Want to get better at MMA betting for 2021?
Well, you know what they say? Practice makes perfect or at least we are striving for perfection but you guys get it. There are fights on the docket already to handicap but since we have a few weeks before any of them are locked inside the Octagon, let’s play pretend.
We aren’t Lloyd Christmas talking to Mary Swanson, though. These fights I want to discuss, handicap, and predict today are all quite possible to happen next year in 2021.
We have a little bit more than a one in a million shot…
Is Jon Jones going to fight Francis Ngannou one day? I sure as hippy heck hope so. Jon is arguably the greatest fighter of all time and Frank NG as I like to call him has the potential to be the baddest man on the planet, ever!
He would have to go back in time and see what David could do with his sling against him.
First, Francis is going to face Stipe Miocic which is totally rad and awesome and hopefully a much more competitive rematch than we saw in their first meeting.
How about Conor McGregor fighting Charles Oliveira?
That lanky frame, improved defense, and technical wrestling might prove rather hazardous for the Irishman. This will be a fun one to cap.
How about Jon Jones and Stipe?
Wow, I think I would have to lean towards Jon Jones. He is undefeated and he beat Daniel Cormier fairly handily twice. Stipe had trouble twice and got knocked out once.
MMA math is crap, yes, but I believe we can get some inference from it albeit a tiny bit.
Jon Jones against anybody seems like it could be the most anticipated fight of the year but there is one fight that I would like to see over all the others.
The only problem right now is Jan is the new champ at Light Heavyweight so Jones would have to go down and take the belt first.
Oh wait, what if Izzy beat him to it?
Hey, if 2020 has taught us old dogs anything, it’s that the world is becoming a more and more ridiculous place. Logic is so 2019.
This scares the “you know what” out of me but I do like how the UFC has broken the rules to get stuff done. That is one of my rules is to break them. I don’t know why but it just seems right.
Let’s handicap these fights and make a soft prediction on a winner. Some of these dream matchups have hypothetical betting odds already that we can use. But that will be after and only after we do the handicapping ourselves.
Rule #1 for handicapping a sporting event but particularly a fight:
Don’t look at the actual betting odds until you have blindly handicapped the fight yourself and your betting line is down on paper.
Then you can compare. Don’t look at the betting line and then try to get your “edge” on the sportsbooks, because you will naturally be biased towards whichever side you’re eyeing.
Conor McGregor vs Charles Oliveira
Oowee this is a good one! Where do I even start? Paths to victory for each fighter, I guess.
Conor’s #1 path to victory in what will certainly be a 5 round fight likely for the Lightweight World Title Belt is a TKO by death touch. We know he has the touch of death. Remember Eddie Alvarez?!
Remember Dustin Poirier?
One punch and he was gone but that was after a series of kicks from the Irishman befuddled him. These are guys who have fought for the title and both beaten Justin Gaethje.
I think the possibility of Conor sleeping Charles is high because Oliveira has been TKO’ed 4 times inside of the Octagon. In his defense, the dude has fought 27 total times under the banner of the UFC.
He also grew up inside of that Octagon and isn’t the same guy he was at 25. Charles is a grown up now and has just about blown right through both Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson.
I think Conor can TKO him or box him up for 5 rounds but I think that McGregor is too accurate and precise not to put him away with something along the way. McGregor surely isn’t going to try and take do Bronx down. I know Conor said he was a new fighter but not that new.
I don’t think C-Mac wants any part of the Brazilian on the mat. There aren’t too many fighters in the UFC’s Lightweight Division that do, though.
I don’t see this fight going the distance at all. Both fighters are, pardon the pun, but Notorious finishers who are kill or be killed in there.
For that, I like the under 2.5 rounds for probably even money or better but let’s give each fighter a moneyline to win straight up.
Conor McGregor (-180) vs Charles Oliveira (+140)
You can’t let this betting line get too wide because there are just too many unknowns here.
Both men are in their prime and look like the best version of themselves every time they fight.
We are seeing improvements on both ends but like most UFC fights, I think this one comes down to wrestling. If Charles gets the Irishman on his back, on the mat, I think he can catch him with something,
Oliveira is the all time UFC leader in submissions for a reason.
One guy has much improved takedowns and the other much improved takedown defense, so what are you gonna do?
I will side with the more accomplished fighter at the highest level. Conor has beaten Max, Dustin, Eddie, Aldo, and Mendes.
