For this weekend’s UFC main event, former two-time bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz travels back to his hometown of San Diego. Marlon “Chito” Vera, the fifth-ranked opponent, has won three straight fights, including a brutal five-round demolition of Rob Font most recently. Cruz enters the fight against the more dangerous Vera as a significant underdog despite having sparred in the Octagon with the greatest the division has ever produced. We’ll all be frightened to blink as we work through this fascinating conflict between Cruz’s analytical method and Vera’s persistent acts of violence. Although it’s not the easiest fight on the card to predict who will win, I am convinced I picked the right side.
Dominick Cruz (+180) vs. Marlon Vera (-225)
A little sticker shock occurs when bettors see a +180 price on one of the most dominant competitors in the history of the bantamweight division. Cruz has won two fights in a row, but neither of his opponents is now at Vera’s level. Cruz has earned a living on frustrating his opponents with his superior footwork. His erratic rhythm enables him to compile impressive figures that ultimately give him the upper hand over his competitors. He should be prepared to take some harm if he fights Marlon Vera for five rounds.
Cruz can’t match Vera at his own game because Cruz is content to exchange brutality for volume. Cruz’s distinctive stand-up style is as unexpected as his lethal arsenal of kicks and elbows. Vera’s accomplishment brings him a lot closer to winning the fight, which is a crucial component of the scoring system, which distinguishes the two strategies. Cruz is usually a safe bet if he survives all five rounds. But if Chito is dismembering him, I’m not sure that’s the case. Additionally, Vera has the ability to use his kicks to restrict the former champion’s range of motion, slowing him down as the battle goes on.
That is the difficulty I have when supporting the underdog. Cruz’s only chance of winning if Vera is winning early on the feet is through his wrestling. It might already be too late if it reaches that point. Cruz lost to Cody Garbrandt for a reason, as he was 0 for 7 in takedowns. It is different from desperately trying to go on the ground because you are being punished standing up to incorporate some wrestling into your hitting. Vera is skilled at timing his blows and may respond with knees, kicks, or uppercuts. That is how I envision this game’s latter rounds developing.
Cruz, 36, won’t have the cardiac advantage that has helped him defeat so many of his opponents in the past because Vera appeared amazingly fresh in his initial five-round battle with Font. But neither boxer is particularly vulnerable, so I can’t really fault gamblers who favor playing the decision props. Vera’s explosive striking and finishing prowess are ultimately too much of a factor for me to not wager on him on the moneyline.
The wager: Priscila Cachoeira (+165) vs. Marlon Vera (-225) Ariane Lipski (-200).
Fading the weak favorite is one of my favorite MMA betting strategies. This week, Lipski seems to suit that description to a T. With the promotion, the “Queen of Violence” has a middling 3-4 record. It’s difficult to assume that Lipski will appear in his finest form after failing to receive a medical clearance last week. Nevertheless, she enters this bout as a huge favorite despite the warning signs. In the past, fighters have recovered from poor weight cuts, but Lipski blaming COVID-19 for her troubles raises serious doubts.
Lipski’s cardio will surely be used because Cachoeira wants to make every fight a war on the feet. Lipski, the more skilled striker, must rely on his footwork and hand speed to counter Cachoeira. If Lipski lets Cachoeira to force her into a brawl, she will undoubtedly lose because we haven’t seen how well her punching power works in the UFC.
The issue with Lipski’s strategy is that it depends on how much energy she has left for both grappling and hitting. Since Lipski’s UFC debut, she hasn’t successfully completed a takedown, and Cachoeira will undoubtedly make Lipski fight at a frantic tempo. After the first round, Lipski’s weakened cardio may have persuaded her to take on Cachoiera. When she eventually slows down, Cachoeira will pursue her and attack her with enough devastating strikes to convince the judges.
Priscila Cachoeira (+165) was the wager.
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