UFC Fight Night 154: Moicano vs Korean Zombie Preview, Odds and Picks
On Saturday, June 22nd, the UFC will be live from the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, in Greenville, South Carolina, for UFC 154: Moicano vs Korean Zombie also known as UFC on ESPN+ 12, UFC Fight Night 154, or UFC Greenville. The main event of the card is a featherweight fight between Renato Moicano and Chan Sung Jung, better known as “The Korean Zombie.”
In the co-main event, John Lineker will take on Rob Font in a bantamweight rematch. Also on the card is Bryan Barberena, Kevin Holland, Matt Wiman, Dan Ige, and three women’s fights. In total, UFC Fight Night 154 features 12 MMA bouts.
The prelim portion of the card will begin at 4 PM ET an air live on ESPN2, while the main card can be streamed on ESPN+ beginning at 7 PM ET. MMA betting sites have released their odds for the event. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these UFC odds, identify any potential betting value, and KO our picks.
After a week off, we're back!
— UFC (@ufc) June 18, 2019
UFC Fight Night 154 Preliminary Card
The preliminary card features six fights and is set to begin at 4PM ET on ESPN2. The following betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes:
Andre Ewell (14-5) vs Anderson dos Santos (20-7)
- Andre Ewell (+100)
- Anderson dos Santos (-120)
In what’s being tentatively scheduled as the opening bout for the ESPN2 portion of UFC Fight Night 154, Andre Ewell and Anderson dos Santos will face off in a bantamweight battle to see who can get some traction in the division. Oddsmakers view this fight pretty evenly with dos Santos being the slight betting favorite.
Andre Ewell lost in December 2018, after winning five straight fights including his UFC debut over Renan Barao last September. Ewell’s previous loss was November 2017 against the undefeated Patrick Mix who just made a successful debut in Bellator this past weekend as he defeated Ricky Bandejas. Seven of Ewell’s 14 wins have come via KO/TKO, which has earned him the nickname “Mr. Highlight.” Ewell will have a nine-inch reach and six-inch height advantage.
Anderson dos Santos (ADS) also lost his last fight, which was in November 2018. It was his UFC debut and he suffered a UD defeat. ADS has gone 3-4 in the last 26 months and needs a win to keep his spot in the UFC. ADS has 11 of his 20 pro wins come via submission.
This fight will come down to whether or not Anderson can take down Ewell and submit him or if ADS gets caught with a TKO. I believe that Ewell’s nine-inch reach is going to be too difficult for ADS to overcome. He does have three KO/TKO losses on his resume, and I think ADS will suffer a fourth this weekend. I like Ewell’s betting lines, his value, and his chances of being victorious.
Deron Winn (5-0) vs Eric Spicely (11-4)
- Deron Winn (-300)
- Eric Spicely (+220)
Cormier’s protégé, also called “Little DC,” comes into this contest as a large betting favorite. He’s also on his third opponent as his original foe was supposed to be Markus Perez who pulled out due to an injury. Bruno Silva replaced Perez but was forced out of the fight this weekend and now Eric Spicely steps in with less than a week’s notice.
Winn is 5-0 with four KO/TKO victories. He surprised many pundits with his striking abilities as he was pegged to only rely on his wrestling skills. Winn hasn’t fought since last November when he defeated Tom Lawler via UD.
Spicely started off his career 8-0 before heading to the UFC where he ended up going 2-4. A three-fight skid saw Spicely get released roughly one year ago. Eric has fought twice in 2019 already and won both of them via TKO/KO in the first round. He looks to use his six to eight-inch height advantage (depending on the source) and two to three-inch reach advantage to secure his first UFC win since January 2017.
Despite his short stature, Deron Winn has looked strong in the light heavyweight division. I expect that trend to continue this weekend. For me, the only question is when he will secure the TKO. Will it be the first or second round? I don’t take anything away from Spicely as a competitor, but I don’t like how he matches up against Winn. Deron has more power in the striking department and he will probably be able to take down Spicely whenever he wants. Winn will win his UFC debut via TKO.
