After what has been a long hard, and highly depressing 3 weeks now, I am willing to argue that I am as ready as any fan on earth for fighting to return.
Maybe not depending on them to be on, but I was in the habit of spending 60 hours a week on this stuff just in preparation. I love it so much and could talk MMA betting with you guys, make predictions, and get money until they stop printing the stuff.
There is truly some top level talent in the UFC’s return fight this weekend. In the main event, Calvin Kattar will be a (+140) underdog to Max Holloway, who is sitting up at (-160). They are saying Max wins 6 out of 10.
I don’t know, man. I think Calvin Kattar matches up pretty darn well with him right off the jump.
Hawaii vs Boston! Just one week away 🌺☘️
— UFC (@ufc) January 9, 2021
Argentinian striker Santiago Ponzinibbio is coming back from a 2 plus year break. He has had one surgery after the other, and this may make it difficult to get behind him with your betting dollar.
He has the power as well as the precision to go along with it to knock out any poor soul at 170 pounds. Santiago Poninibbio is a problem and will be fighting China’s tough out Li Jingliang.
Li is good at making a lot of his opponents look bad and has surprised us on occasion, but Neil Magny put Li and a lot of us in our place with a dominant win over the Chinese superstar last year.
There are surely unanswered questions about the health and physical condition of Santiago, but I don’t think he would have taken as much time as he did if he weren’t, in fact, taking his time. 170 has been kinda wild lately outside of the world champ, Kamaru Usman, who Santiago matches up pretty well against.
If so, congratulations, and if not, then you’re going to learn plenty of good stuff today regarding the smooth, striking Russian expat serenading in France.
Nassourdine is slicker than most Russian strikers and surely tougher than most of his French teammates. That dog in you is in your blood. It is either a part of you, or it isn’t. Heart cannot be taught.
Mental strength can improve. Conditioning can improve. You can get better in a lot of ways, but your heart is your heart, and that’s all there is to it.
- Is Nassourdine going to get overwhelmed by the uber athletic and heavy handed wrestler, Philip Hawes?
- Or, is Nass going to box up and dance semi circles around his stocky, powerful punching opponent?
We will zoom in on each of these three fighters as well as break down their betting odds to win and see if we can find a 5% edge or more on the sportsbooks, then we make the play right here right now today.
Betting lines will be provided to BetOnline.AG unless otherwise noted.
Calvin Kattar was born in Methuen, Mass, back on March 26th, 1988. He began wrestling in the 9th grade, and by his senior year, he was placing in the state championships.
He got his first professional mixed martial arts fight at the age of 19 and went on to win his next 17 of 19 pro contests. It was after that that Cal ran into Renato Moicano. This fight is perplexing for me.
I thought Calvin Kattar was the better fighter that night over Moicano, who has looked like poopys ticks lately, but I was wrong. Will I be wrong about the Max Holloway fight as well? It’s possible, but at worst, this is a 50/50 fight, and the 33% where the betting odds had him at (+150) was beautiful.
If Max had the same number sitting next to his name, I might jump, but honestly, this has been all Calvin for me. I have gone over this fight in my head quite a few times, and I think it plays out with Calvin controlling the fight on the feet.
I believe he can control the range with his hands and his feet. Max was having issues with the little man, Alexander Volkanovski. Now, he is fighting someone his size. It might not go so well for Max, who lacks depth in his game and can be exposed like Dustin Poirier was able to do to him.
Along with UFC bantamweight contender Rob Font, Calvin and the Cartel are a camp on the rise.
I suppose Boston gets overlooked by aspiring, skillful, talented professional mixed martial artists who want to be able to run outside and, more importantly, park their car and not their kha.
Calvin Kattar has some of the best hands in the division, and Max is a lot like Tony Ferguson. He isn’t that technical, but he has out of this world conditioning, length, takedown defense, awkward striking, and he throws with volume.
Gaethje took advantage of Tony there, and Charles Oliveira used the same principle but with ground attacks. When Max fights little guys, he can bully them and control the range, but Cal is the same height but with 3 inches more in the reach department.
That is a decent amount when you are 5’11”. I have this 60/40 for Calvin, and the sportsbooks are loving Max hard, which pushes Kattar’s actual betting odds of (+140) as of right now.
That denotes a 41.6% chance of winning, and we have nearly a 20% edge on the sportsbooks. It kinda makes me think I’m crazy and should probably wait to hear some colleagues give their take, but I’m on it.
Who ends Saturday a step closer to gold? 🏆
— UFC (@ufc) January 12, 2021
Kattar to the house! I’m not saying he schools him, or it will ever be easy, but I think he presents a different set of challenges for Max Holloway, some he hasn’t really had to deal with before.
This Argentinian striker could have potentially fought for the world title at 170 pounds by now if he hadn’t had to take off 2 years due to injuries. He is now 34 years old and past his prime. That really stinks because he was on one heck of a run, and I don’t know if he can get that same level of momentum again, but we will see.
The South American star has won 7 straight fights, and it doesn’t look like the sportsbooks are giving him much of a chance to break the streak.
Santiago, like many of his countrymen and women, has an Italian heritage. He began training kickboxing at the age of 13, and by the time he was an adult, he moved to Brazil to embark on his Jiu Jitsu journey.
He lived on a beach in a tent for nearly a year when he first got there, and before he knew it, he was fighting professionally, and eventually, the UFC came calling for him to be on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 2.
He didn’t lose any fights on the show but broke his hand in one of them and couldn’t continue the tournament.
Unfortunately for Santiago, his career inside of the Octagon got off to a rather slow start. He had several fighters pull out on him, and that cost him some time as well. His biggest wins are over Sean Strickland, Neil Magny, and Gunnar Nelson. All three are top 10-15 fighters in the UFC’s Welterweight Division.
