Bet of the Card: (2u) Felicia Spencer Moneyline @ -150 (to Return 3.333 Units)
Main Card – Women’s Featherweight (145lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 8:15 p.m. EST.
- Felicia Spencer is 8-2 as a pro, with her only 2 losses coming against Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg, 2 of the greatest WMMA fighters of all-time.
- This will be Norma Dumont’s 7th pro fight, and just her 2nd up at featherweight, with her only other 145-pound bout resulting in a 1st round KO/TKO loss to Megan Anderson (per Tapology.com).
Felicia Spencer is no world beater, but as a fighter who competes in the extremely shallow women's featherweight division, she's someone I'd classify as "the best of the rest". She's proven that she can't beat Nunes or Cyborg, but she's shown that she can run through basically anyone else at 145lbs. She's incredibly tough, her striking is workable, but what makes her dangerous, is her ground game. Her takedowns, although not high level, are functional against middling-to-low level opposition, and her BJJ skills are pretty slick and ever-improving.
Norma Dumont has made me eat my words once before, when she put on an insanely good performance against Ashlee Evans-Smith (AES), 6 months ago. The striking she displayed was surprisingly decent, and her grappling and conditioning looked solid too. But it's important to remember that that fight took place at bantamweight, and against AES, a former flyweight fighter. She'll now be taking on someone who is a natural 145-pounder, who would be a massive 135-pounder, should she ever look to move weight classes. This difference in size of opponent, could completely change the level of success Dumont will see with her grappling, and that's what I have as the difference maker here.
Norma Dumont likes to striker off her back foot, and although that can be effective, it isn’t ideal when coming up against a grappler who can cut off the cage and force clinch situations, with the aim of getting the fight to the mat. I favor Dumont to get the better of the striking exchanges, but I see Spencer tying up with her against the cage wall and peeling her to the mat. From there, she can use her smothering top game, either to win rounds, or to pursue a submission or ground’n’pound finish.
(1.5u) Rob Font Moneyline @ -110 (to Return 2.864Units)
Main Event - Bantamweight (135lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:45 p.m. EST.
- Rob Font is tied 2nd amongst active UFC bantamweight for KO/TKO wins (5) (per StatsLeaders.UFC.com).
- Cody Garbrandt has been knocked down 5 times in just his last 4 fights, 3 of which he lost by KO/TKO (per UFCStats.com).
Cody Garbrandt is undoubtedly a top bantamweight (BW) talent, but his poor fight IQ and untrustworthy chin, is enough to bet against him in certain spots. His main event fight against Rob Font this weekend, is one of them.
Skill-for-skill, Rob Font isn’t on the level of Garbrandt, and to be frank, I’m honestly a little surprised to see him eclipse a top 5 spot in the BW division rankings, let alone the top 3! This being said, he has a very serviceable skillset, and exceptionally heavy hands, and that’s what has enabled him to climb the ranks, and what I see making the difference in this fight.
You could debate that Cody Garbrandt has some of the best boxing in MMA. His footwork is incredible, his hand speed and sheer power is undeniable, and on top of that, he’s got a solid wrestling game, which allows him to decide where the fight takes place. What lets him down, however, is his tendency to see red, typically after getting countered, and he responds by swinging wildly with little regard for the more-calculated shots his opponents will be looking to land in return. This, has led him to getting dropped and finished in 3 of his last 4 fights, and although we saw a much more calculated version of him in his most recent bout, I certainly wouldn’t bank on him fully overcoming this issue. Putting that aside, his durability looks to be a real concern too. So, even if he’s less of a hot head now, you still can’t guarantee that he’s not going to get caught and put away by a hard shot regardless.
I see Garbrandt winning this fight until he isn’t. And what I mean by that is, he should be able to out-point Font by being the quicker and more calculated striker, before he’s eventually knocked out. Font’s pronounced 6-inch reach advantage (71” vs. 65”) (per UFCStats.com) could help close these skills gaps, and at times it could prove extremely effective, should he utilize his stiff jab as Garbrandt looks to close range. Font will definitely be at a serious disadvantage in the grappling, his 48% takedown defense leaves a lot to be desired, but with Garbrandt often proving reluctant to grapple, I’d be stunned to see him stick to a wrestling-heavy gameplan for multiple rounds.
