The UFC heads to Washington, D.C., this weekend for a somewhat underwhelming fight card. I’m not in love with this event from a betting perspective, but I do have a couple of small wagers.
Makhmud Muradov vs. Trevor Smith
Hailing from Uzbekistan and fighting out of the Czech Republic, Makhmud Muradov is set to attack the UFC’s middleweight division. As the only MMA fighter signed to Mayweather Promotions, many have their eye on him now that he’s in the big show.
Muradov is a skilled kickboxer with good footwork and an excellent vocabulary of strikes in his arsenal.
He’s also a competent grappler, with explosive takedowns and vicious strikes from top position. From watching the grappling exchanges in his regional footage, I’m lead to believe his takedown defense will be pretty good – but there is some guesswork involved since he’s never faced a straight wrestler like Trevor Smith
While not the most exciting fighter on the roster, Smith is a tenacious veteran. He shines against opponents with weak takedown defense (such as Chris Camozzi), but looks severely underwhelming against fighters that can keep the fight upright and disengage from his tie-ups.
Despite being a decent enough wrestler when he gets his hands on you, his entries into takedowns are quite bad. I believe it will be hard for Smith to grab hold of an opponent in perpetual motion like Muradov, especially now that he’s 38-years-of-age.
In open space, Smith is a sitting duck. He’s never had solid striking fundamentals and is particularly bad defensively. I also hear that he doesn’t train MMA outside of fight camps, which is not a good look.
Muradov gassed in his UFC debut (which was on extremely short notice), but his regional footage suggests his cardio is okay. The Uzbek had a month to prepare for this bout and I think he’ll dominate so long as he paces himself intelligently.
While the line has become a bit steep now, I have 2 units on Makhmud Muradov at -286 in a parlay with a fighter from KSW 52.
Alistair Overeem vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
When this fight was announced, my first instinct was that Overeem’s weak chin would get smashed by yet another thunderous puncher. After watching tape, I changed my opinion.
Suriname’s Jairzinhio Rozenstruik is a solid kickboxer, but his power stands out to me more than his skills. As an orthodox fighter, he packs cement in both hands and has obliterated many opponents with his left hook.
It’s possible Rozenstruik catches Overeem with a big shot in the mid-range (especially if he’s able to pressure him against the fence), but this is not most likely outcome in my opinion.
Overeem is the more skilled striker at long range, but he also possesses a massive grappling advantage. Rozenstruik looked bad off his bad in his regional footage and showed major holes in the grappling department against Junior “Diaper Man” Albini.
Training with the likes of Curtis Blaydes, I believe Overeem can secure takedowns and pound this dude out like he did to Sergei Pavlovich. A submission victory for “The Reem” wouldn’t surprise me either, perhaps by Americana?
I don’t suggest going big on a fight like this, but I think there is value on Alistair Overeem at -120.
My Main Plays
- 2 units on Salahdine Parnasse (KSW) and Makhmud Muradov at -130
- 1 unit on Alistair Overeem at -120