UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Moraes vs. Sandhagen
Bet of the Card: (2u) Cory Sandhagen Moneyline @ -133 (to Return 3.5 Units)
Main Event Bantamweight (135lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:45 p.m. EST.
- Cory Sandhagen is 4 years younger than Marlon Moraes and he will benefit from having a 5-inch height and 3-inch reach advantage (per UFCStats.com).
- Sandhagen yields better fight metrics in strikes landed per min. (6.95 vs. 3.53), striking accuracy (48% vs. 39%), whilst equalling Moraes’ solid 58% striking defense (per UFCStats.com).
My bet of the card for this week is on Cory Sandhagen.
I love betting on guys who pose their opposition a multitude of threats, both standing and on the ground. Sandhagen has the pace, volume, and cardio to overwhelm his opponents on the feet, as well as a plethora of unorthodox strikes in his arsenal (flying knees, spinning elbows, etc.), which if landed flush, can have instant fight ending implications. His ground game is fluid, and although it’s not perfect, his relentless style of sweeping or rolling for submissions, can lead to him putting his opponents in some very precarious spots on the mat.
Early on Marlon Moraes will undoubtedly be a danger because of his power and precision, but due to Sandhagen’s slick defense, durability, and heart, you have to favor him to get through the opening rounds unscathed and looking like the fresher fighter. Once this gets into the third round and beyond, I see Sandhagen’s pace and pressure really wearing on Moraes, and ultimately, I see this leading to a stoppage win, or a cut-and-dried decision victory for Sandhagen.
Sandhagen could conceivably win this fight early too, although his clearest path to victory is down the stretch, and for this reason, I prefer not to get too tricky with a method, and simply take his very reasonably priced moneyline to cover all bases.
(1.5u) Giga Chikadze Moneyline @ +130 (to Return 3.45)
Preliminary Card Featherweight (145lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 6:15 p.m. EST.
- Giga Chikadze is 10-2 in MMA and 38-6 (22 KO wins) in kickboxing (per GloryKickBoxing.com).
Giga Chikadze is a fighter I’ve not been overly sold on since he joined the UFC, but I have to look his way at “dog-odds” against Omar Morales.
Chikadze has a wealth of kickboxing experience, and despite his somewhat late crossover into MMA, he still has more MMA experience than Morales, whilst also being nearly 3 years his junior.
This fight will be Morales’ first at featherweight, and although his power should be even more pronounced that he’s now down a weight class, questions have to be asked about how his body and cardio will hold up given that he was already a sizable lightweight.
I expect this fight to be largely a kickboxing match, and for that reason I have to look towards Chikadze for his experience, speed, and more polished technique. Morales is of course an excellent kickboxer in his own right, but against someone who’s fast, agile and will have a lot of space to manoeuvre (given that we’re back in the 30 ft Octagon on Fight Island), it should hinder Morales’ approach of marching down his opponent, chopping at their legs with kicks and swinging for the fences.
Omar Morales is definitely a notable KO threat, but given that he couldn’t put away Don Hyun Ma, a fighter not known for his ability to take damage (at least not past his fight against Polo Reyes), then you’d have to think that someone of Chikadze’s pedigree will be able to avoid the KO too. The other edge I give to Morales is his ground game, he’s a capable wrestler and he has a decent top game, but I’d be pretty stunned to see him go out and put on a grappling masterclass against someone who’s more than willing to face him on the feet.
All in all, I’m taking Giga Chikadze to get the win here. I see him working effectively off his back foot and landing as he circles away from Morales for the bulk of the fight. This one will likely be close from the off, but should Morales’ gas tank prove compromised from the weight cut, then I could definitely see Giga taking over in the last round and half, enough so to definitively claim the decision.
(0.5u) Tom Breese via Submission @ +700 (to Return 4 Units)
Preliminary Card Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 7:40 p.m. EST.
- 7 of Tom Breese’s 11 career wins have come via submission (per Tapology.com)
My final bet of the card is on Tom Breese to win via Submission.
This play is a little bit of a punt, but I feel good about it, and I certainly don’t mind throwing half a unit at a number like +700!
Tom Breese is a fighter I’ve been high on for quite a while now, although due to a long list of last-minute fight cancellations and health issues, we’ve not been able to see him perform with any real regularity since mid-2016. Thankfully though, it appears that Breese is now back on track, and despite his loss to talented prospect, Brendan Allen in February, it’s just nice to see him fight more than twice in a calendar year.
Tom Breese typically favors his striking, but his ground game has always been arguably his strongest asset. Since joining the UFC in 2015, he hasn’t been an active pursuer of takedowns, but when his fights do hit the mat, it is clear to see the grappling skills he possess. It’s important to note that Breese also only recently moved up from welterweight to middleweight, so perhaps the reason why he was avoiding a grappling-heavy game plan, was down to a fear of “gassing out”, due to the large amount of weight he was cutting. This is of course just a theory, but it can be seen that he’s been actively participating in grappling competitions over the last year, and that could well feed into him looking towards utilizing his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) skills more going forward.
KB Bhullar is a relatively unknown 8-0 Canadian prospect. There’s not a great deal of tape on him, so it’s hard to gauge his BJJ prowess, but at least after reviewing his record, we’re able to see that he hasn’t faced anyone who’s anywhere near the submission threat of Breese. That’s obviously not to say that KB doesn’t possess a good ground game himself, but it certainly offers up some questions that we could well see answered this Saturday.
Once again, this is a bit of a shot in the dark given that we haven’t seen much of Bhullar on the mat, but it’s hard to feel bad about it given that we know how good Tom Breese is, and that he’s been spending plenty of time outside the cage working on improving his grappling skills. Take Tom Breese to win via submission, +700 could look like ridiculous value once this one has played out.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen / UFC on ESPN+ 37 / UFC Fight Island 5 / #UFCFightIsland5
Location & Venue: Flash Forum, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Date: Saturday, September 10th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 8 p.m. EST, Prelims 5 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen Main Event Prediction
Bantamweight (135lbs): Marlon Moraes vs. Cory Sandhagen – Sandhagen via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen Main Card Predictions
Featherweight (145lbs): Edson Barboza vs. Makwan Amirkhani – Barboza via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Ben Rothwell vs. Marcin Tybura – Rothwell via KO/TKO
Middleweight (185lbs): Markus Perez vs. Dricus Du Plessis – Markus Perez via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Tom Aspinall vs. Alan Baudot – Aspinall via Submission
Featherweight (145lbs): Youssef Zalal vs. Ilia Topuria – Topuria via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen Prelim Card Predictions
Middleweight (185lbs): Tom Breese vs. KB Bhullar – Breese via Submission
Heavyweight (265lbs): Rodrigo Nascimento vs. Chris Daukaus – Nascimento via Submission
Middleweight (185lbs): Impa Kasanganay vs. Joaquin Buckley – Kasanganay via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Ali Al-Qaisi vs. Tony Kelley – AlQaisi via Decision
Featherweight (145lbs): Giga Chikadze vs. Omar Morales – Chikadze via Decision
(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Tracy Cortez vs. Stephanie Egger – Tracy Cortez via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Tagir Ulanbekov vs. Bruno Silva – Ulanbekov via Submission
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.