UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze
#UFCVegas35 MMA Betting Preview
At the end of the night, there is a high probability that the UFC’s main event caps off the event with the fight of the night honors, as two incredible strikers in #9 Edson Barboza (22-9) takes on #10 Giga Chikadze (13-2) are matched up in what oddsmakers have as a toss-up. Though only two years older, Barboza has over twice the fights and a wealth of experience under the bright lights compared to Chikadze, though the up-and-comer prospect has yet to taste defeat, riding a six-fight win streak since entering the UFC.
The card will also feature the finals of The Ultimate Fighter 29, and the UFC will crown the season’s middleweight and bantamweight tourney winners, as Bryan Battle (5-1) will take on Gilbert Urbina (6-1) at middleweight and Ricky Turcios (10-2) vs. Brady Hiestand (5-1) at Bantamweight. Before crowning the season champs, Kevin Lee (18-6) is back and making another run at Welterweight, though standing in his way will be the uber tough Daniel Rodriguez (15-2), and all signs point to another must-see matchup with high pace and tons of output coming from both fighters with three rounds to go to war.
- DATE: SATURDAY 08/28/21
- BROADCAST: ESPN – Prelims: ESPN+
- VENUE: UFC APEX
- LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada
- # of MATCHES: 12
TAKES, PREDICTIONS & BETS
FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT (145 LBS): #9 EDSON BARBOZA (22-9) VS #10 GIGA CHIKADZE (13-2)
Whether taking matchups at lightweight or feather, we all know Edson Barboza is a sniper and can end your hopes in a fight with just one leg kick. As devastating a striker as they come, Barboza can end the fight with just one strike or pile on some heavy volume that takes years off a guy's life. This weekend though, he deals some serious striking of his own. Giga Chikadze is fresh off a one-round, one-minute knockout of fan-favorite Cub Swanson. He also looked dominant since his arrival to the UFC. At 13-2, Chikadze will look to go toe-to-toe on the feet with one of the world’s best strikers here, and we will be right here fortunate enough to take it all in as he looks to leapfrog Barboza in the rankings.
Barboza has much more experience. This will be Chikadze’s first walk under the bright lights, and although he's as game as they come, the added pressure for the first go is there. Card placement aside, Barboza has the slight edge in grappling, and although he’s historically absorbed over four strikes per minute during his run, you’d have to consider the strength of schedule in comparing the two fighters. Sure Barboza is just 5-5 in his last 10 fights, but you have to look at the fact that he's been matched up against some big names. Two of the five losses were via split decision, in fights he arguably should have taken, while a couple of other guys were able to get the nod, those names being Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov, former interim and defending champ/goat in the division. Chikadze has run his streak to eight wins in a row, with six of those since fighting under the UFC banner. The biggest name from this run is Swanson, and the only other highly skilled fighter would have been Omar Morales. His last loss came against Austin Springer via sub, and Springer has had just one fight in the UFC.
Both guys have some powerful striking, and although strikes have never finished Chikadze, a five-round matchup makes this one interesting. If Chikadze can get through with a clean shot, who's to say he doesn't hurt Barboza. That said, Chikadze has a puncher's chance, but to me, Barboza earns that green checkmark in more facets of the game in this matchup.
- Prediction: Edson Barboza
- Bet: Barboza -115
- Bet: Barboza/Chikadze U4.5 rounds -125
MIDDLEWEIGHT (185 LBS): BRYAN BATTLE (5-1) VS GILBERT URBINA (6-1
Battle was originally slated to take on Tresean Gore, who injured his knee coming into this fight. Urbina steps in and has typically fought at 170, while Battle is right at home here at middleweight. Volkanovski picked Battle to win it all early on in the season, and I'd have to agree with the champ.
- Prediction: Bryan Battle
- Bet: Battle -164
BANTAMWEIGHT (135 LBS): RICKY TURCIOS (10-2) VS. BRADY HIESTAND (5-1)
I expect we see a very close fight against two guys that are well deserving of this finals opportunity. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see both eventually fight in the organization regardless. I give the slight edge to Ricky Turcios.
