UFC on ESPN+ 29 – Glover Teixeira vs Anthony Smith: Preview, Odds, Picks

Steve Seufert | May 13th, 2020

Two UFC cards in five days? Sign me up. Dana White has gone all out and managed to land a card for a Wednesday ESPN+ event that looks to be stacked with recognizable talent. Much like UFC 249, this event will take place in Jacksonville, Florida at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. This card is headlined by legendary light heavyweight Glover Teixeira and recent title contender, Anthony Smith. I expect complete chaos throughout the card, shedding more positive light on the UFC as they continue to pump out entertainment.

Early Prelims

Chase Sherman (-150) vs Isaac Villanueva (+130)

I had to go back and watch tape on both these fighters. Sherman is a striker that gets hit way too much for being in the heavyweight division. Since being booted from the UFC, he went 3-0 at Island Fights and even participated in some bare knuckle boxing.

Sherman is facing an opponent in Villanueva that pretty much spent his entire career at light heavyweight. He does possess some pop in the hands but he is giving up a six inch reach advantage to a guy that really likes to control the distance. Usually, I’m fine with big light heavyweights making the jump to heavyweight, but Villanueva looks like he’s added some poor weight to his midsection during the process. Although we’ve seen Sherman rocked, he’s tough as nails. I like Sherman to win this as he drags Villanueva into deeper water.

Prediction: Sherman wins via KO/TKO in round three.

The Bet: Sherman wins via KO/TKO (+135)

Brian Kelleher (+165) vs Hunter Azure (-145)

There’s a lot of Azure love out there and I can understand why. Defeating Brad Katona in your UFC debut is no easy task. I like Azure’s build as he looks extremely strong sporting a large back with lats that spread like a winged suit. He’s a decent striker and wrestler, equipping him with an all-around game.

Kelleher is a warrior in the octagon. He’s going to give up a size and reach advantage but his motor and volume could be dangerous for Azure. We saw Azure get touched in the Contender Series, even though his chin held up nicely. Kelleher also possesses a wicked guillotine choke and he has formidable takedown defense. As more money pours in on Azure, I think I like Kelleher and the experience at an even better number. Give me Kelleher by split decision.

Prediction: Kelleher wins via Split Decision.

The Bet: Kelleher to win (+165) or to win by Submission (+625)

Omar Morales (-175) vs Gabriel Benitez (+155)

I really hate handicapping this fight. I truly believe Benitez is the more polished fighter but he’s coming up a weight division. He’s moving up a weight class to fight a hungrier prospect in Morales, who by the way is probably the biggest guy in the entire division. Morales has some good speed and power paired with heavy leg kicks. I want to pick Benitez but the size and athletic advantage might be too extreme.

Prediction: Morales wins via Decision.

The Bet: Likely no bet on this fight but I think there’s merit to giving Benitez by Decision (+345) a look.

Sarah Moras (+315) vs Sijara Eubanks (-380)

Typically this about the point in the card where you cook the wings and shrimp, but not this time. This line is absolutely bonkers. Moras is an absolute Canadian warrior who will bite on her mouthpiece and come forward, eating your best shots. I like her grappling and she’s pretty content working from her back.

With that being said, Eubanks is the more dynamic striker but what version of Eubanks do we get? Even though Eubanks is a black belt, I still think Moras might have a slight advantage in the grappling game. “Sarge” might take her down at will, but I could see Moras gassing Eubanks and sweeping her, ultimately landing a submission. In fact, that might be Moras’ only path to victory. This line should be -180 Eubanks at best. I’ll take the value.

Prediction: Eubanks via Decision thanks to Moras’ awful takedown defense.

The Bet: Moras wins via Submission (+1500) or just to win (+315).

Thiago Moises (-115) vs Michael Johnson (-105)

Johnson just returned to the 155 lb division and he lost to Stevie Ray by decision. Never in my life did I think that Johnson would lose to someone like Ray. At this point, it looks like someone who is trying to collect a paycheck. With that being said, I see the power and athleticism are still there but he’s not nearly as aggressive or assertive in the octagon.

Moises on the other hand, he’s a decent grappler, finishing five opponents by submission. I don’t think Johnson has the tools to neutralize the grappling of Moises and if he gets taken down, he is liable to just quit and get submitted or pounded out. Give me Moises by submission.

Prediction: Moises wins via Submission in round three.

The Bet: Moises to win (-115).

