UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Strickland
#UFCVegas33 MMA Betting Preview
- DATE: SATURDAY 07/31/21
- BROADCAST: ESPN
- VENUE: UFC APEX
- LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada
- # of MATCHES: 13
MAIN CARD TAKES, PREDICTIONS & BETS
MIDDLEWEIGHT (185 LBS): #8 URIAH HALL (17-9) VS. #11 SEAN STRICKLAND (23-3)
Sean Strickland gets the call for his first main event and will face #8 Uriah Hall, who has a four-fight win streak. Hall is fresh off of a TKO victory over Anderson Silva and followed that up with a 17-second TKO win over Chris Weidman.
Strickland is much deserving of this spot and could cause some waves with a win. The majority of this matchup will take place on the feet. I expect both to go for the finish early for a statement win.
Hall is more of a wildcard, and while he has finishing power, there are times where he will fold fairly fast when he’s hurt. In this matchup, I expect Strickland to push the pace and walk forward into the exchanges more than Hall. Strickland will look to keep the pace up by looking to overwhelm Hall with combos and a mix of leg kicks. Hall will counter less often but with more intent. Although Strickland will take a punch to land his own, you have to consider across 26 fights that he's only been finished once.
This fight could bring some surprises. Both fighters are hittable and bring finishing power. When looking at paths to victory, you have to give Strickland the edge with wrestling, though both have decent takedown defense. I don't see them looking to grapple much. On the feet, it will be about Strickland’s volume and pace versus the power via elusive strikes from Hall. Neither guy has much head movement, so somebody will land a fight-changing shot. Hall will have a 3.5-inch reach advantage in his favor, though historically gets hit more than he lands. I give Strickland the slight edge in this one if I have to pick sides, based on the sheer inconsistency from Hall over the years. It's tough to go all-in on a fighter who has gone 4-4 in his last eight fights, not including the Weidman accident. In those fights, he’s been finished in three of four of the losses and has won via finish in three of the four wins along the stretch. He's a kill or be killed type of fighter. Now Strickland has had more success over the same timeframe (since 2015) and has gone 8-2 over his last ten, with four of those fights ending inside the distance. I do like the chances of this one ending under 3.5 rounds, and as I said, I lean Strickland, but Hall always has that puncher’s chance.
Weigh-ins: Uriah Hall (185.5) vs. Sean Strickland (185)
Prediction: Sean Strickland
BANTAMWEIGHT (135 LBS): KYUNG HO KANG (17-8) VS. RANI YAHYA (27-10-1)
Kang is making his return after a two-year absence due to a broken orbital and messed up back after his last fight with Pingyuan Liu. "Mr. Perfect" is riding a three-fight win streak, though his last two fights were close split decisions, fortunately going in his favor. Kang is an exceptional submission fighter, though standing across from him will be Rani Yahya, who one-ups him as it relates to a submission resume. Yahya continues to amaze, as he now has 21 of his 27 wins coming by way of submission, including his last four wins, most recently back in March when he submitted Ray Rodriguez inside of two rounds. Both of these guys are low volume with the striking, though the striking is a big component of Kang’s typical gameplan. He should have some issues here as Yahya will tighten up the distance, looking to tie up and scramble non-stop. With the small cage and Yahya's pressure, I could see Kang having some issues.
Weigh-ins: Kyung Ho Kang (136) vs. Rani Yahya (136)
Prediction: Rani Yahya
WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT (115 LBS): CHEYANNE BUYS (5-2) VS. GLORIA DE PAULA (5-3)
Big fight for these two. Both had caught some eyes from their DWCS performances but fell flat in their UFC debuts. Buys was heavily frustrated by Montserrat Ruiz, who held her down the entire fight while peppering shots while keeping her in a headlock the majority of the fight. De Paula, who's a great striker, had Jinh Yu Frey catch her off guard a bit and do some unexpected grappling, which led to her controlling the better half of their fight as well. For Buy's debut, I felt like the UFC played several packages, building her up a bit, which tells me they had more investment in her potential to be a fan favorite in a sense. I expect both of these two to stand and attempt to get the better of the two, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Buys looks to take this one down to the mat due to the striking ability from De Paula. This one probably comes down to who controls where this fight goes most of the time, and I see Buys making adjustments in her favor, which ends up with her getting at least two rounds on the cards.
