Bet of the Card: (1u) Alessio Di Chirico Moneyline @ +230 (to Return 3.3 Units)
(1u) Alessio Di Chirico via Decision @ +500 (to Return 6 Units)
Joaquin Buckley vs. Alessio Di Chirico
Main Card Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 3:45 p.m. EST.
- Alessio Di Chirico ranks fourth amongst active UFC middleweights for significant strike defense (62.4%) and takedown defense (83.3%), whilst also ranking joint-third for takedown accuracy (45.8%) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
- Di Chirico is a pretty durable fighter, having never been knocked out in his 17-fight MMA career.
When looking at the odds on this card for lines that stood out to me, Alessio Di Chirico’s over 2-to-1 moneyline jumped off the page. He’s a well-rounded fighter with an extremely serviceable skill set, and sometimes that’s all you need to pull the trigger on a guy at decent ‘dog-odds. Defensively he’s sound, both with his striking and grappling, and on the front foot he can do good work too, especially in clinch situations against the cage.
Joaquin Buckley is one of the most talked about fighters in the UFC right now, almost exclusively because of his devastating Mortal Kombat-esque Knockout of the Year (2020) over Impa Kasanganay back in October (see below).
As you can see, it was a truly exceptional KO and perhaps the greatest in the sport’s history. That being said however, it’s important to remember that ridiculous knockouts don’t typically carry from fight-to-fight, whereas the hype and inflated betting lines for the fighter who dished them out, often does. I see Buckley’s current -270 moneyline (best price) as an overreaction to his back-to-back highlight reel worthy KO’s over Kasanganay and Jordan Wright. His striking looks to be fairly decent, with his sheer power proving to be his best asset, but outside of that and his raw strength, I struggle to see where he’s the decidedly better fighter in this contest. For that reason, I simply have to look Di Chirico’s way as the clear value side of this bout.
Di Chirico will have to use his slick striking defense to avoid Buckley’s power shots early, but providing he’s able to do so, he should be able to grind Buckley down and make this a razor close fight. If Di Chirico looks to pursuit takedowns, that could result in this fight swinging further into his favor, given his solid top control and Buckley’s largely untested ground game. Take Alessio Di Chirico to win this fight on the moneyline and on his decision prop, should he avoid the early KO threat, I see him looking like outstanding value to get the win, and his most likely route to doing so, is on the judge’s scorecards.
(1u) Calvin Kattar via Decision or Technical Decision @ +420 (to Return 5.2 Units)
Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar
Main Event Featherweight (145lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 5:15 p.m. EST.
- 5 of Max Holloway’s 6 career loses have come via decision, 3 of which have come in his last 4 fights (per Tapology.com).
I’m not usually one for looking to fade Max “Blessed” Holloway (pictured above on the left vs. Alexander Volkanovski), but the only clear value I see on this fight is on Kattar’s decision prop.
This should be an extremely close affair which will almost entirely take place on the feet. Holloway will likely edge the volume between the two, and Kattar (pictured below: on the right vs. Renato Moicano) will undoubtedly be landing with the harder and more compromising shots. We’ve seen Holloway get hit and hurt a little bit as of late, but considering we’ve never seen him in serious danger of being stopped, I don’t foresee Kattar putting him away, or at least I wouldn’t bet on it occurring. Having said that, I could see the potential for Kattar to drop Holloway in this fight, which could be massive on the scorecards given how tight I expect this to be.
I could make the case for playing this safe and taking the over 4.5 rounds prop at -182 (best price), but given that this fight could look like a complete coin flip after 25-minutes, you just have to take the guy who you’re getting 4-to-1 on winning the decision. If Holloway takes it in a close fight, or Kattar is the first guy to finish Holloway with strikes, then we’ll just have to deal with it. But at +420, how could you not take a shot on Kattar to come out on top of what should be a closely contested, phenomenal striking battle.