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Expert Picks and Analysis for this Weekend's UFC on ESPN+ 9: Iaquinta vs. Cowboy

When: Saturday May 4th 2019

What Time: Main Card: from 8pm ET on ESPN+

Prelims: from 5pm ET on ESPN+

Where: Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Christian Broughton - UFC Tips Record:

| P/L: +5.93u | ROI:  25.25% |

This weekend’s UFC card is the first in Canada this year, and it comes straight out of the nation’s capital of Ottawa! The card boasts many local fighters, intriguing bouts, and a main event that could decide Conor McGregor’s next opponent! Let’s jump into this week’s picks for UFC: Ottawa!

Prelim Bout: Heavyweight (265lbs): Arjan Singh Bhullar (8-1-0) vs. Juan “The Kraken” Adams (5-0-0)

We all love a sloppy heavyweight showdown, and this is the mac-daddy! Arjan Bhullar will be the favored by the Canadian fans, having represented them in wrestling, at both the 2010 Commonwealth and 2012 Olympic games. An impressive accolade indeed, but one that will likely be negated by his larger opponent, Juan Adams. “The Kraken” claims to have competed in over 100 NCAA Division 1 wrestling matches, which he argues to be at a higher level than that of his opponent. Adams will be cutting weight to make the 266lb limit, and this should be a sizable advantage for stopping takedowns and making Bhullar work harder should he elect to grapple.

Adams did look a little lacklustre in his last bout but with claims that he went on a snack food bender following the weigh-ins, it’s not impossible to think that could be largely associated to his poor conditioning. Adams now finds himself with a nutritionist and some UFC fight experience, combined this should go a long way towards his development as a fighter. I see Juan being the larger, yet quicker opponent. He should be able to land pretty freely on his plodding opponent, and barring a wresting clinic by Bhullar, I see Adams taking this one fairly easily.

1u – Juan Adams @-116

Prelim/Main Card Parlay:

I’ve been a long-time supporter of Sarah Moras (probably the only one), but I think this is the end for her in the UFC. Her game hasn’t progressed and she’s really a one trick pony at this stage. Moras will look to flop to her back or pull guard against her much larger opponent, with the aim of throwing up a submission. Chiasson looked outstanding in her last bout and she seems massive for the 135lb women’s division. Even if she were to engage with Moras on the mat, I don’t see it going well for her opponent. This one should be all Chiasson and a finish is likely. We’re just going to play her straight at -600, as Moras’ willingness to fight off her back could burn the clock, and to give her some credit, she’s proven to be tough.

1st Leg of Parlay: Macy Chiasson @-600

Volume, volume, volume. It’s all Dvalishvili knows. Katona’s an intelligent fighter with a flawless record, but this could be one step too far for the young Canadian. Merab brings in solid wrestling with unrelenting pace. His opponent has shown serious takedown defence deficiencies and I simply expect Dvalishvili to have his way in this one. I don’t think he gets the finish, but with his pressure and output, he should be able to make a clear case for the judges over the 15 minutes.

2nd Leg of Parlay: Merab Dvalishvili @-162

1.5u – Two Leg Parlay: Macy Chiasson + Merab Dvalishvili @-111

Co-Main Event – Middleweight (185lbs): #9 Derek Brunson (18-7-0) vs. #13 Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou (16-2-0):

In the card’s co-main, we have the Canadian Elias Theodorou facing Derek Brunson. Brunson always offers a serious knockout threat as his style is to rush at his opponents and throw recklessly with his punishing left hand. Derek also offers a tidy wrestling game, although this is often surplus to requirement as he typically prefers to throw hands until either he or his opponent is unable to continue. Theodorou is almost the polar opposite to that of Brunson, he is more than happy to circle off of his opponents and pitter-patter them with light leg kicks and weak jabs, quite an unpopular fighting strategy for the fans, for obvious reasons. “The Spartan” normally carries this out with seamless success, his ability to ‘rid his bike’ out of damager and out-step his opponents is really quite an art, although largely unentertaining to watch.

For this bout we’re going to take Theodorou straight, he’s the underdog in this one, but it’s impossible to miss how effective his game plan is. His fight IQ is good, I believe if Brunson were to use his wrestling and be able to expose the Canadian, I have faith that he’ll be able to use his excellent cardio and turn it up a notch. Most people often elect to take Theodorou via decision instead of on the moneyline, but with Brunson’s tendency to have his chin up and his hands down low, it’s not out of the question for Theodorou to get a rare finish. We’ll just be taking him straight @+100.

1u – Elias Theodorou @+100

Main Event – Lightweight (155lbs): #4 “Raging” Al Iaquinta (14-4-1) vs. #8 Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (35-11-0):

Ottawa’s main event is the highly anticipated lightweight clash between two top contending UFC vets, “Raging” Al and “Cowboy” Cerrone! It’s been speculated that either fighter could be the next for The Mystic Mac over the past 6 months, with Donald Cerrone seeming like the front runner for the big payday before this fight was made. Not to go and put my tinfoil hat on, but with a McGregor vs. Cerrone fight all but lined up, and Al Iaquinta looking ready for a title fight rematch with Khabib, it’s entirely probable that these two agreed to square-off, with the winner throwing himself into a blockbuster fight with the Irish superstar! But enough of the speculation, with a number one contender fight on the line for one of them, let’s get into my pick for this outstanding match-up.

Cowboy brings in the better technical skill set, with a plethora of submissions and an abundance of strikes. Cowboy has and always will be a nightmare for his opponents as he has keys to win wherever the fight takes place. That being said though, he is now 36 years of age and has had 46 pro mma bouts. The experience is valuable, but after competing at the highest level of the sport for so many years, this should give diminishing returns on his body, as we’ve seen him go 3-4 in his last seven, with him being finished twice in that time.

I’m picking the younger and tougher (at least at this point of Cowboy’s career) in “Raging” Al. He’s just about as tough as they come and his gas tank holds up against the best, as seen in his last two bouts against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kevin Lee. He has been subbed 3 times in his career, which is a concern but he’s shown excellent submission defence more recently, and if he can defend his back as well as he has done, he should be able to avoid Cerrone’s submission threat. Al has got very good wrestling and solid striking, he’s not the more glamorous of guys to bet on, but he gets the job done. We’re just going to take him straight at -120 as he could get Cerrone out of there early, late, or on the scorecards.

1u – Al Iaquinta @-120

By Christian Broughton

Article Author


A former sportsbook trader with a passion for mixed martial arts. If there is value to be found then Christian is the man to find it.


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