Ultimately, Garbrandt should look better in most areas of the fight, but sooner or later, he’s going to get chin-checked, and he could remain composed, or he could revert to slinging leather like a madman again. Either way, I see him getting hit, hurt, and put away. 25 minutes is a long time to fight against someone with Rob Font’s power, and that goes for all fighters, not just ones who have shown glaring chin issues. I would like to bet Rob Font inside the distance for the added value at +155, but I do see paths to him winning a decision, so I think it’s prudent to take him on the moneyline instead, at just shy of even money.
(1u) Carla Esparza via Decision or Technical Decision @ +150 (to Return 2.5 Units)
Co-Main Event – Women’s Strawweight (115lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:15 p.m. EST.
- Carla Esparza ranks all-time amongst UFC strawweights: 1st for Top Position Time (47:40), 3rd for Top Position Percentage (28.0%), and 1st for Takedowns Landed (39) (per StatsLeaders.UFC.com).
- Yan Xiaonan has been taken down 5 times in her 6 UFC fights, 2 of which came against Kailin Curran, and 1 came against Angela Hill, both fighters who aren’t renowned for their grappling (per UFCStats.com).
Carla Esparza is one of the longest standing top-contender in the strawweight division. She was the inaugural champion in the weight class, and despite it being over 6 years since she earnt that accolade, she’s still competing at the very highest level, against an ever-improving crop of fighters.
There is a lot to like about Yan Xiaonan. For starters, her pace and volume striking is off the charts. She’s not technically pristine, but because she throws so many shots and swarms her opponents, it creates good optics for the judges, and it results in her landing at a significantly higher rate. Grappling wise, she’s not the most polished either, she often relies heavily on her strength and physique to overpower other strawweights, as opposed to learning proper technique that will carry against better grapplers, such as Esparza.
As we saw in Yan’s last fight, she struggled to stop the takedowns of Claudia Gadelha early, and when on the mat, she didn’t have much to offer from her back. However, as the fight wore on, Gadelha fatigued, as she tends to do, and that enabled Yan to takeover and out-work her in the latter half of the fight, enough so to claim the decision.
In this fight, I could see a very similar situation playing out to Yan vs. Gadelha, but this time, I don’t see Yan’s opponent fatiguing and giving away the fight down the stretch. Esparza has proven time-and-time again that she is capable of pushing a pace and carrying it for 15-minutes. On a technical level, her wrestling game is similar to that of Gadelha’s, so, it’d be understandable to think that we should see a similar degree of grappling success against Yan, but this time with it sustained throughout the fight.
I will preface that, should Yan be able to keep the fight standing, it could be a long and painful night for Esparza, with Yan having her way with her on the feet. But considering I see Esparza getting takedowns (pictured below), and Yan unable to get back to her feet, or at least not consistently and effectively, then Esparza should roll to a grappling-heavy decision win. I’m taking Carla Esparza’s decision prop at +150, as I see more value on it that her moneyline at just over +100.
UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Garbrandt Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Garbrandt Main Event Prediction:
Bantamweight (135lbs): Rob Font vs. Cody Garbrandt – Font via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Garbrandt Main Card Predictions:
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Xiaonan Yan vs. Carla Esparza – Esparza via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Justin Tafa vs. Jared Vanderaa – Tafa via KO/TKO
(W) Featherweight (145lbs): Felicia Spencer vs. Norma Dumont – Spencer via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): David Dvořák vs. Raulian Paiva – Dvorak via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Jack Hermansson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan – Shahbazyan via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Garbrandt Prelim Card Predictions:
Featherweight (145lbs): Ricardo Ramos vs. Bill Algeo – Algeo via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Ben Rothwell vs. Chris Barnett – Rothwell via KO/TKO
Welterweight (170lbs): Claudio Silva vs. Court McGee – Silva via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Bruno Silva vs. Victor Rodriguez – Silva via KO/TKO
Featherweight (145lbs): Joshua Culibao vs. Yilan Sha – Culibao via Decision
Lightweight (155lbs): Yancy Medeiros vs. Damir Hadžović – Hadzovic via Decision
Lightweight (155lbs): Damir Ismagulov vs. Rafael Alves – Ismagulov via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.