After an apocalyptic three week wait since the last UFC event, I’m glad to get back to my degenerate ways on Saturday night. Here are my breakdowns for the bouts on UFC Fight Night 135 that I think are worth betting.
Drew Dober vs. Jon Tuck
Initially, I thought the -200 price tag for Drew Dober was a little steep, but after watching tape I feel it’s justified.
Coming from a traditional muay thai background, Drew Dober has always been a solid striker. In his most recent fights, you can see that he’s been working on his footwork and movement. With a well-timed hook, he was able to despatch a severely declining Josh Burkman, but he also looked good in the striking exchanges against boxer/brawler, Frank Camacho.
Fighting out of the renowned Elevation Fight Team, Dober has lots of high level sparring partners and reaps the cardio benefits of training at altitude.
Dober isn’t a bad wrestler, as we saw in his fight against Scott Holtzman. However, he would be wise to sprawl and disengage at every opportunity against Jon Tuck, who is a high level jiu-jitsu black belt.
Tuck isn’t a bad striker, but he lacks the fluidity that you would expect from someone fighting out of Kings MMA. He has very little head movement and can fall victim to long periods of inactivity, which could cost him against Dober.
While he looked good annihilating a very shot fighter in Takanori Gomi, Tuck’s previous two fights were decision losses to Damien Brown and Josh Emmett. Neither performance inspires confidence.
If Dober can keep the fight vertical, I definitely see him getting the better of Jon Tuck. I have Drew Dober in a parlay with Darrion Caldwell from Bellator (who I got at the extremely generous price of -250).
I believe Drew Dober is playable at -200. If you want more bang for your buck, you could play Drew Dober by decision at -103 because Tuck is very hard to put away.
Andrew Sanchez vs. Markus Perez
TUF winner, Andrew Sanchez, is an excellent fighter with one huge deficiency: his cardio.
A decorated NAIA wrestler with improving boxing, Sanchez usually has a technical advantage over his opponents. However, he’s been finished in round three of his past two fights, showing visible exhaustion before he was taken out.
In his fight with Ryan Janes, a Canadian web developer and board game enthusiast (yes, seriously), Sanchez came extremely close to scoring a first round knockout victory. While Janes isn’t the most technically skilled fighter, he’s blessed with insane cardio and durability.
After surviving the initial onslaught, Janes was able to walk through punches and overwhelm Sanchez, who was fading badly after the first round.
It’s risky betting on a fighter that fades, but it seems that cardio has been a focal point of his camp at Tri-Star. Skill for skill, he should have a clear advantage over Markus Perez.
Undoubtebly a submission threat, it’s hard to see how Perez will take the fight to the mat.
Coming from a traditional martial arts background, Perez has some unorthodox striking attacks – but I certainly favor the more fundamentally sound boxing style of Sanchez. Perez doesn’t have great cardio either, so I’m not sure if he can capitalize even if Sanchez does slow down.
I wouldn’t trust him as a strong favorite, but I’m happy with my action on Andrew Sanchez at +110. I still think he’s playable at -110.
Cory Sandhagen vs. Iuri Alcantara
It’s amazing that it took so long for Cory Sandhagen to arrive in the UFC, because he’s been making waves on the regional scene for years.
Fighting out of Elevation Fight Team, Sandhagen’s best attribute is his striking. I’m extremely impressed by his movement and use of angles. Against a more stationary, flat-footed muay thai striker like Iuri Alcantara, I can see Sandhagen’s unorthodox offense causing a lot of problems.
Sandhagen is a pretty competent grappler as well, and shows good awareness in transitions. However, he’d be wise to avoid going to the mat with a deadly black belt like Alcantara who can capitalize on the smallest of mistakes.
Despite his ground skills, Alcantara isn’t a great wrestler and is usually comfortable to contest the fight on the feet – even if he’s getting the worst of the exchanges. This could be disastrous against an unpredictable ninja like Sandhagen.
It’s worth noting that Sandhagen is making his bantamweight debut. In my opinion, it seems like a strange decision for him to drop weight classes, especially considering that 5’10 is not small for a featherweight.
As a final note, Sandhagen is in his athletic prime at 26, while Alcantara is getting a bit long in the tooth at 38-years-of-age.
It’s ridiculous Sandhagen opened at +135 – I would have jumped on that line! I’m not enthusiastic about the current -250 price tag, but I feel confident Cory Sandhagen wins.
