UFC Fight Night Betting & Fantasy Breakdown: Poirier vs Hooker Match Up in UFC Vegas 4

Casey Olson

Last weekend, Josh Emmett and Shane Burgos threw down in what became a highly discussed front runner for fight of the year, Now, the UFC is back this Saturday, headlined by a fight that may quite possibly take those top honors.

UFC Vegas 4 on Saturday caps off a very successful run for the organization at UFC Apex, as it will be the final fight card from the Vegas facility, before heading off to Fight Island, which already has nine cards scheduled across the next two months. Saturday night’s card is slated for 10 matches, and is headlined by the return of Dustin Poirier, who takes on a contender on the rise, Aukland’s own, Dan Hooker. The night’s co-main event features the always entertaining Mike Perry, who apparently will be cornered by only his girlfriend, as he takes on submission artist Mickey Gall, whom you may remember as CM Punk’s first opponent in a fight that lasted just about two minutes until Gall choked him out.

The prelims kick off at 5pm ET, followed by the main card at 8pm ET. Here’s the details.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT: UFC VEGAS 4

DATE: SATURDAY 06/27/2020

BROADCAST: ESPN

VENUE: UFC APEX

LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada

MATCHES: 10

UFC FIGHT NIGHT MAIN CARD:

LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT 155 LBS

#3 DUSTIN POIRIER 25-6 (-220) VS #5 DAN HOOKER 20-8 (+180)

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170 LBS

MIKE PERRY 13-6 (-310) VS MICKEY GALL 6-2 (+255)

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT 185 LBS

#13 BRENDAN ALLEN 14-3 (-300) VS KYLE DAUKAUS 9-0 (+250)

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 265 LBS

GIAN VILLANTE 17-11 (+195) VS MAURICE GREENE 8-4 (-235)

CATCHWEIGHT BOUT 155 LBS

SEAN WOODSON 7-0 (-475) VS JULIAN EROSA 23-8 (+325)

PRELIMS:

LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT 155 LBS

LUIS PENA 8-2 (-270) VS KHAMA WORTHY 15-6 (+230)

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 265 LBS

PHILIPE LINS 14-4 (-115) VS TANNER BOSER 17-6-1 (-105)

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 155 LBS

TAKASHI SATO 15-3 (-125) VS RAMIZ BRAHIMAJ 8-2 (+105)

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT 145 LBS

JORDAN GRIFFIN 18-7 (-105) VS YOUSSEF ZALAL 8-2 (-115)

WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT BOUT 115 LBS

KAY HANSEN 6-3 (-170) VS JINH YU FREY 9-4 (+150)

"The Diamond" Shines on Saturday Night

If Dustin Poirier isn’t booked, he’s actively looking to be one of the most active fighters on the roster.

With 11 years as a pro, 10 of which under the WEC/UFC banner, Poirier will be returning to the stage after the longest layoff of his career.

After winning six straight, he lost via third round submission to lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov last September. He took the time after the loss to repair a nagging hip injury which resulted in weeks of inactivity; unknown territory for the former interim champ.

After weeks of rest leading into physical therapy, Poirier was able to take a timeout from fighting, to spend time with his family, which gave him a great opportunity to put things into perspective. This included celebrating his successes and appreciation for the position he has been able to put his family in. Doing this can only make a fighter like Poirier hungrier for more, and I believe we will see that Saturday night when he makes his return.

His return won’t be a walk in the park by any means. Standing across from him will be a fighter on the cusp of title talks in Dan Hooker. Hooker is riding a three-fight win streak into this matchup, including a highlight knockout of James Vick. He followed that up with two decisions against tough opponents in Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder.

Hooker will have the size advantage with three inches of reach on Poirier. That’s coupled with a stellar 78% takedown defense, which will point to this match being on the feet the majority of the night. When looking at the historical statistics, you will find Poirier with advantages in all metrics across the board both standing and on the mat, with the exception of the takedown defense we’ve already mentioned.

A big key is Poirier’s Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM) compared to Hooker’s past opponents. Poirier is elite in this area, and lands 5.51 SLpM while only absorbing 3.97, giving him a strike differential of +1.54. Hooker isn’t bad himself with 4.76 SLpM yet he gets hit just as much, giving him an almost even differential on his end. Not good. Considering these numbers, you have to look at the opponents that have led to the numbers themselves. In Hooker’s UFC career, he’s literally never faced anyone that throws the volume Poirier does. Take a look.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 9.39.46 AM

Now we look at who Poirier has faced. When looking at his last five opponents, the level of opponent in comparison to Hooker’s is just massive.

Poirier has faced either a current or former UFC title holder in his last six fights, which resulted in a no contest, four straight wins (three finishes), and his loss to current champ Nurmagomedov. That, my friends, is impressive.

