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UFC London: Blaydes vs. Aspinall Predictions and Quick Picks

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Fight Preview

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The UFC is headed to London once again for a star studded offering of the European variety. When you factor in the energy of the English crowd and the high level talent that seems to electrify said crowd, these  London fight night cards are pretty much equivalent to a free PPV in my opinion. There is no denying the fanfare and build up that surrounds these epic events. They seem to live up to the hype every single time the UFC travels abroad and I don’t expect that this weekend will be any different. 

In terms of my predictions for UFC Long Island I went a respectable 8-4 but sadly my betting/DFS results were almost a carbon copy of last week’s fiasco. I lost $170 in the DFS arena and I broke even on all of my money line action. Obviously those are not the desired results but for me DFS action is about small losses that are offset by big gains so in terms of profit I am still up by a substantial margin and I am not overly concerned about a couple of bad weeks.  In terms of straight bets I need to be more disciplined and more selective about my action because it only takes one bad pick to ruin an otherwise juicy parlay. 

 However this is a new week with a fresh slate of match-ups and rather than dwell on the past I prefer to look ahead to another evening of great fights and another opportunity to be profitable.

With that in mind these are my picks and my actual best bets for UFC LONDON. 

CLAUDIO SILVA+246 (14-3) VS NICOLAS DALBY-274(19-4-1): 

I am really not sure what to make of this fight. DALBY is a fighter who loses when he should win and he wins when you least expect him to. He shows a draw with Darren Till on his record and he has decision victories over Daniel Rodriguez as well Elizeu ZALESESKI DOS SANTOS yet he has losses to the likes of Peter Sabotta and Jesse Ronson. Despite his high skill level he is glaringly inconsistent and you just never know what you’re going to get with him so it’s hard to bet on him with any level of confidence, especially at chalk. SILVA is not much more reliable though and I’m not a fan of his striking but he does thrive when he can get his opponents to the ground. That said,  I do think that DALBY is the rightful favorite here but because of the inconsistency and variance these odds are way too wide for my liking.  So my pick is DALBY but there is no way I can bet him at this price.

 

MANDY BOHM-144(7-1) VS VICTORIA LEONARDO +129(8-5): 

After watching the tape on these two I have to lean ever so slightly with BOHM here. However I am extremely tempted to take the dog shot on LEONARDO because of her physicality and toughness. Despite suffering a broken arm versus  MELISSA GATTO, LEONARDO wanted to keep fighting in that one and she would have continued had the doctor not intervened and saved her from herself. She is not the greatest striker but she is relentless and she has a decent ground game that she can lean on. BOHM came into the UFC as an undefeated prospect but she lost her debut to Arianne Lipski and she did not perform the way she had on the regional scene where she was outclassing her opponents with relative ease. Perhaps that can be attributed to the step up in competition or UFC debut jitters but there is no way of really knowing until we see how she fares in her sophomore outing. I’m really not sure what to do with this fight so I think the safest play is to just pass. In terms of a pick though I’m gonna say that BOHM is probably the more technical fighter and the rightful favorite.  So if I decide to actually bet this my money will likely be on BOHM. As much as I want to take the plus money dog Shot on LEONARDO,who has more UFC level experience and otherworldly toughness, my gut tells me that BOHM is the side here.

 

 JAI HERBERT-259(11-4) VS KYLE NELSON+231 (13-4):

I have to go with HERBERT here but he does not exactly inspire a great deal of confidence so I don’t think I want to play him at chalk. He will likely be the better striker in this matchup and he will be the hometown hero which will undoubtedly garner him the support of what should be a ravenous crowd that could in turn sway the judges if this fight goes to the scorecards. NELSON has not had the best showing thus far at 1-3 in his UFC campaign but I don’t expect a huge skill disparity between these two and I think this a winnable fight for either man. However I think HERBERT will find the knock out at some point so I might decide to play him by KO but I haven’t officially decided yet. My pick is HERBERT but this is also a pass for the time being. 

