This weekend features an MMA doubleheader with both the UFC and Bellator promoting fight cards on Saturday evening. At UFC Vegas 48, Johnny Walker takes on Jamahal Hill in a five-round light heavyweight fight. Meanwhile at Bellator 274, welterweight contenders Neiman Gracie and Logan Storley face off in Bellator’s first ever five-round, non-title, non-Grand Prix fight. Let’s take a look at some of the best bets available on both cards.
All odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Joaquin Buckley has had a difficult time building momentum, but he should be able to get some going here. In many ways, Abdul Razak Alhassan is a worse version of Buckley. Both men are powerful strikers with impressive physical frames, but Buckley works at a higher pace and has slightly better defense. Also, Buckley is a southpaw, has a 3-inch reach advantage, and is 9 years younger than Alhassan. All of those factors should add up to a Buckley win.
A former Judo champion, Stephanie Egger is an accomplished black belt who held her own against Gabi Garcia at the ADCC world championships. To win this bout, she’ll need to score takedowns on Jessica-Rose Clark, who is certainly the better striker. Clark is a fine, if unspectacular, wrestler, but I suspect Egger will be able to force clinches and get the fight to the floor enough to take home the win.
Logan Storley over Neiman Gracie at +135
Speaking of physically gifted, let’s talk about arguably the most physically gifted fighter competing this weekend. Logan Storley is a four-time Division I NCAA All-American wrestler who transitioned to MMA in 2015 and amassed a 12-1 record. His lone loss was a split decision to current Bellator welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov, who also was an accomplished wrestler. Gracie is not that, and we saw him struggle against the takedown defense of Justin Jackson two fights ago. Storley can keep this on the feet and overpower Gracie – or he can put Gracie on his back if he so chooses. The latter is playing with fire, but Storley is a very good grappler and may feel comfortable doing so. Either way, I think Storley should be the favorite in this contest, so he’s worth a value play.
Jamahal Hill to win by KO/TKO at -150
This fight is about as straightforward of a “Get Or Get Got” fight as you can possibly have. There is a reason that both Johnny Walker and Jamahal Hill have an average fight time of less than eight minutes: they are finishers with big power who don’t possess the world’s greatest chins. Walker is a dangerous fight and has the ability to win, but in a battle of “whoever lands first is going to win,” you’ve got to side with the faster man, and that’s Hill.
Jamahal Hill vs. Johnny Walker under 1.5 rounds at +105
In his most recent outing, Walker went to a decision against Thiago Santos in one of the strangest and worst fights of the year. Earlier this week, he explained away that performance by saying he found it hard to fight a fellow Brazilian. He’ll have no such qualms tonight against Hill, who himself starts quickly and keeps up an extremely fast pace. These two men are going to come out guns blazing, and given the power and chins of both men, we’re looking at an early end to the evening.
Parlay of the Week
Christian Rodriguez is a decent prospect, but he’s coming in on short notice against Jonathan Pearce, and he’s really a bantamweight. Add in the difficult style matchup against Pearce, who likely hopes to wrestle Rodriguez for 15 minutes, and this is a tough debut for Rodriguez.
God bless Jim Miller, who at 38 years old is approaching his 40th fight in the UFC. That is a truly remarkable feat, but the fact is, he’s 38 years old and approaching his 40th fight in the UFC! Nikolas Motta is far from a world-beater, and at his peak, Miller would probably have won this fight handily. But it’s 2022, and that’s just not the case anymore. If Miller pulls off the upset here, it’s a testament to his craftiness and guile, but I simply don’t see it happening against the much younger and more physically gifted Motta.
On the Bellator front, Andrey Koreshkov is better than Chance Recountre at all aspects of MMA and a much better athlete to boot. At 35 years old, it’s tough to imagine Recountre overcoming those disparities. Koreshkov has only ever lost to top-flight welterweights – and Recountre is not that.
Long Shot of the Week
Alan Baudot by KO/TKO in Round 1
If you’re looking for a long shot, the best place to begin your search is almost always the heavyweight division. Alan Baudot is not a future heavyweight champion, and he may well not even be in the UFC in a couple of years. But Parker Porter isn’t a prize either. Baudot is big, has a long reach and swings hammers, and that might be good enough to upset the defensively porous Porter.
We had a tough go of things this past week, though if Derek Brunson had another 10 seconds at the end of Round 1, we may well have cashed the long shot. We’re looking to rebound this week with a few less underdogs on the card.
Good luck y’all, and gamble responsibly!
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