There’s a big weekend in combat sports ahead of us, y’all, with multiple major events set to take place. On Saturday, the UFC returns with UFC Vegas 70, headlined by a light heavyweight matchup between top-10 fighters Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann. Saturday also features another strong effort from Bellator with Bellator 291, headlined by a welterweight title unification bout between Yaroslav Amosov and Logan Storley. We wrap up the show with a grudge match between Jake Paul and Tommy Fury. Let’s get into it.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jake Paul, -160
Welp, might as well start at the top.
Here are the facts: Jake Paul is not bad at boxing. Although he isn’t great and probably not even very good at boxing, he is definitely not terrible. He has a lot of resources and he used them well. Anderson Silva’s fight with Paul should serve as a wakeup call for all his doubters. Silva may be a senior citizen but Paul still beat Silva straight up. He’s making a significant step down with Tommy Fury.
Fury, like Paul, isn’t a great boxer. But, unlike Paul, we have yet to see Fury prove that he can be anything but bad. Fury is young and has a great record. The combined record of his eight professional opponents is 24-176-5. He hasn’t completely destroyed them all. Fury is young, and shares a last name. This has helped to keep the betting lines close. But it’s unlikely that the fight will be any different. Paul is not fooled and has proven himself to be a far more skilled and dangerous boxer than he appears. On Sunday, the Jake Paul Express continues to roll.
Ryan Spann, +145
Now, onto MMA!
The main event of UFC Vegas 70 looks for all intents and purposes like a two-true outcome fight. Krylov can either finish Krylov by KO, with his nasty guillotine or Spann will be stopped in the final rounds. Krylov puts himself into dangerous situations, and that is dangerous for someone like Spann. I believe the fight will go to the first.
There’s also Dominick Reyes’ recent victory over Spann. Following the bout, Spann revealed he had never really trained for a fight before then, and coincidentally, it was the best Spann has ever looked. Still only 31-years-old and loaded with talent, if Spann has now buckled down to become serious about his career, he’s going to be a very dangerous contender at 205 pounds.
Andre Muniz, -225
Andre Muniz, a dangerous competitor in the UFC’s middleweight division, is capable of winning tomorrow’s belt. We’re talking about a man with highly effective wrestling who submitted Ronaldo Souza inside the UFC. How many times have you seen “Jacare?” submitted? One! He’s it! Muniz can be trusted to do the job. But when you have an A-plus skill like he does, and the skill and wherewithal to get to your spots, those limitations don’t matter as much. These limitations shouldn’t matter against Brendan Allen. He is an experienced fighter but lacks the skills and expertise to put Muniz under severe pressure.
Logan Storley by Decision, +240
This is the bet I feel the worst about. This is not because I dislike the odds, but it’s because Amosov should be placed in this spot.
Twenty-seven months ago, Amosov and Storley fought a back-and-forth scrap in a welterweight title eliminator at Bellator 252. Amosov won a split decision and claimed the title by beating Douglas Lima. And then, Russia invaded Amosov’s home country of Ukraine, and he’s spent most of the past year fighting for his nation. Now he’s back, and in the meantime, Storley has continued to improve and develop, with two five-round fights under his belt since then. Amosov is going to be up against a serious challenge.
The fight’s basic structure is identical to their previous one: Amosov strikes better, and Storley controls the grappling. Storley appears to be the better cardio wrestler and will not be affected by ring fatigue. All of this adds up to a win for American. Amosov may have made some improvements over the last two years and will use the tragedy in his country to give the greatest performance of his professional career. It’s equally possible that Amosov, the man he struggled with two years back, and who is able to concentrate solely on his MMA development and career since then, will flip the script this time. At +240 (five of Storley’s seven Bellator wins have come by decision), that’s worth the play.
Tatiana Suarez by KO/TKO/DQ or Submission, +130
Another fighter returning from a long layoff, the last time Tatiana Suarez fought, the world had not yet heard of COVID-19. The same woman that dominated Carla Esparza’s strawweight championship, as well as Alexa Grasso, who is defending her flyweight title, this woman has been beaten. Now finally ready to go after dealing with some health issues, I expect Suarez to pick up right where she left off: pure domination.
Montana De La Rosa is no wilting lily, but she doesn’t have the skill or athleticism to keep up with Suarez, who by all accounts, has been looking as good as ever in the gym. As Suarez makes the statement she is back, I can see her performing a Dominick Cruz against Takeya Mizugaki-like performance.
Parlay of the Week
Tatiana Suarez, -750
Joe Solecki, -580
Solecki is a talented grappler and a solid wrestler, who can strike if the occasion calls for it. He has a weakness when the takedowns don’t happen and is forced to face uncomfortable situations. He is fortunate that Carl Deaton III won’t make these happen. Deaton comes into this bout on very short notice, and he has failed to impress in his pre-UFC career. Although he can box and does some grappling, he is not at the same level of Solecki. Solecki should be the first fighter to beat.
Nikita Krylov/Ryan Spann Under 3. 5 Rounds, -500
In their combined 66 career fights, Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann have gone to decision nine times. Furthermore, 10 of Spann’s previous 15 bouts have ended in the first round! These men simply do not get paid by the hour, and it’s highly unlikely this one is heading into the championship rounds.
Parlay these three bets together for -169 odds.
Long Shot of the Week
Augusto Sakai to Win in Round 3, +1100
While this is a very good one, there were not many long shots this week that seemed viable. I was able to sell myself on this one for a couple of reasons. First, Sakai’s average fight time in the UFC is 10:42, and Don’Tale Mayes is at 11:47; and second, two of Mayes’ four career losses have come by third-round stoppage, and Sakai does have a couple of late finishes to his name. Mostly though, I can see this one playing out. Sakai, for all his faults, will stay in your face while the fight goes on, breaking people down with pressure. Mayes, meanwhile, has shown signs of slowing as fights drag on. You can get worse for a flyer.
The tough times continue to come. We spiked a nice prop last week, but we are still struggling to get into the black. This week was a good one. It only took me a few days to feel better. Let’s try to get a W before heading into the monstrous March that awaits us.
Enjoy the fighting, luck and gambling responsibly until next week!
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