UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Overeem vs. Sakai
Bet of the Card: (2u) Alexander Romanov Moneyline @ -110 (to Return 3.818 Units)
Preliminary Card Heavyweight (265lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 6:45 p.m. EST.
- Marcos Rogerio de Lima has a recorded takedown defense of just 36% across his 11 UFC bouts.
My bet of the card for this week is on debuting undefeated Moldovan fighter, Alexander “King Kong” Romanov.
Romanov has built up a decent 11-0 record on the European regional scene over the past four years. He’s a grappler who heavily favors his wrestling and utilizes big slams to take his opponents down to the mat in emphatic fashion. Once grounded, Romanov then goes to work with his ferocious ground and pound, either forcing the referee to step in for the TKO or allowing him to snap up a submission whilst his opponent is covering up.
I like Romanov for a number of reasons to win this fight, but by far the biggest is his wrestling advantage. De Lima has shown us time and time again that he is unable to stop takedowns, particularly against fighters who are less physical and less-skilled wrestlers than Romanov. Furthermore, Romanov is a natural heavyweight, whereas de Lima is blown up former light heavyweight; a key element to suggest that Romanov will have an even bigger edge in the grappling. On top of this, Romanov is now in the best shape of his career according to his Instagram. He looks to have shredded a ton of excess weight, whilst continuing to increase his muscle mass; exactly the kind of thing you want to see from a fighter, especially one who’s preparing for his toughest test to date.
Often I like to avoid betting debuting and undefeated fighters as their odds can be inflated, but at near even-money, I just have to play Romanov based upon the matchup. He possesses a ton of skills that should translate well against some of these lower-level heavyweights, and de Lima looks like one of the best matchups the UFC could have given him. Romanov will have to stay patient early, looking to stay away from de Lima’s power, but once a clinch situation opens up for him, I expect him to work quickly to get in and take the fight to the canvas. From there, I see it being the beginning of the end for de Lima, given what we’ve seen from him off his back in the past. Should this go further than the first, I’ve still got Romanov being the fitter fighter, even if he were to expel a lot of energy from top position.
I’ve got Romanov getting this done inside the distance, likely via submission over KO/TKO, but I also see paths for him to win a decision should the fight run longer than expected. Take “King Kong” Romanov on the moneyline, -110 could look like ridiculous value after this one is said and done.
(2u) Alistair Overeem Moneyline @ -155 (to return 3.3 Units)
Main Event Heavyweight (265lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:15 p.m. EST.
- Alistair Overeem statistically yields better striking accuracy (63% vs. 46%) and striking defense (59% vs. 55%) than Augusto Sakai (per UFCStats.com).
It seems like every time Alistair Overeem fights, people are trying to fade him and cash in on whatever mid-level heavyweight (HW) is on the other side. In his last loss, that happened, but that was after 24 minutes and 55 seconds of him out-matching Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Outside of that fight, Overeem has only ever lost to the cream of the crop during his time in the UFC, and unfortunately for Augusto Sakai, he isn’t on that level.
Overeem is now 40 years-old, and although that could be a concern for most fighters, the ‘Reem has shown us countless times that he’s still one of the most technically skilled heavyweight fighters in the world, regardless of his climbing age. Of course, one day the wheels have to fall off, but outside of a minor decline in speed, he still looks more or less that same fighter that he’s been for the last half-a-decade.
I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who can truthfully say that they’ve been blown away with Sakai’s 4-0 UFC run. In his first fight he lost the first round before rallying back to defeat low-level HW, Chase Sherman. Following that he won a controversial split-decision against aged-veteran, Andrei Arlovski. Then, he steam-rolled a shopworn, Marcin Tybura, before claiming a tight split-decision against the low-volume, Blagoy Ivanov. He’s beaten a who’s who of non-power punching HW fighters, and he’s done so in a largely unimpressive fashion.
Overeem will be by far Sakai’s toughest opponent of his career. In my eyes, he yields just about every technical advantage over Sakai, as well as most physical advantages, with the notable exclusion of ‘Reem’s chin strength (his ability to take damage to the head). This is a heavyweight fight, so understandably anything can happen, but I’m finding it hard to see how Sakai wins outside of catching Overeem with an uncharacteristic one-shot KO.
I can see Overeem winning a striking battle or taking Sakai down to the mat and dominating him there. He realistically could win via KO/TKO, submission, or decision, so play it safe and stick to his discount moneyline.
(1u) Under 1.5 Rounds @ +107 (to Return 2.07 Units)
Co-Main Event Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:45 p.m. EST.
- All of Alonzo Menifield’s 9 career wins have come inside 1.5 rounds, and 4 of Ovince St. Preux’s last 5 wins have come inside 1.5 rounds.
My final bet of the card is on the co-main event to end inside the first round and a half.
Originally this bout was booked to happen a couple weeks ago, but due to a last-second positive COVID test for Ovince St. Preux (OSP), it was rescheduled to this weekend. I admittedly don’t have much of an idea what to expect on the effects of the positive test or the double-weight cut for both fighters, but neither do the bookies by the looks of things, as the over/under 1.5 line has more-or-less stayed the same.
This fight should be absolute fireworks for as long as it lasts. Alonzo Menifield is a tank who throws with brutal knockout power in every shot. OSP also holds significant power in his limbs, but he combines this with some clever submission skills to boot.
Expect Menifield to close the distance early on OSP, throwing wildly with devastating intentions. Should he connect, it’s likely we’ll see 37-year-old St. Preux crumble to the canvas. If not, then look for Menifield to slow down quickly, thus opening up the door for OSP to fire back or even take him down and start looking for his patented Von Flue choke.
There’s a chance this could turn into a sloppy light heavyweight clash if both men get fatigued, but even still, the under 1.5 looks to hold terrific value in a fight that should be a high-output banger from the off.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai / UFC on ESPN+ 34 / UFC Vegas 9 / #UFCVegas9
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, September 5th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 8 p.m. EST, Prelims 6 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai Main Event Prediction
Heavyweight (265lbs): Alistair Overeem vs. Augusto Sakai – Overeem via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai Main Card Predictions
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Ovince St. Preux vs. Alonzo Menifield – Menifield via KO/TKO
(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Karol Rosa vs. Sijara Eubanks – Eubanks via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Michel Pereira vs. Zelim Imadaev – Pereira via KO/TKO
Featherweight (145lbs): Brian Kelleher vs. Kevin Natividad – Kelleher via Decision
Lightweight (155lbs): Thiago Moises vs. Jalin Turner – Moises via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai Prelim Card Predictions
Middleweight (185lbs): Bartosz Fabinski vs. Andre Muniz – Fabinski via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Montana De La Rosa vs. Viviane Araujo – Araujo via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Alexander Romanov – Romanov via Submission
Bantamweight (135lbs): Hunter Azure vs. Cole Smith – Azure via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.