One of the best European promotions is back and I’m looking for some betting action on Saturday afternoon before the UFC. Here are my breakdowns of the fights that I’m playing (odds are available at Ohmbet).
Norman Parke vs. Artur Sowinski
You may remember Artur Sowinski as the guy who had the brakes beaten off him by Conor Mcgregor in a 2011 regional fight. A tough, gritty and well-rounded Polish veteran – Sowinski is serviceable everywhere, but doesn’t excel in one facet.
Despite his long professional career, Sowinski has never been the most fundamentally sound striker. He’s very hittable and throws a lot of crazy overhands and looping shots. He’s a decent grappler when he’s the one in a dominant position, but doesn’t have much going off his back.
Having fought the majority of his career at featherweight, he will be the smaller man in this contest. Norman Parke’s most recent fight was at welterweight and this bout will be at a catchweight of 163 pounds.
Norman Parke may not have the most exciting style in the world, but he’s effective at winning fights – especially at the regional level. A Northern Irish wrestling champion and judo black belt, Parke has been tough to take down throughout his career and will be the one who decides where the fight takes place.
Parke is the more technical striker, but could use wrestling and top control as the path of least resistance against Sowinski. In a 2016 contest against a pure striker in Myles Price, Parke grappled and smothered his way to victory on the scorecards and I think we’ll see something similar on Saturday.
I like Norman Parke as a parlay leg at -303. I also think there is value on Norman Parke by decision at -125.
Scott Askham vs. Michal Materla
Since moving his training over to American Top Team, Scott Askham has made significant improvements. In the UFC, the Englishman was a blood and guts kickboxer with underrated jiu-jitsu, but you can tell he’s evolved in his recent performances.
Rewatching Askham’s 2017 fight with Luke Barnatt, he showcased excellent slips and upper body movement and his offense looked crisper than ever. Fighting from southpaw, Askham’s straight left is money, as is his left body kick to the open side against orthodox opponents. In fact, he’s finished his last two opponents with this kick (one of them being Materla).
While Askham is an excellent striker at distance, he’s ferocious in the clinch as well. If the fight stays standing, I’m confident the Englishman will get the better of the exchanges.
Askham’s grappling is somewhat of a question mark, mainly because we haven’t seen it in a while. In the UFC, he looked good in scrambles and would threaten with submissions to sweep his opponents or work his way back to his feet. It’s clear that when solid jiu-jitsu players go to American Top Team, they become more complete MMA grapplers (as showcased by Thiago Moises last weekend).
We don’t really know how good Askham’s takedown defense is, but training with the likes of Antonio Carlos Junior and King Mo should help him to prepare for a grappling onslaught. Unlike some of Materla’s victims, I don’t think Askham will be a fish out of water if he does wind up on his back.
According to the stats, Materla is two inches shorter than Askham and gives up one inch of reach – but I wonder if that’s accurate because Askham looks much longer in the limb? While he doesn’t have as much finesse as his opponent, Materla is an effective striker – but he does his best work on the inside. I think the Polish fighter is going to get lit up if he gets stuck at kicking range.
Materla’s best asset is his grappling. He has good entries into his takedowns and a fantastic top game. The extent to which Materla finds success with his wrestling could be the determining factor in this fight.
I have some action on Scott Askham at -110, but I still think he’s playable at the current price of -132. I believe the Englishman will be too slick on the feet, I just hope his anti-grappling holds up.
If you’re looking for a high value prop bet, Scott Askham by KO/TKO is +175 and he has five rounds to get it done.
Other Interesting Spots
There appears to be value on Luis Henrique at +257. His opponent, Michal Andryszak, is a devastating kickboxer – but he doesn’t manage his energy well. There is a high chance Andryszak will invest everything into securing a first round knockout, but if he doesn’t get it then Henrique likely takes over.
Thiago Silva could be used as a parlay leg at -333. I know what you’re thinking, the Brazilian is a bit long in the tooth and has a lot of mileage on his body – but this is one of the most stylistically favorable match-ups in his career. Martin Zawada is ridiculously undersized at light heavyweight and is a boxer/brawler with a short reach. The only concern is that Silva has started his own gym, so his focus may not be 100%.
I quite like Roberto Soldic by KO/TKO at -213. Skill for skill, this is a mismatch and I can’t see how Krystian Kaszubowski wins outside of a lucky punch. Soldic has big power in his hands and this is a five round championship fight.
My Main Plays
- 4 units on Norman Parke and Desmond Green (UFC) at -151
- 1.5 units on Scott Askham at -110
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