Bet of the Card: (2u) Alistair Overeem @ +150 (to Return 5 Units)
Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris
Main Event Heavyweight (265lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:15 p.m. EST.
- Alistair Overeem has the highest significant striking accuracy in UFC history (73.4%), dwarfing Harris’ mere 38.2% (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
My bet of the card for this Saturday’s event is on “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem.
This is not first time the oddsmakers and betting public have overlooked the ‘Reem against a one-dimensional power puncher. The last time this happened was at the end of 2018 when we got dog-odds on Overeem to beat the undefeated, yet unproven, Sergey Pavlovich. At the time Overeem was coming off back-to-back knockout loses against two of the heavyweight division’s top up-and-coming prospects; Francis N’Gannou and Curtis Blaydes. Many thought those losses signified the end of the road for Overeem, but that was not to be. He marched out and swiftly dominated the 12-0 Pavlovich in under a round. Much like that fight, we now see Overeem returning to action following a knockout loss, but this time it’s against a more proven fighter in Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris.
Harris is a KO artist with all 13 of his wins coming by way of knockout. It’s easy to see why people would favor the heavy-hitting Harris to lay waste to the aged veteran Overeem, but it’s impossible to deny the sheer gulf in skill between the two. Overeem is by far the more technical in all aspects of MMA, and this is only aided by his speed advantage. Harris does have very minor edges in reach (1-inch) and weight (approx. 5-10lbs), but aside from that it’s only his raw power that provides him with his key to victory. Arguably Harris’ greatest win up until this point was a close split-decision victory over Andrei Arlovski (pictured below), someone who, like Overeem, has questions constantly asked about his durability. Since then Harris has quickly dispatched of two fighters lacking real stand-up skills, and now the recency bias of this has taken him to become a -155 (best odds) favorite over a perennial title contender in Overeem.
Overeem will make it his mission to keep Harris at range in the early goings. From there ‘Reem can outland Harris with strikes or potentially engage in the clinch, thus providing him with the opportunity to take Harris down and wear him out from top control. From there, this’ll then open the door for Overeem to either rinse and repeat this process in the later rounds, or alternatively he could rain down his ruthless ground and pound to score the early TKO victory, much like he did to Sergey Pavlovich. Take Overeem for a couple of units, he really should be a favorite in this spot.
(1u) Fight to Go the Distance @ +100 (to Return 2 Units)
Eryk Anders vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Main Card Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:30 p.m. EST.
- Anders & Jotko have gone the distance 12 times out of their 18 combined UFC middleweight bouts.
Both these guys have had their ups-and-downs over their last five fights, but both enter this bout following split-decision wins.
Anders is looking like a much different fighter to how he did when he first burst into the UFC. Back then he was raw and threw all his punches with the intent to end fights. Now he’s a little more calculated, still yielding good power but reserving it in the hopes of out landing his opponent instead of catching them with one wicked shot.
Unlike Anders, Jotko likes to fight from distance, back pedalling with his back close to the cage. This approach allows him to counter-strike effectively, albeit with typically low volume. Should his opponent be able to close the gap, he can either change levels and shoot for a takedown, or more likely, engage in a clinch against the cage. He doesn’t typically shy away from cage fighting, whether he’s the one forcing the action, or he’s the one accepting his opponents clinch (David Branch pushing Jotko up against the cage – pictured below). It allows him to conserve energy whilst getting off some short shots to the body. It’s these stylistic nuances that allow him to grind down the clock and edge out decision victories.
Should this fight hit the mat, Jotko will have the grappling advantage and Anders will possess the greater strength, therefore limiting the skill gap between the two. Jotko is very good at maintaining top position, whilst offering little threat of pounding out his opponent, or working for a submission.
Stylistically Anders should ride right into Jotko’s game plan. We can expect lots of range striking and plenty of time spent in the clinch or on the mat, ultimately taking us to a decision. I do see this fight going to the more experienced Jotko, but Anders’ strength could present him with some opportunities to claim the decision too. Take this fight to go to decision now at +100, realistically this lined should be flipped (priced at around -138).
(1.5u) Kevin Holland @ -108 (to Return 2.889 Units)
Kevin Holland vs. Anthony Hernandez
Preliminary Card Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 8 p.m. EST.
- Kevin Holland is ranked 2nd amongst active middleweights for significant strike accuracy (59.3%); whilst also placing in the top 10 for both striking differential (1.03) and strikes landed per minute (3.85) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
My final bet for this week is on the supposedly “busted” prospect, Kevin Holland.
Holland entered the UFC with high expectations of him due to his lengthy frame and versatile skill set. Since then he’s displayed a lot of questionable decision making in fights and a tendency to get over-relaxed in situations that call for him to take the initiative (i.e. his fight against John Phillips – pictured above). This isn’t high praise for someone I’ve got my hard-earned money on, but I think Holland may have finally turned a corner. In his last bout he was submitted by former LFA champion, Brandon Allen. The loss snapped a 3-fight win streak for Holland, and it brought an end to a string of fortunate decision victories. Since the loss, Holland’s had a seven-month layoff from MMA competition, and he’s even tested himself in a grappling bout. This has now been the longest break he’s ever had in his young MMA career, and it’s one that’ll hopefully usher in a hungrier and more refreshed Kevin Holland.
Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez, a fellow Dana White’s Contender Series alumni, will be welcoming Holland back to the cage this weekend. Hernandez is coming into this fight following a hard-fought victory over “The Iron Turtle” Jun Yong Park, back in August. In that fight he experienced a lot of adversity following being hurt both to the head and mid-section due to strikes. Not only that, but he also put himself in harms way of being submitted whilst attempting takedowns. When looking back at his UFC debut against Markus Perez, these tendencies were all evident in that fight as well.
Holland will yield sizeable advantages in both height (3-inches) and reach (6-inches), allowing him to strike with high volume, whilst being able to sight any advancements from Hernandez. He has a controlled arsenal of kicks, with his most effective coming right down the pipe, either to the torso or head. This alone could be a possible fight ender given Hernandez’ questionable chin and suspect mid-section. Should Hernandez look to his wrestling to take down Holland, the fight could be over quickly. There was a number of times in Hernandez’ fight with J.Y. Park where he left his neck open to a guillotine, should he afford Holland the same opportunity, it could be a swift end to the fight. Take Holland to get the win here, he could really win via any method, although I think he’ll catch Hernandez with a submission following one of his dynamic sweeps from the bottom.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris
Location & Venue: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
Date: Saturday, May 16th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 9 p.m. EST, Prelims 6 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN/ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris Full Fight Card Predictions:
UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris Main Event Prediction:
Heavyweight (265lbs): Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris – Overeem via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris Main Card Predictions:
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Claudia Gadelha vs. Angela Hill – Hill via Decision
Featherweight (145lbs): Edson Barboza vs. Dan Ige – Barboza via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Eryk Anders vs. Krysztof Jotko – Jotko via Decision
Featherweight (145lbs): Yadong Song vs. Marlon Vera – Yadong via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris Prelim Card Predictions:
Welterweight (170lbs): Matt Brown vs. Miguel Baeza – Baeza via KO/TKO
Middleweight (185lbs): Kevin Holland vs. Anthony Hernandez –Holland via Submission
Featherweight (145lbs): Giga Chikadze vs. Mike Davis – Davis via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Cortney Casey vs. Mara Romero Borella –Casey via KO/TKO
Featherweight (145lbs): Darren Elkins vs. Nate Landwehr –Landwehr via KO/TKO
Heavyweight (265lbs): Dontale Mayes vs. Rodrigo Nascimento - Nascimento via Submission
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.