UFC on ABC 5 – Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria – Main Card Betting Predictions

UFC on ABC 5 has plenty of interesting fights, but I don’t see a great deal of value on the betting lines. Nevertheless, here are my main card MMA picks.

Brendan Allen vs. Bruno Silva

Brendan Allen has improved since moving to Kill Cliff FC. He began his UFC career as a raw and aggressive grappler, but his striking has come a long way.

He will never be a kickboxing virtuoso, but he can hold his own on the feet and give opponents something to think about while setting up his takedowns. I liked his usage of body kicks against a southpaw in Punahele Soriano and I expect more of the same against Bruno Silva.

Allen is tenacious in getting the fight to the mat and will aggressively chase the finish once he gets on top. Sometimes he loses position while hunting for submissions, but he typically does a good job of out-scrambling opponents.

I suspect he will be looking for the rear-naked choke against Silva, who presents his back while scrambling to his feet.

Silva’s skill set is rudimentary, but he hits like a truck and has a granite chin – which helps him to prevail during 50/50 striking exchanges. He rips vicious combinations on the inside and it wouldn’t be unfathomable to see him brutally starch Allen.

That said, I can’t trust Silva to win minutes and I expect him to get put in bad positions for large periods of this fight.

The bookmakers have Brendan Allen lined as the -188 favorite and I can’t argue with that.

Gabriel Santos vs. David Onama

I don’t understand this matchmaking. Both Gabriel Santos and David Onama are coming off disappointing losses, but have the potential to be future stars in the featherweight division.

Why not allow them to build up momentum by facing lesser opponents?

Anyhow, I prefer Santos from a technical perspective. He has good low kicks and counters and he should be able to grapple his way out of trouble if things get dicey on the feet.

I wouldn’t overlook Onama however. The Ugandan is hittable and has some major holes in his grappling, but he is fast, athletic and powerful.

Despite being the less technical striker, Onama could hurt or overwhelm Santos on the feet. Onama was getting battered by Gabriel Benitez before turning the tables and sparking him unconscious.

Gabriel Santos is the rightful favorite, but -230 looks wide to me. I think this is an underdog or pass spot as far as betting goes.

Justin Tafa vs. Austen Lane

Former NFL player, Austen Lane, has relied on athleticism and power more than skills to rack up wins on the regional circuit. He hits hard, throws in combination and will mix in takedowns here and there – but he leaves himself vulnerable on the feet and can be taken down easily.

Like most heavyweight fights, this could come down to whoever lands the first clean power shot – so Lane is a live underdog in that regard.

However, Justin Tafa is the more technical striker. The Australian possesses the superior shot selection and countering ability and he should be able to find the kill shot against such a reckless opponent.

I’ll pick Justin Tafa to win, but I have no interest in betting a crapfest like this.

Maycee Barber vs. Amanda Ribas

Maycee Barber has a physicality advantage over most of the flyweight division, yet she doesn’t always use it. She mauls women whenever she can secure the clinch, yet often hangs out at range for long periods and forgets to take the front foot.

She needs to be in the clinch or on top of Amanda Ribas to win, because she is at a disadvantage at boxing range or when fighting off her back.

Interestingly, Ribas has been effective with blending her judo and wrestling in the UFC – so Barber’s clinch attack could backfire and result in her being put on bottom position.

Ribas is a black belt in judo and BJJ and she has underrated boxing. I like her jab and pull counter, although she is a little chinny – which is a bad problem to have as an undersized female flyweight.

Amanda Ribas is my pick to win, but I can’t justify a bet at -200.

Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria

Ilia Topuria is a brash, marketable prospect who backs up his words by delivering big finishes inside the octagon.

He is exactly the type of fighter that Uncle Dana loves and I’m sure the purpose of this matchup is to get the Spaniard a win over a fading contender.

Josh Emmett is getting long in the tooth, but he has a style that ages well. He has always been a low volume fighter, reliant on big moments to swing rounds in his favor.

He packs a nuclear missile in his right hand and as we all know, power is the last thing to go when an athlete ages.

However, Emmett has been plagued by injuries over the past few years and looked ragged in his loss to Yair Rodriguez. While he won’t have to deal with rangy and dynamic kicker this weekend, he reacted poorly to the body attacks from Rodriguez and you can expect Topuria to go there as well.

Topuria is also a powerhouse, yet has the better variety of punches – whereas Emmett is overly reliant on his right hand.

So long as Ilia Topuria remains mature and composed inside the octagon, he should emerge victorious.