UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev
Bet of the Card: (1.5u) Nina Nunes Moneyline @ +130 (to Return 3.45 Units)
Preliminary Card Headliner – (W) Flyweight (125lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 8:40 p.m. EST.
- Cynthia Calvillo is riding a 3-fight losing streak into this weekend, with her being out-landed in each of those losses, and even getting stopped twice (per UFCStats.com).
- Nina Nunes ranks 4th all-time amongst UFC (W) Strawweights for takedown defense (76.5% - Min. 5 UFC Fights and 20 TD Att. by Opps.) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
There are a few things that detract from my betting interest in Nina Nunes (formerly Ansaroff). She’s 36 years old, not long since birthed her and Amanda Nunes’ child, and she’s fought sparingly over the course of her entire pro career, with her fighting no more than twice a year. That said, there’s a lot to like too. She fights to her strengths, is insanely tough and gritty, and has proven that she can hang, and even beat some top-level opponents.
Calvillo has had her moments in the UFC as well, but after seeing her on her recent skid, I’m struggling to see why she’s the favorite here, or at least not sitting in the pick’em range. Her grappling does hold upside against Nunes, but her submission game isn’t strong enough to run through Nunes, as Dern did, and that should open the door for Nunes to utilize her decent stand-up game. Calvillo’s striking can be on point on any given day, but Nunes is the more fundamentally sound striker, and although she may give up a little on volume, her technicality and forward motion should prove more effective.
All things considered, this is a close fight, and although Calvillo could look to her grappling here, I’m not sure you can rely on her to do it consistently, or even with great effect, so I see this being largely a striking affair, and one that I favor Nunes to edge. I’m not taking a strong stance here, but I favor Nunes marginally, so it’s a clear play on Nunes as the slight ‘dog.
(1u) Michael Johnson Moneyline @ +200 (to Return 3 Units)
Main Card Opener – Lightweight (155lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:15 p.m. EST.
- Michael Johnson ranks 9th amongst active UFC lightweights for takedown defense (79.5%) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com) and has put up an admirable significant strike defense of 58%, that’s 11% greater than Mullarkey’s 47% (per UFCStats.com).
- Jamie Mullarkey absorbs more sig. strikes per min. than he lands (5.05 vs. 3.42) (per UFCStats.com).
It’s hard to get enthusiastic about betting a fighter who’s 4-9 over their last 11, but damnit, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to be throwing some money on Michael Johnson here.
Mullarkey is a dog, and he’ll get in there and give it 100% for however long the fight takes place. Technically, both on offense and defense, he leaves a lot to be desired, but his gritty, volatile style makes for close and entertaining viewing against just about anyone who is going to be willing to trade with him. Mullarkey’s youth and willingness to mix up his game, unquestionably makes him the rightful favorite here, but at over -200, I just don’t see it.
Johnson is the more defensively sound fighter, particularly when it comes to the striking. And, although he isn’t immune to giving up takedowns, he doesn’t give them up easily, and that could cause some issues for Mullarkey, who is happy to relentlessly shoot on his opponents. Even at 36-years-old, Johnson has got the skills to win minutes on the feet and minimalize the effectiveness and control of Mullarkey’s grappling.
Mullarkey is often a great underdog bet, simply due to the volatility and wildness that he brings, but with him sitting here as a decent sized favorite, it makes this quite an ease “grit your teeth and bet on the ‘dog” spot against someone who I consider to be the less reliable, but more skilled fighter. It’s only a 1-unit play, but it’s a principled one on the veteran, Michael “The Menace” Johnson.
(1u) Rafael dos Anjos Moneyline @ +180 (to Return 2.8 Units)
Main Event - Lightweight (155lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:15 p.m. EST.
- This will be Rafael dos Anjos’ 13th 5 round fight in the UFC, whereas this will be Fiziev’s career first (per Tapology.com).
- Despite being an elite level striker, Rafael Fiziev has absorbed more significant strikes in the UFC than he’s landed (5.57 vs. 5.35) (per UFCStats.com).
This is a tough fight to call. Rafael Fiziev will benefit from greater speed, volume, and precision on the feet, although it could be said that Rafael dos Anjos (RDA) is the slightly more defensively responsible striker. Having said that, however, patience might not be the way to get at Fiziev here, due to the slight, but clear, technical gap between them.
In the grappling realm, RDA is miles ahead of Fiziev, in terms of wrestling and sheer submission grappling. It is worth noting that up until this point in his UFC career, Fiziev has posted an impeccable takedown defense of 95%, but considering that figure has come against a limited level of competition, regarding their grappling, it doesn’t particularly translate to the caliber of grappler that RDA is.
So, what I’ve said up until now, is pretty well established, and shouldn’t come as new information to some, but the real unknown about this fight comes down to the age disparity, and the gas tank of Fiziev.
In 3 months, RDA will be turning 38-years-old, which is notable when looking at the ages of other fighters competing at the highest level in the smaller weight classes. And, although his advanced age still deserves some consideration when ‘capping his fights, I think we saw enough from him in his 5 rounder against Renato Moicano, to think that father time hasn’t quite caught up with the former 155lb champ just yet.
As for Fiziev’s potentially suspect gas tank, it’s difficult to say. In his last fight against Brad Riddell, he looked decent going into the 3rd round, but against Bobby Green, a fighter who posed less of a power threat, but more in terms of pace and volume, he looked seriously gassed in that 3rd round.
Ultimately, it’s tough to place how Fiziev going to cope with his fight 25-minute affair, but with the likely added element of a more grappling centric gameplan coming from RDA than anyone he’s faced before, it would be reasonable to assume that there could be more strain put on Fiziev’s cardio, and it could be seriously detrimental, should he not be used to the problems and pace of RDA.
All in all, I like a small play on RDA as the underdog here. He will be giving up an edge on the feet, but not as much as Fiziev is on the mat, and the intangibles also look to favor RDA, as we’ve seen how he deals with elite comp’ in 5 round fights, and we’re yet to see Fiziev do the same.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev / UFC on ESPN 39 / UFC Vegas 58 / #UFCVegas58
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, July 9th, 2022
Start Time: Main Card: 9 p.m. EST., Prelims: 6 p.m. EST.
Where to Watch: Main Card on ESPN/ESPN+, Prelim Card on ESPN/ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev Main Event Prediction
Lightweight (155lbs): Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev – dos Anjos via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev Main Card Predictions
Middleweight (185lbs): Caio Borralho vs. Armen Petrosyan – Borralho via Submission
Bantamweight (135lbs): D. Silva de Andrade vs. Said Nurmagomedov – Nurmagomedov via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Jared Vanderaa vs. Chase Sherman – Vanderaa via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Michael Johnson vs. Jamie Mullarkey – Johnson via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev Prelim Card Predictions
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes – Nunes via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Aiemann Zahabi vs. Ricky Turcios – Turcios via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Antonina Shevchenko vs. Cortney Casey – Shevchenko via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Cody Brundage vs. Tresean Gore – Gore via KO/TKO
Featherweight (145lbs): David Onama vs. Garrett Armfield – Onama via Decision
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Karl Roberson – Nzechukwu via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Ronnie Lawrence vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov – Lawrence via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.