If you’re looking for some MMA betting action before the big UFC event on Saturday evening, KSW are hosting a great event in Wembley Arena, London. Ohmbet are offering lines on the top four fights on the card, and here are my breakdowns from a gambling perspective.

Scott Askham vs. Marcin Wójcik

After going 2-3 in the UFC, Scott Askham was released from the world’s biggest MMA promotion. However, he began training at super-camp, American Top Team, towards the end of his UFC tenure and the improvements were obvious in his fight against Luke Barnatt for ACB.

A southpaw kickboxer, Askham landed countless left hands on the chin of Barnatt en route to a dominant decision victory. His slips and head movement looked vastly improved compared to his UFC performances too.

In his debut for KSW, Askham destroyed crafty Polish veteran, Michal Materla, with body kicks in the very first round.

While he prefers to strike, he’s not out of his depth on the mat. A jiu-jitsu brown belt, Askham threatens with submissions off his back – this allowed him to get back to his feet when he was taken down by Chris Dempsey and Jack Hermansson.

Against Marcin Wójcik, I’m sure he will aim to keep the fight standing.

Wójcik is not the most technical striker. He wades forward and throws bombs. It remains to be seen whether he looks to stand with Askham or take him down.

In a low skill contest that rivalled Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000, Wójcik’s fight against Hatef Moeil was truly terrible. Moeil was completely gassed in round two, yet Wójcik was not able to finish him. In fact, Moeil actually retired in between rounds – presumably from tiredness!

Skill for skill, Wójcik is outgunned on the feet here. I believe the Polish fighter’s best path to victory is with takedowns and positional control – as he demonstrated against Michal Fijalka. Still, Wójcik was reversed on the mat against Fijalka – which doesn’t bode well in this contest. Against Tomasz Narkun, Wójcik was able to secure top position but got caught in a triangle.

As a final point, Wójcik looks like a full sized light heavyweight – I wonder how he’s going to make the middleweight limit? He could be extremely depleted by the weight cut.

The Polish fighter might land takedowns, but I don’t think he’ll keep his opponent grounded for long. I managed to bet Scott Askham at -200 and I’d still play him at the current price of -222.

Damian Janikowski vs. Michal Materla

It’s rare to see an 3-0 fighter get matched up with a 26-6 veteran.

Coming to the MMA game relatively late, Damian Janikowski is not as green as his record may suggest. An Olympic medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling, Janikowski’s wealth of grappling experience has been a huge asset in his career thus far.

An animalistic warrior, Janikowski has finished all of his opponents in brutal fashion. His striking is very raw at distance, but he’s been effective at punching his way into the clinch where he does his best work.

The only opponent that offered any resistance to the Olympian was Antoni Chmielewski – who managed to take him down and even secured back mount at one stage in the fight. If that happens against Michal Materla, Janikowski is almost certainly going to be forced to tap.

Despite an emphatic loss to Scott Askham, Materla is generally very reliable. On the feet, he likes to pick his shots and counter. He will definitely be looking to time Janikowski as he comes charging into the clinch. If he can maintain distance, he will surely have the advantage.

On the mat, Materla is excellent. Threatening with both submissions and ground strikes, he advances positions quickly and rarely gets swept. Pinning Martin Zawada to the mat, Materla put on a ground striking clinic in his last contest.

It’s worth noting that Materla likes to shoot single and double leg takedowns. This could be effective against Janikowski, whose Greco-Roman wrestling base strictly pertains to upper body takedowns.

While Materla has more ways to win this fight, I suspect the raw physicality and wrestling of Janikowski will be too much. Still, Janikowski is too unproven for me to play him as a decent sized favorite so I’ll pass on this fight.

Roberto Soldic vs. Dricus Du Plessis

The first fight between these highly skilled young fighters was fantastic, and I doubt the rematch will disappoint from a fan’s perspective.

A heavy-hitting southpaw kickboxer from Croatia, Roberto Soldic has finished his opponents in twelve out of thirteen career victories. Blessed with natural power, Soldic sits down on every strike and favors a low volume, single shot approach. Borys Mańkowski is a good fighter and was completely outclassed by Soldic on the feet.

Facing Dricus Du Plessis, a well-rounded South African fighter, Soldic got the better of the striking exchanges – ripping the body and head effectively. However, he looked a step behind in the grappling and may have been saved by the bell at the end of the first round.

In round two, Soldic got over-aggressive which resulted in him being countered by a perfectly timed lead hook. He was subsequently finished with ground strikes.

Some people have called the knockout lucky, which I don’t agree with. I do however think it was a result that’s unlikely to be repeated. Du Plessis didn’t land a single strike to the upper body before the finish and in a standing battle, I would favor Soldic every time.

Du Plessis is a skilled combatant, but I feel his grappling his more of a threat than his striking. Fighting for South African promotion, EFC Worldwide, you can see Du Plessis stick to his opponents like glue and hunt for submissions at every opportunity.

While Soldic was taken down by Du Plessis, in previous fights the Croatian’s counter-wrestling looked good.

As a final point, Soldic has been training with some excellent sparring partners – including Jan Blachowicz who is on an incredible run in the UFC at the moment.

Even though he was knocked out last time, I absolutely favor the Croatian to win this fight so long as he can remain vertical. At -118 I’ll take my chances with Roberto Soldic.

Karol Bedorf vs. Phil De Fries

KSW is a promotion renowned for promoting heavyweight slug fests – and this fight fits the bill.

Former UFC fighter, Phil De Fries, was a huge underdog in his last bout against the gigantic Michal “Longer” Andryszak. Despite eating some huge shots standing, De Fries was able to wrestle his opponent to the mat and finish him with ground strikes.

While the performance was impressive, I feel Andryszak could have done a much better job at stuffing takedowns (Bedorf certainly will). In the fights where he’s forced to contest on the feet, De Fries is not as effective.

Like most heavyweights, De Fries can crack but he’s not the most fundamentally sound striker. Worryingly, De Fries has been knocked out numerous times and his chin is going to be tested by former champion, Karol Bedorf, who is eager to reclaim his belt.

On the feet, Bedorf is a much better technician. With a ferocious arsenal of kicks and punches, Bedorf is usually able to stop his opponents or dominate on the judge’s scorecards. However, as we saw in his fight against Fernando Rodrigues Jr., Bedorf can be lured into a brawl and that wouldn’t be a good idea here.

So long as Bedorf can stuff takedowns and force his opponent into a technician kickboxing match, he should dominate. However, I need to be very confident to play a -200 heavyweight so I’ll pass on betting this fight.

If you like parlays, I think a Scott Askham and Karol Bedorf double cashes.

My Main Plays

  • 2 units on Scott Askham at -200
  • 1 unit on Roberto Soldic at -118
  • 2.5 units on Thiago Silva at -250

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