Andre Arlovski (+135) vs Philipe Lins (-155)

I really like Lins in this spot and the line is way too close. Lins has the better hands, and power at this point in their careers. He isn’t looking to go the distance and comes straight forward. He hasn’t been involved in a fight that finished since 2013. Arlovski once had the heavyweight title strapped around his waist and has a decent UFC legacy. However, at this point in his career, he’s just taken way too much damage to be hanging around in the octagon. He doesn’t have the hand speed anymore and I can’t foresee him taking any significant damage from Lins.

Prediction: Lins wins via TKO/KO in round one.

The Bet: Lins wins by TKO/KO (+145).

Karl Roberson (+158) vs Marvin Vettori (-180)

There’s a narrative floating around that Roberson doesn’t have any resemblance of a ground game and Vettori is just going to maul him and do whatever he wants. Are we talking about the same Roberson that trains with Corey Anderson every day? Vettori isn’t anything that Roberson hasn’t seen before.

Don’t get me wrong, Vettori is a tough young fighter. He’s a good grappler and he can hang with some of the best strikers. Many will argue that Vettori has been the toughest opponent for Israel Adesanya to do date. The Italian has never been finished inside the octagon, making this fight a candidate to go the distance. I like Roberson to keep this thing standing and win a striking battle. If he gets taken down, I have the confidence that he will be able to get back to his feet. This isn’t the last time these two will meet.

Prediction: “Baby K” Roberson wins via Decision.

The Bet: Roberson to win (+158)

Ray Borg (+155) vs Ricky Simon (-165)

I am looking forward to his fast paced display of both grappling and wrestling. I think on the feet, this an evenly matched fight and it’s destined to hit the mat. The only issue I have with this fight is Simon is big for the 135 lb division and Borg is coming up from 135 pounds. I’m not overly concerned about the power advantage that Simon brings because Borg really gets hit.

I expect the relentless pressure of Borg to cave Simon, eventually allowing a takedown despite his stellar defense. Borg has a gas tank, and at 135 I expect him to be 100 percent until the final bell. Don’t forget Simon has been rocked a bit recently. It’s possible Borg catches him with a shot on the way up or leaving a clinch.

Prediction: Borg wins via Decision.

The bet: Borg to win (+155).

Drew Dober (-115) vs Alexander Hernandez (-105)

This one is really simple for me to breakdown. This fight is going to be a war and both of these guys can really bang it out on the feat. Dober has the power advantage and might even be the more technical striker. But I like the way Hernandez moved in and out of range against Francisco Trinaldo thanks to a torn rotator cuff in the middle of the first round fight.

The one aspect that’s constantly being missed in this fight is that Hernandez is truly a great grappler. He’s a brown belt in BJJ and had a solid wrestling career in the great state of Texas. He clearly has the grappling and wrestling advantage. I would expect him to use it pretty handily against Dober. I think this thing gets to the mat and Hernandez showcases his grappling to the world.

Prediction: Hernandez wins via Submission.

The Bet: Hernandez to win (-105), Hernandez to win via Submission (+700), Hernandez to win via Decision (+255).

Ovince St Preux (-130) vs Ben Rothwell (+120)

The money coming in on Rothwell is astonishing. With all due respect, this guy is in bad shape and slow. He definitely packs a punch on the feet but I’m not sure how he squares the former light heavyweight up enough to land a banger. St Preux has the athletic advantage, the hand speed advantage, and grappling advantage.

I’m thinking St Preux immediately goes for a takedown and dominates from the position like we’ve seen in the past. He’s notorious for submitting people with the very difficult Von Flue choke from the top position. I think he does the same to Rothwell.

Prediction: St Preux wins via Submission in round one.

The Bet: St Preux to win (-130) and St Preux to win via Submission (+405).

Anthony Smith (-175) vs Glover Teixeira (+165)

I really like this fight and these guys have been in really good form. Both fighters have featured some great come from behind wins thanks to their grappling. Texeira has always had some heavy hands on the feet but his hand speed has always been slow. At the age of 40, it certainly hasn’t gotten any faster. Smith has a clear advantage on the feet as he’s a decent striker that uses his range well.

I think people really sleep on the ground game of Smith. He’s physical and a pretty decorated black belt in BJJ. He may not be the better grappler but again, the athletic advantage means something. He won’t allow Teixeira to finish him on the ground, and I could even see him submitting Teixeria. In fact, I’m betting Smith by submission at a ridiculous price.

Prediction: Smith wins via Submission in round two.

The Bet: Smith wins via Submission (+1200)

20020 Documented Prediction Record: (7-4)

Questions and comments?

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