly doesn’t even have a fuck to give. She can and will take a shot to give one and god damn can she give one. JJ isn’t unhittable and the chin has been touched; I don’t see it actually happening at the end of the day but the threat is too much to lay the price tag. JJ at -190 isn’t cheap. I would sooner take JJ by dec. But wouldn’t that be a fucking sight to see. A little prepubescent Justin Bieber looking champion with a sideways flatbrim hat and board shorts hugging and kissing on her borderline bbw wife in the middle of the octagon, speaking Portuguese and it all being translated to a crowd of Texan rednecks. For the sake of the sport and the new ownership I hope to god that doesn’t happen. yeehaw mother fucker it’s main event time.
Junior Dos Santos vs Stipe Miocic
The title of the baddest man on earth, the heavyweight championship of the world, the maaain event of the eveniiiinnnng. By this point in the night I’m somewhere between barely keeping my eyes open; fighting off exhaustion and boiling over with excitement in anticipation for 250 pound men in their underwear trying to kill each other. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Last time these gentleman fought each other they put on a hell of a show. A stand up brawl that really could have gone either way on the scorecards that ended with Cigano squeaking out the decision victory. Since then Stipe has gone on an impressive run; knocking out every mother fucker that stood across from him. Junior not so much; he was finished by Allister Overeem (one of Stipe’s recent victims) and beat Ben Rothwell on points before taking a long time off to have a baby and god knows what else. Anyways conventional wisdom would say that Stipe retains the title; MMA math and the ring rust yada yada I get it, it makes sense. But the heavyweight division doesn’t make sense and I always say “Don’t put your hard earned money on women and heavyweight favorites” if you gotta have a dog in the fight, pardon the pun, but take Cigano at plus money. The fight should stay standing and I think Junior can do enough damage to the champ to slow him down and likely get a stoppage. It’s hard to win 5 in a row in any division let alone the one with the hardest hitters walking god’s green earth. Junior by TKO/KO pays +150. I’m not telling you to I’m just saying as someone who bets on the puppy bowl for fucks sake, that’s what I’m doing.