Bet of the Card: (2.5u) Xiaonan Yan Moneyline @ -133 (to Return 4.375 Units)
(0.25u) Xiaonan Yan to Win in Round 3 @ +3300 (to Return 8.5 Units)
Claudia Gadelha vs. Xiaonan Yan
Main Card Women’s Strawweight (115lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:15 p.m. EST.
- Xiaonan Yan has out-landed all 5 of her UFC opponents on significant strikes (per UFCStats.com), producing the third highest all-time significant strike differential (2.84) for a UFC strawweight (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
My bet of the card for this week is on a surging up-and-coming fighter, Xiaonan Yan.
Yan (pictured below) is an extremely interesting prospect, whose gameplan heavily focuses on high volume striking, mixed in with the odd bit of grappling and top control. It’s proved remarkably effective so far, as she’s trailblazed her way to 5-0 in the UFC, and she’s out-landed every one of her opponents by a sizable margin to this point.
Gadelha is historically a grappler, and in previous years her fighting style has been built on implementing her pace and pressure through her wrestling. It was an undoubtably effective style at the time, as she was relentless, had serviceable cardio, and many of the women’s strawweight division weren’t yet equipped to deal with it. In the year 2020 however, she’s now unable to sustain a heavy wrestling-based approach due to her declining cardio, and the fact that her opponents are only improving their wrestling and takedown defense. The result of this has seen Gadelha either attempt to wrestle for parts of fights, leading to her ‘gassing out’ and holding on for dear life, or it’s seen her almost-entirely abandon her wrestling, in favor of attempting to strike for 15-minutes against more accomplished strikers than herself. It’s proved to be hit and miss, and if it weren’t for some close/favorable judging, her recent 3-2 stretch, would actually be an alarming 1-4 skid.
I see this fight playing out with Xiaonan overwhelming Gadelha on the feet. Gadelha may be able to get Xiaonan to the ground early, but with Xiaonan’s speed and strength, it looks to be a tough ask for Gadelha to get her down with any regularity, or to keep her down for long spells of the fight. With this said, we should see a lot of this fight playing out on the feet, particularly with Xiaonan out-striking and out-voluming Gadelha in the second and third rounds. Although unlikely, Xiaonan could actually get Gadelha out of there early, as we’ve seen Gadelha get hurt and even dropped in recent fights, which could indicate that her durability is dwindling.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see Gadelha come out and win the first round through the utilization of her wrestling, but following that, I struggle to see how Gadelha’s cardio would hold up and how she’d be able to do enough to claim either of the later rounds. Gadelha does offer up some upside of finishing as she’s capable of submitting people at this level, but at the same time, Xiaonan has the capability to finish Gadelha early or late, due to her cardio edge and Gadelha’s questionable chin.
All things considered; Yan Xiaonan is the clear play for me here. I favor her to win at least two of the three rounds, and she’s the more likely fighter to get a finish, so for that reason, I’m making a decent sized bet on her current -133 moneyline. On top of this, I’m also adding a little quarter unit sprinkle on her to win in round 3 at an astounding 33/1 (+3300). Gadelha has looked extremely bad late in fights recently, and with the pressure that Xiaonan brings for the full 15 minutes, I think it’s entirely possible that we see her put away an extremely fatigued Claudia Gadelha in the final round.
Xiaonan Yan Moneyline @ -133
(2u) Glover Teixeira Moneyline @ +210 (to Return 6.2 Units)
Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira
Main Event Light heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 12:15 a.m. EST.
- Glover Teixeira ranks second amongst active UFC Light Heavyweights for number of wins with 14 (6 via KO/TKO, 5 via Submission, & 3 via Decision) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
My pick for Saturday’s main event is the perennial light heavyweight (LHW) contender, Glover Teixeira.
Glover is perhaps the toughest and savviest veteran currently in the UFC. He’s just turned 41, he’s riding an impressive 4-fight win streak, and depending upon the UFC’s immediate plans for the LHW title, a win here could solidify him one last shot at becoming a UFC champion.
Thiago Santos is a difficult opponent for anyone, and he demonstrated that perfectly in his last time out, in a five round title fight with the LHW G.O.A.T., Jon Jones (pictured below). In that bout, he sustained serious ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus injuries (per BleacherReport.com), leading him to have not one, but both of his legs heavily compromised. Nonetheless, he endured the pain and took the fight to a razor-close split-decision. It was an admirable effort by Santos, and despite the loss, he had solidified himself in the minds of many fans that he was in fact a top contender.
I believe that Thiago Santos could still eclipse the pinnacle of the sport and claim UFC gold, but after a long layoff and some potential career-ending injuries, one has to question what kind of Thiago Santos we are going to see on Saturday night. Is he going to look like the fighter we saw against Jones, or is he going to show ring rust and timidity? It’s impossible to say for sure, but with a price tag of -225 (best price), it’s already enough to pass up on Thiago Santos being a viable bet for me.