Charles has fought that level 3 different times in his career not including today’s Tony who is not the same guy as yesterday and lost all of those fights to Frankie Edgar, Max Holloway, and Anthony Pettis.
Conor is still more proven at the highest level but I don’t feel overly confident at all about betting against Oliveira.
Jon Jones vs Francis Ngannou
And I thought the most excited I could get nowadays was for a Conor McGregor fight…
Jon Jones is truly changing his landscape. We went from Thiago Santos, Dominick Reyes, and likely Jan Blachowicz to potentially Frank Ngannou?!
Or Stipe Miocic? Or Israel The Last Style Bender Adesanya?!
There are no fights this weekend or next so I should probably tranquilo.
We will handicap one fight at a time. Okay, Francis Ngannou vs Jon Jones…
I am assuming that Jon Jones would prefer to take NG to the mat. I know I would. I mean it’s not humanly possible but I would rather die of exhaustion hanging onto one of his legs than die from blunt force trauma to the head from one of his punches.
Stipe got the big man down with regularity in their first fight but that was 3 years ago when Franky baby was still green to MMA.
It isn’t like the guy has been training his entire life or anything. He boxed some but he is mostly a super athlete who learned mixed martial arts in his 20s. Kinda like me except for the super and athlete words.
Jon has been wrestling since he was a kid, wrestled in college, and made his living in MMA being able to take down his opponents if needed that is. He definitely needed to take Dominick Reyes down in his most recent battle.
Reyes was winning on the judges’ scorecards headed into the championship rounds but that’s when champions do what champions do, baby. Jon put that fight on ice. If he left Light Heavy to get away from the speed then he is going to be in double trouble against Francis Ngannou who has the quickness of a 205er and the power of a 500 pounder.
The smart answer to the question of how do we cap this fight is see how Francis does against Stipe Miocic first. If he shuts down all of the last remaining American champ’s takedown attempts then Jon might not even take the fight!
He’s smarter than he acts. Here goes, though.
Jon Jones (-140) vs Francis Ngannou (+120)
I kept it pretty close because we have to. I don’t care what kind of read I think I have, we just don’t have enough information to make a proper read on this one. How does Jon perform and stack up against his peers in the UFC’s Heavyweight Division?
And how does Francis Ngannou deal with the threat of the takedown again and the pressure as well. If Derrick Lewis locked up your boothole as tight as it did when these two men stared each other down for 15 full minutes, then a fight against the arguable GOAT may get you a little nervous.
Francis has yet to prove to us that he can handle that level of stress and wrestling for that matter.
BetOnline.AG has this one lined with Ngannou as the betting favorite at (-135) and Jon Jones at (+115). So, essentially they just flipped it. Ngannou actually opened at (-160) but money has since come in on Bones.
Jon Jones vs Stipe Miocic
Again, Jon Jones, again?
Yessss! Jon Jones fights are exciting again! At least the lead-up to them is exciting. He hasn’t had a lot of barn burners in his day but that’s just the way he fights. Jon likes to stay out of the fire.
Georges St Pierre was the same way, especially after he became UFC world champion. He wouldn’t hunt anymore. It was just do enough to win the rounds but not too much to where you would be endangering yourself at all.
This, not surprisingly, led to a lot of boring fights but for some odd reason, people couldn’t get enough of Georges St Pierre. Here I am, an Anderson Silva fan watching him win 17 consecutive fights upon joining the UFC and finishing 15 of those opponents.
The only two he couldn’t finish were primarily grapplers who refused to engage in the stand up. Thales Leites was even dropping to his butt, literally, to avoid hooks. Shame shame.
GSP did get safe and stayed out of the fire and Jon has chosen to do the same thing more often than not lately. He has just 2 finishes in 9 fights and people are catching onto it and throwing heavy leather because they know they aren’t going to get the same thing back.
If you come at him with fire, he will retreat. Normally backing straight up in a fight is a bad idea but when you’re as long as Jon Jones, your range tends to hold up even when you run into a side of the Octagon.
Miocic is certainly used to having a reach advantage standing at 6’4” tall with an 80 inch wingspan. Well, Jon’s spreads to 84.5 if you didn’t know!
I give Stipe the technical boxing advantage but speed…I don’t know. Jon has never been fast but neither has Miocic and he is 38 right now compared to Jones who is just 33 at the moment.
I am going to edge Jon again. He has the youth and the range. Stipe has power but he is going to have to go after Jones. We know Jonny won’t be pressing into the pocket.
