10th April, Arena Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.
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I had a winning night at Ultimate Fight Night – Hunt vs Mir. Let’s see if I can keep the run going at UFC Fight Night – Rothwell vs dos Santos. There are a lot of unknowns on the card, so as with the last event, I’m sticking to the main card for my betting. All odds quoted are from Paddy Power and are correct at the time of writing.
Ben Rothwell (1/1) vs Junior dos Santos (4/5)
Big Ben is putting a decent run together, and is putting big names away, most recently in January being the first person to submit Josh Barnett. On the other hand, the dos Santos that was icing opponents between UFC 90 and UFC 146 seems like a distant memory. Paddy Power have Junior as the narrowest of favourites at 4/5, but at evens, as much as it pains me, I’m on Rothwell.
Gabriel Gonzaga (5/4) vs Derrick Lewis (8/13)
Gonzaga was originally slated to face Ruslan Magomedov in this event and I’d have been on the Russian in a flash. He’s now up against Derrick Lewis who is 8/13 on Paddy Power. The Black Beast doesn’t have the win-streak Magomedov does, and while Gonzaga is definitely a step up in class for him, I’m backing him to make the grade.
Francis Ngannou (4/5) vs Curtis Blaydes (1/1)
Promotional newcomer, Blaydes is 5-0 and is facing 6-1 Francis Ngannou, who won his UFC debut by KO in December. It’s a fairly even fight on paper, but with Frenchman, Ngannou having the much shorter commute, I’m leaning his way.
Timothy Johnson (13/8) vs Marcin Tybura (1/2)
Tybura is stepping into the UFC for the first time, putting most of his previous 13-1 record together in M-1 promotions. Johnson has a couple of UFC Fight Nights under his belt, is 1-1 since joining the promotion and is 9-2 overall. It feels like a pick ‘em to me, so normally I’d duck it for the bet. However, as Paddy Power have Tybura as solid favourite, a little tickle on Johnson is tempting.
Igor Pokrajac (5/2) vs Jan Blachovicz (2/7)
Blachowicz won his UFC debut against Illr Latifi, but has lost twice since, albeit against solid competition. Pokrajac got cut from the UFC losing 5 in a row (although 1 was overturned to a NC). He’s won three straight in local shows, and it’s worth noting that virtually all his career losses have been a LONG way from home. In European fights, Pokrajac wins and more often than not, finishes. Paddy Power have Blachovicz as a big favourite, so backing Pokrajac to win his UFC return looks like the value bet of the card.
Maryna Moroz (4/9) vs Cristina Stanciu (7/4)
Stanciu is entering the Octagon for the first time with a 5-0 record including three first round submissions in the last year. This is Moroz’ third fight for the promotion, and is coming off the back of her first loss. Prior to that she was 6-0, also mostly winning by early submission. I’m more likely to bet that the fight won’t go the distance than pick an actual winner here. Paddy Power are offering 11/8 on the fight lasting under 1.5 rounds, which is tempting.
I’ve decided to place three doubles. Firstly, Moroz vs Stanciu to finish in under 1.5 rounds, and Pokrajac to win, then Ngannou and Johnson to both win their close match ups, and finally, Rothwell and Lewis to win the main and co-main respectively. Once those bets were placed, Paddy Power threw a free £5 bet at me, so I bet it on all six predictions coming in, which is a long shot, but you never know.
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