 

MUHAMMAD MOKAEV-470 (7-0) VS CHARLES JOHNSON+400 (11-2):

After watching the tape on JOHNSON I want to say that he makes for a juicy underdog here but I’m extremely leery about betting against a super prospect like MOKAEV.  MOKAEV has all the attributes of a future contender but at 7-0(1-0 in the UFC) he is still relatively unproven at this level.  These odds are basically telling us that he is a foregone conclusion to win here but JOHNSON is very live in my opinion.  He will likely have a slight size advantage and based on what I’ve seen he is a very game opponent that will not go away quietly. He also seems to have a lot of power for this weight class (125lbs) so it would not surprise me to see him hurt MOKAEV if he lands flush. However as tempted as I am to take the plus money shot on JOHNSON I keep coming back to the hype that surrounds MOKAEV and I have to believe that the hype is real based on what I’ve seen. I am going to pick MOKAEV to win and continue his ascent towards the top of the UFC flyweight rankings but think this is a dog or pass scenario based on the tape I watched. I’m gonna pass altogether on this one but if I change my mind before fight time I will probably take the plus money shot on JOHNSON and hope for the best. At 4 to 1 I think it’s worth a small sprinkle and if I’m wrong about it I can live with the results and feel good about the “value” side of it.  If I’m right I’ll feel like a genius and cash a decent ticket. I don’t recommend tailing me on this one because it is a rather risky play but that is why this will only be a minimum bet if I do in fact decide to take the dog shot. So my pick is MOKAEV but I’m considering a small play on the 4 to 1 underdog JOHNSON.

 

MAKWAN AMIRKHANI+170(17-7) VS JONATHAN PEARCE-191 (12-4):

At first glance this seemed like another viable underdog play because AMIRKHANI is a fantastic wrestler/jiujitsu player with decent striking. The problem is that AMIRKHANI has rather suspect cardio past the halfway point of the 2nd round which is very problematic against a cardio juggernaut like PEARCE who is absolutely relentless when he gets on top. Of course PEARCE will be bringing the fight directly into AMIRKHANI’s wheelhouse when he takes him down so AMIRKHANI is definitely live for the submission here, especially early on when he his still fresh but I think PEARCE is savvy enough to stay out of the submission and his cardio should prove to be a bonafide weapon against the suspect cardio of AMIRKHANI if he can extend him into the later rounds. I’m going to use PEARCE in a two fighter parlay but I will be proceeding with caution because AMIRKHANI is no joke and he is not typically an easy out. If anyone sees value in AMIRKHANI I recommend betting him to win by submission because that will be his most likely path to victory if he gets it done.

 

NATHANIEL WOOD-437 (17-5) VS CHARLES ROSA+373 (14-5): 

I think this is WOOD all day long but I really don’t like the price tag at all. Especially since I think this fight will go the distance.  ROSA is nothing if not durable and historically he has decent jiujitsu. He is notoriously difficult to put away and I’m not sure that WOOD is necessarily a potent finisher so there is no way I can play WOOD at chalk in a fight that will likely go to the judges scorecards. I’m not even sure I can parlay him at this price. I might play him to win by decision but even that might turn out be a little sketchy. I’m pretty sure WOOD is the right side here, I just don’t really know how to go about playing this one. “When in doubt, don’t step out”  is generally a good rule to live by when it comes to MMA betting.  For the sake this article I’m gonna say WOOD gets it done by decision but I will probably just pass on betting this one.

 

MARC DIAKESE-275(15-5) VS DAMIR HADZOVIC+200(14-7):

I’m gonna be on DIAKESE here. Especially after his last outing against Rafael ALVES which was a wrestling heavy performance where he controlled from start to finish. DIAKESE is a powerful, athletic fighter and I’m pretty sure he will have a striking advantage in this matchup. I think he will have HADZOVIC covered no matter where this fight goes. This is another case of the hometown hero having overwhelming crowd support and I firmly believe that crowd reactions can sway the judges towards DIAKESE if this turns out to be a close fight. HADZOVIC is too one dimensional for my liking but there is always a possibility that he could catch DIAKESE so I’m not about to throw my life savings on this one but I am going to use DIAKESE in a two fighter parlay and hope he continues to perform the way he did in his last outing.  This is one of the safest spots on the card in my opinion and I fully expect DIAKESE to prevail in this spot.

