UFC Vegas 17 Picks and Analysis
Confident Picks: 11-1-8
Underdog Picks: 2-1-2
Our best bets of the week for UFC 256 went an average 1-1-1 for our confident picks but we did hit another underdog with Charles Oliveira’s destruction of Tony Ferguson in the co-main event. We were hoping for a clean sweep but we still hit a couple of small underdogs to walk away with some extra units in our pockets.
For this week, Fight Night 183 has some of the closest odds of the year and we will again be focusing on slight favorites and underdogs that have better value than perceived. I will also be adding a special “Worst Bets of The Week” where we will go over a couple of fights think everyone should stay away from.
Gillian Robertson -105
I’ve been high on Robertson since her time on The Ultimate Fighter 26 and despite a couple of setbacks in the last few years I still think she has the skills to become a serious title challenger in the future. Talia Santos was highly touted before making her UFC debut and a string of canceled fights started the rumor that opponents were dodging her. But a split decision loss in her debut brought everyone back to reality and when you realize her opponents outside of the UFC had a combined 8-11 record, her 15-0 record becomes much less impressive.
No matter who wins one thing is for sure, this fight is hitting the ground early and often. Robertson is one of the best wrestlers in the division and this is a huge step up in competition for Santos and I don’t think she will be able to stop the grappling exchanges against the cage or defend the takedowns coming after. Although Santos is a striker, she is easy to coerce into grappling exchanges and I’m afraid she will play into Robertson’s game and turn this into 3 rounds of grappling. But if Robertson can’t get the fight to the ground I think Santos could pick her apart on the feet but that’s a big If with Robertson’s 3.5 takedown average.
Jimmy Flick -150
Jimmy “The Brick” Flick makes his UFC debut this weekend against Cody Durden after his incredibly impressive win in the contender series earlier this year. Flick is from my home state and is the best fighter we have produced in years so I’ve been following him diligently since 2014 and let me say, the mans a killer on the ground. 13 of his 15 wins have come via submission and his ability to chain together submission attempts and passes is probably the best in the division before even making his debut. I will admit I have some bias towards this one but I’ve also seen Flick fight more than anyone in the world other than his team and I really believe he will be a major problem for anyone in the division once he gets some experience at the highest level. Durden had an impressive debut going to a draw as nearly a +300 underdog but I think he struggles with a specialist like Flick.
Antonio Arroyo -155
My Next confident pick for the week is Antonio Arroyo to take out Deron Winn. Firstly, Winn is 5’6 fighting at middleweight which doesn’t even make sense for his size but just like his mentor Daniel Cormier, Winn is short, stocky, and powerful. Winn is one of the most accomplished wrestlers in the UFC today so we know he will be shooting for the hips as often as possible. Arroyo doesn’t have the best takedown defense but I think he has the jiu jitsu skills to negate any of Winns passes on the ground and eventually find a submission for himself. Winn has great takedowns but he often looks lost when forced to control opponents on top and his awareness for submissions has been below average. On the feet I don’t think it’s close and Arroyo picks him apart from range and on the ground, Winn could grind out a decision but I think Arroyo is too big to control and his submission ability off his back will force Winn to be hesitant.
Underdog of The Week
Khaos Williams +105
I’m sticking with Khaos Willams as my underdog pick this week after taking him against Abdul Razak Alhassan just over a month ago. Michel Pereira is the definition of unorthodox and has a ridiculous amount of experience for his age but I think Williams is too measured to play into it and gets another knockout to cap off his crazy year. We still don’t know a lot about Williams but we do know that Periera has a cardio problem and his wild striking makes his defense lackluster and I think Williams takes advantage and finds a way to get the finish in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Worst Bets of The Week
Every week I find some lines I think are off and start doing some tape study to see if I should jump on it early. But every week there are also fights that are an immediate no play for me and I don’t even bother to research. So this week I’m going to highlight a few of the no plays that jumped out to me and they both happen to be the biggest fights on the card.
Geoff Neal vs. Wonderboy Thompson
Neal looked fantastic in his first-round knockout win over Mike Perry last December, but this is a huge step up in competition for him and these odds seemed off to me. But not off in a good way, off in a scary, I don’t know what they are seeing in Neal and I don’t want to be on the wrong end of it type of way. Wonderboy is a master of range and evasion but Neal is the perfect mix of measured and explosive so I have no idea how this one will go. Wonderboy is also aging and this is in the small cage which will allow him less room to move to keep Neal at bay.
Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Vera
My other no play this week is Aldo vs Chito Vera. Aldo is just 5 months removed from a hellacious beatdown from Petr Yan while Vera is fresh off the biggest win of his career over Sean O’Malley. Although Aldo is 3-6 since the fight with McGregor, he has still taken on the best in the division and put up some good fights in those losing performances. This is a massive step up in competition for Vera but this could be the fight Aldo finally confirms his downfall. Either way there is too much unknown in this one and I advise you to stay away
Kevin Wilson is a freelance MMA writer who specializes in pre-fight breakdowns and analysis. He has been an MMA fan since 2007 and has been writing about combat sports since he was 17 years old. His work can be found on Sherdog, MMA Today, and now MyMMANews!