It’s no weekends off for the UFC who are hosting another Fight Night in Abu Dhabi this Saturday. It’s the second of three fight nights in-between UFC 253 and 254. Headlining the free event are a pair of Bantamweights fighting for the top contender spot, Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen.
Cory Sandhagen will attempt to get back on his rise up the Bantamweight division. He was on a five-fight winning streak before being stopped in the first round by Aljamain Sterling by submission at UFC 250.
Moraes, the former contender, will try to get his name back in belt conversation after a so-so showing split decision win over Jose Aldo. Before the Aldo fight, Moraes lost a championship fight to Henry Cejudo. In both fights Moraes started very strong and gassed as the fight went on.
Also on the main card, flashy striker Edson Barboza makes his second appearance in the Featherweight division against Makwan Amirkhani. Along with a pair of Heavyweight fights that are unlikely to be decided by the judges.
Here’s some bets I like for this weekend’s event:
UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Moraes Betting Pick
Cory Sandhagen over Marlon Moraes -130
I see this fight going two ways: Moraes wins by stoppage or he loses. I really don’t see any other path to victory for Marlon. Cory Sandhagen is an elite striker, he’s unorthodox in a lot of his fighting styles and I think he will cause problems for Moraes if he can escape the early pressure Moraes is expected to bring.
Marlon has serious stamina issues. He’s fought in one 5-round fight and he was TKO’d late in the 3rd round by Henry Cejudo. Marlon was having success in that fight before he gassed. Other than that loss, in the UFC he has three first round wins, and three fights that went to split decision. When he can’t KO his opponent he gets dragged into a very close decision, and I don’t think he wins a decision vs Sandhagen.
Cory is a high volume, high cardio fighter. He averages 6.95 significant strikes per minute and 4.08 absorbed compared to Marlon’s 3.53 significant strikes per minute and 3.69 absorbed. I expect for Sandhagen to control this fight with his high volume and his size advantage. He’s a huge Bantamweight at 5’11″, and will have a noticeable advantage over 5’6” Marlon Moraes.
The most likely way I see Sandhagen winning this is by decision (+175) but I will instead by playing Sandhagen to win any way at -130. I could see Marlon Moraes gassing late in this fight, we’ve never seen him fight in the championship rounds.
I’m also going to be playing Sandhagen to win in round 3 (+1200) round 4 (+1800) and round 5 (+2500).
UFC Fight Night: Heavyweight Fight Betting Pick and Preview
Marcin Tybura over Ben Rothwell +140
I believe a long term winning strategy in betting UFC is fading average Heavyweights that are favoured at the tail end of the career. I have no idea why 38-year old Ben Rothwell is a -170 favourite in this fight.
He has won two straight but they aren’t that impressive taking a closer look. A split decision win over Ovince St. Preux who was debuting as a Heavyweight, and a KO win over Stefan Struve. Rothwell was losing the fight to Struve before being deducted two points for three separate low blows on Struve. Knowing he would lose by decision he finished the hurt Struve late in the second round.
Marcin Tybura has wins over Struve and Arlovski in his career. He also beat some younger prospects this year with decision wins over Maxim Grishin and Sergey Spivak. When he wins he takes his opponent down and grinds him out. I think that’s something we’ll see here and makes me want no part of Ben Rothwell at -170.
UFC Fight Night Sandhagen vs. Moraes Betting Preview KO Special
Tom Aspinall to win in round 1 -110
Tom Aspinall has a likely method of victory and that’s a first round KO. His eight pro wins are first round finishes, and his 4/5 of his amateur fights were won in the same fashion.
Only one of these KOs came in the UFC but it was an impressive debut. His opponent Jake Collier weighed in at the max 265lbs for a Heavyweight and still couldn’t take the power of Aspinall.
Aspinall in taking on Alan Baudot, who is making his UFC debut. Baudot has bounced back and forth between Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight in his career and that worries me taking on the 250 pound Aspinall.
Baudot is 8-1 in his career but that record isn’t saying much. His most recent fight is a disqualification win, and a KO win over a winless fighter. Some of the record’s of other fighters Baudot has defeated: 6-11, 0-0, 4-3, 15-9, and 15-22. I’m really not sure of the competition he’s been fighting and I’m not sure if he’s a UFC level fighter.
It’s a weird spot for this fight to be on the main card which makes me think the UFC is trying to show off Tom Aspinall. Give this young, talented prospect an easy KO victory to push him up the Heavyweight ranks. Give me Aspinall by round one finish -110.