PAUL GRAIG+141(16-4-1) VS VOLKAN OEZDEMIR-157(17-6):

I absolutely love the “bearjew” GRAIG. He has proven time and time again that he cannot be counted out and he has done so by relying on his signature move which is perhaps one of the nastiest triangle chokes in all of MMA. The book on CRAIG is always the same: he has striking deficiencies but if he can weather the storm and find the submission (usually the triangle choke) he finishes the fight.  In this case I don’t think he will be able to overcome the striking advantage that OEZDEMIR brings to the table. I think OEZDEMIR has to know that he cannot engage in any type of grappling exchanges if he wants to win here. He has to exploit his striking advantage if he wants the victory. I really do not like to bet against CRAIG, who always seems to find a way to win, but I have to go with OEZDEMIR in this one. At very least I think he can win the decision but it would not surprise me to see him get the Knock out here. I will be playing the OEZDEMIR ML and I might have a small play on him to win by KO but full disclosure: I am expecting this one to be a major sweat because of CRAIG’S outstanding jiujitsu so I will be proceeding with extreme caution here.

 

MOLLY MCCANN -350(12-4) VS HANNAH GOLDY+240(6-2): 

The bookies are not cutting us any slack with these odds but I can’t really blame them. I think MCCANN is absolutely the right side here and again we have a very real hometown rub that will likely be in full effect because “meatball” MCCANN is a huge fan favorite, perhaps only second to PADDY the Baddy in that regard. I also think MCCANN is the superior fighter in this matchup. However in terms of pure athleticism the advantage goes to GOLDY so it is not inconceivable that she could catch MCCANN in some type of wild exchange. However based on everything I’ve seen out of these two and based on how well the British fighters usually perform in front of the British crowds I think MCCANN is the only play here. I will be using her in a two fighter parlay and I might have a small play on her to win ITD. 

 

NIKITA KRYLOV-186(27-8) VS ALEXANDER GUSTAFSON+169(18-7):

This is a tough one to call in my opinion. GUSTAFSON gives me MEISHA TATE vibes in the sense that maybe he is just not the fighter he once was.  Since his second defeat at the hands of Jon Jones he has seemed unable to find his stride in the Octagon and I think this speaks to age as well as the wear and tear of the fight game. KRYLOV has been around just as long as GUSTAFSON has but his path hasn’t been as high profile and let’s face it these Russian fighters are cut from a different cloth when it comes to toughness and durability. I want to take the dog shot on GUSTAFSON here but he hasn’t fought since 2020 and he hasn’t won since 2017, albeit that last win was against  Glover TEXEIRA who went on to become the champion after that loss to GUSTAFSON. KRYLOV has-been way more active in recent years but he did fall victim to the dreaded PAUL CRAIG triangle choke at the last London card so he is by no means a lock here.  However I cannot bet GUSTAFSON in this spot, not even with the plus money the bookies are hanging on him. I think he is the underdog for good reason here and that this could be a very real case of the game having passed him by. Of course I might very well be wrong about that and maybe we’ll see a renewed GUSTAFSON on fight night but in terms of an actual bet on GUSTAFSON I just can’t do it. My pick is KRYLOV and I might use him in a two fighter parlay but out of respect for the skill set of GUSTAFSON I will be proceeding with caution on this one because if GUSTAFSON of old shows up on Saturday night this could turn out to be an upset. 

 

PADDY PIMBLETT-244(18-3)VS JORDAN LEAVITT+216(10-1): 

I think this is all PIMBLETT in terms of skill and as far as fan favorites go he will undoubtedly be the most beloved fighter on the card. PADDY’S extreme confidence borders on cockiness which always gives me pause when it comes to betting any fighter because it is never a good look when a fighter looks past his opponents. I don’t know if that’s the case here but I do know that PADDY does possess the skills to back up his confidence and he will most definitely have overwhelming crowd support. There always seems to be people in the MMA betting community that are looking to fade PADDY but I think that is more about his brash outspoken nature because to my eye he is a talented fighter and he is about as game as they come. LEAVITT deserves big props for stepping into the British Lions Den and taking on one their youngest and most dangerous lions but I don’t think he wins this fight under these conditions. If I’m wrong I will never doubt LEAVITT again because I would be very impressed if he managed to pull off the upset here. An outcome that would be disastrous for the fans and the marketing machine.  LEAVITT is a very unique fighter and I’m not talking about the strange personality which I happen to be a fan of, this dude makes me laugh every time he does something weird. I think LEAVITT is a very cerebral fighter with very real grappling skills but so is PADDY. I think PADDY is probably the more well rounded fighter and I expect that he will have a slight size advantage here. I just hope he doesn’t look past LEAVITT and get caught slipping. I’m going to use PIMBLETT in a two fighter parlay and hope he comes through for me one more time.