Jon Jones (-125) vs Stipe Miocic (+105)
And the BetOnline.AG betting odds are (-150) for JJ and (+120) for Stipe. They aren’t really far enough away that we would really have an edge here and we don’t have to bet on every fight.
We can make some easier money on the prelims and sit back with our winnings and enjoy a main event like this.
That’s the move.
Israel Adesanya vs Jon Jones
Izzy vs Jon Jones…
This is THE ONE FIGHT I would rather see over any combination you could give me. I don’t care if it was the coolest freakshow fight ever featuring women vs men, tag teams, etc.
Israel Adesanya vs Jon Jones beats them all. That is the fight. It is bigger than any Conor McGregor fight that can be made unless the Notorious one really wants to test himself up at 185.
Both men are 6’4 but Izzy is going to come up on the short end of the arms just like Stipe did with a measly 6’8” from fingertip to fingertip. I’m 6’1” tall and people tell me all the time, wow you have so much reach. Your arms are so long. No wonder you’re hitting me!
My reach is my height, 73″. That’s normal. Abnormal is this 80 and 85-inch stuff. I don’t know how these men were created but they say God doesn’t make mistakes. Both of Jon’s brothers are multiple time Pro Bowlers in the NFL.
Now, for the fight. I think Jon would get hit clean on the way in for sure but he has shown to have a very strong chin in the past. From there, I think he can wear down Adesanya in the clinch.
I also think Izzy is more emotional than Jon. If Adesanya has anything working against him, it is his immaturity. He never losing a professional mixed martial arts contest in 20 fights hasn’t helped this along very much.
In fact, since he loves superheroes and cartoons, it is impossible for him to be his greatest form unless he loses. That’s how you grow and that is what would make this fight better than any other I can imagine.
Someone’s 0 has to go. I would cap this one with Jon as the slight favorite once again.
Jon Jones (-145) vs Israel Adesanya (+125)
And the actual hypothetical betting lines for this fight brought to us by BetOnline.AG is (-115) for Izzy and (-105) for Jon Jones so essentially a pick’em. I don’t actually think this one will play out that closely so you know you have some value.
From our handicap, it is Jon Jones and we actually have nearly a 10% edge on the books here to make a play.
Check this out, though. Bovada.LV has Bones at (-200) and Izzy at (+160). Well then.
It isn’t often at all that two reputable bookmakers have such a differing opinion on a major fight like this. I imagine if the fight is signed, though, that the varying lines would start to get a lot closer.
Marvin Vettori vs Robert Whittaker
This last fight I want to talk about today is one that I haven’t really heard much about but I think it would be a doozy! Robert Whittaker appears to now be Adesanya’s gatekeeper and I’m okay with that.
I don’t know how well it sits with Bobby Knuckles that he has to play second ukulele to Kiwi neighbor to the South but he doesn’t really have a choice.
Marvin Vettori just put himself on everyone’s radar with a high profile short notice win over Swede Jack Hermansson. Rob has since gone 2-0 against Darren Till and most recently, Jared Cannonier, since his crushing defeat to Adesanya.
Another man who lost to Izzy but it was by split decision is Mr Marvin Vettori. It was almost 3 years ago and people are saying well Adesanya was still developing. Get over yourself. So was Marvin.
Robert Whittaker (-150) vs Marvin Vettori (+120)
The Last Stylebender is 31 and Marv 27, so…Izzy better hope for the rematch soon or he is going to be on his way down when Vettori is peaking. But first, Whittaker vs Vettori.
I love Marvin’s game but Whittaker has shown to be pretty indestructible if your name isn’t Adesanya.
Fights fights fights!
I for one, cannot get enough! Do you know how much I was looking forward to a week off from picking fights but all week, I have just been lost. I research these fights for hours and hours, guys.
I love this stuff and I couldn’t even find much talk on youtube about the new year’s fights.
Everybody wanted to give their awards for the year and since there are no picks to make this week, I did the same. I also wanted to take you guys into the handicapping realm and today was a hard one.
We had some truly fun and exciting fights to preview but you saw how close the betting odds were for each one. Sometimes we have to know and recognize our limitations. Not every question can be answered through research.
Sometimes, there just isn’t enough information and that is what makes the lead up to these fights that much more exciting.
I gave you guys my honest assessments today and I think we have an edge with Jones against Israel Adesanya so I say jump on that bet.