This Saturday live from Rodgers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is UFC 240: Holloway vs Edgar, a pay per view event on ESPN+. Coming off a nice 3-0 week on my fight picks last week, let’s keep this rolling on to UFC 240 and try to find some value on a tougher card.
Erik Koch -110 over Kyle Stewart
Erik Koch is a former featherweight who makes his welterweight debut against Kyle Stewart. The story of Koch’s career has been his inactivity; having fought a total of 4 times in the past 5 years, this bout should extend to a somewhat more frequent fight schedule for him. Koch is primarily a stand up fighter who utilizes a plethora of kicks and straight punches to control the distance and outwork his opponent.
Here, he is matched up with Kyle Stewart, a fighter off a tough 1st round submission loss in his UFC debut to Chance Rencountre. It might have been the Octagon jitters, but once he was put on his back he was like a fish out of water. I bring that up because Koch does have some quality jiu-jitsu skills, and if the fight does make it to the ground I feel he should dominate. However, even if the bout were to stay standing for its duration, I favor Koch to outwork him and get the decision. At basically even odds, I’ll take Koch to get it done.
Arman Tsarukyan/Max Holloway Parlay -115
This is a case of taking two fighters that I both think should win fairly convincingly. My recommendation is to parlay this fight and minimize the juice.
Let’s go over Arman Tsarukyan vs Olivier Aubin- Mercier first. When I saw this card’s lineup, this was the first fight that jumped out at me. Arman has one fight in the UFC: a closely contested decision loss to Islam Makhachev. Arman kept it close by utilizing his very elite grappling and wrestling ability to take it to the ground and mixed in some really high-quality striking along with it. Let’s just say, I’m very high on Tsarukyan.
His opponent, Aubin-Mercier, is off back to back losses to Alexander Hernandez and Gilbert Burns where he was dominated on the ground. That’s bad news here. Olivier has one stoppage by KO/TKO in his UFC career and that was against Evan Dunham in his retirement bout. If Olivier is unable to clip Arman coming in, he’s in for a long night of being grappled and will be on the receiving end of a wide decision loss.
To close the parlay out, we have the reigning Featherweight king Max Holloway back to defend his crown against Frankie Edgar in our main event. Max’s previous fight was a tough loss to Dustin Poirier where he moved up to Lightweight to try and become a two-division champion. Unfortunately for him, he took a ton of clean shots in the first and second rounds and was unable to win enough rounds to steal the decision. He gave a good effort and even got a round from Poirier, but it was too little too late. Now, he drops back down to his more natural weight and meets a different fighter stylistically in Frankie Edgar.
Frankie is one of the all time greats. He’s a former Lightweight champion, and has fought a litany of high level combatants in his career, but now he is meeting one of his toughest tests in a quest to get that elusive Featherweight Championship around his waist. In order to win this fight, he has to get Max to the ground. He’s giving up 4 inches in height and will have a very difficult time countering the pressure and attack of Holloway, especially when he begins to turn it on in the later rounds.
How is Max against wrestlers? That’s a very good question. The only somewhat upper tier wrestler he has gone against during this run at 145 was Ricardo Lamas who had a very difficult time getting him on the ground. Max showed very good takedown defense in that fight and just out landed Ricardo on the feet to take a comfortable 30-27 decision. That’s pretty much how I see this going. I can see Frankie getting Max down in the first round, but after that it’s going to be all Max, all night long. He’s going to chop Frankie’s legs out to slow him down from shooting on a power double leg takedown and will get tagged repeatedly standing until the fight is stopped in the fourth. Then we will finally get the fight that I can’t wait for: Max Holloway vs Alexander Volkanovski, but that’s another fight for another day.
That’s what I got for UFC 240. It’s not the easiest card out there but there is definitely some intrigue throughout the night. Let’s sweep these two bets this weekend and keep it rolling.
2019 Boxing MMA Bets YTD: 5-1.