Weigh-ins: Cheyanne Buys (116) vs. Gloria de Paula (115.5)
Prediction: Cheyanne Buys
WELTERWEIGHT (170 LBS): NIKLAS STOLZE (12-4) VS. JARED GOODEN (17-6)
Stolze now takes on Jared Gooden in a short notice matchup after Mounir Lazzez had visa issues. Stolze is well-rounded, durable, and can finish his opponent at any moment, favoring the chokes. Props to Gooden for stepping up in the replacement spot, as he looks to secure his first UFC win after dropping his first two opportunities. Gooden is tough to put away and has great cardio himself. In this matchup, I see Stolze mixing up the offense and staying a step ahead. Gooden made weight on three days' notice.
Weigh-ins: Jared Gooden (171) vs. Niklas Stolze (170.5)
Prediction: Niklas Stolze
FLYWEIGHT (125 LBS): RYAN BENOIT (10-7) VS. ZARRUKH ADASHEV (3-3)
This is a rebooked fight from May after Benoit had a horrible weight cut and could barely stand at the weigh-in. Benoit is on a tough skid, as he’s lost three of his last four. Adashev has his back against the wall as well, and after losing his first two UFC fights, he has one more shot here, or it could lead to a pink slip. Adashev has solid striking, and it could frustrate Benoit. That said, if he can get Adashev’s timing down early, Benoit could catch him as he has with knockdowns of Sergio Pettis and current champ Brandon Moreno.
Weigh-ins: Zarrukh Adashev (125.5) vs. Ryan Benoit (126)
Prediction: Ryan Benoit
WELTERWEIGHT (170 LBS): BRYAN BARBERENA (15-7) VS. JASON WITT (18-7)
You have to love Bryan Barberena fights. It looks like they have this one slated to kick off the main card, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see a finish. Neither guy is a big decision grinder, and both look to get in there and out as quickly as possible. The problem with Witt is he has a suspect chin. Five of his seven losses have come via knockout, including his previous fight, which lasted all of 16 seconds. Now Witt has some submission skills, but Barberena has only one loss via sub on his resume, which occurred 11 years ago, early on in his career.
Weigh-ins: Bryan Barberena (170.5) vs. Jason Witt (170.5)
Prediction: Bryan Barberena
PRELIMS TAKES, PREDICTIONS & BETS
WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT (135 LBS): #15 NICCO MONTANO (4-3) VS. WU YANAN (11-4)
We've never seen a run from a fighter after winning a belt in the UFC as we've seen from Montano. This looks to be the second chapter, or whatever we want to call it at this point, of her promising UFC career as she looks to get back on track after a rough go. After winning the strap, she was stripped shortly after due to weight cut issues. In the time since, she has had seven fights canceled, and one that took place, which resulted in a decision loss over Julianna Pena, though in that fight, she had her moments. If we see Montano with the skillset for which she is known, she should have minimal issues knocking off Wu Yanan, who’s now lost three of four, including her last two coming into this fight. I expect Yanan to get taken down in this one eventually, and Montano will go to work on the mat, leading to her first win since 2017.
Weigh-ins: Nicco Montano (143) vs. Wu Yanan (135.5) **
Prediction: Nicco Montano
Note: Montano was eight pounds over the limit. The fight is canceled.
FEATHERWEIGHT (145 LBS): COLLIN ANGLIN (8-1) VS. MELSIK BAGHDASARYAN (5-1)
Two guys are making their UFC debut after time in the Contender Series. Although this is a big spot for some of these newcomers, Melsik shouldn't be phased as he has some boxing and kickboxing experience before moving to MMA. Melsik has a 9-2 kickboxing resume and fought in the bright lights of the K-1 World GP three years ago. Anglin has a chin, and if he can avoid the early big shots from Melsik, he can make this a fight, as we saw Melsik kinda “melt” as his fight went into the over rounds in his decision win over Dennis Buzukja last September. I’m still going to side with the guy with more combat experience, and after catching his media obligations this week, he looks more than ready to go, paired with some uber confidence in this matchup.