Ariane Lipski (11-4) vs Molly McCann (8-2)
- Ariane Lipski (-280)
- Molly McCann (+240)
In the first of three women’s fights, Ariane Lipski is a huge betting favorite over McCann. That’s largely due to her strong run on the regional circuit when she won nine straight fights and earned her UFC contract. Unfortunately, she came up short in her UFC debut this past January as she lost via UD to Joanne Calderwood. I actually thought that Lipski was going to win that fight, but Calderwood out-worked her on the mat.
Fortunately for Lipski, her opponent this weekend isn’t known for her takedowns. Instead, Molly “Meatball” McCann also likes to stand up and go to war with her fists. That’s what makes this fight exciting for fans as both women will look for the win via striking.
McCann fought in March and won via UD over Cachoeira. It was a nice bounce back win after losing to Robertson 13 months ago. For MM, she’s either going to win via TKO/KO or go to the scorecards. This fight against Lipski will be another example of this trend.
Lipski is the former KSW women’s flyweight champ. So, I am giving her the slight advantage. However, I do feel that her odds are too high. Meatball is a solid fighter with dangerous striking skills. She also has a strong chin and can take a beating in order to win a fight.
I believe that McCann is a potential candidate for an upset win since this will be a striking contest, and she can definitely hold her own in this area of the fight game. With that said, I do lean towards Ariane “Violence Queen” Lipski to get the UD win.
Allen Crowder (10-3) vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik (7-0)
- Allen Crowder (+185)
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-225)
Allen Crowder comes into this matchup as a notable underdog having last fought in January against Greg Hardy. Crowder was awarded the victory by DQ due to Hardy landing an illegal knee which drew the ire of most of the MMA community. Prior to that fight, Crowder lost to Justin Willis in his UFC debut, which was December 2017. Crowder has five KO/TKO wins in his 10 career victories and it’s been five years since he’s last gone to the judges.
Jairzhino “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik is a sizable betting favorite despite some pundits thinking that Crowder could win this fight. I do think the odds are a bit skewed, but I can see why he’s the favorite. At 7-0, Rozenstruik has six KO/TKO wins in seven career victories, which includes his second round TKO win four months ago in his UFC debut.
This fight is going to come down to whether or not one of these men can finish the fight in the first round. After that, this fight might slow down dramatically or someone will get gassed and could end up losing. With that said, Crowder has the worse conditioning between the two.
I see Crowder gassing as we get into the second round and opening himself up to some crushing strikes from Rozenstruik. With that said, I’m taking “Bigi Boy” to win via TKO.
Matt Wiman (16-7) vs Luis Pena (6-1)
- Matt Wiman (+315)
- Luis Pena (-380)
The return of Matt Wiman has been quite the surprise considering he hasn’t fought since November 2014. At 35 years old, some fans and critics question why he’s coming back to this brutal sport. And not to mention, the UFC didn’t do him any favors with the matchup. Luis Pena is a tough opponent with the best nickname in all of MMA these days, “Violent Bob Ross.” For his career, Wiman went 10-5 in the UFC and that dates back to 2006.
Luis Pena last fought in March and won via UD. He’s now 2-1 inside the Octagon with his last two fights going the distance. I’m not sure that will happen in this fight. In fact, Pena predicts that this fight will be “pure violence.” With that said, Pena told MMA Junkie that it was challenging trying to prepare for an opponent that hasn’t fought in nearly five years:
“With this matchup, we don’t really know where to go. You look at his early fights, he likes to take guys to the ground and beat them up. You look at his later fights, he likes to stand up and beat them up. It’s kind of like a catch-22. What are we going to get? I’m just kind of preparing for the best Matt Wiman I’m going to see.”
Pena also feels that this fight could end up as “Fight of the Night.” That would be great for both fighters if it is, but I don’t see that happening. And we really don’t know what shape Matt Wiman is going to be in as a fighter. It’s hard to predict this one, but since the odds are so high, there’s really no value with Pena. And we can’t even take a flier on Wiman because we don’t know if he will even be competitive.
The old Matt Wiman would’ve won this fight, but the current Wiman has too many unknowns. The safe play is taking Pena to win. I’m going with Pena to get a stoppage win in the second round.
Dan Ige (11-2) vs Kevin Aguilar (17-1)
- Dan Ige (+125)
- Kevin Aguilar (-145)
In what should be the last fight on the prelim portion of this event, Dan Ige and Kevin Aguilar will battle it out to move up the ladder in the featherweight division.
