MMA Logo Mashup

Welcome to another week of UFC action and we have a big card from Las Vegas albeit with smaller or should I say lighter fighters. I don’t want to come off as a sizeist because I’m not.

I do some friends who refuse to watch or don’t consider these 125-pound men to be dangerous fighters or something because they might be half the size of said friends. If these guys only knew how quickly UFC Flyweight World Champion Deiveson Figueredo would take them out…

It’s weird. Some fans have accepted that UFC fighters their size or bigger could “probably” beat them up. Anyone smaller, though, nahh….

As I said, if they only knew. My wrists are about as big around as Randy Couture’s finger. Don’t ask how I know this. I will just tell you. We measured it at the Southern Highlands Starbucks in Las Vegas one morning and I think I edged him out by about an inch.

The point is that even someone as small as me, whose father weighed 130 pounds standing at 6’4″ tall when he was sent off to Vietnam at 18 years old, can still beat up all my friends. I can count on one hand how many times I have had a strength advantage over someone plus or minus 10 pounds in weight.

And that is over probably 5000 rounds of rolling and sparring. Yes, I am a gym warrior, and that’s about where it ends. If I was a fighter, then you and I would have to deal with my ego, and that gets in the way of clear-headed reason.

I remember when I first started predicting sporting events for betting purposes, and my return on investment was twice as high for golf as it was for MMA. And I didn’t know jack spitoon about golf at the time. I had been not only a UFC superfan for 12 years but also been training myself and others for a decade.

So, why was I doing better at golf predictions than MMA?

Ego. I simply thought I knew more than I actually did. After some growing pains, switching up my strategy, and just putting in more hours, the tides began to turn.

We are still doing okay with golf. We tipped Dustin Johnson at (+900) to win the Masters. It wasn’t necessarily a genius move or anything considering his form and course history but the man shot 20 under par at Augusta National!

This broke Tiger Woods’ (-18) tournament record.

Enough about golf, guys. I know you’re here for the fighting!

Let’s recap our betting performance for last week and look ahead to the pay per view event this coming weekend with both the men’s and women’s Flyweight Titles on the line.

Betting Recap

Well, it’s a good thing that Dustin Johnson won because we didn’t have the best week betting mixed martial arts.

On the Contender Series, I thought Joe Lowry would be a tough out for the power-punching Motta due to his durability and boxing skill but the power difference was too much to overcome.

Lowry was the underdog so I’m not terribly mad at myself. Motta has been finished with strikes before but Joe Lowry didn’t have the pop to do it.

Then came the highlight of my week seeing my long-time training partner Natan Levy put Israel on the MMA map with a dominant 3rd round submission win, a weight class up on 4 days notice.

I was jumping around my apartment! That makes Team Syndicate 3-0 on the Contender Series in 2020. We are also 3-0 predicting their fights. Two of those winners including Natan received UFC contracts but Sherrard Blackledge, a man who has kicked me in the face too many times, won his fight a couple of months ago against a durable opponent but wasn’t awarded the contract.

He is back with another opportunity this week against Tucker Top Gun Lutz, who is in the same boat. He won his Contender Series fight this year by unanimous decision but sans UFC contract.

  • This is a very interesting fight because Sherrard is a strong guy but he is still tall and long without a competitive wrestling background.
  • Lutz is a wrestling specialist and with a record of 10-1, has twice the experience as the 5-0 Blackledge.

The betting odds aren’t released just yet but I would imagine Tucker will be a (-140) favorite when the lines are released and he will quickly be bet up to (-180).

If we can get Sherrard at (+150) or better, I might make a play there; otherwise, I may have to go against my heart in this spot.

  • We picked some Bellator fights as well and I thought one of the three underdogs on the main card would get the win but we went 0-3 there. We almost hit one with Logan Storley against Yuraslav Amosov but the split decision went the way of the now 25-0 Ukrainian fighter out of American Top Team.
  • As for this past Saturday’s Fight Night event in Las Vegas, we picked another Syndicate MMA fighter, Julian Marquez, to get it done against one of the few weak Russian fighters in the UFC but Saparbag couldn’t even make weight.
  • We also had Brendan Allen to TKO Sean Strickland as a flyer at (+850). I picked the wrong Syndicate guy to bet against because Sean, with head coach John Wood in his corner, dispatched the deadpan Allen with ease.

I’m not sure if Brendan’s two weight cuts in one week was what had him looking so sluggish and sloppy but it wasn’t pretty. I really should have taken this into consideration. Strickland had just fought a couple of weeks prior but that is double the amount of time to recover than Allen had.

He made weight only to have his fight cancelled due to Heinisch getting COVID-19. Then he eats and puts it all back on only to get the word on Tuesday, I believe, that he would have to start this normal 10-14 day process over again and complete it in 3 days.

We had Tony Gravely to get it done as a (-130) favorite.

That was a good win but picking Felder, even as a decent underdog, was a bad play.

I did hear that he was training for a triathlon so I thought, hey, he is in shape so why not?

Well, as a former personal trainer, I ignored the fact that regardless of how low he kept his heartbeat, his muscle endurance was going to fade. He said it after the fight. I haven’t trained MMA other than hitting pads in 4 months.

While Rafael dos Anjos was preparing for a 5-round wrestling war with Islam Machachev, Paul was running, swimming, and cycling. I remember Paul shaking out his arms after round two and that’s when it hit me.

