UFC Fight Night Predictions and Betting Guide: Patrick Cummins vs. Gian Villante

Patrick Cummins (9-4) vs. Gian Villante (15-7)

The fact that a 9-4 fighter is ranked #12 in the world and is on the main card goes to show just how top-heavy and narrow the lightweight division really is.

This fight is pretty simple to break down. Either Cummins takes Villante down and lays on him for three rounds, or Villante knocks Cummins out, likely within the first half of the fight. Since Villante also has a wrestling background, albeit not at the collegiate level, and since Cummins has not proven to be able to take down ranked opponents at the ease as the unranked ones, odds are Villante will score the knockout victory. -165 is pretty good odds for taking Villante…..but I am staying away from this one as well, because both fighters are inconsistent and though I don’t believe it will happen, I can visualize a scenario where Cummins survives round 1, and then is able to utilize a grappling heavy gameplan to a split decision.

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UFC Fight Night Predictions and Betting Guide: Jimmie Rivera vs. Thomas Almeida

Jimmie Rivera (20-1) vs. Thomas Almeida (21-1)

Jimmie Rivera has many strengths, but his #1 tool in this fight should be his wrestling ability. His second biggest tool may very well be his great chin. If Amanda wins this match, it will most likely be by knockout. Whenever a fighter has one path to victory, he must be dominant, and he must be able to prevent the opponent from evading this strength through the duration of the fight. I feel that Almeida has one path to victory in this fight, but that Rivera will be able to take big shots from the heavy hitter and then outstrike him or outwrestle him through the remainder of the fight.

Both fighters only have one loss, and Almeida’s only defeat came at the hands of the reigning bantamweight champion, Cody “No Love” Garbrandt. Although much of Almeida’s hype died after the Garbrandt defeat, a claim cannot be made that Almeida was “exposed.” It was a first round knockout from arguably heaviest hitter in the division. But if there was a fight that might “expose” him for future opponents and any naysaysers, this will probably be it. This fight will be a great test for Jimmie Rivera’s fight IQ to see if he can avoid the KO for three rounds, and it will also test Almeida’s ability to stay the course over a three round affair, as I do in fact see this fight going into the third round, which would more than likely favor El Terror.

The odds are pretty close, and there with Rivera being on an insane 19-fight win streak and having more than one path to victory, -200 is a good value bet. However, with Almeida’s only loss coming to the reigning bantamweight champion while sitting at 21-1, at +170, it makes a ton of sense taking him as an underdog and stacking him on a win-big parlay. I personally am putting money on Rivera in a supplementary parlay. I see his toughness surviving Almeida and then having more weapons to win the war.

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UFC Fight Night Predictions and Betting Guide: Lyman Good vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Sanotos

Lyman Good (19-3) vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (16-5)

I’m not betting on this fight. I feel both fighters are a bit unpredictable as far as which version will show up, and those are the last fights that I bet on. If I’m Elizeu, I keep my distance and use my wide arsenal of strikes, featuring kicks, to hurt Good or outpoint him to a decision. If I’m Good, I conserve my energy and pick my shots to the same two aforementioned end. Both fighters definitely have the ability to finish the other, though, but something tells me it will go to a decision.

The odds are close with this one, understandably so, with Good set as the -190 favorite. Good does have a power advantage, a better record, and looked more impressive in his last outing. But in reality, this fight could go either way. I see this fight as either being a disappointing dud for the fans or a Fight of the Night Contender. I have a feeling it will be the former, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I’m wrong.

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UFC Fight Night Predictions and Betting Guide: Rafael Natal vs. Eryk Anders

Rafael Natal (21-8) vs. Eryk Anders (7-0)

It is difficult to predict how Anders’ fighting style will translate in the UFC. He loves to fight aggressively and go for the kill, but someone as experienced as Natal should be able to neutralize him and drag Anders into deeper waters than he has thus far been asked to swim. Anders is not shy about going for the takedowns, but the level of competition he has faced so far is so far beneath Natal that there is no use guessing how effective those takedowns would be should Anders not succeed in getting the better of the striking exchanges.

If I’m Anders, I treat Natal with no respect. I fight with the same aggressiveness and confidence that landed him in the UFC. If he is to win this fight, that is the most likely way it will happen.

For Natal, If Anders is as green as I suspect he is from what I have seen, this fight could not last long. One thing I do not expect is for Anders to dominate Natal in the first round as he has done many of his pre-UFC opponents. After that, it’s just guesswork on how Anders will respond to the big time and matchup of longer duration against an opponent with the experience of Natal. There are far, far too many questions about Anders to make a solid prediction on this one, but my gut tells me Natal will win due to the experience advantage. The odds for this one are almost dead even if you are wondering, with Anders coming in as the small betting favorite at -125 as of this morning.

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UFC Fight Night Predictions and Betting Guide: Ryan LaFlare vs. Alex Oliveira

Ryan LaFlare (13-1) vs. Alex Oliveira (16-3-1)

This, to me, is one of the best fights of the night. In fact, I have it at #3 on my personal best fights of the night list. If Ryan LaFlare can remain active in the coming years during his mid-thirties, he may possibly be the biggest dark horse in the welterweight division. In this fight, LaFlare has a strength advantage and is a better grappler in my opinion. His only loss came at the hands of the viper himself…no, not Randy Orton, but Demian Maia. If you watch this guy, he is very, very tough to beat and he is among the best at grinding his way to a victory. LaFlare deserves to be ranked higher than #14, and with a victory over Cowboy Oliveira, he will be.

Oliveira holds the striking advantage in this fight, and will probably be the aggressor. It will be interesting to see if LaFlare’s conditioning and defense neutralizes Oliveira and if he will end up outpacing him in a fight I expect to go the distance. Although with two fighters of this caliber, a finish would not be surprising. Worth noting, though, is that LaFlare has fought seven times in the UFC, and all seven fights have gone to decisions. Meanwhile, only two of Oliveira’s seven UFC victories have gone to a decision….but if you watch Laflare’s fights, he is extremely tough to finish and as his record indicates, isn’t much of a finisher, either. So odds would still have it that this will go the distance, and that conditioning and volume will determine the winner. This is an extremely interesting and underrated matchup that I will have a close eye on.

I think LaFlare is a bit too game and intelligent and will score the victory, and it would make sense to put ducats on him at -200….but I’m not.

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