UFC Fight Night 205 – Curtis Blaydes vs. Chris Daukaus – Main Card Betting Predictions

UFC Fight Night 205 is one of the worst cards for betting I’ve ever seen. Nevertheless, here are my main card MMA predictions.

Marc Diakiese vs. Viacheslav Borshchev

I was happy to cash on Viacheslav Borschev as the underdog in his Contender Series fight against Chris Duncan. The Russian fighter has an abundance of kickboxing experience and is one of the most entertaining strikers to watch in the division.

I particularly like his short, compact punches in the pocket and precise counter-striking ability.

Training at Team Alpha Male, Borshchev is at the perfect gym to round out the rest of his skills and become a complete MMA fighter.

His takedown defense is a little shaky, although he seems competent at scrambling back to his feet. I’m also not sold on his cardio.

Marc Diakiese is a plus athlete, but has never turned out the performances that would make me think he can be a contender at lightweight.

It’s imperative he avoids prolonged boxing exchanges with the Russian, or he will get chewed up.

He needs to stay long, maximize his reach advantage and fire jabs and calf kicks consistently. Well-timed takedowns could also be useful for Diakiese to mix things up and prevent his opponent from walking him down.

Diakiese should have a cardio advantage, which may come into play in the second half of the fight.

Marc Diakiese is a hard guy to trust, but I think there is some value on him at +130.

Aleksei Oleinik vs. Ilir Latifi

I’m not sure what the matchmakers were thinking, because this has the potential to be disastrously ugly.

At 44-years-of-age, Aleksei Oleinik must be considering retirement. The Russian has brilliant neck attacks, but is a weak wrestler and will often try to pull guard in order to get the fight to the mat by any means necessary.

He has some pop in his hands, but no striking fundamentals and a terrible gas tank.

Ilir Latifi has seen better days himself.

He should be on a losing streak, but somehow got the nod over Tanner Boser in his last contest. He was soundly out-struck in the first round, yet racked up some top time with no damage or submission attempts in order to get the nod from the judges (who obviously hadn’t read the Unified Rules).

The Swede’s striking has regressed since he moved up to heavyweight and he also has cardio issues. However, his ability to hit takedowns and suffocate a lighter opponent will probably win him this contest.

Latifi has never been submitted in his career and I doubt this will be the first time.

I’ll pick Ilir Latifi to win, but you’ve got to be crazy playing him at -200.

Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France

Elite sambist and wrestler, Askar Askarov, is making improvements from fight to fight. He thoroughly out-grappled Joseph Benavidez in his last bout, and it’s amazing how well-integrated his game is.

His performances for Absolute Championship Berkut were far less coherent and it’s nice to witness his progression since then.

Askarov has serviceable boxing and a nice front kick, but he doesn’t want to hang out at distance for long with the hard-nosed City Kickboxing prospect.

Kai Kara-France has good footwork, a nice array of kicks and a thunderous overhand right. However, he can get flustered if you pressure him and I’m not sure his grappling will hold up.

The New Zealander has good first layer takedown defense, but is fighting a crafty grappler that sticks to opponents like glue. Askarov has excellent trips and throws from the clinch and is great at controlling an opponent’s wrist while bashing them with his free hand.

Askarov might eat some damage on the feet, but a takedown could easily win him the round or lead to a finish – particularly if he secures the body triangle.

Askar Askarov to win inside the distance is the line that stands out to me at +220.

Matt Brown vs. Bryan Barberena

Thanks to ridiculous matchmaking, two of the most shot welterweights on the roster face off against one another this weekend.

Matt Brown is one of my favorite fighters, but the guy has looked seriously worse for wear in his last couple of performances and this could be a nasty ending to his career at 41-years-of-age.

At his peak, “The Immortal” was a brutal Muay Thai striker with some of the best elbows in the UFC. With an iron will, Brown would often grit his way through tough situations and prevail over more athletic, higher skilled opposition.

This endeared him to the fans for eternity.

To his detriment, Brown was never the most defensively sound combatant and he has suffered some horrendous knockout losses in the later stages of his career.

They’re giving him a winnable fight against Bryan Barberena, who has also taken huge amounts of damage and had a near-death experience outside of the octagon.

Barberena’s chin and reflexes both look declined, but I have more faith in him to keep up a higher workrate.

Fighting from the southpaw stance, Barberena’s inside low kicks and body shots will be useful here. Brown has always been vulnerable to the body and was renowned for living a degenerate lifestyle before he got into fighting – which isn’t good for longevity.

I cap Bryan Barberena at 60%, so I think he’s worth a small bet around pick ‘em odds.

Joanne Wood vs. Alexa Grasso

A skilled Muay Thai striker, Joanne Wood attacks with all eight limbs and is most dangerous with knees and elbows in the clinch. She is good at punishing opponents off the break and would be wise to keep this fight at close distance if she can.

She is an effective kicker in open space, but stands very rigid and has minimal head movement.

These defensive tendencies are going to get her cracked repeatedly against Alexa Grasso, who throws everything hard and precisely down the barrel.

Grasso is a lifelong boxer, but brief grappling exchanges against Macy Barber indicate she has been improving her ground game. Wood’s submission defense is a liability and I wouldn’t be shocked if Grasso was able to finish her on the mat.

An emphatic win will see Grasso get a title shot in the near future, since most contenders have already lost to the reigning champion at flyweight.

Alexa Grasso is an easy pick, I just can’t stomach betting her at -235.

Curtis Blaydes vs. Chris Daukaus

I bet Chris Daukaus against Aleksei Oleinik, but that was more of a fade on the Russian. Oleinik doesn’t set up his takedowns well and I felt Daukaus’ positioning in the clinch looked good enough to keep the fight standing.

He will be facing an entirely different type of grappler here.

Curtis Blayes is the best wrestler in the division and one of the best athletes. The threat of the level change should also even out the striking, since Daukaus knows he’ll get planted on the mat any time he leaves his hips square for a double leg.

Blaydes has explosive shots in open space, good chain-wrestling in the clinch and will take opponents down and mat return them for as long as it takes to get the victory.

The style isn’t the most pleasant to watch, but it’s extremely effective.

While it’s difficult to get a read on Daukaus’ defensive grappling, it’s hard to imagine a fighter with a significant size disadvantage and no wrestling pedigree being able to deal with Blaydes.

Daukaus does have a BJJ black belt, but trying to hit submissions off your back is vastly more difficult with heavyweight body mechanics.

Outside of getting caught by a lucky punch, Curtis Blaydes should win easily.