UFC Fight Night 152 – Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Kevin Lee – Betting Predictions

I’ve been trading wins and losses recently, which is frustrating – but an expected part of the game.

Hopefully I can cash some bets on UFC Fight Night 151 and get some positive momentum rolling. Here are my MMA predictions for the fights where I have action.

Charles Jourdain vs. Desmond Green

Canadian prospect, Charles Jourdain, is still young in his career at 23-years-of-age and the kid clearly has potential. His striking style straddles the line between aggressive and reckless, with steam behind every shot thrown. He has good leg kicks and throws powerful punches on the inside, but there is a definite rawness to his approach.

The big problem for Jourdain is his takedown defense and ground game. While he won his fight last month against a French journeyman who is predominantly a striker, Jourdian was taken down numerous times and didn’t show much off his back – so it’s unlikely he’s made gigantic improvements in such a short period.

Jourdain is also a natural featherweight and as we know, size plays a major factor in MMA grappling. His opponent, Desmond Green, also fought at featherweight at one stage, but has found lightweight to be his ideal weight class now that he’s in his athletic prime at 29-years-of-age.

Green’s striking has improved substantially under the tutelage of Henri Hooft and he possesses a 4-inch reach advantage in this contest. He is somewhat lackadaisical on the feet and can suffer from a lack of output, but he is technical and has crafty counters (which could be useful against a guy that throws nothing but bombs).

I think Green will go back to his NCAA Division I wrestling background and put the young Canadian on his back early and often. Green is the hometown fighter and the UFC are blatantly giving him a favorable match-up.

I try to avoid playing juiced lines, but in this case I feel it’s justified. I have Desmond Green to close a parlay at -400.

Felicia Spencer vs. Megan Anderson

This women’s featherweight contest is intriguing, since both fighters have significant strengths as well as glaring weaknesses.

Training at the wonderfully named Jungle MMA and Fitness, Felicia Spencer is a jiu-jitsu black belt with a legitimate ground game. She has numerous victories by way of rear-naked choke in Invicta FC and actually has an amateur win over an extremely green version of Macy Chiasson (I don’t think we can read much into that).

Despite her prowess on the mat, I’m not whatsoever convinced by her wrestling. She likes to bully opponents against the fence and execute trips in the clinch, but her takedowns in open space are quite bad.

Spencer has a black belt in taekwondo and has some cool spinning kicks in her arsenal, but she is not a fundamentally sound striker. I think she’s going to get chewed up if she can’t get Anderson to the ground.

I also question whether Spencer is at the right weight class. At 5’6 she looks like she could easily make bantamweight and will be fighting a true featherweight that will significantly outweigh her after rehydrating.

Megan Anderson is big, strong and a good offensive striker. She throws powerful combinations with her hands and also has some good kicks and knees. Her defense leaves a lot to be desired, but that probably won’t matter much against Spencer.

The big problem for Anderson is her takedown defense and ground game. Getting wrestled by a kickboxer in Holly Holm is not a good look, and she seemed clueless off her back in that fight. Judging by that performance, I can see why people would want to bet Spencer – but I’m not sure we’ll see a similar outcome here.

For one, Anderson was training wrestling every day in preparation for her fight with Cat Zingano – who is a much better offensive wrestler than Spencer. Although the fight ended in weird circumstances in the first round, Anderson lamented that she wasn’t able to showcase her takedown defense in the post-fight interview.

Another consideration is that Anderson’s takedown defense wasn’t bad against the fence in the Holm fight. Only one takedown occurred against the fence, the rest were in open space (where Spencer’s takedowns are not as good). Anderson also trains under James Krause, who has a fantastic fight IQ and would be looking to improve his pupil’s main weakness.

Anything can happen in MMA and it wouldn’t surprise me if Anderson got grappled to death. However, with her physicality, striking advantage and devotion to wrestling training – I think it’s much more likely Anderson gets the victory this weekend.

I wish I taped this fight earlier and got a better price, because I had to settle for Megan Anderson at -137.

Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Kevin Lee

In a fight between two former lightweights, it’s hard to get a read on how this main event will play out. It’s no surprise that the contest is a pick ‘em in the eyes of the bookmakers.

Rafael Dos Anjos looked good in his first few fights at welterweight, but got decisively beaten by the top contender and current champion in back-to-back losses. The blueprint to beating Dos Anjos is set, but both Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman are gritty chain wrestlers with excellent cardio.

Kevin Lee is also a wrestler, but he’s not the type to get in your face and chain takedown attempts relentlessly. Lee is more of a power double leg kind of guy, mixing in his boxing with the occasional shot.

At lightweight, Lee was cutting a huge amount of weight – walking into fight week around 180 pounds. There is no way that can be healthy and he’s spoken in interviews about fighting the scale as much as his opponents. While Lee’s cardio has been questionable in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if it improves dramatically when he’s no longer fighting in a depleted state at welterweight.

Rafael Dos Anjos is the more dynamic striker, but he will be forced to overcome a 7-inch reach disadvantage. I expect Dos Anjos to fire off leg kicks to try and negate this difference, but it could still be a challenge, especially when you consider Lee’s striking has improved dramatically since moving to Las Vegas and training under Dewey Cooper.

I’ve heard people suggest the striking exchanges will be one sided in favor of the Brazilian, but I don’t buy that. Dos Anjos will be nervous of the takedown, which will make him more tentative on the feet. I believe I saw this dynamic play out during his fight with Kamaru Usman.

I’m not confident how this fight plays out, but I’m inclined to side with Lee because he’s eight years younger with less mileage, is on the upward trajectory of his career, has a 7-inch reach disadvantage and could look better than ever with less of a weight cut.

With some apprehension, I’m making a small play on Kevin Lee at -105.

My Main Plays

  • 4 units on Norman Parke (KSW) and Desmond Green at -151
  • 3 units on Megan Anderson at -137
  • 1 unit on Kevin Lee at -105