The 27-year-old Ige comes in on a three-fight win streak including a first-round submission win over Henry in March. His only loss in the last 3 ½ years came to Julio Arce in January 2018 via UD. Since then, Ige has looked good. He has eight stoppage wins in 11 career victories, with five of them coming via submission.
Aguilar has won nine straight fights including his two UFC contests. He earned a contract with the UFC 11 months ago and has been solid inside the octagon. 10 of Aguilar’s 17 wins have come via KO/TKO. However, he’s gone to the judges in his last three straight fights. Let’s also not forget that he’s been a champ in the LFA.
For Ige, he acknowledges that Aguilar has had some success in MMA, but he doesn’t feel that will stop him. KHON 2 reports that Ige believes he will get the victory and check off another goal on his list:
“I’ve been writing down goals and checking them off my list and I literally have two left and I’m gonna hit those goals this year. One of them is to get in the top-15 and I’m on my way and I’ve got a tough opponent in front of me. Kevin Aguilar, 17-and-1, got a really good record but that’s not gonna stop me from reaching my goals. At the end of the day it’s me versus me in that cage, and I’m confident and I feel great, and no one is gonna take it away from me.”
Aguilar has looked like the better fighter between the two as of late, but he’s not resting on his laurels. Instead, he’s going out there and treating this fight like Ige is the champion and standing in his way to a bigger and better UFC contract. Aguilar told the UFC:
“I honestly didn’t know much about Dan, but my coach said he’s a young, hungry, talented guy and he thinks he can beat you, so I was like, ‘Sign me up. Let’s go!’. But if we’re both hungry and we’re both out there for the same reasons, it’s going to be the best fight of the night, if not the whole year. Dan Ige is the champion right now and I have to go beat him.”
This is a great prelim main event. These two rising fighters will put on a show for however long the fight lasts. Personally, I would like to see three solid rounds of action and both men earn the honors for fight of the night. With that said, I give Aguilar the slight advantage. I believe he has the better striking, especially with his jab. I like Ige’s ground game, but I’m not sure if he will be in a position to really control the fight from the mat. I’m taking Aguilar to win this fight via UD.
UFC Fight Night 154 Main Card
The UFC Fight Night 154 main card begins at 7 PM ET and can be seen via ESPN+. The following UFC betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes:
Ashley Yoder (6-4) vs Syuri Kondo (6-2)
- Ashley Yoder (-120)
- Syuri Kondo (+100)
According to UFC betting sites, this is the closest fight on the main card. It’s also the second of three women’s fights for the event.
Japan’s Syuri Kondo is on a two-fight losing streak, which has dropped her octagon record to 1-2. She last fought in November 2018, and lost via UD to Xiaonan Yan. Six of her eight professional fights have gone the distance. Kondo is giving up three inches in height and two-and-a-half inches in reach to Yoder.
Ashley “Spider Monkey” Yoder got back into the win column last November by defeating Cooper via Split Decision. It snapped a three-fight losing streak. Yoder is 1-3 inside the octagon and has gone to the scorecards in four straight fights. Like Kondo, she’s also seen the judges on six occasions.
Kondo has been successful in the world of combat sports prior to MMA. And she started off her career 6-0 before losing the last two fights. With that said, I have a hard time thinking that Yoder is going to win. Both women have no problem staying upright and exchanging punches. Yoder has stated that she likes bloody fights and some have labeled her as a point fighter. With that said, I believe a standup affair actually favors Kondo more than Yoder. If the fight goes to the mat, then Yoder should come away with the win.
For this bet, I’m taking Kondo to win via UD. I don’t see Yoder successfully taking her down and controlling the fight from the ground. I believe Kondo keeps the fight standing and lands more strikes.
Kevin Holland (14-4) vs Alessio Di Chirico (12-2)
- Kevin Holland (-225)
- Alessio Di Chirico (+185)
I believe the odds for this fight is a great example of UFC betting sites buying into the hype. And what I mean by that is Kevin Holland is a marketable fighter with top-level trash talking skills. He’s backed up most of what he says, but the hype surrounding him has led to overvalued odds.