Weigh-ins: Collin Anglin (146) vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan (145.5)
Prediction: Melsik Baghdasaryan
LIGHTWEIGHT (155 LBS): CHRIS GRUETZEMACHER (14-4) VS. RAFA GARCIA (12-1)
Garcia is back after suffering the first loss of his career in a short-notice fight against a tough Nasrat Haqparast, and you have to believe Garcia is hungry and looking to get his first UFC. I think he will too. It sounds like Garcia has been training with Trevor Whitman and also spent some time with last week’s winner TJ Dillashaw in prep, while Gruetzemacher has been a mystery as far as what work he is putting in at this point. Gruetzemacher came back after a two-year layoff and was finished in less than two minutes versus another motivated fighter, Alexander Hernandez. Gruetzemacher is 35 now and hasn't won a fight since April of 2018, and this could be the tail end of his career while the 26-year-old Garcia is ramping up into his prime. Expect a close fight early on, with Garcia taking control and working his way to the win.
Weigh-ins: Rafa Garcia (154) vs. Chris Gruetzemacher (156)
Prediction: Rafa Garcia
FEATHERWEIGHT (145 LBS): DANNY CHAVEZ (11-4) VS. KAI KAMAKA (8-4)
This should be an awesome matchup. Both guys will trade with the best of them on the feet, and while Kamaka will be the more technical of the two on the feet, Chavez will always attempt to match the volume, with less accuracy. Overall, this should be Kamaka’s fight to win, but if Chavez executes takedowns as he did against TJ Brown, I think he could steal this one. Not invested in this one from a betting perspective, but I'll side with the dog in a close one.
Weigh-ins: Danny Chavez (145.5) vs. Kai Kamaka (144.5)
Prediction: Danny Chavez
WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT (115 LBS): JINH YU FREY (10-6) VS. ASHLEY YODER (8-7)
Nothing to be ashamed of, Frey lost her first two UFC bouts, but against Kay Hansen and Loma Lookboonmee. She then got back on track and edged out a decision over the debuting Gloria de Paula back in March. Her path to victory in that spot was all about takedowns and control. Although being outstruck on the feet, she had over nine minutes of control time, which gave the judges enough to award her the 29-28 scorecards across the board. Unfortunately for her this go around, she’ll be staring across at Ashley Yoder, and Yoder’s bread and butter is the grappling and submission game. Don't let Yoder's record fool you. She's always in the fight and has fought some higher-tier fighters than the former Invicta champ. Yoder will have a noticeable size advantage which should support giving her the edge with the grappling and statistically pumps out more volume on the feet, while Frey has a negative striking differential also not helping her cause. That said, I’ll side with Yoder straight up and won't be boxing myself in on any props in what oddsmakers see as a competitive fight.
Weigh-ins: Jinh Yu Frey (115.5) vs. Ashley Yoder (116)
Prediction: Ashley Yoder
BANTAMWEIGHT (135 LBS): RONNIE LAWRENCE (7-1) VS. TREVIN JONES (13-6)
This battle features a striker vs. a grappler who can strike. Jones goes for the kill while Lawrence closes and mauls you with the takedowns. Lawrence had 12 takedowns in his DWCS match and followed that up in his UFC debut with eight more takedowns against Vince Cachero in a fight he owned. Jones can scramble and can get up from takedowns and will be heavy if he ends up on top. Lawrence hasn’t given me any reasons to fade him quite yet, even against a game opponent in Jones. I like Lawrence to grind this one out.
Weigh-ins: Trevin Jones (135) vs. Ronnie Lawrence
Prediction: Ronnie Lawrence
Note: Fight canceled due to medical issues
WELTERWEIGHT (170 LBS): ORION COSCE (7-0) VS. PHILIP ROWE (7-3)
Cosce arrives undefeated and earns the contract after a rout of Matt Dixon on the DWCS. His official first bout was against Nicolas Dalby, though it was canceled due to an injury. The fact that the UFC booked the newcomer against a guy ranked in the top 30 says something. Cosce has amazing cardo and pushes the pace in his fights, and I see more of the same here against Rowe. Rowe dropped his debut back in February against Gabe Green via a clear decision and followed that up by losing two grappling bouts over the last few months. I see Cosce with more ways to win in this matchup, as he should have a clear edge on the mat and will trade for 15 minutes better than most. Rowe's path will be keeping control of the distance, keeping the fight upright. It appears money is coming in on the dog, but I don’t see it.