- Prediction: Ricky Turcios
- Bet: Pass
WELTERWEIGHT (170 LBS): #11 KEVIN LEE (18-6) VS DANIEL RODRIGUEZ (15-2)
We can’t put too much weight into Lee’s 0-1 record in the welterweight division as his defeat came against RDA, who typically fights down at 155 as well. Lee will have to go to his wrestling in this spot, as Rodriguez and his volume while standing will make it an intriguing night as to which way this fight goes. I believe most assume Rodriguez won’t be able to out grapple Lee, but with his size and sneaky submissions of his own, I wouldn’t be so fast to rush to bet Lee. Half of Lee’s losses have come by way of submission, and with a suspect gas tank late into fights for Lee, I don't see this as a route by any means. I see Rodriguez as a potential live dog, and he’s hungry.
- Prediction: Daniel Rodriguez
- Bet: Pending line movement, but eyeing Rodriguez.
MIDDLEWEIGHT (185 LBS): ANDRE PETROSKI (5-1) VS. MICHAEL GILLMORE (6-3)
Petroski should cruise, and I don’t hate his chances at a submission here against Gillmore, whose three losses have all come via chokes.
- Prediction: Andre Petroski
- Bet: Pass, but might want to consider Petroski via submission at plus money
MIDDLEWEIGHT (185 LBS): MAKHMUD MURADOV (25-6) VS. GERALD MEERSCHAERT (32-14)
Meerschaert is very slick with the submissions, but with durability fading as of late, it is tough to side with him against a guy with 17 knockouts, with 10 of those coming in his last 12 fights.
- Prediction: Makhmud Muradov
- Bet: Pass, but worthy on a parlay (see below)
MIDDLEWEIGHT (185 LBS): ABDUL RAZAK ALHASSAN (10-4) VS ALESSIO DI CHIRICO (13-5)
You don’t see guys fall off as quickly as we’ve seen Razak Alhassan as of late. At one point, he was 10-1 with every win via knockout, and since he has lost three straight, he has been vocal about knowing his position. It was thought his last matchup was a layup for him to get back on track against Jacob Malkoun, who lost in 18 seconds in his UFC debut against a guy who possesses power similar to Razak Alhassan. Instead, Malkoun rag-dolled him and cruised to a unanimous decision victory, basically writing the game plan on how to beat a guy with so much power. Di Chirico has the skill set and durability to get the nod here, as he’s never been knocked out, and has the grappling skillset to land takedowns to zap the energy of Razak Alhassen similar to Malkoun’s showing. If he plays it smart, the fight is Di Chirico’s. Small sprinkle on Razak Alhassan via TKO/KO at up and over +300?
- Prediction: Alessio Di Chirico
- Bet: Pass
MIDDLEWEIGHT (185 LBS): SAM ALVEY (33-15-1) VS WELLINGTON TURMAN (16-5)
For a guy who’s 0-5-1 in his last six fights, Sam Alvey is a “big mood.” Grinning ear to ear with a smile shaved into the back of his head, Alvey looked unphased by his latest run. I’ve never been sold on Turman myself, but it's hard to back Alvey with such a tight line. Alvey via TKO/KO at +300 is interesting.
- Prediction: Sam Alvey
- Bet: Pass
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (205 LBS): DUSTIN JACOBY (14-5-1) VS DARREN STEWART (12-7)
I like Jacoby here taking Stewart into deep waters. The fight early on should indicate how this fight finishes. Stewart has an outside chance if he can take Jacoby down and hold him there, but I don't see it. Jacoby's volume and striking defense are good enough to win via decision.
- Prediction: Dustin Jacoby
- Bet: Pass but parlay worthy (see below)
WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT (125 LBS): JJ ALDRICH (9-4) VS VANESSA DEMOPOULOS (6-3)
Oddsmakers aren’t giving Demopoulos much of a chance here, and as we’ve seen from here, she’s never really out of a fight and can be sneaky with submissions at any given moment. The challenge here is that she's stepping in on short notice to replace Tracy Cortez and give Aldrich a four-inch height and six-inch reach advantage. The popular play is Aldrich via decision, considering her output, experience, and size advantage, paired with Demopoulos’ ability to hang. I can't lay -175 in a boxed-in prop.
