The UFC returns this weekend as it heads into the latter part of the year with 11 events in the final 11 weeks. While the card comes with less fanfare, airing on UFC’s subscription network UFC Fight Pass, it does feature one of the promotion’s most popular fighters in Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event.
Poland is a hotbed of mixed martial arts right now as undefeated women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and #3 ranked women’s strawweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz both hail from the Eastern European nation. 7 of the 12 fights on the card have a Polish fighter stepping into the octagon ready to show just how far they have come in MMA this Saturday night.
UFC events are a great place to find some betting gems if you know what you’re looking for. With that said, let’s take a run down the card and see where the value lies.
Donald Cerrone (32-9-0, 1NC) is by far the biggest fan favorite on the card. Having dropped his last two fights, however, he doesn’t come into the fight as too much of a favorite over the unranked and undefeated Darren Till (15-0-1).
Till is a fighter that likes to go and that bodes well for Cerrone. Cowboy excels in exchanges where he gets to use his legs, and I think that’s what will spell disaster for Till. He’s a formidable opponent, but there is no way that Cowboy will allow himself to lose 3 in a row.
I see Cerrone landing a high kick midway through the second round and then pouncing for the TKO win.
Hometown favorite Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-2) comes into this fight having dropped two in a row to the two best fighters in the women’s strawweight division. She’s every bit as good as her -470 line indicates in this fight. While she’s not a big finisher, she is a consistent performer.
I’m taking nothing away from Jodie Esquibel (6-2), but one of the best fighters in the division fighting in her own backyard in a must-win fight is not someone I’m willing to bet against in this spot. It won’t net you much, but Karolina is the smart play here.
Jan Blachowicz (19-7) is another hometown hero in Poland. Unfortunately, he comes into Saturday’s fight having dropped 3 of his last 4 fights. Devin Clark (8-1) on the other hand has won two straight after suffering his first defeat.
Blachowicz has a slight advantage in size and reach, and the real advantage of fighting out of his own backyard. I don’t like how Blachowicz has looked as of late but if there is ever a fight where we could see him return to his old form it’s this one in front of his home country.
I think Clark gives him a run for his money and as much as I want to pick the fighter that’s 7 years younger, I ultimately see Blachowicz winning a close decision which could very well be a hometown call.
The main card kicks off with undefeated Oskar Piechota (9-0) taking on Jonathan Wilson (7-2) in one of the most anonymous main card bouts in recent memory. Not much is really known about either fighter but Wilson having dropped two straight and Piechota on a 9 fight win streak fighting in his hometown is enough for me to give the nod to Oskar.
Poland’s Marcin Held (22-7) comes into this fight as a huge favorite over Nasrat Haqparast (8-1) and that’s saying a lot about Nasrat as Marcin has dropped 3 straight and 4 of his last 5. The problem here is Haqparast has won 8 straight and all by way of stoppage.
While the bookmakers like Held here, I’m going to look at this fight as the spot to really make some money. As long as this fight stays on the feet I’m taking Haqparast in the upset by TKO, continuing his streak.
Adam Wieczorek (8-1) is looking to make it 8 straight against Anthony Hamilton (15-8) in the lone heavyweight bout on the card. Hamilton has lost 3 straight in the first round while Wieczorek has won all of his fights by TKO or submission. This does not bode well for Hamilton at all. Hard not to take Wieczorek in this spot.
Poland’s own Damian Stasiak (10-4) is the lone EVEN money bet on the card as he faces Brian Kelleher (17-8). Stasiak has 8 finishes in his 10 wins with 7 of them coming by way of submission. Kelleher, on the other hand, has been submitted in 5 of his 8 losses.
I like the math on this one and see Stasiak sinking in a tired submission in the third round for the win.
One of the more veteran matchups on the card pits Russia’s Ramazan Emeev (15-3) going up against Sam Alvey (31-9-0, 1NC). Emeev comes into this fight as a 2X M-1 Global middleweight champion, and while Alvey has a ton of experience, the younger Emeev is looking to go big in his UFC debut.
I like the pedigree of Emeev, having won a title in another promotion. He’s going to be too fast and too aggressive for Alvey to catch up.
Artem Lobov (13-12-1, 1NC), better known as Conor McGregor’s right-hand man, is facing one of his toughest opponents since entering the UFC in Andre Film (16-5). Fili will have a 9-inch reach advantage over Lobov to go along with a more diverse striking game a stronger wrestling pedigree. Fili just has all the tools and will make Lobov a .500 fighter by the end of the night.
Warlley Alves (11-2) is 2-2 in his last four fights and that’s not sitting well with the Brazilian fighter. Salim Touhari (10-1) has the country of Poland behind him but it’s not quite going to be enough against the bigger, stronger Alves.
Aspen Ladd (5-0) is really hoping to make her UFC debut a memorable one with a win over Lina Lansberg (7-2). Unfortunately, I think she’s going to suffer her first defeat. Lansberg has a vast kickboxing background having won multiple titles before transitioning to MMA and I think that’s going to be a huge difference maker in this fight.
The night kicks off with undefeated Josh Emmett (11-0) going up against Brazil’s Felipe Arantaas (18-7-1, 2NC). The records and betting line basically indicates exactly how this fight will go. Emmett is too consistent and Arantas is the exact opposite.
*Odds via Westgate Sportsbook*
*Card still subject to change*
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