UFC Logo Khabib Punching Justin UFC 254

The mixed martial arts world remains abuzz after Khabib The Eagle Nurmagomedov cut through Justin Gaethje’s “ground game” like a Ginsu through the Kerrygold in a mid-Summer Thailand kitchen on his way to a win by triangle choke!

I don’t think many people saw that particular submission coming but we did point out that Khabib would likely have a significant submission grappling advantage and he did.

Justin had nothing for Khabib in the wrestling department either. He talked up his takedown defense but in the end, it simply wasn’t there. Neither Conor McGregor nor Dustin Poirier even wrestled in high school and they looked much more prepared for The Eagle in that area.

Justin Gaethje did look good on the feet despite the fact he stayed on his bike or should I say Nurmagomedov forced him. The Eagle never gave Justin Gaethje the opportunity to think, breathe, or relax. Justin never settled in.

Do you remember when his head coach and cornerman Trevor Wittman told him in between rounds 1 and 2?

“Slow it doooowwwwnnnn….”

Easier said than done, coach. You see that Russian in my face? To Trevor and Justin’s credit, though, the latter did come out in the second round more measured but the difference of the levels on the mat was just too much.

Khabib Nurmagomedov took Justin Gaethje down with about 40 seconds left in the first round  and had him in a deep bicep crush before the bell.

In the co-main event, Robert Whittaker used his tremendous jab to control the range of the fight and also to damage his opponent, Jared Cannonier. 

I saw a picture of the two men after the fight and Jared’s arm was in a sling. Robert Whittaker broke his ulna bone with the first kick he threw.

It’s really a pet peeve of mine as a Muay Thai  coach to see my students covering for a head kick when they don’t have to. If the kick is to your body, of course, you would like to catch it or even counter with a cut kick but covering is still better than taking one on the ribs.

It’s very easy to fall into that false sense of security when you are wearing shin guards. You can cover head kicks all day long with shin guards on and as long as you are sparring with someone about your size, you barely feel it.

I have had hairline fractures in sparring. The guy who did it was 19 and very athletic but around my size. Guys that age just get their shots going so quickly and I just threw my right arm out to block the southpaw left kick and pop goes the ulna.

I always teach my student to lean back from the kick if they can

You can always count on your Thai coach to prepare you well.

Trainer Gae pronounced “gay” is one of a kind and a great follow on IG. He seems like a jerk at first but guess what? Your opponent is going to be throwing his bones at your entire body full force.

Coach…my opponent’s being a jerk.

Can you tell him to stop?

I have a celebrity friend in Las Vegas who has lived a pretty chill life outside of being a BMX star and he told me “I don’t know why the military yells at people in basic training. That’s overkill.”

Similar to the fighter but to a much higher degree, they are being prepared for war, and outside of a hug and kiss, I don’t know about you but I don’t want my mom preparing me for war.

Magomed Ankalaev shut the door on Ion Cutelaba with a late first round knockout.

I’m telling you that Magomed Ankalaev KO’ed Cutelaba but Ion did that to himself. He is the type of guy to run his face into a fist, realize that was a bad strategy, and do it again because it didn’t work.

To borrow a famous line from Annie and Jay Z:

It’s a hard knock life for Ion Cutelaba.

There are several other ways inside the house but this guy just keeps bloodying his knuckles on that iron door.

Let’s get into how we fared on our picks and then get into this weekend’s fight card featuring the final fight in the career of the great Anderson Silva.

Betting Recap

Our first play of the night was on the Miranda Maverick vs Liana Jojou fight to finish under 2.5 rounds for (-110).

Miranda Maverick looked absolutely incredible on her feet.

She didn’t even have to use her wrestling and her submissions and that is what she is known for.

I have to admit it felt pretty darn special to see a student’s student in Muay Thai fight at such a high level. I honestly believe that Miranda Maverick wins 10 out of 10 fights against Liana Jojua. I thought the Georgian fighter showed a good amount of heart in that fight but she was outclassed like normal.

Liana may get her Octagon legs under her one day but she was not ready for the UFC. Maverick, though, that girl is a future world champ. Remember the name.