Holland has won his last three fights after losing via UD to Santos in his UFC debut last August. Holland barely defeated Meerschaert in March, after winning via Split Decision. Some fans and pundits felt that Gerald had won. 12 of Holland’s 14 career wins have come via stoppages. Three of his four losses have come via Decision. Holland was just signed to a new four-fight deal prior to this bout.
Alessio Di Chirico could be the best underdog on the card. He’s a very well-rounded fighter with solid striking and grappling skills. He’s 3-2 inside the octagon and has won his last two fights. ADC took some time off since his last bout 11 months ago. He was determined to improve as a fighter and wanted to focus on training. Will we see an improved Di Chirico this weekend?
Holland has a three-inch height and seven-inch reach advantage. Holland is also deceptively good with his submission arsenal. ADC is a tough fighter who can take a punch, is the better grappler of the two, and has plenty of power in his fists.
This fight is going to come down to whether or not ADC can keep the fight inside a phone booth. If Holland can jab and use his reach advantage, then ADC is in trouble. If ADC can use his ground and pound or “dirty boxing,” then he will win.
Holland is the shiny new toy for the UFC, but there’s something about ADC that makes it hard for me to ignore him in this exciting middleweight matchup. Meerschaert controlled Kevin Holland in their fight with his grappling skills. He should’ve won the bout. The judges robbed him. Nevertheless, I believe he gave ADC a blueprint for defeating Holland. I’m going with the upset victory. I’m taking ADC to win via UD. I like his chances to win this fight on the mat.
Andrea Lee (10-2) vs Montana De La Rosa (10-4)
- Andrea Lee (-225)
- Montana De La Rosa (+185)
In the third and final women’s fight of the night, the veteran Andrea Lee takes on the younger Montana De La Rosa in a fight that could put the winner one step closer to a title shot.
Lee is the betting favorite as she’s won six straight fights including her two UFC bouts. Andrea is also a former LFA champion who has won fights in Invicta FC as well. Lee is an accomplished striker and has been able to improve her grappling skills over the duration of her career. She has six stoppage wins out of 10 career victories.
Montana De La Rosa has actually shown marked improvement in her last few fights as well. The 24-year-old is on a four-fight win streak including her three UFC fights. All three of these wins have come via submission, which has upped her total to eight submission wins out of her 10 career victories.
De La Rosa admitted that she didn’t want this fight at first. And that was due to both women sharing the same wrestling coach. But the UFC pushed for this fight and stressed how it could put the winner closer to a title fight, which is what Montana stated in a recent interview with BJPenn.com:
“This fight is very important for me to solidify myself in the 125-pound division. To show that I am in the top-10. Then after this one, maybe one or two more and I get a title shot. This fight will put me up there with the best up there.”
"She's been winning everything, just like me. The only difference is I've been finishing my fights."
— UFC News (@UFCNews) June 19, 2019
De La Rosa believes she will have her hand raised at the conclusion of this bout. She also wants to showcase her striking skills in this contest:
“I have only been able to show my ground game in my first three fights. I haven’t even able to show my standup. So, I’m hoping to showcase everything. I do a lot of boxing, kickboxing. I’m well-rounded. So, hopefully, I can show everything that I have even working on.”
I think that would be a huge mistake. Lee is the better striker of the two and De La Rosa is the better grappler. Montana should stick with what she does best. With that said, this is a case where I think the veteran Lee will outwork the younger De La Rosa. I’m taking Lee to win this fight via UD, but I do believe Montana is worthy of a flier.
Bryan Barberena (14-6) vs Randy Brown (10-3)
- Bryan Barberena (-270)
- Randy Brown (+230)
This fight is a candidate for knockout of the night. And that’s largely due to Bryan Barberena. However, Brown is also a capable striker who looks for the big KO as well.
For his career, Brown has seen five of his 10 wins come via KO/TKO. He will have a 5.5-inch reach advantage for this fight, which could come into play if he can successfully strike from a distance. Randy hasn’t fought in 11 months after suffering a KO loss to Niko Price. Brown has gone 4-3 inside the Octagon since joining the UFC in January 2016. According to The Body Lock, Randy Brown had this to say of Barberena:
“I know he’s tough, I know he’s a grinder. I just don’t see the technical prowess in him. I don’t think it’s going to go well for him.”