 

JACK HERMANSSON+102(22-7) VS CHRIS CURTIS-113(29-8):

I want to bet CURTIS here but I am very concerned about the quick turn around and the traveling implications that come with fighting abroad. We’ve seen  examples of multiple weight cuts in quick succession taking their toll on fighters who are overactive. Andre FIALHO and Cowboy CERRONE are a perfect example of that. “ACTION MAN” CURTIS is an outstanding talent and he has been a money train but I have thought long and hard about jumping off the ride for this one. HERMANSSON is not an easy fight by any means and he will likely be the fresher fighter coming back from a 6 month recuperation period as opposed to CURTIS who went the distance in a hard fight less than a month ago. As I said I want to be on CURTIS here but I’m skeptical. Burnout and overactivity are a very real problem in MMA, at some point being overactive becomes a case of diminishing returns and losses start to materialize. I think it’s painfully obvious that CURTIS has the striking advantage and that HERMANSSON has the wrestling edge. This is a close fight in my opinion and I should probably take the plus money dog shot on HERMANSSON but I think I have to stay on on the CURTIS MONEY train for one more ride and hope it arrives safely at the station. I’m going to play the CURTIS ML and I will look to parlay him with another favorite.  However I will be proceeding with caution because of all the reasons I’ve mentioned. 

 

CURTIS BLAYDES+115(16-3)  VS TOM ASPINALL-140(12-2):

This main event has the makings of a heavyweight bout for the ages. Quite frankly I have absolutely no idea how this one plays out. Underestimating either one of these guys is generally a bad idea so it makes it very difficult to go against either one of them. BLAYDES surprised a lot of people when he took out Chris DAUKAUS on the feet in his last outing and his wrestling is second to none in this division but ASPINALL strikes me as somewhat of an MMA protege and he has been rock solid thus far in his UFC campaign. This feels like a dog or pass spot because it’s basically a coin toss in my opinion. The variance and potential fight ending power at heavyweight cannot be overstated here. The smart thing to do is to pass altogether but I always feel the need to be involved in the main event.  Especially one of this magnitude. For all intents and purposes this is likely a title eliminator so one of these guys could conceivably be the next heavyweight champion of the world. I was literally going to take a coin out of my pocket and flip it to decide which side I’m on but that is probably not the best way to go about this. It’s pretty difficult to overlook CURTIS ‘RAZOR’ BLAYDES at plus money, even if it is in London against Tom ASPINALL but my gut tells me that ASPINALL will prevail here and continue his ascent up the rankings and a possible title shot. HOWEVER,I think this will undoubtedly be his toughest test to date. In fact I would not be the least bit surprised to see him take his first UFC loss at the hands of BLAYDES but ultimately I have to go with ASPINALL.  I won’t even attempt to choose a method of victory and I will not parlay him but I will play his Money Line and hope he passes what should prove to be the toughest test of his very promising career. I cannot wait for this main event. 

 

This entire card should prove to be a very entertaining showcase for high level MMA. I think a lot of us in the MMA betting community have a certain expectation of how UFC LONDON will unfold but I’ve learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to MMA at this level. There are some things that no amount of research or experience can account for when it comes to handicapping fights. However all we can do is base our reads on the information we have and hope that those reads are  correct. 

For better or for worse these are my insights and intuitions as well as my actual plays for UFC LONDON. 

As always fade me or follow me at your own peril and above all enjoy the gift that is mixed martial arts at the highest level. This one is finna be good folks.

Frank Jodouin

Contributing Analyst

I started betting on fights in 2016, and have watched every single fight on every live event for almost seven years running. To put it plainly, I am a fight junkie, and Dana White is my dealer. I write content because I'm so passionate about this sport and I am honored to be a member of the We Want Picks team. I love to talk fights and share the knowledge I have accrued over the years as I continue to learn about the greatest the sport on planet earth.

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