Weigh-ins: Orion Cosce (170.5) vs. Phil Rowe (173.5)
Prediction: Orion Cosce
Note: Rowe is over the limit, forfeits 20% of the purse.
- Strickland/Hall UNDER 3.5 rds -115
- Barberena via TKO/KO +130
- Garcia vis SUB +250
- Yoder -136
- Cosce -150
- Barberena/Garcia -125
FULL CARD PREDICTIONS
- SEAN STRICKLAND defeats URIAH HALL
- RANI YAHYA defeats KYUNG HO KANG
- CHEYANNE BUYS defeats GLORIA DE PAULA
- NIKLAS STOLZE defeats JARED GOODEN
- RYAN BENOIT defeats ZARRUKH ADASHEV
- BRYAN BARBERENA defeats JASON WITT
- NICCO MONTANO defeats WU YANAN
- MELSIK BAGHDASARYAN defeats COLLIN ANGLIN
- RAFA GARCIA defeats CHRIS GRUETZEMACHER
- DANNY CHAVEZ defeats KAI KAMAKA
- ASHLEY YODER defeats JINH YU FREY
- RONNIE LAWRENCE defeats TREVIN JONES
- ORION COSCE defeats PHILIP ROWE
UFC PREDICTION BET SUMMARY
- 2021 predictions: 160-113-5 (59%)
- 2021 wagers: 83-74-2 (53%)
- Predictions: 541-312-16 (63%)
- Wagers: 293-161-8 (65%)
DFS PLAYS & STRATEGIES
- Choose active fighters. Coupling an active fighter on their way to a unanimous decision will give you key points for your team. You want the active, offensive player that scores. Key metrics here are SLpM and TD AVG/15min.
- Play the heavyweights. The approximate overall finish rate in the UFC is 54%. Most weight divisions range from 40%-60%, while the heavyweights push a 75% finish rate. You will receive bonus points for finishes inside the distance.
- Try always to include the main event or title fights. Five-round fights mean more time to rack up points if you pick the right fighter. In some cases, even if you have the loser, the points can be more than a three-round winner.
- Don't get excited and rush a pick based on stats; consider sample size. Some fighters have limited fights compared to their opponents when looking at metrics. Stats could be exaggerated. Do your research. Watch for spots with debuting fighters as well. Always check the records of the opponents they faced on their way to the UFC. Always pull fight tape as well. You’d be surprised at what you will find.
- Review methods of victory. I supply the finish rates within this article, and as you dive in, you can compare method of victory to method of loss for the matchups. For example, you can find matchups where Fighter A has a high % of submission victories matched up with Fighter B, with a high % of submission losses.
As mentioned in the tip sheet above, here’s my MMA DFS Heat Chart for UFC Vegas 33. As you can see, the chart is ranked based on fight finish odds. Fight finishes are where the points are in MMA DFS. Take a glance at the stack, and we will break down the individual matchups below.
Two key offensive metrics are strikes and takedowns. They get off on their opponents; watch your points rack up quickly. Here's my Offensive Output Meter for the card. With this chart, you can compare historical fighter averages in these two key metrics as I rank all fighters participating Saturday.
Below is the differential for strikes landed vs. strikes absorbed per minute.
Here is the takedown average per 15 minutes and the opponent’s takedown defense percent.
UFC DFS RECOMMENDATIONS
- Fighters that press the action, land takedowns, and/or high finish rates matched up against those that get finished, roster. (see my charts above)
- Fights projected to NOT go to a decision
- Strickland/Hall -168
- Kang/Yahya -108
- Barberena/Witt -215
- Anglin/Baghdasaryan -110
- Gruetzemacher/Garcia -115
- Lawrence/Jones -125
- Cosce/Rowe -175
- For the main event, I like Strickland though he will have to have an outstanding performance over Hall to hit value with a $9300 price tag. With five rounds of work, Hall can cover $6900 in a win.
- Top-tier fighters to build around include: Barberena, Garcia, Montano
- Mid-tier fighter considerations are: Cosce, Lawrence
- Live 'dogs that could score:
- Stolze (price error)
- Yahya (sub chance)
- Hall as mentioned (multi-lineups)
Good luck, everyone. I hope to see some of you cashing after Saturday night! Follow me on Twitter @Y2CASEY