Bet of the Card: (3u) Casey Kenney @ +150 (to Return 5 Units)
Casey Kenney vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Preliminary Card Men’s Bantamweight (135lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time 5:40 p.m. EST
- Casey Kenney’s had 11 passes and 4 sweeps in only his first two UFC bouts (according to UFC.com)
This fight will be intriguing to watch as two of the UFC’s best bantamweight prospects collide.
Merab Dvalishvili is a Serra Jiu-Jitsu/Serra-Longo product whose style centers around a heavy wrestling base with quick striking and crazy volume. He’s 2-2 in the UFC and is currently riding a two-fight win streak. Despite his initial two losses, his ever-improving style is very difficult to stop, but I expect Casey Kenney to do just that.
Kenney’s start in martial arts came from judo, where he’s a 2nd degree black belt and nine-time USA national judo champion. Although his game has now rounded out, his judo base provides him with an ability to sweep his opponents when in close grappling exchanges. His wrestling might not be on the level of Merab’s but his excellent ability to sweep and scramble means he’s able to reverse grappling transitions and pass into dominant positions of his own, something we saw him do multiple times against former UFC flyweight title challenger, Ray Borg.
Merab’s pace and volume will present problems but his inability to secure takedowns and ground out Kenney on the mat will turn this into a dog fight, the likes of which we’ve seen Kenney thrive in before.
Kenney is my play for this fight, he reached an astounding +190 earlier in the week, but since then the price has dropped back down to around the +150 mark. Even with his declining price tag, I like him here as a good value underdog.
(2u) Corey Anderson @ -200 (to Return 3 Units)
Corey Anderson vs. Jan Blachowicz
Main Event Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time 11 p.m. EST
- Corey Anderson averages some insane numbers for a light heavyweight (LHW); 4.98 takedowns landed per 15 minutes, 2.18 significant strikes absorbed per minute (lowest among active LHW), & 4.45 significant strikes landed per minute (all stats per UFCStats.com).
Rio Rancho’s main event is a rematch between Corey “Overtime” Anderson and Poland’s Jan Błachowicz.
The first time these guys fought was way back in September 2015. The fight was a dominant unanimous decision victory for Anderson, with two judges awarding him with 30-25 scorecards. The first round was close, with Blachowicz initially edging the striking before he then looked to engage Anderson in the grappling, that ultimately proved to be the beginning of the end for Jan. Anderson got taken down but then reversed position and began to implement his crushing pressure and wrestling on Blachowicz. This allowed him to squeak out the first round, before taking full command of the fight for the remaining two rounds.
Both fights have improved since then, but Anderson’s development has progressed significantly more than Jan’s. His striking is now crisper with substantially better head movement, as seen in his round 1 TKO victory over Johnny Walker back in November (pictured above). That win saw him put on a rare striking clinic, something no-one expected from someone whose game plans have been so historically wrestling orientated. He appears to be the complete package now, his wrestling and striking are amongst the best in the LHW division and combined with his unrelenting cardio, it makes him a monster to deal with.
Corey Anderson is my pick for the main event, he opened at around -145 back in December and is now hovering at the -200 mark. I expect him to utilize his grappling and ground & pound to wear on Blachowicz, ultimately ending in another lopsided decision victory or a late TKO stoppage.
Event: UFC on ESPN+ 25: Anderson vs. Blachowicz 2 / UFC Fight Night 167
Location & Venue: Santa Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Date: Saturday, February 15th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 8 p.m. EST, Prelims 5 p.m. EST
Where to watch: Watch both the Main Card & Prelims over on the ESPN streaming service: ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Anderson vs. Blachowicz Full Fight Card Predictions:
UFC Fight Night: Anderson vs. Blachowicz Main Event Prediction:
Light Heavyweight (205 lbs): Corey Anderson vs. Jan Błachowicz – Anderson via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Anderson vs. Blachowicz Main Card Predictions:
Welterweight (170lbs): Diego Sanchez vs. Michel Pereira – Pereira via KO/TKO
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Devin Clark vs. Dequan Townsend – Clark via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Montana De La Rosa vs. Mare Romero Borella – De La Rosa via Submission
Lightweight (155lbs): Brok Weaver vs. Rodrigo Vargas – Weaver via Decision
Lightweight (155lbs): Yancy Medeiros vs. Lando Vannata – Vannata via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Anderson vs. Blachowicz Prelim Card Predictions:
Welterweight (170lbs): Tim Means vs. Daniel Rodriquez – Rodriquez via KO/TKO
Bantamweight (135lbs): John Dodson vs. Nathaniel Wood – Dodson via Decision
Lightweight (155lbs): Scott Holtzman vs. Jim Miller – Miller via Submission
Flyweight (125lbs): Ray Borg vs. Rogério Bontorin – Borg via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Casey Kenney vs. Merab Dvalishvili – Kenney via Decision
(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Macy Chiasson vs. Shanna Young – Chiasson via KO/TKO
Flyweight (125lbs): Mark De La Rosa vs. Raulian Paiva – Paiva via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.