Barberena is a tough fighter. In fact, he’s one of my favorite fighters to watch. His bout against Luque in February was fight of the year in my opinion. Those two men beat each other up and almost went the distance before Luque got a TKO win with six seconds remaining in the third round. With that said, Barberena is a power puncher and can end a fight with one massive shot. He doesn’t need the technical prowess that Brown is pointing out. Bryan currently sits 5-4 inside the octagon.
This is going to be a fight filled with fireworks. Brown has a puncher’s chance, but I just don’t see him winning a striking battle with Barberena. Bryan is a large betting favorite as his odds have gone up since the opening lines. Most MMA bettors and online betting sites view Bryan as the most likely winner in this matchup. And I agree. I think Barberena will score the 11th KO/TKO of his career. The only chance Brown has is to take Barberena down to the mat and control the fight from there. Unfortunately, I just don’t believe Randy will be successful with his takedown attempts, and he will also fall in love with the striking battle.
John Lineker (31-9) vs Rob Font (16-4)
- John Lineker (-210)
- Rob Font (+175)
This is a rematch of their May 2016 fight, but it wasn’t originally scheduled as such. Cody Stamman was booked to fight Rob Font, but he was forced to withdraw from the bout because of a shoulder injury. So, on less than three weeks’ notice, Lineker jumped at the chance for the fight.
It was a week prior to Stamman’s removal that Lineker had publicly lashed out at the UFC for not booking him enough. Lineker wants to fight at least three times a year and get paid so that he can take care of his bills and family. Lineker waited 11 months between his KO win over Kelleher and his Split Decision loss to Cory Sandhagen in April.
If that Sandhagen fight lasted another 30 seconds, then John Lineker would’ve won. I thought Lineker did enough to earn the Split Decision win, especially since the last image we had was of Sandhagen trying to survive a guillotine choke and blood flowing down his face. To me, Sandhagen looked like the loser of the fight not Lineker. Regardless, Lineker is back and looking to get another win. John is 12-4 inside the octagon with 14 career wins via KO/TKO.
Font is coming off a solid win over Sergio Pettis last December. He took a UD victory and has been alternating between wins and losses since July 2017. This will be Font’s 10th UFC fight and he’s currently 6-3 overall. Other than Lineker, Font has also lost to Pedro Munhoz and Raphael Assuncao. All three losses are respectable.
As for this rematch, Font feels confident that he’s grown as a fighter since their first battle and that the outcome will be different in this fight:
“I’m a little more confident, more focused. I’ve been a little more patient and a little smarter. I’m more confident in my skills. My skillset is totally different — more wrestling, I’m throwing even kicks now. If you watch the way my jab was popping off in the Sergio Pettis fight, that is totally different, too. I feel like I can consistently touch him at will with my jab, and then hopefully everything else just follows through.”
Despite Font growing as a fighter, I still think he comes up on the losing end of this fight. Lineker should’ve defeated Sandhagen and I believe Cory is a better fighter than Font. Plus, Lineker is not an easy man to finish off. He’s never been put to sleep, but he has been submitted three times in addition to six decision losses.
18 of Lineker’s 40 pro fights have gone the distance. Eight of Font’s 20 fights have gone the distance as well. I think there’s a chance that if Font is able to avoid any jaw shattering punches, then this fight will go to the judges. With that said, I believe Lineker will get the win and he can use that paycheck to feed his five kids.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) June 19, 2019
Renato Moicano (13-2-1) vs Chan Sung Jung (14-5)
- Renato Moicano (-200)
- Chan Sung Jung (+170)
This is the main event of the evening and it’s going to be an exciting one.
Moicano is coming off a TKO loss to Jose Aldo in February. It was unexpected as many critics thought that Aldo was past his prime and Moicano’s time was now. Nevertheless, Moicano is looking to get back on track with a win this weekend against a tough opponent in Chan Sung Jung, better known as “The Korean Zombie.”