James Krause vs. Warlley Alves
Stylistically, this appears to be a favorable fight for Alves. However, I don’t believe the -500 price tag for the Brazilian is justified – especially considering his cardio has failed him in the past and he looked underwhelming against an unknown regional fighter in Salim Touahri.
An explosive striker with a lethal guillotine, Warlley Alves often finishes his opponents quickly. However, when he’s been unable to get a quick KO or submission, he’s struggled to maintain a consistent output in rounds two and three. This makes me think he won’t over-exert himself trying to finish the extremely durable and well-rounded James Krause.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this looks like a sparring match.
Krause is a good fighter, but I don’t think he’s as sharp on the feet as his opponent. I also don’t think he’ll be able to take Alves down and win rounds with positional control as he did against Alex “No Takedown Defense” White.
Warlley Alves by decision could be worth a shot at +195, but I’d rather wager that the fight goes to decision at +100.
John Moraga vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
Previously known for trading wins and losses, something has clicked for MMA Lab veteran, John Moraga, as he’s won his last three fights. The knockout win over dangerous Chechan prospect, Magomed Bibulatov, was particularly impressive.
At 34-years-of-age, Moraga may have finally reached his potential. His boxing has been looking especially fluid in his past few fights.
However, the veteran does have some weaknesses. He’s never been the most physically imposing fighter at flyweight and despite coming from a wrestling background, he struggles to defend takedowns. Latching onto a guillotine when opponents shoot can pay off occasionally, but it also backfires when you don’t finish because you’re left fighting off your back.
On the feet Deiveson Figueiredo might not be as smooth as Moraga, but he certainly has the power advantage. With a one shot, one kill approach to striking, Figueiredo is not someone you want to exchange with.
Figueiredo is also a competent grappler and shouldn’t find it too difficult to ground his opponent. He’s a huge flyweight that cuts a lot of weight, so this could explain why he typically enjoys a strength advantage.
While Moraga is a savvy veteran, I feel he will struggle to deal with the power and physicality of the Brazilian fighter. I’m happy to play Deiveson Figueiredo at -145.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Bryan Barbarena
Now 33-years-of-age, Jake Ellenberger’s best days may be behind him. Once known as a terrifying wrestler with big knockout power, Ellenberger has taken a beating in recent years.
Although he’s had a brutal schedule of opponents, he appeared to have a favorable matchup against Ben Saunders – yet was comprehensively dismantled in the first round.
In theory, Ellenberger could wrestle his way to victory. Although Barberena is tough to take down, Colby Covington and Leon Edwards both had success in wrestling him to the mat.
However, when was the last time we’ve seen Ellenberger win using takedowns and positional control? While he could land takedowns, it’s hard to see him doing it for three rounds.
“Bam Bam” is hard to hold down and will force Ellenberger to work, even from bottom position.
Barberena is also extremely durable. Even if Ellenberger does land a big overhand, I don’t think he’s going to be able to put Barberena away. If it becomes a dog fight, Ellenberger is the fighter who is far more likely to capitulate.
I’m on the fence about betting this fight, but Bryan Barberena inside the distance at -144 seems like a solid play.
Justin Gaethe vs. James Vick
Standing 6’3, James Vick enjoys beating up 5’9 men and dedicates the majority of his spare time to killing woodland creatures. I wonder what a psychiatrist would make of that?
Nevertheless, “The Texecutioner” is a damn good fighter. With an array of front kicks, side kicks and straight punches, Vick is normally able to maximize his length and outland his opponents at distance.
Against technical brawler, Justin Gaethje, it’s obvious Vick will be on his bicycle, circling and firing shots from the outside. Given Vick’s competancy for fighting at range, I totally understand why people are betting him.
Heres the thing though, I’m not convinced Vick will score an early knockout, and Gaethje is excellent at cutting off the octagon. Vick will probably look good with his stick-and-move approach early, but what about when he starts eating those devastating leg kicks?
Vick didn’t look good fighting on the inside against Beneil Dariush, and we know Justin Gaethe is more than competant at close range.
While he prefers to strike, Gaethe was an All-American Division 1 wrestler. He would be wise to put Vick on his back as a path of least reisstance.
Gaethje will be on a seek and destroy mission. He’ll take some damage early, as always, but I think his pressure will eventually be too much for the rangy Texan. Give me Justin Gaethje at +135.
My Main Plays
- 2 units on Darrion Caldwell and Drew Dober parlayed at +100
- 2.5 units on Andrew Sanchez at +110
- 1.5 units on Deiveson Figueiredo at -145
- 0.5 units on Justin Gaethje at +135
Come find me on Twitter and let me know which fighters you are betting!
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