Steve Seufert | May 15th, 2020
The third UFC card in seven days and this never gets old. This card has some sleeper potential with a lot of young fighters. Rodrigo Nascimento, Dan Ige, Anthony Hernandez, and Marlon Vera all stand out. There’s a lot of fights with close lines, tipping us off to what should be a really competitive night. You may not recognize all the names but we are in for a good one.
Rodrigo Nascimento (-105) vs Don’tale Mayes (-115)
Mayes will definitely have the advantage on the feet but we’ve seen him get taken down often. I also have some concern about Mayes’ stamina and it feels like he has to knock Nascimento out early before he risks getting grappled to death.
With Nascimento, it’s hard to get a read on the guy. He’s fought nothing but trashcans throughout his professional career. I do think that he has a legitimate ground game and that was on full display against Michael Martinek in his previous bout. I think Nascimento is athletic enough and smart enough to weather a first-round storm from Mayes. Nascimento will drag him into deep water and drown him. Give me the underdog by submission.
Prediction: Nascimento wins via submission in round two.
The Bet: Nascimento to win (-105)
Cortney Casey (-160) vs Mara Romero Borella (+140)
I’m starting a new tradition for this article. We are calling this the food break fight and there is always one on every card. Unfortunately, it’s this early in the card but it is what it is. Neither one of these fighters should be in the UFC. In short, Casey remains close in fights because she doesn’t do anything. Borella might have the weakest chin in all women’s MMA. Borella is definitely the better wrestler but Casey has a brown belt in BJJ and is certainly content with fighting off her back.
Prediction: Borella wins via decision thanks to takedowns and top control.
The Bet: “Dog or Pass.” Bet Borella to win or just go make dinner. The latter sounds like a better idea.
Darren Elkins (-130) vs Nate Landwehr (+110)
Elkins is a fan favorite thanks to his grappling and pure toughness. Although he doesn’t have the chin he had in his younger years, he will still continue to press forward. Landwehr is fighting his second fight within the promotion after winning the featherweight title at M-1. The Tennessee country boy is tough as nails but was put to sleep in his first UFC appearance.
I think Landwehr is a tad overrated. I don’t think he can hang with the high-level wrestlers and grapplers that this division will present. Elkins is tough on the feet and won’t fade unless you drop him. Landwehr certainly has the power in his overhand right to put Elkins away but my philosophy is to bet on the wrestler when-in-doubt,
Prediction: Elkins wins via submission in round three.
The Bet: Elkins to win (-130)
Kevin Holland (-105) vs Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez (-115)
Another really close fight that you could argue for either fighter. Holland is a solid striker with a good straight right and straight left from different stances. Hernandez is a really athletic middleweight that can hang on the feet and wrestle opponents to exhaustion. Hernandez gets hit a lot but he’s tough and hasn’t really ever shown any signs of fading. He reminds me of a middleweight Ricky Simon.
“Fluffy’s” willingness to take punches will catch up to him down the road but I don’t think it hurts him in this fight. We’ve seen Holland ahead in fights and just get taken down and drained. Simon clearly has the wrestling and cardio advantages. I will say that Holland isn’t a slouch on the ground. He’s got some BJJ skills and a good get up game if he isn’t tired, but Hernandez’s wrestling is too good to allow it to happen.
Prediction: “Fluffy” wins by decision thanks to takedowns and control time.
The Bet: “Fluffy” to win (-115)
Matt Brown (+155) vs Miguel Baeza (-175)
Brown is really a fan favorite. He has a great story after overcoming drug addiction and even surviving an overdose in which he was brought back to life. He’s tougher than nails in the octagon but his chin has faded quickly. It’s not only the chin that is an issue, but it’s also his body. The guy can’t take body shots and he constantly folds when he gets caught clean in the midsection.
This is a good matchup for Baeza as he gets a big name with a good chance to win. I even think this line is a little to close. The kicks from Baeza will destroy the legs and body of Brown. I think before time, we will be talking about Baeza and how he has the strongest leg kicks in the game. I love Brown and everything he stands for but Baeza is legitimate and the legs kicks will stagger Brown in the end.
Prediction: Baeza wins via TKO/KO by a body shot.
The Bet: Baeza to win (-175)
Marlon Vera (+160) vs Song Yadong (-185)
This line is just too far off and it should be an underdog or pass spot. Yadong certainly has the power advantage and he has the overall striking advantage. He’s an athletic guy looking to explode into every punch and shut your lights off. He has some of the best power in the division. Will he be able to withstand the grappling from Vera?
