UFC 219 is set to take place this Saturday night (Dec. 30) at Las Vegas, Nevada, and let us just say it does not scream”caliber” like preceding end-of-year UFC cards.
The UFC stacks its card of this year in the top to base. Rather, in 2017, we get a major event between Holly Holm and Cris Cyborg. Though it has the potential to be a fantastic fight, it doesn’t necessarily scream”buy this pay-per-view!”
Additionally, this is a very hard card to bet on as there are not lots of fights that you can get a strong read on. A number of the favorites, such as Cyborg and Khabib Nurmagomedov, deserve to become overpowering favorites, yet might also easily get merked with their opponents. Danger lurks.
That said, we must make a few plays. So let us do the best we can to find some golden underdogs, some worthy props, along with a rewarding softball. Also checking out my Best Bets for UFC Futures from a week, in which I suggested a couple of’dogs (Carla Esparza and Neil Magny) who still hold some value.
Middleweight: Marvin Vettori (-222) vs. Omari Akhmedov (+187)
At first glance, this moneyline at BetOnline seems perfectly okay, but if you have a closer look at this preliminary matchup, you can find some solid reasons to take the puppy in Omari”The Wolverine” Akhmedov (17-4).
Even though Marvin Vettori (12-3) is a bigger fighter who loves to throw down, averaging 3.13 significant strikes landed per moment, he does not have enough power to take Akhmedov out via (T)KO, so this fight could end up being a grappling affair. While Akhmedov has revealed in the past that he has some power in his hands (seven wins by knockout and also two”Battle of the Night” bonuses at the UFC), in which he really shines is in the wrestling section. The Dagestani grappler may easily wind up controlling the fight if the bulk is invested at the clinch or around the mat.
The sole kryptonite that I watch for Akhmedov is that his gasoline tank. Will he strike a cardio wall like he did in consecutive knockout losses to Sergio Moraes and Elizeu Zaleski? In both of these losses, Akhmedov started strong but faded badly in the subsequent rounds.
He followed up those declines with two hard-working decision wins over Kyle Noke and Abdul Razak Alhassan, the latter an upset at UFC Fight Night 109. Right now I am leaning towards”The Wolverine’s” hard hands and wrestling acumen for a second potentially rewarding upset.
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