UFC Vegas 28, Rozenstruik vs Sakai: Picks and Predictions
Heading into this week, my record picking fighters is 20-14. 6-1 last week. This is a tough card to pick, but I think we've got a chance to keep stacking bread.
Montana De La Rosa (-250) vs Ariane Lipski (+210)
This is a prelim fight that looks to be entertaining, due to the stylistic matchup, and the need to win for both fighters. Montana De La Rosa is coming off a draw, and just before that a loss, making it nearly a year since her last win. Ariane Lipski was knocked out by Antonina Schevchenko in her last fight, and has only won two of her last five fights. They both want to maintain their spot on the roster and eventually break into rankings, so a win is required. They'll both be throwing strikes and looking for takedowns here. Lipski is a muay thai specialist, but her last win came by knee bar submission. That seems to be her favorite method of victory within the distance. De La Rosa, on the other hand, is an incredible wrestler who also boasts a lot of submission wins, getting eight of her eleven victories by taking necks and limbs. This presents a massive problem for Lipski. If she tries to go to the ground with De La Rosa, she can put herself in a dangerous spot. If she tries to keep it on the feet, De La Rosa will attempt to take her down. Lipski has bad takedown defense, opening up a path to victory for Montana. For those reasons, I'll be adding Montana De La Rosa to my parlay, and taking her to win by submission, which currently sits at approximately +250.
Tom Breese (-270) vs Antonio Arroyo (+230)
On our latest episode of Pickin' Fights, Tom called Tom Breese a lock. I have to agree with him here. Breese's biggest flaw is that he gets the yips when facing a better grappler than he is. This is not the case here. Breese is better than Arroyo in all aspects. They're both 6'3, but Arroyo's last loss came to a 5'6 opponent, so he clearly isn't good at using his size. Breese fights like the big guy he is. Arroyo has a history of gassing out. Breese has solid cardio. When Breese faces a guy like Arroyo that doesn't give him octagon jitters, he uses all aspects of his game and fully incorporates his striking prowess and a decent grappling ability. He has many paths to victory in this fight, and at -270, I'll definitely be adding him to my parlay. A slightly riskier play would be Breese by knockout, at +130, but I'll be taking it because Tom Breese has the ability to run right through Arroyo as if he was made of cardboard.
Dusko Todorovic (-135) vs Gregory Rodrigues (+115)
Wanna talk about tough fights to pick? Well, this is one of them, however there still is an opportunity for us in this fight. Only one of the Serbian Todorovic's fights have gone the distance. All of his other fights, he's finished his opponent within the first round or early in the second. On the flip side, Rodrigues's record is pretty similar, and only two of his fights have gone the distance. If I absolutely had to pick one of these guys to win it would be Dusko Todorovic, but I'll take the safer bet here and go with the under on rounds, at 1.5 for about -105. The fight to not go the distance is also at about -275, and while the line isn't appealing, it is a lock.
Santiago Ponzibbio (+100) vs Miguel Baeza (-120)
This is another tough fight to pick, more so because Miguel Baeza is young, and Ponzibbio is a vet with a lot of recent struggles. Ponzibbio had to take almost three years away from the sport due to leg injuries, illness, and personal problems. He came back in January of this year, only to get knocked out by Li Jingliang. MMA fighters have an expiration date, and despite promise earlier in his career, Ponzibbio is certainly nearing his. Baeza is undefeated, and definitely on his way to being a contender in the welterweight division. Dana White likes to set up young contenders against older fighters, who were once promising, to test them. This is one of those fights. Miguel Baeza has ridiculously fast hands and has seven wins by KO/TKO. His last win came by submission and really showed off his fight IQ, as when he knocked Takashi Sato down with a strike, instead of trying to ground and pound he used the opportunity to lock up a triangle choke. His fast hands, smarts, and youth will be on full display tonight when he gets the win over Ponzibbio. At -120, I'll be taking him straight.
Roman Dolidze (-149) vs Laureano Staropoli (+125)
Tom called Roman Dolidze a lock. I wouldn't necessarily agree there but I do think he'll have the edge in this matchup. He's just too big, too fast, and too strong for Staropoli. Dolidze is a former light heavyweight, and still fights like one. Staropoli is coming into this fight on short notice, and due to that he'll be closer to his normal weight, but won't be as prepared when it comes to cardio. Dolidze looked good in his last fight, despite it being a loss. Not to mention, Georgian fighters have been on a hot streak lately, and Roman Dolidze looks to continue that. I'll take him here straight at -149.
Walt Harris (+155) vs Marcin Tybura (-180)
We've got two back-to-back heavyweight fights to close out this card. Walt Harris definitely isn't the most promising of the four fighters we'll see in the final fights, but I'm feeling risky. Don't tail me here unless you are too. Walt Harris's gas tank is bad. Like, REALLY bad. Despite that, he's got some incredibly powerful punches and comes out firing intense combos early. My brain is telling me that Marcin Tybura will be able to weather the storm, get Harris to gas out, and then win by decision. My gut is telling me that Walt Harris will connect with a few of those early punches and put Tybura to sleep. I'm going with my gut on this one, and sprinkling a little cash on Walt Harris to win by KO/TKO at +185. Marcin Tybura has been slept by Derrick Lewis, one of the hardest hitters in all of MMA, but also has wins over Ben Rothwell and Greg Hardy. In his previous fights, he's absorbed a lot of chin damage, yet a fighters chin can only hold up for so long. I won't take Harris straight up because if this fight goes too long for Harris, Tybura will take advantage of his poor cardio. The only path to victory for Harris is by an early knockout, but with hands like his, it is doable.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-125) vs Augusto Sakai (+105)
This is another difficult fight to foresee the ending of. Sakai is young and hungry, and Rozenstruik doesn't want to lose his #6 spot in the heavyweight rankings. I went with Rozenstruik on our episode of Pickin' Fights, but then Chael Sonnen picked him. Two things you need to know about Chael: 1. He is one of the best trash talkers in MMA history, if not the best. Seriously, he has more highlight reels making his opponents look silly outside of the octagon than in it. 2. He stinks at picking fight winners. With his Rozenstruik pick, I instantly became far less confident in him. With that being said, Rozenstruik and Sakai both have paths to victory here. Sakai is a far better grappler and has won many of his recent fights by decision due to control time on the ground and against the cage. Rozenstruik is one of the best kickboxers in the division and counters combos with ease. My reason for picking Rozenstruik was that Sakai is not ready for this level of competition, will try something sloppy, and get pieced up with counterstrikes. I still believe in Rozenstruik, and will take him straight, but will stake much less on him since my sureness has dropped. He also typically tends to bounce back with a win after losing his previous fight, and his last fight ended in a loss. So the math checks out. One play I absolutely love here: the over rounds at 2.5 for approximately -105. Rozenstruik doesn't actively pursue his opponents, and many of his fights have ended after two and a half rounds. His last bout against Cyril Gane went the distance. Sakai also knows Rozenstruik can counter him, and may be a bit hesitant to rush him. For those reasons I can't see this fight ending early, but when you've got heavyweights there is always a chance. One punch from guys this big can be enough to knock out a horse.
Montana De La Rosa (-250)
Tom Breese (-270)
Roman Dolidze (-149)
Total odds come out to +220.
Like my picks? Hate em? Or more importantly, if I helped you stack some bread, let me know on Twitter @53keppi. Do your due diligence and bet responsibly.