Santiago is top ten also, but he wants to crack that top 5 because a title shot will likely never happen if he doesn’t. Argentina doesn’t have a lot of stars in the UFC. You would think the company would want to push him in order to secure a larger fan base in his home country.
This guy has the power to knock people out that don’t really get knocked out. That is a different level. He put Neil Magny away, and nobody has ever done that before besides one of the only men to ever beat Santiago, Lorenz Larkin.
He put away Gunnar Nelson with strikes, and no one has ever been able to do that to the Viking.
🇦🇷 @SPonzinibbioMMA is back!
If you don’t remember, here’s what to expect ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/F2NV7FfLzU
— UFC (@ufc) January 9, 2021
Ponz should still be a force in the UFC’s Welterweight Division, but time will tell. How is his fight with Li Jingliang going to go? Well, Li likes to strike, is awkward, and has some power. His jaw is also the size of the ring around Saturn.
Most all of these guys are built strong in the jaw, or else they wouldn’t be able to take the shots they need to weather in order to compete at the highest level of MMA. Li is 7-2 in his last 9 fights and has only lost to fighters who took him down, Jake Matthews and Neil Magny.
That is worrisome because he could give Santiago a really hard time in this fight because of his solid chin and an awkward offensive array of strikes. I don’t believe in Li enough, though, to take out someone the caliber of Santiago. I know he matches up well, and Jingliang has been incredibly active over the past several years, while Santiago has had a string of debilitating injuries over the same time span.
I like Santiago Ponzinibbio to win a decision against Li this Saturday night from Fight Island. He is the better striker with the reach advantage, which he will likely focus on. Li may run head on into something, but we are getting plus money, (+250), in fact, for a fighter who is 3 to 1 to win the fight.
I like those odds. Santiago is a finisher, and he does put away people that others don’t, but Li Jingliang has a mouth like Quagmire, giggity goo. It’s going to take a hard one to hurt him.
The Russian Sniper as he likes to be called is just 24 years old and ever improving. He does have a couple of losses on his record so far of 9-2. Growing up in Dagestan, I suppose you get used to getting your butt kicked, and it doesn’t appear that this has affected his confidence in the slightest.
Nassourdine now lives in France and trains at the now semi famous MMA Factory, where you can catch the likes of Francis Ngannou and heavyweight stablemate Cyril Gane. As long as I can just admire those two from a distance, I’m good.
I don’t want to be practicing reps, drills, nothing with those guys. They are 250 pounds of all muscle. I will pass.
He is fighting a mini Francis, though, and there will be no passing on this fight. Nas is ready to go. He is a very slick striker, as you might imagine having trained a lot of his striking with the French, who have long been known for their technical abilities.
If you ever want to see a Thai fighter who fights like the Thais but better than the Thais, check out Fabio Pinca. Boy, if Nas could get some rounds in with him…
I like the big cage. I think that helps Nassourdine, but he will be at a reach disadvantage against Phil Hawes. Nas is 3 inches taller at 6’3” but gives up a couple in the reach dept. This evens things up for both men, and I can see either man connecting big.
I like Hawes here for some reason. I know that Nassourdine is the better striker, but Phil is just so strong and dangerous. He has a wrestling pedigree as well and could take Nas down and beat him up from there.
This fight could really go several different ways, so I am taking a step back and eying a round total. Nas has never been stopped with strikes. Hawes has, and he could again, but I think it will come later on in the fight.
The over 1.5 rounds is set at (-140). Those are the same odds you get on Phil Hawes, and I feel we are pretty safe for the first 7:30 with these two. I think they go past the halfway mark in at least 2 out of 3 fights.
They will be in a larger cage as well. You can look to live bet this fight as well. I like that angle because Hawes could come on strong early and win the first round but check his breathing and bet accordingly.
As long as we didn’t lose the first too badly and we are risking a 10-8, then I say take the likely (+250) on Nas Imavov to get the win because Phil Hawes is likely to gas. I know there is talk of his cardio and muscle endurance improving, but he hasn’t shown us otherwise, so we can’t assume it will happen.
We know the history, and historically, he slows. I’m not sure if Nas gets the finish or not, but I feel good that the fight lasts past 7:30.
These three men are all very talented. Nas Imavov is just 24 years old, and I do believe he is a better fighter than his opponent, the betting favorite, Philip Hawes.
Hawes is more dangerous, though, and if Nas is smart, he will stay on his bike for the first few minutes and make the muscle man work. This plays into our hands for the over 1.5 rounds.
This line opened at exactly where it is right now. I am surprised some smart money hasn’t come in on this play. I’m not trying to be egotistical, but we will see how much we can move it, yea?
Santiago is a 3 to 1 favorite, but we are getting 2.5 to 1 as an underdog to win by decision. This is against a guy who has never been stopped due to strikes, and that is, of course, Pons’s game.
I think those are great odds and in the big cage too. Pons may also be keeping a close eye on the gas tank since he hasn’t competed in so long. Then again, he may come out there and sleep the Chinese star in the first.
I don’t see it, though, and even if he does, that doesn’t mean our bet was ill advised. We only need to hit one out of 3 bets like this to make over 15% return on our investment. I will take that all day!
Last, but not least, Calvin Kattar has me incredibly pumped for the fight this Saturday night from Fight Island with Max Holloway. I am almost more excited for this fight than I am UFC 257’s main event rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Almost.
I love the line on Calvin as well. Max is good, but he has technical holes, much like Tony Ferguson. There is a chance that he overwhelms Kattar with pressure, but I just don’t see that happening more than 1 out of 10 times. Max could win a decision the other three times, but I give Cal the 60/40 split.
Get those bets in now and enjoy the return of the UFC this Saturday night from Fight Island!
PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!