Bet of the Card: (3u) Michal Oleksiejczuk Moneyline @ -150 (to Return 5 Units)
Michał Oleksiejczuk vs. Modestas Bukauskas
Preliminary Card - Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:30 p.m. EST.
- Michal Oleksiejczuk ranks amongst active UFC light heavyweights: 1st for Knockdowns Averaged per 15 Min (2.1), 3rd for Strikes Landed per Min (4.83), and 3rd for Striking Differential (1.92) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com)
- All 3 of Modestas Bukauskas’ career losses have come inside the distance (2 KO/TKO, 1 Sub), with both KO losses coming in round 1 (per Tapology.com).
If you’ve been calculated when picking Michal Oleksiejczuk fights, you’re likely up a ton of money. If he’s fighting a well-rounded and more-durable guy, he loses, generally from his grappling deficiencies, and if he’s fighting a one-dimensional and less-durable guy, he gets the win, often in emphatic fashion. Modestas Bukauskas is a fighter I place in the latter category. He has size, speed, and decent movement, but his striking defense is far from solid, and he lacks volume for someone with his speed and range.
I see some serious advantages in Michal’s favor this Saturday. He’ll have to work to close the gap as he’s at a 3-inch height and 4-inch reach disadvantage, but this isn’t a new challenge for the under-sized light heavyweight. He’s an awkward southpaw, which yields a whole host of problems on its own, but what’s even more of an issue, is the obscene speed and power he has in his hands. Combine this with the fact that he boasts a 69% significant strike defense, and it shows that he’s a nightmare on the feet for almost all of the light heavyweight division.
Of course, when you start getting into these higher weight classes, you have to take into account the added power volatility, but despite Bukauskas having 8 KO/TKO wins to his name, he’s actually not a seriously hard hitter. His wins are typically from an accumulation of damage, but given that Michal is a well-conditioned, highly technical striker, I’m struggling to see how Bukauskas puts him away, other than him pulling off an uncharacteristic one-shot KO.
All things considered, Michal should have Bukauskas out-gunned in speed, volume, power, and striking defense. Bukauskas will likely need to catch Michal with something, or have made some serious improvements to his game, otherwise he should be handily beaten in what should largely be a striking affair. Take Michal Oleksiejczuk on the moneyline, -150 looks to hold clear value in my eyes, and I’d also recommend grabbing his inside the distance prop when it comes out (if you can get around +175), as I can see him getting the finish here at a good clip.
(2.5u) Francis N'Gannou Moneyline @ -120 (to Return 4.583 Units)
(1u) Francis N'Gannou to Win in Round 1 @ +285 (to Return 3.85 Units)
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis N'Gannou 2
Main Event – UFC Heavyweight (265lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 12:15 a.m. EST.
- Francis N’Gannou has won 8 of his last 10 fights in the first round, including his last 4-straight, which have all been KO victories in under 1.5 minutes.
- This fight is taking place 3 years after their initial bout, Stipe Miocic is now nearing the end of his career at 38 years old, and N’Gannou is still in the prime of his career at 34 years old.
It’s the rematch we’ve all been waiting for, Miocic vs. N’Gannou 2 for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, or in other words, the battle to decide who’s the baddest man on the planet.
For this rematch, N’Gannou opened as an even larger betting favorite than their first encounter. And admittedly, -225 was a little too wide, but ever since then, this line has been getting cheaper and cheaper. We’re now getting over a 100 cents discount on the opener, and I’d be looking to play N’Gannou at a much worse line than what we’re currently looking at (probably down to around -160/-175).
Could we see a repeat of their first fight where Stipe put on an absolute wrestling clinic for 25 minutes, or until he finds a finish? Sure, but does that justify Stipe’s near even-money price tag? Not for me. He does have standing KO power, but it’s not like we’ve ever seen N’Gannou really fazed by anyone else’s power, so we shouldn’t put too much stock into a flash Stipe KO, even if he has that capability. Could Stipe simply out-box N’Gannou? Yes, he could do that, but practically anyone who’s attempted to do it, has taken a rather swift canvas nap. Ultimately, the only way Stipe can justify his moneyline, is if he reproduces much of what he did against N’Gannou last time, but I see some difficulty there for him.
For starters, Stipe last weighed in at 233lbs against Daniel Cormier, as opposed to when he first fought N’Gannou, when he tipped the scales at 246lbs (per Tapology.com). It’s difficult to say right now whether he’s tacked on a bit of extra mass again, but I see it unlikely that he’ll be back over the 240lb mark. That means that N’Gannou should be benefiting from an even more pronounced weight advantage than in their first fight, considering he weighed in at 261.5lbs for his last outing (per Tapology.com). Then, add on that N’Gannou has been working far more with his anti-wrestling game, and you’d have to figure that he will be significantly better prepared to stop Stipe’s strongest path to victory.