I love that nickname. Only the “Violent Bob Ross” is a better nickname in my opinion. But both men are fighting on this card. Even Moicano thinks Jung has a cool nickname. He also gives his foe a lot of respect and tells Bloody Elbow that he believes this could be a fight of the year candidate:
“He’s a tough guy. He’s not well ranked because he didn’t fight so much for the past three years, but he’s tough. I always ask the UFC for the best fighters, and I think he will help me get more recognition. Everyone knows ‘The Korean Zombie.’ He has this cool nickname, he has this aggressive style, and this fight is a candidate for fight of the night. Even fight of the year. That’s what I want. I want to put on a show.”
There’s certainly a chance that this fight earns some honors whether it be on the night or for the year. If they can top what Luque and Barberena did a few months ago, then they will get the nod for best fight of the year from me.
Jung is going to have to improve from his loss to Rodriguez last November. Additionally, this is only his third fight in nearly six years. However, nobody will forget how he set a UFC record for the fastest knockout back in 2011 against Hominick. Additionally, once you have seen him fight, you will never forget the man. He just brings action and excitement to each bout.
With that said, there are a lot of factors in Moicano’s favor like his submission skills, leg kicks, and striking power. He also has a tough chin. But we know that Jung can take a beating and keep on coming, which might be the only way he wins this fight. Jung is going to have to close the distance and try to keep the fight in a phone booth or against the cage. Perhaps some work in the clinch as well. If he can get past Moicano’s range, then he has a solid shot at winning.
It appears that many UFC fighters are picking Jung to win. They feel that the pressure he applies will be too much for Renato Moicano to handle. I think they might be right. I think both men will show just how tough they are, and this fight ends up going the distance.
I’m taking The Korean Zombie to win this fight via decision and pull off the upset. Can we get a trilogy of fights between these two warriors?
UFC Fight Night 154 Betting Value
The following fighters offer betting value based on their current MMA odds, UFC Fight Night opponents, and recent success inside the octagon:
- Andre Ewell (+100) offers great return on a wager especially when you take into consideration that Ewell has a nine-inch reach advantage over his opponent. Furthermore, his opponent does have a suspect chin. However, Anderson dos Santos (-120) also has the grappling skills to force Ewell to tap out. That’s why the odds are so close. For me, I’ll take the striker with a nine-inch reach advantage.
- I believe that MMA betting sites have missed the boat on the odds for Molly McCann (+240). Although I’m taking her opponent Lipski (-280) to win the fight, I feel that these betting odds are too far off. McCann is capable of pulling off the upset and is a great candidate for those risk takers looking for the higher payouts.
- Syuri Kondo (+100) is the slight underdog to Ashley Yoder (-120). So, both women do offer betting value for this fight. For me, I like Kondo’s chances to keep the fight standing and I believe she’s the better striker of the two. It will be close, but I see Kondo winning via UD.
- Alessio Di Chirico (+185) is a large underdog in his fight against Kevin Holland (-225). However, he’s a better-rounded fighter than Holland and has the potential to pull off the big upset of the night. I like his ground and pound game and his close contact striking. I believe he gets the decision win that Meerschaert earned when he fought Holland in March.
- Chan Sung Jung (+170) is a large underdog, but he has the chin and the striking skills to match shot for shot with the favored Moicano (-210). I think Jung will do enough to win this fight via Decision.
UFC Fight Night 154 Final Thoughts
On the surface, this UFC event might not appeal to casual fight fans. But for those diehards, this is a solid card. The prelims have some intriguing matchups like Ige vs Aguilar and Pena vs Wiman. The main card also has plenty of potential as most of the bouts consist of fighters that bring the action. With Barberena, Lineker, and the main event all on one card, good luck to the judges on deciding the fight night honors.
This card has numerous upset opportunities and plenty of betting value. It will certainly be entertaining as well. Plus, when you have the sport’s two best nicknames (The Korean Zombie and Violent Bob Ross) on the same card, how can you go wrong?
UFC Fight Night 154 Betting Recap
- Andre Ewell (+100)
- Deron Winn (-300)
- Ariane Lipski (-280)
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-225)
- Luis Pena (-380)
- Kevin Aguilar (-145)
- Syuri Kondo (+100)
- Alessio Di Chirico (+185)
- Andrea Lee (-225)
- Bryan Barberena (-270)
- John Lineker (-210)
- Chan Sung Jung (+170)