Bet of the Card: (2u) Two-Leg Parlay: Arman Tsarukyan (-213) + Alexandre Pantoja (-188) @ +125 (to Return 4.5 Units)
First Parlay Leg: Arman Tsarukyan @ -213
Davi Ramos vs. Arman Tsarukyan
Preliminary Card Lightweight (155lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 5:45 p.m. EST.
- Davi Ramos enters this fight on the heels of a unanimous decision loss to Islam Makhachev, a fighter who possesses a very similar skill set to his opponent this Saturday.
The opening leg of this weekend’s parlay is the Arminian hot prospect, Arman Tsarukyan.
He’s only 23 years of age, but with a 14-2 record under his belt, he’s already eclipsed a ton of experience. He’s a well-rounded fighter, but with his high-level wrestling, and ever improving striking, there’s no telling what improvements we’re going to see from fight-to-fight.
Ramos is an elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 3rd degree black belt, but with Tsarukyan’s wrestling ability, it should allow him to dictate where the fight takes place. This means that Tsarukyan will likely look to keep the fight standing unless he feels comfortable taking the fight to the mat. When down, he’ll have to be cautious of any submissions Ramos will look to throw up off his back, but with Tsarukyan’s grappling, he certainly should be capable of surviving and controlling from top position.
When on the feet, Ramos will be throwing the harder strikes, but as seen in his fight with Islam Makhachev, this can be to his detriment. Should he not be able to land cleanly with one of his haymakers, he’ll be left high and dry, ready for Tsarukyan to counterstrike from range.
For me, Ramos looks to be “finish or bust” in this spot. There is an avenue for him to win a decision for sure, but I consider it unlikely as he’d need to get Tsarukyan down with regularity and keep him there for the bulk of rounds.
Expect Tsarukyan to employ a point-fighting style against Ramos on the feet. He should be able to out-land him at range, and even potentially land takedowns at the end of rounds to secure the advantage in the judges’ eyes. Take Arman Tsarukyan as the first leg of the parlay, I’ve got him winning this one via unanimous decision.
Second Parlay Leg: Alexandre Pantoja @ -188
(0.5) FOXBet Bet Boost: Alexandre Pantoja to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ +425 (to Return 2.625 Units)
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Askar Askarov
Main Card Men’s Flyweight (125lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 8:15 p.m. EST.
- Alexandre Pantoja is 4-1 in his last five fights, with 3 of his 4 wins coming via stoppage, and his only loss coming via decision against title challenger, Deiveson Figueiredo.
My closing leg of the parlay is on the heavy handed, Alexandre “The Cannibal” Pantoja.
Pantoja is an 8-fight UFC veteran with power that so few yield in the flyweight division. He looks to hold all the advantages over Askar Askarov in this fight, and especially in the striking. He’s KO’ed two of his last three opponents in the first round, and although he can be reckless at times, I don’t see Askarov making him pay for it.
Askarov’s best path to victory is through his wrestling, but Pantoja’s a decent anti-wrestler, with sharp submission skills, making him extremely dangerous to engage with. This translates to Pantoja being a nightmare to contend against wherever the fight takes place.
I’m actually a little surprised to see Pantoja still at -188 (best current price), it’s not often you can grab a guy with this many advantages for less than -250. Take him to close out the parlay, and also take a small play on him to win inside the distance with FOXBet’s Bet Boost at +425, it looks to be good value considering he’s a guy that actively tries to finish fights.
(1.5u) Joseph Benavidez Moneyline @ +185 (to Return 4.275 Units)
(0.5u) Joseph Benavidez via Decision @ +400 (to Return 2.5 Units)
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Benavidez
Main Event UFC Men’s Flyweight (125lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:15 p.m. EST.
- Joseph Benavidez was the -155 favorite when these guys first squared-off at the end of February, you can now get him as a sizeable +185 underdog.
At UFC 251 I took Max Holloway as the +182 underdog to beat Alexander Volkanovski in their rematch. Holloway was the -175 favorite in their first fight, but because he lost a decisive, yet competitive decision, his line saw a massive shift for the second bout. The razor close decision didn’t quite swing in Holloway’s favor in their second fight, but as the +182 ‘dog, he was unmistakably the value side of the line.
Now looking to this Saturday’s main event, we have a very similar situation, with Joe Benavidez as the near 2-to-1 underdog. In their first fight he out-landed Figueiredo on significant strikes 31 to 15 in round 1, and even 15 to 10 in round two (per UFCStats.com), despite the occurrence of the unfortunate headbutt that brough about the end of the fight. So, even with “Joe B” claiming round 1 on all three judges’ score cards, we’re now left with a juicy plus-number on him, pretty much due to the fact that a bizarre fight ending sequence played out against him.
I expect Benavidez to stand-up to much of Figueiredo’s power early, as he did in the first fight. Then, as it goes into the middle rounds, and Figueiredo starts to fatigue, it will be increasingly less likely that he can KO Benavidez. This will give Joe B more confidence as he can continue to land with greater volume due to his superior gas tank. From there, he will likely go on to win a fairly clear decision, with him claiming three or four of the five rounds.
It’s important to recognize that Figueiredo is absolutely going to be a power threat early, but I certainly didn’t see enough from him in their first fight to warrant him being a -200 (best price) favorite this time round. I’ve taken Benavidez’ moneyline for 1.5 units, as well as a half unit play on him to win via decision at +400, which is his clearest path to victory.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2/ UFC Fight Island 2 / UFC Fight Night 172 / UFC on ESPN+ 30
Location & Venue: UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Date: Saturday, July 18th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 8 p.m. EST, Prelims 5 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN & ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2 Full Fight Card Predictions:
UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2 Main Event Prediction:
Flyweight (125lbs): Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Benavidez – Benavidez via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2 Main Card Predictions:
Middleweight (185lbs): Kelvin Gastelum vs. Jack Hermansson – Gastelum via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Marc Diakiese vs. Rafael Fiziev – Diakiese via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Luana Carolina vs. Ariane Lipski – Carolina via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Alexandre Pantoja vs. Askar Askarov – Pantoja via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2 Prelim Card Predictions:
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Khadis Ibragimov vs. Roman Dolidze – Dolidze via Submission
Catchweight (150lbs): Grant Dawson vs. Nad Narimani – Dawson via Decision
Lightweight (155lbs): Joe Duffy vs. Joel Alvarez – Duffy via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Brett Johns vs. Montel Jackson – Johns via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Malcolm Gordon vs. Amir Albazi – Gordon via Submission
Lightweight (155lbs): Davi Ramos vs. Arman Tsarukyan – Tsarukyan via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Sergey Spivak vs. Carlos Felipe – Spivak via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.