As mentioned, this fight will predominantly be on the feet, and we should see Poirier’s technique and volume shine. It’s the fight game I know, and Hooker always has that puncher’s chance to clip Poirier, but that hasn’t happened in over four years, and only twice across 31 fights.

It’s also worth noting that Poirier’s travel for this fight is far less impactful than Hooker’s. Training out of City Kickboxing in Auckland, New Zealand, Hooker was only able to access the gym near the end of his camp, causing him to get creative in staying in shape. This was without knowing if he could make the fight with New Zealand under level-4 lockdown specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hooker eventually got his visa and will arrive in Vegas ready to go. It’s got to weigh on the mind though that after this event, he must turn around and head back home across the world, only to be quarantined for 14 days at some hotel. I’m exhausted just thinking about his trek.

A little fun fact in closing. Anyone who has beaten Paul Felder has lost their very next fight. Guess who just beat Paul Felder four months ago? Dan Hooker.

PREDICTION: DUSTIN POIRIER -190 (BET)

QUICK NOTES/PREDICTIONS ON THE REST OF THE CARD:

MIKE PERRY 13-6 VS MICKEY GALL 6-2

Mike Perry had no traditional training camp, and will have his girlfriend (with no fight experience), solely cornering him Saturday for the co-main. Can the gambling gods please let this get to the second round, and can the UFC mic up Perry’s corner? This will be amazing. As long as Perry avoids the submission attempts, I’m not sure how Gall can win.

  • Perry has dropped three of his last four, but all against higher ranked opponents
  • 83% of Gall’s victories are by way of submission
  • Perry’s first 11 wins are by way of knockout, seven in the first round

PREDICTION: MIKE PERRY 

#13 BRENDAN ALLEN 14-3 VS KYLE DAUKAUS 9-0

Allen has been impressive since getting the call up to the UFC. He’s finished both Tom Breese and Kevin Holland since earning his contract last July on DWCS with a submission win against Aaron Jeffery on the show.

Allen will welcome newcomer Kyle Daukaus, the #1 middleweight out of Pennsylvania, who will be making his debut with the organization. Daukaus is 9-0, with eight wins via submission.

Daukaus is game and very crafty on the mat. He just may be the better striker, although lacking the power advantage. While the line should be closer here, I’ll side with the favorite.

  • Allen is 2-0 in the UFC, and has finished all but one of his pro fights
  • Daukaus is making his debut in the UFC
  • Daukaus is the Cage Fury Middleweight Champion w/2 title defenses

PREDICTION: BRENDAN ALLEN 

GIAN VILLANTE 17-11 VS MAURICE GREENE 8-4

Villante is 2-4 in his last six fights, and will be making the move to heavyweight for this matchup. Although he’s seen some success at heavyweight in the past (6-1), he hasn’t fought in the division since 2010. Regardless, Villante is very hittable, has little head movement and statistically absorbs more than he lands. Greene will be the more aggressive fighter and though he’s sloppy, his size and output should be a difference maker as Villante eventually slows down.

  • Villante moving up from light heavyweight
  • Greene with a six inch reach advantage

PREDICTION: MAURICE GREENE -227 (BET) 

SEAN WOODSON 7-0 VS JULIAN EROSA 23-8

This is a short notice fight. Woodson is undefeated and looked great against Kyle Bochniak last October in a fight where he was a +130 underdog. Erosa on the other hand is 0-3 in the UFC, and a pink slip could be on deck. Would parlay Woodson with someone if I played parlays.

  • Erosa is 1-4 in the UFC, and has lost his last three
  • Woodson looks to stay undefeated, as he’s 7-0 entering Saturday’s match
  • Reach advantage to Woodson (+3.5)

PREDICTION: SEAN WOODSON

LUIS PENA 8-2 VS KHAMA WORTHY 15-6

Pena’s 4-2 in the UFC and continues to improve. Worthy, as we saw last August, throws with intent; shocking Devonte Smith and putting him away in one round. He’s a kill-or-be-killed type fighter, and lacks some grappling, which will most likely be where Pena will take this.

Expect to see Pena get a piggy back ride and avoid the big shots from Worthy.

  • Worthy hasn’t lost in two years, and has won six in a row
  • Worthy has been finished in all six of this losses
  • Pena’s last five fights have entered the third round, four going to decision.

PREDICTION: LUIS PENA

PHILIPE LINS 14-4 VS TANNER BOSER 17-6-1

Interesting to see a heavyweight fight in a small cage with an over/under set at 2.5. Lins will look to box, while Boser will look to mix in some kicks, keeping Lins guessing. Boser proved his durability once again in his loss to prospect Cyril Gane. Boser will have the more volume in there along with cardio advantage. Both fighters will have their moments, but I’m going to take a position with Boser and look for him to land more across three rounds.

