Bet of the Card: (2u) Dustin Jacoby Moneyline @ +115 (to Return 4.3 Units)
Main Card – Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:45 p.m. EST.
- Dustin Jacoby will benefit from a 3-inch height and 2-inch reach advantage over Ion Cutelaba (per Tapology.com).
This fight promises action, and I can't help but question why Dustin Jacoby is the underdog.
I've been a detractor of Jacoby since he re-joined the UFC. I appreciate his striking acumen, but as an all-round martial artist, I can see a couple of holes in his game. Fortunately, however, I'm not sure Ion Cutelaba is the guy who can fully exploit Jacoby's weaknesses.
First up, Jacoby is a striking specialist with no real ground game, and although Cutelaba has a background in Greco-Roman wrestling, he's often reluctant to use it, and generally favors getting into striking wars. Secondly, I have questions around Jacoby's cardio, but Cutelaba is a fighter who notoriously gasses out in fights, so I'd be pretty shocked to see him looking noticeably fresher than Jacoby as the fight wears on, and I'd actually favor Jacoby's gas tank.
One major concern whenever you bet against Cutelaba, is his unrivaled power for the division. His technique leaves much to be desired, but the sheer force at which he slings his hands, always brings risk. That being said, Jacoby is the quicker, more efficient, and technically sound fighter. He has been in the ring with some high-level strikers in both MMA, but more specifically in kickboxing, and I expect this experience to serve him exceptionally well against Cutelaba.
The first couple minutes will be tense watching Cutelaba swing for Jacoby's head with all he's got, but after he slows a little and his power diminishes, I expected Jacoby to take over, landing on him with relative ease. Should Cutelaba look to his wrestling, it wouldn't be ideal considering his grappling edge, but I find it unlikely that he'd be able to implement a wrestling-heavy strategy, mostly because he'll fatigue.
All in all, I love the play on Jacoby here as the ‘dog. His elite striking experience should carry him through the early Cutelaba onslaught, and his precision and speed should either lead to him winning a fairly decisive decision, or a KO/TKO stoppage.
(1.5u) Randa Markos Moneyline @ +168 (to Return 4.02 Units)
Preliminary Card – Strawweight (115lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:30 p.m. EST.
- Randa Markos ranks 2nd all-time for most fights in the UFC strawweight division (16) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
- The combined record of all of Luana Pinheiro’s opponents comes to 26-34-1, with two of her 8 wins coming against the same 3-4 fighter, and her only career loss coming against a now 4-4-1 fighter (per Tapology.com).
This is almost becoming a week-to-week trope, promotional debuting Contender Series fighters coming in as decent sized favorites against established UFC veterans. Hey, I’m not complaining about it, I’ve made some good money betting against these largely untested fighters, but it doesn’t stop me rolling my eyes every time I see people trying to bet on the latest UFC hype train, whilst also disrespecting serviceable vets in the process.
To give Luana Pinheiro her credit, her fight on the Contender Series was impressive, and she highlighted some slick striking, but much like her other 8 career fights, it came against low level opposition. In fact, 7 of her 8 wins have come in the first round (per Sherdog.com), either signifying that she is some elite level finisher, especially for a women’s strawweight fighter, or the far more likely reason, she’s just faced some absolute cans on the regional scene.
Randa Markos is a fairly known commodity at this point. She’s tough, can strike but isn’t a world beater on the feet, but her wrestling game is where the majority of her wins come from. Sometimes her fight IQ does let her down, largely when she stands with more skilled strikers, or most notably when she elected to follow Mackenzie Dern to the mat, before getting swiftly armbarred by the esteemed multi-time world championship submission grappler. Even with this in mind, Markos now truly has her back up against the wall, with her riding a 3-fight losing streak. I feel like someone with 16 UFC fights (21 total), who’s desperately in need of a win, will revert to what got them to the dance in the first place.
I see Pinheiro getting the better of the striking exchanges on the feet, but once Markos is able to get her grappling going, I see her getting the fight to the mat and decisively winning minutes in top control. Pinheiro may be able to throw up submissions off her back, or even get up to her feet, but with Markos feeling the pressure of potentially getting released from the UFC, I’d expect to see her battle through any adversity and bring the fight to Pinheiro. For these reasons, I’m taking Randa Markos on the moneyline to get the win for 1.5 units at +168.