One concern is that N’Gannou could freeze up from the fear of the takedown, as he did against Derrick Lewis, following his confidence shattering loss to Stipe. That being said, however, he hasn’t shown any sign of that since, and the following fight, he dusted the heavyweight division’s best wrestler, Curtis Blaydes, inside of a minute.
This is one of those fights where you’re going to look like either a genius or a moron depending upon what side you bet after the fact. If N’Gannou KO’s Stipe quickly, I’m going to look sharp as a knife, and if Stipe gets his wrestling game going and wins the fight, I’m going to look like a sucker. But at -120, I’m going to take that risk, purely because N’Gannou should be getting the knockout here at a far higher rate than Stipe’s able to avoid N’Gannou’s power and get the win down the stretch.
In addition to my 2.5 unit moneyline play, I’ve also taken N’Gannou to win in round 1, this is of course his clearest window for victory, and at anything over +250, you’ve just got to take the shot on principle of what he’s shown us in the past, regardless of what moneyline price we’re getting.
(2u) Gillian Robertson Moneyline @ +145 (to Return 4.9 Units)
Gillian Robertson vs. Miranda Maverick
Preliminary Card - Women’s Flyweight (125lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST.
- Gillian Robertson ranks amongst UFC Flyweights: Joint-1st All-Time for Fights (9) and Wins (6), 1st for Finishes (5), Control Time (53.9%), Top Position Time (41:16), and Top Position Percentage (52%), as well as Joint-2nd for Takedowns Landed (14) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
- Miranda Maverick will be giving up 2-inches in height and reach to Robertson (per UFCStats.com).
My final bet of the card is on Canadian grappler, Gillian Robertson.
Normally “Canadian grappler” is a bit of an oxymoron, unless your name is Georges St-Pierre, but Robertson is an extremely serviceable one, or at least in comparison to most of the women’s flyweight division. She’s relentless with her takedowns, and when on top, she’s able to maintain position and control rounds, or even chase a finish. Her striking is still a work in progress, but after watching Maverick’s underwhelming striking against Liana Jojua, I don’t see there being a serious gulf in class.
Miranda Maverick isn’t a hot prospect as such, but she’s certainly garnered some attention following a solid run in Invicta FC, and with her making it into the UFC before eclipsing the age of 23. She’s also a grappler and has a strong, muscular build. It’s easy to see what the bookmakers see in her to make her the favorite in this matchup, but until I see that she can reproduce her Invicta performances at the UFC level, I just won’t buy the hype. That said, Maverick is still an ever-improving, young fighter. She could even develop into a better fighter than Robertson, but right now, I favor Robertson’s level of experience, and ability to put away tough fighters.
Take Gillian Robertson’s moneyline here, I like her chances in this fight and as the underdog, I love taking the shot against someone who still has a lot to prove before she should be a moderate favorite (-162 best odds) against an established 9-fight UFC veteran.
Extra section -
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC 260: Miocic vs. N'Gannou 2 / UFC 260: Miocic vs. NGannou 2 / #UFC260
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, March 27th, 2021
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims 8 p.m. EST, Early Prelims 6 p.m. EST
Where to watch UFC 260: Main Card on PPV, Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+, Early Prelims on ESPN+
UFC 260: Miocic vs. N'Gannou 2 Full Fight Card Predictions:
UFC 260: Miocic vs. N'Gannou 2 Main Event Prediction:
Heavyweight (265lbs): Stipe Miocic vs. Francis NGannou – N’Gannou via KO/TKO
UFC 260: Miocic vs. N'Gannou 2 Main Card Predictions:
Welterweight (170lbs): Tyron Woodley vs. Vicente Luque – Luque via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Sean O'Malley vs. Thomas Almeida – O’Malley via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Khama Worthy vs. Jamie Mullarkey – Mullarkey via Decision
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Alonzo Menifield vs. William Knight – Knight via Decision
UFC 260: Miocic vs. N'Gannou 2 Prelim Card Predictions:
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Michał Oleksiejczuk vs. Modestas Bukauskas – Oleksiejczuk via KO/TKO
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Jessica Penne vs. Hannah Goldy – Goldy via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Marc-André Barriault vs. Abu Azaitar – Azaitar via Decision
UFC 260: Miocic vs. N'Gannou 2 Early Prelim Card Predictions:
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Gillian Robertson vs. Miranda Maverick – Robertson via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Jared Gooden – Nurmagomedov via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.