  • Boser hasn’t been finished in over five years
  • Lins with a quick turnaround, where he made his debut less than 2 months ago
  • Boser has gone 3 or more rounds in his last 7 fights

PREDICTION: TANNER BOSER -110 (BET)

TAKASHI SATO 15-3 (-125) VS RAMIZ BRAHIMAJ 8-2

Sato is making his return against the debuting Ramiz Brahimaj.

Coming off a loss to Belal Muhammad, Sato is 1-1 in the UFC.

Sato is a very quick southpaw, is considered durable and recovers fairly well when in danger. 12 of his 15 victories have come by finish, with 67% by knockout.

Brahimaj is an elite jiu jitsu practitioner and if he can get this one down to the mat, it's his world. This is definitely a striker vs grappler match up.

As long as Sato avoids the mat, watch for Brahimaj to slow on the feet, with a possibility that Sato lands a KO.

  • UFC debut for Brahimaj
  • Sato’s last six victories are all by way of KO
  • Brahimaj has won by submission in all eight of his victories

PREDICTION: TAKASHI SATO -125 (BET)

JORDAN GRIFFIN 18-7 VS YOUSSEF ZALAL 8-2

Zalal at 23 years old continues to improve, and will be visibly the better athlete in comparison to the veteran Griffin. I like the cardio and ability to mix in the leg kicks from Zalal here. He’ll probably land some takedowns and score some points as well, exposing the 35% takedown defense of Griffin.

Griffin is tough, and hasn’t been finished since 2014. I was going to make a play on Zalal, but the small cage will impact his ability to move in and out as much as he’d like. It’s a quick turnaround for Griffin so consider the two weight cuts in a short span.

  • This will be Zalal’s first fight against a southpaw
  • Zalal has never been finished
  • Griffin 18-7 overall, is 1-2 in the UFC

PREDICTION: YOUSSEF ZALAL

KAY HANSEN 6-3 VS JINH YU FREY 9-4

We have another very short notice fight for Hansen and Frey.

At 20 years old, Hansen is 15 years younger than Frey, and both will be making their UFC debuts.

This will be the first fight for Frey in the strawweight division. Frey is the current Invicta FC atomweight champion, and will be the visibly better striker. That said, Hansen could take her down with the size, and Frey isn’t the best on the mat. No reason to push a bet on this one for me.

  • Both making their UFC debuts
  • Hansen has gone to the third round in her last 7 matches
  • Frey moving up in weight

PREDICTION: KAY HANSEN

UFC Betting Results:

Last event prediction recap: 7-5

Fight card predictions overall: 187-103-6 (64%)

Targeted matchups (wagers):68-29-2 (70%) Avg. odds -107

UFC Fight Night: UFC Vegas 4 DFS Plays

A couple of things I like to consider when playing MMA DFS:

  • Choose active fighters. Coupling an active fighter on his/her way to a unanimous decision will give you key points for your team. Just like any other DFS traditional sport, 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 of the 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 to always 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 even more, 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.

Take Note for UFC APEX Venue:

A narrative for DFS players to consider going into his card is the UFC’s decision to roll with the use of its smaller, 25 foot octagon at the APEX, instead of the standard 30’ cage.

The use of the smaller octagon has historically increased fight finish rates, and shortened average fight times, due to the ability to create more action and engagement between the two fighters.

As mentioned in the tip sheet above, here’s my MMA DFS Heat Chart for UFC Fight Night.

The chart is ranked based on fight finish odds. Fight finishes are where the points are in MMA DFS. Take a quick glance at the stack, and we will break down the individual match-ups below.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 10.12.15 AM

Two key offensive metrics are strikes and takedowns. They get off on their opponents, so watch your points rack up quick.

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.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 10.15.02 AM
Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 10.15.55 AM

Below you will find the striking differential for the card. Consider it a heat chart, those in red are “hotter” than those in blue “cold.”

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 10.16.54 AM

Final Recommendations

  • Remember the smaller cage is being used. Fighters that typically press the action, land takedowns, and/or high finish rates matched up against those that get finished, roster. (see my charts above)
  • Take a look at the main event obviously with the five rounds to work. Love POIRIER and his historical output.
  • Fights projected to not go the distance include: (my suggestion in all caps)
  • Hooker/POIRIER -285
  • PERRY/Gall -265
  • ALLEN/Daukaus -245
  • Villante/GREENE -215
  • Brahimaj/SATO -175
  • I like WOODSON. Very unorthodox and stays busy against a struggling opponent.
  • Top tier fighters to build around include PERRY and ALLEN.
  • Mid tier fighter considerations are POIRIER, GREENE, SATO
  • Live dogs are ZALAL and BOSER.

Good luck everyone and I hope to see some of you cashing after Saturday night!

Find me on Twitter @Y2CASEY

Comments

MMA

FEATURED
COMMUNITY