Bet of the Card: FOXBet Bet Boost: (2u) Paul Craig to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ +165 (to Return 5.3 Units)
Paul Craig vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov
Main Card Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 8:45 p.m. EST.
- Gadzhimurad Antigulov has only fought twice in the past 3 years, losing both times via first round stoppage (per Tapology.com).
My bet of the card for this week is on Scotland’s, Paul “Bearjew” Craig.
I see a lot of advantages in favor of Paul Craig for this fight. For starters, the disparity in cardio will be blatantly apparent past the first couple of minutes in round one. Antigulov typically goes for broke early, unloading all of his energy in a wild attempt to get his opponent down to the mat, and put away as quickly as possible. It’s a strategy that can look immensely impressive against lessor competition, but against fighters with any kind of grit or toughness, this often proves to be to his detriment.
Craig has proven time and time again that he’s one of the grittiest fighters in the UFC, and although his chin doesn’t always hold up against some of the heaviest hitters, he’s certainly willing to lay it all out on the line to get the win. Afterall, he once held the record for the “latest” ever win in UFC history (in a three-round fight), following his 3rd round, 4 minute and 59 second triangle choke submission victory over formerly undefeated Dagestani hot prospect, Magomed Ankalaev. In the fight Craig went through some serious adversity, as he had to defend off his back almost for its entirety whilst he ate big shots from Ankalaev’s ground-and-pound.
Thankfully for Craig, Antigulov is a long way off the level of Ankalaev; he lacks the composure and technique, as well as the gas tank and fight IQ, all key factors for success at the higher levels of the sport. With Antigulov’s power and all-or-nothing style, there’s always a chance he can force a shocking finish early in the fight, but with Craig’s experience and range, I expect him to handle the pressure well and hang-on until the momentum switches. From there, I see a fatigued Antigulov either succumbing to strikes and collapsing to the mat, or offering up a submission to Craig, likely via his patented triangle choke from bottom position.
Paul Craig’s moneyline currently sits at -110 (best market price), but with all his twelve wins coming via finish (1 KO/TKO’s & 11 Submissions), and all of Antigulov’s six losses coming via finish (4 KO/TKO’s & 2 Submissions), it looks prudent to jump on Craig to win inside the distance line at a juicy +165 with FOXBet’s Bet Boost.
(1.3u) Total Rounds - Under 4.5 Rounds @ -130 (to Return 2.3 Units)
Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till
Main Event Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:45 p.m. EST.
- Whittaker and Till have been dropped and even KO’ed as recently as October and March of last year, respectively.
Whittaker enters Saturday’s main event off the back of him losing his middleweight title to Israel Adesanya via KO at the end of 2019. Prior to that, he went to war twice with Yoel Romero over the space of ten rounds, and those look to have had a potentially long-standing effect on his ability to take damage.
Till on the other hand, is on the heels of a calculated decision win over Kelvin Gastelum, but before that, he was finished in back-to-back fights against recent welterweight title challenger, Jorge Masvidal, and former welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley. Till now looks to be a new man at middleweight, and the less extreme weight cut could prove beneficial to his durability and chin, but against a brawler like Whittaker, we’ll get to see that theory put to the test.
Ultimately, -130 seems too cheap for this fight to end in under 4.5 rounds, given that both guys have shown a tendency to get chin-checked and rocked recently, whilst also doing the same to others. Whittaker’s aggressive hard-hitting style can put away anyone (perhaps, except Yoel Romero), and Till’s got the precision and speed to do the same, especially against someone who moves forward aggressively and has been known to leave openings (like Robert Whittaker). Your guess is as good as mine as to who will put away the other, but over 5 rounds, I think it’s well worth a bet at -130 that we’ll see it happen.
(1u) Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to Win via KO/TKO @ +460 (to Return 5.6 Units)
Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Main Card Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:15 p.m. EST.
- Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s last 3 losses have all come via KO/TKO.
My final bet of the card is on “Lil Nog” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, to win via KO/TKO over his long-time rival, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. These two have fought twice before and on both occasions, Shogun has seen his hand raised following decision victories.
The reason why I like Nogueira this time round, is because I feel like he’s aged the better of the two. Yes, he may be 5.5 years Shogun’s senior, and a year removed from a bad knockout loss to Ryan Spann, but I still feel that he’s got some durability and solid power in his hands. Shogun, however, was completely run over by Anthony Smith in a minute and a half two years ago, and went life-or-death with two non-power punchers in his last two fights. Should Lil Nog land on Shogun half as clean as either Paul Craig or Tyson Pedro did in their fights with him, I expect Rua to crumple due to his dwindling durability. It’s entirely likely that this happens to either guy depending on who lands cleanly first, but with an eye watering +460 on it being the underdog, I simply can’t help but make a small play on it.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Till / UFC Fight Island 3 / UFC on ESPN 14
Location & Venue: UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Date: Saturday, July 25th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 8 p.m. EST, Prelims 5 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN/ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN & ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till Main Event Prediction
Middleweight (185lbs): Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till – Till via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till Main Card Predictions
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Shogun Rua vs. Antônio Rogério Nogueira – Nogueira via KO/TKO
Heavyweight (265lbs): Fabrício Werdum vs. Alexander Gustafsson – Gustafsson via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Carla Esparza vs. Marina Rodriguez – Esparza via Decision
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Paul Craig vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov - Craig via Submission
Welterweight (170lbs): Alex Oliveira vs. Peter Sobotta – Oliveira via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till Prelim Card Predictions
Welterweight (170lbs): Khamzat Chimaev vs. Rhys McKee – Chimaev via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jai Herbert – Trinaldo via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Nicolas Dalby vs. Jesse Ronson – Dalby via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Jake Collier vs. Tom Aspinall – Aspinall via KO/TKO
Featherweight (145lbs): Movsar Evloev vs. Mike Grundy – Evloev via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Tanner Boser vs. Raphael Pessoa – Boser via Decision
(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Bethe Correia vs. Pannie Kianzad – Kianzad via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Ramazan Emeev vs. Niklas Stolze – Emeev via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Nathaniel Wood vs. John Castañeda – Wood via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.