Bet of the Card: (2u) Under 2.5 Rounds @ -110 (to Return 3.818 Units)
Gregor Gillespie vs. Brad Riddell
Co-Main Event - Lightweight (155lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 12:15 a.m. EST.
- All of Gregor Gillespie’s last 6 fights have ended inside the first 2 rounds.
- Brad Riddell has been taken down 14 times in his young 3-fight UFC career (per UFCStats.com).
When fighting styles clash, it typically results in exciting back-and-forth exchanges that yield a high likelihood of creating a finish. In Saturday’s co-main event, we’ve got a textbook example of one.
Gregor Gillespie is an esteemed wrestler, and undeniably one of the best we’ve ever seen in the sport. His stand-up isn’t bad, but as we saw from his head kick KO loss to Kevin Lee in his last fight, it’s certainly not his strong suit. On the other side of the cage, we have City Kickboxing’s, Brad Riddell. Riddell is an out-and-out kickboxer, he has strong leg kicks, and throws with some serious heat in his hands.
When on the feet, Riddell with have the upper hand, and the longer he can keep the fight there, the more of a hurting he’ll be able to put on Gillespie due to the striking skill disparity. However, when in clinch range, Gillespie will have an even more pronounced grappling edge. Riddell has shown huge susceptibility to getting taken down in fights, and that’s been against opponents whose wrestling isn’t even in the same stratosphere as Gillespie’s.
One thing I love about Gillespie, is that he’s a wrestler who actively chases the finish and has the gas tank to put on an overwhelming pace, and that’s where I see the finish coming from in this fight. Once he gets Riddell down, he should be able to dominate. Riddell has shown a decent get-up game in the past, but against the grappling pedigree of Gillespie, I struggle to see how he fights back up to his feet more than a handful of times.
I see Gillespie forcing the finish here, likely by submission, but ground-and-pound is certainly not out of the question. With this being said, should Riddell be able to keep large parts of this fight at striking-range, then he too could force the finish on Gillespie with his aggressive offense. Take this fight to finish in under 2.5 round, -110 looks to be solid value on a fight with elite guys with vastly contrasting fighting styles.
(1.5u) Marion Reneau Moneyline @ +175 (to Return 4.125 Units)
(0.25u) Marion Reneau to Win in Round 3 @ +2000 (to Return 5.25 Units)
Marion Reneau vs. Macy Chiasson
Preliminary Card Headliner - Women’s Bantamweight (135lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:30 p.m. EST.
- Marion Reneau ranks amongst active UFC women’s bantamweights: first for submission attempts (9), second for total fight time (2:23:31), and fifth for striking defense (60.9%) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
Reneau has her back up against the wall in this fight. She’s currently on a three-fight skid, and the matchmakers probably think they’re not doing her any favors by throwing a significantly younger and more physical opponent her way.
Chiasson will have a 5-inch height and 4-inch reach advantage (per UFCStats.com), and she’ll also be the stronger and more imposing fighter. Her downside, however, is that she’s still fairly green and incredibly prone to gassing out in her fights. Her first round burst and finishing ability is pretty unique in women’s MMA (WMMA), but if her opponent is able to weather the storm, her fights can get very dicey for anyone who’s laid money on her. This is where I see Marion Reneau getting the upper hand and pulling off the upset.
Reneau may be 43-years-old, but she’s one of the pound-4-pound (P4P) most durable fighters in WMMA. Moreover, she’s also one of the most physically fit fighters, meaning that even when she’s facing adversity, she can often out-cardio her opponents and become the stronger in the later rounds.
I see Reneau getting out of the first round alive following the early Chiasson onslaught. Following that, she should be able to bounce back and turn this into a real dog fight. I have some concerns that Chiasson may have improved her conditioning in the 13-months since we last saw her, but I’d be pretty shocked to see her look like value here as the -200 favorite (best price), should she not get the early stoppage.
Take Marion Reneau to get the win, +175 is a bit wide, and I see her conditioning and grappling being the difference-maker. I’ve also had a small quarter unit play on her to win in round 3 at +2000, she could look like the seriously stronger fighter in the final five minutes, and with her being a legit BJJ black belt, a late submission could definitely be on the cards.
Main Event Pick: Kevin Holland -170 & Fight Doesn’t Go The Distance @ -200 (PASS)
Derek Brunson vs. Kevin Holland
Main Event - Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 12:45 a.m. EST.
- Kevin Holland has won all of his last 5 fights, producing 4 stoppages, 3 of which were in the very first round.
- 12 of Derek Brunson’s 17 UFC fights haven’t gone the distance, including all 4 of his main event fights (per Tapology.com).
Just like last weekend’s main event, I’m struggling to find a bet here.
I tend to lean towards Holland to win and get the finish, but with his current moneyline and prop odds being where they are, I just can’t pull the trigger. I know a lot of sharp people are backing Brunson as the underdog, largely due to his late career resurgence and new-found patient fighting style. Yet, with his moneyline standing at +145, there’s just not enough meat on the bone for me to blindly take him as the value-dog.
I think if you like Holland, you take the under 2.5 rounds prop at -110, as his main path to victory is the early finish, plus it covers you should Brunson revert to his volatile, madman, swangin’-n-bangin’ style of year’s past. If you fancy Brunson, you should probably just play him straight, but I don’t mind taking the “Derek Brunson To Win And Over 1.5 Rounds” prop at BetAmerica that pays +200. If Brunson gets the win, it’ll likely be in the later rounds or via decision due to Holland having a cast iron chin and somewhat questionable cardio.
Ultimately, this is another main event pass for me, but if I were forced into a bet, I’d look to take the “fight doesn’t go to decision” prop at -200 and parlay it up, as I can see plenty of room for either guy to get the finish in this fight.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland / UFC on ESPN 21 / UFC Vegas 22 / #UFCVegas22
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, March 20th, 2021
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims 7 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN, Prelims on ESPN2/ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland Main Event Prediction
Middleweight (185lbs): Derek Brunson vs. Kevin Holland – Holland via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland Main Card Predictions
Lightweight (155lbs): Gregor Gillespie vs. Brad Riddell – Gillespie via Submission
Heavyweight (265lbs): Tai Tuivasa vs. Don'Tale Mayes – Tuivasa via KO/TKO
Bantamweight (135lbs): Adrian Yanez vs. Gustavo Lopez – Yanez via KO/TKO
Welterweight (170lbs): Max Griffin vs. Kenan Song – Griffin via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Cheyanne Buys vs. Montserrat Ruiz – Buys via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland Prelim Card Predictions
(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Marion Reneau vs. Macy Chiasson – Reneau via Submission
Lightweight (155lbs): Leonardo Santos vs. Grant Dawson – Dawson via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Trevin Giles vs. Roman Dolidze – Dolidze via Submission
Bantamweight (135lbs): Montel Jackson vs. Jesse Strader – Jackson via KO/TKO
(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Julia Avila vs. Julija Stoliarenko – Avila via KO/TKO
Flyweight (125lbs): JP Buys vs. Bruno Silva – Buys via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.