Oh, what a glorious day. Christmas appears to have arrived a month late for us MMA fans as we have two good events on one day. Now the star power isn’t quite as high as last weekend’s UFC 246 PPV headlined by Conor McGregor but each card is still riddled with some of the finest fighters in the world at their respective weight divisions. With nearly 20 fights to analyze on the night, I combed through both cards and found some advantages to put some money in your pocket while you enjoy a night of pugilistic punishment. We got a winner last week so let’s continue it today.
Sara McMann (-135) over Lina Lansberg
This pick may surprise some of you, but hear me out on this one. McMann took over a year off for maternity leave off the heels of two tough defeats to Ketlen Vieira and Marion Reneau in fights that were fairly competitive but she was on the wrong end of those results. McMann is an elite level wrestler with a decent stand up base. Her opponent, Lina Lansberg, is coming off of the two best wins in her career by a significant margin in victories over Tonya Evinger and Macy Chiasson where she dominated the clinch battle and cruised to a easy decision victory as a significant underdog in both fights. Her wrestling is primarily why I’m backing McMann. She took the time off and will not be dominated in a clinch battle. With her wrestling accolades, I feel as if she will be the one dictating where the fight takes place and gets that much needed victory in a decision.
Arnold Allen (-250) over Nik Lentz/ Curtis Blaydes (-270) over Junior Dos Santos Parlay -112
Is parlaying something I recommend doing on a consistent basis? No. However, each fighter here has a clear path to victory and when I break down fights, that is something I look towards and when I see it, I pounce. Nik Lentz is a veteran fighter; he’s fought a who’s who of names in his 15 year MMA career. The issue with Nik Lentz is that he is primarily a grinder, a guy who will muck up the fight and do anything he can to steal a victory. Add to the fact that almost every single time he has been tasked with the role of shutting down an elite prospect that he has lost shows me something. His opponent, Arnold Allen, is one of the bright young stars in the featherweight division. He has excellent, crisp stand up and very fluid movement which he utilizes to pick his opponents apart for the duration of the bout. That is precisely what I see happening here as Lentz will repeatedly shoot for takedowns and as long as Allen’s takedown defense is up to snuff he will jab and kick his way to victory.
To close the parlay, we go to the main event as Curtis Blaydes goes head-to-head with Junior Dos Santos. JDS is a veteran fighter seeking his way back to the championship and is the last hurdle for Curtis Blaydes’ shot at the title. I know +200 with Dos Santos looks really appealing, but I must caution you that his fight against a world class wrestler was Cain Velasquez and Curtis Blaydes has roughly 25-30 pounds more weight than Cain and has been controlling guys just as well in the Octagon. I can see the worry with Blaydes being stopped by Francis Ngannou with strikes which were his only two defeats of his professional MMA career; however, Junior, especially at his current age, does not have the hand speed that Ngannou possesses and he, too, was just stopped in the first round by Ngannou. Even though I’m a fan, I see this as a bad night for Junior Dos Santos and have to go with Curtis Blaydes via late TKO due to ground and pound.
Darrion Caldwell (-115) over Adam Borics
Now we make our way over to Bellator 238 and DAZN for a fight that has me more excited than anything on the UFC card as the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix continues with this exciting clash of styles. Darrion Caldwell is the former Bellator 135 pound champion who lost his title to Kyogi Horiguchi despite out-working him with repeated takedowns. Since then, Caldwell elected to put his name in the Featherweight Grand Prix in order to win the title at 145. He opened the tournament with a fairly pedestrian decision over Henry Corrales and will now meet a total stylistic match-up here with Adam Borics.
Borics has come from relative obscurity but earned a name for himself with a flying-knee knockout of highly-touted prospect Aaron Pico. Following this win, he got a decisive finish over Pat Curran and is hopeful to continue his path of victory over his toughest test to date. From everything that I’ve seen, Borics looks to have the goods but this will be his most difficult test to date. Can Borics win this fight? Of course, he could catch Caldwell coming in with a takedown and take him out. However, the more likely outcome in my estimation is Borics being frustrated by being controlled by Caldwell on the ground and against the cage and he drops a decision which is why I’m locking in Caldwell at a pick’em price.
Julia Budd (+355) over Cris Cyborg
This line is flat out disrespectful. Julia Budd has been pretty dominant in her reign as the Bellator 145 pound women’s champion with an alarmingly quick stoppage in her fight to the point where it seemed as if there were no challengers left. Enter Cris Cyborg. Cyborg was having difficulty in her contract situation with the UFC to the point where she tweeted that Bellator had the best female fighters in the world prior to her UFC fight in July. Once it was known that she was leaving the UFC, fans had to be excited for the prospective clash between her and Budd. Can Cyborg win the fight? Yes, she can clip Budd early and finish her like she has so many other fighters. However, I cap this fight at 60% Cyborg chance of victory which is more in the range of -200 not the -450 she currently is listed at. Listen, I’m not recommending you to put the house payment on Julia Budd but I’ve been seeing Cyborg slow down her last couple of fights where she was unable to put away Felecia Spencer and got rocked and stopped by Amanda Nunes in December. Hopefully we cash Budd here, but either way I’m really looking forward to this fight.
Those are my best bets and remember to sign up with mybookie.ag and enter Promo Code PUBSPORTS to get a deposit match when you deposit a minimum of 50 dollars in your account and let’s all have a good day gambling and enjoy these fights.