- Prediction: JJ Aldrich
- Bet: Pass
FEATHERWEIGHT (145 LBS): PAT SABATINI (14-3) VS JAMALL EMMERS (18-5)
Step up in competition for Sabatini here, and rightfully earned after cruising through Tristan Connelly in his UFC debut back in April. Emmers had won four straight before dropping a split decision to Giga Chikadze, but quickly got back on track with a clear decision over Vince Chachero last August. Sabatini has an outside chance at a submission, but other than that, Emmer’s should have enough of an edge to get the nod.
- Prediction: Jamall Emmers
- Bet: Pass
BANTAMWEIGHT (135 LBS): MANA MARTINEZ (8-2) VS GUIDO CANNETTI (8-5)
Martinez missed weight by four pounds, but all things considered, huge props to him for being here. Martinez was slated to compete last week, but the fight now comes one week later and against a different opponent after the scrap due to Covid-19 protocols. Layered on top of that was the death of his head coach, who lost his life to the virus last week. That said, regardless of all the recent challenges he’s had to go through, he looks ready to make a statement.
- Prediction: Mana Martinez
- Bet: Martinez KO prop -110
- Barboza -115
- Barboza/Chikadze U4.5 rounds -125
- Battle -164
- Martinez KO prop -110
- Muradov/Jacoby -139
- Add Petroski +103
- Add Aldrich +151
**Pending other props/plays live during the card.
FULL CARD PREDICTIONS
- Barboza defeats Chikadze
- Battle defeats Urbina
- Turcios defeats Hiestand
- Rodriguez defeats Lee
- Petroski defeats Gillmore
- Muradov defeats Meerschaert
- Di Chirico defeats Razak Alhassan
- Alvey defeats Turman
- Jacoby defeats Stewart
- Aldrich defeats Demopoulos
- Emmers defeats Sabatini
- Martinez defeats Cannetti
UFC PREDICTION BET SUMMARY
- 2021 predictions: 173-122-6 (59%)
- 2021 wagers: 91-82-2 (53%)
- Predictions: 554-321-17 (63%)
- Wagers: 301-169-8 (64%)
MMA DFS Charts
Offensive output meter
Differential for strikes landed vs. Strikes absorbed per minute
Takedown average per 15 minutes & opponent’s takedown defense percent
- Fights projected to NOT go to a decision
- Barboza/Chikadze -158
- Battle/Urbina -110
- Rodriguez/Lee -120
- Petroski/Gillmore -350
- Meerschaert/Muradov -320
- Razak Alhassan/Di Chirico -148
- Alvey/Turman -134
- Cannetti/Martinez -290
- For the main event, I’m siding with Barboza, though both have some value. Five rounds to work with both punching out volume and the ability to land a finish. Hit them both if you play multiple.
- Top Tier fighters to build around include: Muradov, Petroski, Martinez, Aldrich
- Mid Tier fighter considerations are: Battle, Jacoby, Di Chirico, Emmers
- Live Dogs: Barboza, Rodriguez, Alvey
For Prize Picks, give it a shot if you haven’t downloaded the app. I'm looking at a few props.
- Kevin Lee with more than two takedowns. He averages more takedowns per 15 minutes than anyone on the card, as you can see above in the chart (3.21), and it's his path to victory against a striker like Rodriguez.
- Jamall Emmers to land over 1.5 takedowns. Averaging under three per 15 min, his size should get him up over this number with the small cage and ability to cut off the ring.
- Wellington Turman under 43.5 significant strikes. He's exceeded that number just once since entering the UFC, with his totals at 1, 21, 48 and 25. Alvey tends to close and tie up his opponent when they are teeing off, which should bring the count down as well.
- Mana Martinez to land under 35.5 significant strikes. Cannetti tends to fold quickly if he gets hurt, and it's obvious he'll want to go for takedowns. Oddsmakers have this one more than likely ending in the first round, which will also give Martinez limited time to hit the number.
Good luck, everyone. I hope to see some of you cashing after Saturday night! Follow me on Twitter @Y2CASEY