I really wanted to pull the trigger on Joel Alvarez also. He submitted Alexander Yakovlev in 3 minutes, who went the distance on the mat with Demian Maia at a higher weight class. That’s pretty darn impressive from the Spaniard.

We missed an opportunity there and I apologize, guys.

I know a lot of guys were on Sam Alvey to upset the South Korean, Da Un Jung, and they were onto something because it took a 10-8 round in the third to even this thing up for a draw as Sam secured the first two.

We escaped that fight without too much guilt for missing a live dog.

UFC debut Shavkat Rakhmanov made very quick work of UFC veteran, Cowboy Oliviera. The Brazilian is very inconsistent and he was fighting a debut fighter so I thought maybe there were a few too many variables to make a strong play on the newcomer.

The rookie had impeccable timing on his right hand and Alex was blinking when throwing his own jab. Add those two things together and you get knuckles to the temple.

Shavkat controlled the clinch and jumped a low-risk guillotine with about 30 seconds left in the round showing good Fight IQ finishing the sub at the 4:40 mark.

I had a feeling that Nathaniel Wood was going to give Casey Kenny some trouble. With Kenny being more than a two to one favorite, I felt uncomfortable betting him in this spot against such a skilled fighter in Wood.

Casey got the win but he needed to use his wrestling in the third round to do so. The kid continues to impress and let’s not sleep on Nathaniel Wood.

Learning moment here, guys: The square bettor sees Casey Kenney’s heart, wrestling prowess, and determination and they will be looking to bet him in his next fight.

He is likely to get another step up in competition, though, and here is the key, he will likely be overvalued by the sportsbooks. Who I want you guys to focus on here is Nathaniel Wood. The Brit looked better than he ever has and he is going to grow tremendously from this fight.

That was an excellent first round, one of the best we have seen all year. I believe Nathaniel Wood will get a step down in his next fight and I also believe he will be undervalued. Time will tell, of course, but that is the way that sharp bettors think.

Tai Tuivasa knocked out Stefan Struve. This is low-level heavyweight and even though I had a good feeling it was going to be one-sided, I didn’t want to force it because there were several good spots for us throughout the card.

We took the under 1.5 rounds for (-120) in the Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba fight.  The two men did start out the fight much more measured, keeping their range, putting feelers out, and taking their time.

That lasted for about three and a half minutes, though, and the Moldovan fighter ran his face head-on into the fist of Ankalaev. He wasn’t asleep yet, so he did it again. Good times.

Women’s flyweight, Lauren Murphy, dominated her short notice opponent, Liliya Shakrova, who looked like she was coming up not one but two weight classes to make her UFC debut.

Phil Hawes knocked out Australian and Robert Whittaker protege, Jacob Malkoun, with a barrage of punches in only 18 seconds.

That is 3 UFC debutants in 2 fights so we stayed away from picking those two.

I have to be honest with you. I was picking all of the fights correctly as the night went on and thought to myself, man, I should have given out more picks for this event! The final three fights went our way, though, and we got plus money on two of them.

Alexander Volkov controlled his fight with the slight underdog, Walt Harris  until he hit him with a rear front kick that stabbed the strong solar plexus of former footballer Walt Harris.

We were just talking about this technique a little over a week ago. I didn’t see a giant like Harris dropping from it but it only takes one.

That was a (-150) win to add to our (-110) on the Maverick/Jojua under.

We got the former world champion, Robert Whittaker, at exactly even money (+100) to defeat Jared Cannonier. Now, I did question myself on this pic much more than I did any other prediction on this card but I am glad that I got it to you guys and I made a play on it myself at the last minute.

Finally, I had to go with Khabib Nurmagomedov to defeat the challenger, Justin Gaethje, with a method of victory betting line by submission with surprising betting odds of (+160).

When he says he is going to follow his father’s plan, you should believe him. The man has done everything he said he was going to do. I personally believe that he has a lot more to do if he wants to be considered one of the best fighters of all time but his dominance is unmatched.

