Cage 45 – Elonen-Kulmala vs. Baneschi – Betting Predictions

Immediately after UFC Fight Night 141 we have an interesting Cage 45 card. A few euro bookies are offering lines on this event and since there is plenty of footage of the fighters on YouTube, I couldn’t resist making a few bets.

If you’re from Finland and reading this article, you probably know more about the fighters than me. All of my MMA picks for this card are based on the recent footage I could find.

Jani Ridasmaa vs. Claudio Vecani

While Ridasmaa’s 8-6 record isn’t overly impressive, he looks a lot better than these numbers indicate. In his last bout against Ghanaian heavy hitter, Ken Antwi Adjei, the Finnish fighter started tentatively but grew into the contest. Despite losing on the scorecards, he still had plenty of success. He works behind his jab, has solid striking fundamentals and can wrestle too.

Ridasmaa may have been concerned about the power of his Antwi Adjei, hence the timid start. In previous contests, he puts together combinations more fluidly and should definitely have an advantage over his opponent on the feet.

I scouted Claudio Vecani before his fight with Tuukka Repo and ended up betting against him, concluding that any technical striker that can stuff takedowns would beat him. Vecani can threaten with submissions, but isn’t a good positional grappler. On the feet, Vecani has no fundamentals and throws wild strikes that you’d expect to see in a nightclub at 3am.

I wasn’t able to find any footage of Ridasmaa’s loss to Niko Puhakka in 2017, but reports state that he got smothered by a superior wrestler – which won’t be an issue here. I think Ridasmaa gets back to winning ways and I have no problem betting him at -227 (1.44).

Edward Walls vs. Paata Robakidze

Rising prospect, Edward Walls, looks to have a high ceiling. A technical striker with power in his hands, it’s usually not wise to stand with Walls – hence why most of his opponents try to ground him.

Walls looks susceptible to takedowns, although he’s usually able to work his way back to his feet. This was the case in his last bout against Ivan Kibala, where his dominant striking won him the decision.

Of course, power comes at a cost and we’ve seen Walls slow down in the second half of fights. Energy management may not be an issue here, but it’s definitely something he needs to work on if he wants to make it to the top level.

Walls is facing a late notice opponent that looks outmatched. A tenacious grappler, Paata Robakidze is often able to land takedowns, but fails to control opponents on the mat. This could be a crucial aspect of this contest. His striking looks raw and his record is 1-10 in his last 11 fights.

I’m confident Edward Walls can sprawl and brawl his way to victory, so I don’t mind the -285 (1.35) price tag.

Toni Lampinen vs. Aleksi Savolainen

On paper, this looks like one of the most competitive contests on the card.

Toni Lampinen fights like a wildman, you can even see him laughing hysterically while being punched in the face by his last opponent, Patrik Kapanen. Lampinen is a scrappy striker – he has a good jab and fires a lot of front and low kicks (Savolainen doesn’t seem to check low kicks).

While he seems happy wherever the fight takes place, grappling may be Lampinen’s easiest path to victory. In his fight with Kapanen, Lampinen showed he knows how to defend takedowns – which suggests he can wrestle offensively too. In the third round, Lampinen was able to control his opponent on the mat while landing strikes and threatening with submissions. Lampinen’s guillotine finish over Roberto Aliaj was also very slick.

Aleksi Savolainen looks like the smoother kickboxer with better accuracy on his strikes, but he leaves himself open defensively. If the fight stays standing, I think we’re in for a crazy war.

Savolainen’s main weakness is his takedown defense. If you can get in on his legs, he usually gets dragged to the mat. While Savolainen is a competent grappler when he’s in a dominant position, he’s not nearly as good off his back – and this could be an area Lampinen seeks to exploit.

There’s no question Savolainen is a proficient striker, but I feel Lampinen is the more complete mixed martial artist so I’m betting him at -142 (1.7).

My Main Plays

  • 3 units on Jani Ridasmaa and Edward Walls at -110 (1.9)
  • 1 unit on Toni Lampinen at -142 (1.7)