Cardio is cool and all but there is no replacement for clinching and wrestling to prepare yourself for clinching and wrestling. And boy, did Rafy stick to the game plan. Felder out-landed him 85-49 in head strikes but the cage/ground control time was all for the Brazilian.

I made some mistakes this past week but as always, we learn from them and move forward.

Now, let’s move forward with this week’s betting action as there is another Bellator fight card to go along with the Contender Series and UFC 255!

Betting Preview

JP Buys and Chelsea Hackett are both specialists who will have massive advantages in certain areas over their respective opponents on the Contender Series. The betting odds aren’t out yet but I believe both will be favorites who will quickly be larger favorites when the lines are released.

Try to get either at less than (-200).

If they are both north of 2 to 1 favorites, then I suggest a parlay. We will be back with a final call when the betting odds are released but I’m giving you the go-ahead now because I think the lines will move away from value on both Hackett and Buys.

Bellator is back again with the first semifinal in the Featherweight Grand Prix Tournament.

Darrion Caldwell isn’t an underdog very often with his length, athleticism, and wrestling prowess but this weekend is different. He is set to take on one of the only second generation professional mixed martial artists, the 16-0 AJ McKee.

AJ has been with Bellator for the entirety of his career. They did build him up slowly but his past 4 fights have all been against top ten guys. Now, he is one fight away from a title shot likely against Patricio Pitbull Freire.

Wow, McKee opened at (-205) and before I refreshed my page at, he was (-260). As of right now, you can get the undefeated fighter at (-210) over at

I think that’s a great price. Caldwell is the better wrestler on paper but I think it’s going to take a guy with a strength advantage also to get AJ down and keep him there and Caldwell is more of a length and leverage guy.

Moving on to UFC 255, Alex Perez is a live dog in the main event. He is a  better wrestler on paper than the champion, Figueredo, and at (+250), I don’t need much more than that.

Deiveson is a great striker with lots of power at 125 pounds but he is still a Flyweight and taking power into consideration doesn’t hold as much weight as it does in the higher weight classes.

I thought Alex Perez had some decent value where he opened at (+180) but you’re going to give me 2.5 to 1 on the better wrestler in a small Octagon who just soundly defeated a man who has a win over the champ.

Yes, I know trusting MMA math is a peculiar proposition but it’s not like the betting odds are even. We are talking about a big underdog here, a man who is 24-5 and fighting professionally for 9 years.

A sprinkle on the dog here isn’t the worst decision we will ever make.

Wow, this upcoming fight card is unbelievable!!

UFC 255 is stacked! The UFC will give us a main event like Gaethje vs Nurmagomedov but then the rest of the card is eh…good but not great.

Now that main and co-main events are for both the Flyweight belts with Valentina Shevchenko a 16 to 1 favorite over Jennifer Maia, the UFC brass hooked up the rest of the card!

Right off the top, I have two underdog plays for you guys and we will get into the rest of the fight card as the week progresses.

Ariane Lipski is a (+150) dog to Antonina Shevchenko.

This is preposterous. Lipski is coming off of an absolutely disgusting kneebar win that she got from top position and Antonina’s wrestling and lack of BJJ was exposed in her last fight with Katlyn Chookagian and before that, against Roxy Modafferi.

The line opened even for this fight too. I know Lipski doesn’t have the best wrestling to go along with her BJJ but she can strike alright and Antonina isn’t really the greatest wrestler herself. So bad, in fact, that Chookagian had her way with her and my dumb butt bet on Katlyn to outwrestle Jessica Andrade…

Big mistake.

Please Note:

I believe that Ariane has a higher ceiling than Antonina and will likely show improvement in her skills from fight to fight. A big part of this is the age difference…10 years! 26 vs 36…

Lipski is only 1/1 in takedowns in her UFC career but Shev only defends them at a 50% clip. Even if the two women stay upright, I think it’s a pick’em so at (+150), I’m on Lipski all day.

Guys, don’t miss this next fight I want to talk about. Brandon Moreno vs Brandon Royval is going to be a cracker!!

The latter is the new guy but a former LFA champ and 2-0 inside the Octagon with wins over Tim Elliott and Kai Kara France.

He was (+140) and (+160) against those two and at (+175), why not?

Well, Brandon Moreno is a fighter I don’t like to fade but we might have to here. He is bigger than Kara France who looked like an insect next to Royval.

Moreno is used to being the bigger fighter at 125 pounds standing at 5’7” tall but not today as they say. Royval is 5’9” and not that skinny.

Just like Lipski, I would be on Royval at even money so everything else is a bonus.

Get those bets in now, team!


In Conclusion

It was a rough week last week for us but we didn’t get murdered. Most of the bets we lost were underdogs so we can’t feel terrible but at the same time, losing sucks!

Things really cleared up for me on Saturday. A friend called and asked for 4 straight picks. I gave them to him and he puts them in a parlay that paid out at 10 to 1. 2500 bucks later, he says “I’ll take you out to dinner”.

Then the Dustin Johnson tip I gave him pays him at 10 to 1 again and he clears a g there. I told him for 3500, he should probably buy me more than a steak. But it is what it is. This will come in handy when I give him some losers in the future.

I do feel pretty darn good about this week, though!

Those two dogs I gave you will be bet hard by me. I have been eyeing both for a while and their value just keeps getting better.

Look out for our picks for Dana White’s Contender Series, Bellator, and UFC 255 in that order.