Vera is the inferior striker and he’s been hit with some tough shots in his career. With all that being said, Baeza is super tough and always has the will to win. He always finds a way to get the job done and he’s facing a guy that will fold the deeper this fight goes. This is going to be a really close fight and it could go either way, that’s why I’m taking a shot on the underdog. Vera at +160 is a gift.
Prediction: Vera wins via split decision.
The Bet: Vera to win (+160)
Eryk Anders (+135) Krzysztof Jotko (-155)
Jotko is my least favorite fighter in the UFC. Although he’s a decent point fighter, I can’t stand watching him run around the octagon. I don’t want to let my bias get in the way for this fight but it’s difficult. I do think Jotko is the more skilled fighter but he’s hard to trust because of his style and weak chin.
The former Alabama national football champion Anders is tough and will have the athletic advantage. He possesses a nasty straight left that will take anyone out. I thought he’s been robbed of a couple fights in his career like the Elias Theodorou and Lyoto Machida fights. Anders is a slower paced fighter and he’s a counter striker but he does stay in your face. He will stand in front of you and take your best shots looking to sleep you with the wicked straight left. I think that’s exactly what happens.
It’s also important to note from a motivational angle that Anders is best friends with the heavyweight headliner, Walt Harris. Harris is fighting for his stepdaughter who was tragically murdered in October of 2019. I would imagine Anders is right behind him, fighting for his best friend.
Prediction: Anders wins via TKO/KO from a straight left in round one.
The Bet: Anders wins via TKO/KO (+310)
Dan Ige (+110) vs Edson Barboza (-130)
I can’t believe that Barboza is dropping down to featherweight. I have no idea how he is going to make weight and honestly, he looks awful. I’m not sure people realize how big of a weight cut this is. I like Barboza’s leg kicks and he has some of the most lethal power kicks in the game. If the power carries with him down to featherweight, guys could be in trouble.
Ige is a good wrestler and loves to fight in close fights. He’s also a good grappler and he’s riding a five fight win streak. It’s so tough for me to handicap this fight when Barboza has the size, athletic and striking advantages but I’ve seen this weight cut stuff one too many times. Ige has some pop in his hands and fights he’s backed with great cardio. I think round three is certainly going to be his to win. Now can he win one of the first two? I think so. When in doubt, bet the wrestler.
Another quick betting angle note. We’ve seen this type of weight cut before, most recently from TJ Dillashaw. Cutting too much weight can create serious physiological issues surrounding your brain. It’s much easier to get knocked out with your body and brain deprived of fluids. Ige will hit you hard and drop you. I think there’s value in a knockout here.
Prediction: Ige wins via decision.
The Bet: Ige to win (–115), Ige to win by TKO/KO (+700)
Angela Hill (+170) vs Claudia Gadelha (-200)
I really liked some of the interviews we’ve seen from Gadelha this week. It sounds like she’s completely rejuvenated and motivated again. That’s good to hear as she’s been a cornerstone women’s fighter that consistently ranks in the top five. I respect Hill and love her attitude. She’s always willing to fight, making this her fourth fight since October.
Hill has improved a ton but this is a huge step up in competition. Although she’s a volume striker and a good one, she has little to no ground game. Against some of her opponents, she’s just athletic enough to stand back up but I’m afraid that won’t be the case against Gadelha. I think the grappling gets to Hill as Gadelha is a second-degree black belt in BJJ. I’m taking the grappling and motivation angle from Gadelha.
Prediction: Gadelha wins via submission in round two.
The Bet: Gadelha wins via submission (+525)
Alistair Overeem (+125) vs Walt Harris (-145)
As I noted above, Harris will be fighting with a heavy heart this weekend. His stepdaughter was murdered in October in a brutal kidnapping and capital murder case. It’s something you want to avoid talking about but it could have huge implications on this main event.
Overeem is a legend but his chin has been absolutely destroyed. He’s been knocked out in three out of his last five fights, and the most recent one being in the final four seconds of a five-round fight. That just proves the chin is even more of a liability. If this thing goes to the ground, Overeem should destroy Harris with his submission wrestling but I don’t think it gets there.
Harris is fighting for his stepdaughter, and I expect him to be completely dialed in and focused. His interviews seem to be pouring with confidence and vision. No one wants this fight more than Harris, and I want it for him, too. Give me Harris with a mean left hook in the first round. Harris and his best friend Anders clean up by winning the bonuses after two first-round knockouts. #FightingForAniah
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