I surely didn’t think he was going to cut through Justin Gaethje on the ground as quickly as he did. Including both rounds 1 and 2, they were only down there for about 90 seconds and Justin was in three different submissions finally tapping and going to beddy-bye in the triangle.

Fight Island judging wasn’t terrible. They use the Nevada Athletic Commission folks. The refereeing, though…

We went 4-1 on our plays and our wins were:

  • (-150)
  • (-110)
  • (+100)
  • (+160)

Betting 100.00 dollars on each fight netted us 330.00 dollars with a return on investment of 67%.

Let’s do our best to stay on the winning train through this coming weekend and beyond.

A Look Ahead at This Weekend’s Fights

The main event next week on Halloween night back in Las Vegas will be another retirement fight from one of the greatest fighters of all time, Anderson The Spider Silva. He will be a (+194) underdog against fellow lethal striker, Uriah Hall.

You aren’t likely to find a bigger Anderson Silva fanboy than myself. Most of my friends like to think I am rather gay for him. I’m not but if I was…

Please Note:

With that being said, I don’t really understand these betting odds. Bovada has him at (+175). The man made a living on his reflexes and they are not there anymore. He is seeing these punches coming but he isn’t reacting.

That is pretty scary going into a fight against Hall who says he has a renewed focus after leaving Las Vegas and moving his training camp down to Fortis MMA in Dallas, Texas. During the lockdown, Hall was literally living at the gym like he was a hungry young amateur.

I think that is a smart move for the mid to high-level pro looking for a little bit more attention because right now, the mats at Xtreme Couture are literally overflowing. This is especially true when the UFC is stateside in Las Vegas as opposed to Fight Island.

So many professional fighters flocked to Las Vegas and particularly Randy’s gym because they knew the UFC needed bodies.

I know he may not be priority number one because there are more than a handful of UFC fighters training at Fortis but it sounds like a better fit right now for the New Yorker.

You can get Uriah Hall at (-225) right now. I think that’s a great price. He has said that he will not be taking it easy on the old man like it appeared Daniel Cormier and Middleweight World Champion, Israel Adesanya, did in their recent fights with the Spider.

This is Hall’s last chance to make a run at the world title and honestly, he matches up pretty well with Israel Adesanya.  Any way you cut it, that is an entertaining fight.

Another betting spot I like quite a bit on this card is Bryce Mitchell. Thug Nasty is likely going to take down Touchy Fili and well, this is getting a little inappropriate, no?

Andre can wrestle pretty well but Bryce Mitchell is absolutely relentless in his attempts to get the fight to the mat and from there, he will surely have the submission grappling advantage over his Samoan foe.

BetOnline.AG has him right now for (-148)! All the other sportsbooks are (-160) or more.

Jump on that!

Thiago Moises is (+250) against Bobby Green. While I do have Green, who has looked tremendous lately, as the favorite, the line is off by about a dollar. I would cap Bobby at (-150) instead.

I can’t see this line getting any better for the dangerous Brazilian so bet now!

We will have more UFC fight picks coming your way as the week progresses but as far as these tips go, play them now because these are probably the best prices you will see.

In Conclusion

In a span of just one week, we are privileged to see the retirement fights from two of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is the most dominant wrestler and top control fighter of all time and Anderson Silva is the most dominant striker we have ever seen.

I don’t want to  continue any more comparisons of the two men because they have opposite styles. This is like comparing Dennis Rodman and James Harden. They are both highly successful basketball players but that’s where it ends.

It was very nice to win four out of five of our predictions and I am gunning for an even better performance this week. We have some great spots right now so don’t waste any time placing those bets.

BetOnline.AG is leading the way right now. If you wanted to throw something on Silva, then they are your best bet but I wouldn’t even go that route. Uriah Hall is most likely going to catch him with an overhand right and quickly put him away.

Thiago Moises is a value play at (+250). I would say just 0.5 units is plenty there. Bryce Mitchell at (-149) over at BetOnline.AG is nice.

This is a lot to take in. The two most dominant fighters of all-time are retiring within a week of one another.

Anderson is 45 years old now and Khabib, 32.