Santos will have the speed edge on the feet, and should he use his kicks, that’ll boost the effectiveness of his striking against the slow and lumbering, Glover. The risk off course, with relying on his kicks too heavily, is that he could risk reaggravating his injuries, so there’s a chance that he could be using them sparingly compared to his past showings. As for the grappling, Santos is no slouch, but there is a clear edge to Teixeira given his elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu credentials and his ‘old man strength’ (pictured below: Glover Teixeira performing ground-and-pound on Ion Cutelaba).
Thiago Santos has two gears, fast and ruthless, or patient and calculated. Should he adopt the former, he could definitely knockout Glover early, but it would create a more volatile fight, meaning that Glover’s chances of KO’ing Santos early would be boosted, and if Santos were to fatigue, it’d also make a late Glover finish more likely as well. Should Santos opt for the more patient approach, I think this would be prudent, but the risk is that it might allow Glover to get settled into the fight and give him time to look for takedowns. If the fight hits the mat, I wouldn’t expect Santos to be completely out of his depth, but I could see any long grappling exchanges becoming tiresome for him, if not proving fight ending.
This fight could swing either way. Santos could KO Glover or pick him apart on his way to decision victory, and Glover could KO Santos, take him down and submit him, or potentially even win a decision, should he be able to implement his wrestling and nullify Santos’ offense for large parts of the fight. Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that one guy is a 2-to-1 underdog, and that’s simply far too wide given Santos’ injury hiatus, and Glover’s wide variety of paths to victory. Take Glover Teixeira to get the win, +210 is disrespectful, and I think there’s distinct value on him.
Glover Teixeira Moneyline @ +210
(1u) Max Griffin Moneyline @ -138 (to Return 1.727 Units)
Max Griffin vs. Ramiz Brahimaj
Preliminary Card Welterweight (170lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 7:40 p.m. EST.
- Max Griffin has only ever lost once via submission, and that was on TUF Season 16, which occurred over 8 years ago (per Tapology.com).
My final bet for this week is a small play on Max “Pain” Griffin.
Max Griffin has had a rough run in the UFC, going 3-6 over his 4.5-year tenure. When looking at his UFC record, it doesn’t make for great reading, but it’s important not to gloss over the crop of fighters that he’s faced. He’s got losses to former UFC Interim Welterweight Champion, Colby Covington, as well as former ranked fighters such as, Elizeu Zaleski do Santos, Thiago Alves, and Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira. It’s also notable that in many of his losing efforts, they’ve still been competitive contests, with Griffin claiming rounds, if not being deserving of the decision. He’s a tough all-rounder, able to strike, wrestle, and grapple. He’s only ever been finished twice in his career, both of which occurred over four years ago, which is significant as his opponent for this fight, Ramiz Brahimaj, is typically a finish-or-bust type fighter.
Ramiz Brahimaj will be making his UFC debut this weekend, and often you’ll look at a young debuting prospect against a 34-year-old with a suspect UFC record, and think that this is a set-up fight, but this is definitely not. Brahimaj’s pro record is 8-2 (per Tapology.com), and all of his wins have come via submission (typically in round 1), and both of his losses have come via decision. This of course isn’t a sure fire why to tell how this fight is going to go, but it does offer up some instant insight into what style of fight Brahimaj likes to impose. After looking more closely of footage on Brahimaj, it further supports the narrative that he likes to chase submissions early, and if he fails, then he fatigues and gets out-worked down the stretch.
I see Brahimaj being the more active fighter in the first round, and if he gets Griffin to the mat, he’ll be working quickly in pursuit of a sub’. This might be a little tense to watch, as he’s shown he’s got skills on the mat, but Griffin is a resilient and capable grappler in his own right, and he’s been able to ‘hang’ with guys who I consider to be more well-rounded ground fighters than Brahimaj. Following the early attack of Brahimaj, Griffin should be able to do the better work wherever the fight takes place. Brahimaj will likely soften up and be at a loss for ideas, and Griffin should dictate the fight as he pleases. I’ve got Griffin winning this fight via decision, likely 29-28, but a 30-27 or even a late TKO, wouldn’t surprise me either. Take Max Griffin to win on the moneyline, -138 is pretty cheap, all things considered.
Max Griffin Moneyline @ -138
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Teixeira / UFC on ESPN+ 40 / UFC Vegas 13 / #UFCVegas13
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, November 7th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims 7 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Teixeira Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Teixeira Main Event Prediction
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira – Teixeira via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Teixeira Main Card Predictions
Heavyweight (265lbs): Andrei Arlovski vs. Tanner Boser – Boser via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Raoni Barcelos vs. Khalid Taha – Barcelos via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Ian Heinisch vs. Brendan Allen – Heinisch via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Cláudia Gadelha vs. Yan Xiaonan – Xiaonan via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Teixeira Prelim Card Predictions
Featherweight (145lbs): Giga Chikadze vs. Jamey Simmons – Chikadze via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Trevin Giles vs. Bevon Lewis – Giles via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Marcos Rogério de Lima vs. Alexander Romanov – Romanov via Submission
Featherweight (145lbs): Darren Elkins vs. Eduardo Garagorri – Elkins via Submission
Welterweight (170lbs): Max Griffin vs. Ramiz Brahimaj – Griffin via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Gustavo Lopez vs. Anthony Birchak – Lopez via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.