Two big boys clash this weekend in the main event at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Lewis aka UFC Vegas 19. Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis were supposed to fight last November, but Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19 a day before the fight. While the fight card rates high in terms of talent level, it isn’t packed with “star power”, at least on paper.
Since I already broke down Blaydes vs Lewis back in November, and I’m lazy, here’s what I wrote about the matchup at that time:
The oddsmakers at MansionBet seem to agree with me in thinking that this fight has a clear favourite heading into it. ‘Razor’ Blaydes currently sits at 4/17 on the board, which is a huge number for a heavyweight fight, where there is so much power and size involved that one punch can end things (especially when Derrick Lewis is delivering that punch). The obvious advantage for Blaydes is his wrestling, something that Lewis has struggled with in the past. Blaydes is a terrific, relentless wrestler, and should have no issues putting Lewis on his back any time he chooses to. But he’s by no means a ‘lay and pray’ fighter – once he gets his opponent to the mat, he’s raining down ferocious haymakers. He’s won 10 of his 14 pro fights via (T)KO, many via ground and pound. Lewis doesn’t have the wrestling defense or the cardio to fight Blaydes off, in my opinion. While Lewis is famous for eschewing technique and just standing up when opponents have him down on the canvas, I think Blaydes is too strong and too good a wrestler for this style of defense to work. Blaydes via TKO at 6/5 is looking mighty nice to me.
Not much has changed since I wrote those words other than the betting line – MansionBet now has Blaydes as an ever bigger favorite, currently at
4/21, while ‘Razor’ via (T)KO is now at
20/29. I still think Blaydes is going to win, but numbers that high for a heavyweight fight aren’t worth the risk, in my opinion.
Battle of the Bantamweights
The co-main event sees top women’s bantamweight prospects Ketlen Vieira (ranked #6) and Yana Kunitskaya (#7) battle to see who will move into the top five and one step closer to a title shot. I like the favourite, Vieira, in this one at
10/31. She has only lost once in her pro career, and is younger, bigger, and a stronger wrestler than her Russian counterpart.
It’s quite a chalky card, at least in my eyes. But there’s a few underdogs I’m picking to win their fights on Saturday night. Nassourdine Imavov is at even money (
1/1) for his re-scheduled middleweight tilt against Phil Hawes. Imavov is bigger, younger and has superior striking stats (which predicts a winner of a fight with 70% accuracy), so get him while his number is favourable.
Dobson a Live Underdog
Shana Dobson has proven to be nothing more than a middling UFC fighter, going 2-3 in the octagon and only winning one of her last four fights. However, the bantamweight pulled off a massive upset last summer, knocking out young prospect Mariya Agapova. I’m looking for her to continue the momentum and be a live dog again this weekend, as she faces promotional newcomer Casey O’Neill. O’Neill has only fought five times as a pro, making Dobson at
5/4 look like a nice number to jump on.
Other than that, not any other underdogs I’m willing to hitch my wagon on this weekend. Which will surely turn out to be a mistake in hindsight, as dogs are winning their fights 32% of the time since the start of 2020. That means on this 15-fight lineup, there will likely be around four or five betting underdogs that end up having their arms raised in victory. Maybe you’re better than I am at identifying who they’ll be.