Kieran Cobley and Will Dean look ahead to UFC Vegas 13, with three selections in total across the main card and prelims.
The UFC hosts another Vegas card at its Apex Centre on Saturday night, with a underwhelming card being headlined by what could be a really fun fight to watch as Glover Teixeira takes on fellow Brazilian, Thiago Santos, in a light heavyweight clash.
I’m not going to be looking at the main event, though. For me it’s a coin toss for who wins, and the 'Fight to not go the distance' bet I was looking at only being priced at 2/9, I'll shift my attention to the co-main event.
In the co-main, former UFC heavyweight champion and MMA legend, Andrei Arlovski (29-19, 2 NC) takes on the rampaging Tanner Boser (19-6-1).
I’m backing Boser to win this fight by KO for two very good reasons.
One: Arlovski’s once granite chin has not only been cracked, but smashed to pieces. The Pitbull has been knocked out 11 times, and he has been close to being finished a few times in his last couple of fights too.
Two: Boser’s style of bulldozing his opponents with flurries of strikes makes him a hard stylistic match-up for Arlovski. If you can’t get out of the way of Boser, you are going to get hit, and if you get hit, the likelihood is that you are going to be knocked out.
Boser has a strike accuracy of 54%, and his striking defence is particularly good as well, having blocked or evaded 64% of the strikes thrown at him. I fully anticipate for Boser to allow Arlovski to make the first move before countering by rushing in with punches, one of which will drop the former champion, and allow Boser to jump on top and finish with ground and pound strikes.
At 13/8, he looks good value as well.
- By Will Dean
Giga to land KO
The UFC’s determination to produce events on a weekly basis throughout the pandemic has been commendable, but there have been occasions where mismatches have taken place. Last week we saw a late notice debutant with an 11-6 record being completely outclassed inside three minutes by a 1/9 favourite. This week, a bout between Giga Chikadze and Jamey Simmons looks to be just as one-sided, if not worse.
With this fight being scheduled on just seven days' notice it is likely the UFC is looking to bolster a smaller card with an upcoming prospect. Chikadze has been a regular on preliminary cards since his debut, winning four straight decisions victories against increasingly challenging competition in just over a year.
The Georgian comes from an extensive kickboxing background, racking up 38 professional wins before transitioning to MMA. While there were originally concerns about his grappling, he has shown good defensive tendencies so far in the UFC. The biggest criticism of Chikadze so far is his lack of finishing ability, which I think the UFC are looking to alter by feeding him a lesser calibre of opposition.
As Chikadze has grown comfortable against the well-rounded calibre of UFC competition, his striking has become more dangerous. Whilst he has not managed a stoppage victory yet, he has scored a knockdown in each of his last two fights and threatens his opponents with a vicious body kick.
With Chikadze being six inches taller than the debuting Simmons, I believe we will see the Georgian collect his first knockout victory in the UFC. He won six of his seven regional bouts by knockout prior to joining the company, and can restore his finishing form against a step down in competition.
Roman the conqueror
Alexander Romanov makes his second walk to the Octagon after a dominant and frightening debut in early September. The Moldovan was originally scheduled to fight Marcos Rogerio de Lima that night, but a positive Covid-19 test for the Brazilian meant a late replacement was to step in as a sacrificial lamb. The two will finally cross paths on Saturday night, where I favour Romanov to continue his dominant streak.
A former member of the Moldovan National Wrestling team, Romanov has translated his grappling well into the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, achieving a perfect 12-0 record.
Romanov's intentions remain the same in every fight: get his opponent to the ground, smother them and attempt to finish the fight as soon as possible. While his size gives him a natural advantage when maintaining top control, his positional grappling is actually quite impressive.
Although Romanov will undoubtedly have a grappling advantage, he must be careful when closing distance against de Lima, who has shown knockout power on the back foot. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, his previous performances have also demonstrated his grappling inefficiencies. He has lost four fights by submission and has only managed to defend 36% of takedowns faced.
Romanov is getting an opponent whose weaknesses play right into his strengths. De Lima has questionable cardio in the later rounds and his tendency to offer submissions to his opponent when overwhelmed on the ground. My money is on King Kong to replicate his commanding debut victory, picking up his ninth career victory via submission.
Posted at 1640 GMT on 05/11/20
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