(1u) Dominick Reyes Moneyline @ +115 (to Return 2.15 Units)
Main Event – Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 12:45 a.m. EST.
- Dominick Reyes ranks amongst active UFC Light Heavyweights: 4th for Strikes Landed per Min. (4.53) and 7th for Striking Differential (1.37) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
- Volkan Oezdemir was handily out landing Jiří Procházka in the first round of their fight, which isn’t a great look considering Reyes out-worked Oezdemir at distance in their encounter (per UFCStats.com).
This is a tough fight to call, and the extremely tight betting line reflects that.
Reyes enters this fight following his lacklustre showing against UFC Light Heavyweight (LHW) Champion, Jan Błachowicz, back in September last year. It’s understandable to see why the betting market has gone cold on him after he was decisively finished by a fighter thought to be below his level, but it’s important not to focus on just one fight when looking at what Reyes has done up until now. Of course, he fought Jon Jones (pictured below) to a close, yet highly contentious decision loss, and prior to that he strung together 12 straight wins, with 6 coming inside the UFC.
Jiri on the other hand, is making just his second appearance in the Octagon since joining from Rizin. He’s already gained a ton of fans by his statement knockout win over former title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir, in a performance that saw him fight with flair and showmanship, whilst also remaining semi-calculated and effective. It’s tough to make a whole lot out of his resume, he’s on and impressive run with a fair share of big names under his belt, but many of those fighters were either too early, or too late, into their careers.
I see the moneyline on this fight (current best odds: Dominick Reyes (+115) vs. (-130) Jiří Procházka), being largely formed by the hype around Jiri and the underwhelming display by Reyes in his last fight. That’s not to say that they aren’t going to be riding different levels of momentum into this fight, that could play a factor, but it’s to remind us that prior to Reyes’ fight with Jan, everyone believed he was the next big thing in the division, and arguably the uncrowned champion.
I think we could see one of two things play out here, Reyes using his jab and technical, long striking to keep range and outwork Jiri with more calculated shots, or Jiri eating shots in order to crash-the-pocket, putting Reyes under pressure, before catching him with one of his hellacious power shots, to bring about the end of the fight.
Ultimately, I do actually lean towards the underdog, Dominick Reyes, to get the win. I do have some concerns with his capability to withstand pressure from his opponents, particularly ones with power, but I do see his speed, volume, and athleticism proving to be the difference makers against a lot of these other top contenders. I’d lean towards Reyes getting this done inside the distance, given Jiri’s reluctancy to go to decisions in his losses, but should this one go the full 25 minutes, I’d strongly favor Reyes to get the decision based on his work-rate alone.
This is still a close, volatile fight, but I do believe Reyes should be the slightest of favorites in this one, against a guy who’s got a lot to prove at the highest level, so out of principle I’m going to be taking a small value-shot on Reyes at +115.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Reyes vs. Procházka / UFC on ESPN 23 / UFC Vegas 25 / #UFCVegas25
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, May 1st, 2021
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims 7 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN/ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Reyes vs. Prochazka Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Reyes vs. Prochazka Main Event Prediction
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Dominick Reyes vs. Jiri Prochazka – Reyes via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Reyes vs. Prochazka Main Card Predictions
Featherweight (145lbs): Cub Swanson vs. Giga Chikadze – Chikadze via Decision
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Ion Cutelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby – Jacoby via KO/TKO
Middleweight (185lbs): Krzysztof Jotko vs. Sean Strickland – Strickland via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Merab Dvalishvili vs. Cody Stamann – Dvalishvili via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Poliana Botelho vs. Luana Carolina – Botelho via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Reyes vs. Prochazka Prelim Card Predictions
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Randa Markos vs. Luana Pinheiro – Markos via Decision
Featherweight (145lbs): Gabriel Benítez vs. Jonathan Pearce – Benitez via Submission
Featherweight (145lbs): Kai Kamaka III vs. TJ Brown – Kamaka III via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Loma Lookboonmee vs. Sam Hughes – Lookboonmee via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Andreas Michailidis vs. KB Bhullar – Michailidis via KO/TKO
Featherweight (145lbs): Luke Sanders vs. Felipe Colares –Colares via Submission
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.