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This is the 14th edition of RAPID FIRE QUICK PICKS for UFC FIGHT NIGHT: Tsarukyan vs Gamrot. I’m coming off another pedestrian 7-6 week for UFC Austin which personally cost me about $150 on all of my MMA gambling/DFS action but in light of the multiple upsets and a questionable decision in the main event I’m not too upset with the bad result. 

This week’s offering appears to have a few potential curveballs as the UFC matchmakers continue to serve up volatile matchups that are difficult to predict with a concrete level of confidence. However this is the game we play and as such it is important to try and play it well regardless of how difficult the line up appears to be. With that in mind these are my insights and my actual bets for UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan vs Gamrot:

VANESSA DEMOPOULOS+235(7-4) VS JINH YU FREY-275(11-4):

I’m going with FREY here. I do not have a great read on this one but I do think FREY is probably the slightly more well rounded fighter and she is definitely the more experienced fighter in this match up. I was very impressed with the way DEMOPOULOS managed to lock up an armbar on SILVANA GOMEZ JUAREZ in her UFC debut, especially since she did it after being flashed KO’d by GOMEZ JUAREZ.  However I have a strong suspicion that FREY will be able to neutralize and ultimately best DEMOPOULOS no matter where this fight takes place. That said DEMOPOULOS is the younger fighter and she is coming into this one off of an impressive come from behind finish so this is going to be a hard pass for me from a betting standpoint. My pick is FREY but if I was to actually bet this one I would probably have to take the plus money dog shot on DEMOPOULOS because this strikes me as a pretty close fight between two lower tier fighters.

BRIAN KELLEHER+144(24-13) VS MARIO BAUTISTA-164(9-2):

Another difficult fight to predict in my opinion which is a bit of a theme this week. However based on everything I’ve seen out of these two I think BAUTISTA is probably the right side. While “BOOM” KELLEHER is always a live dog I think BAUTISTA will have a significant advantage on the feet. BAUTISTA has had a couple of flat performances since his UFC debut but he showed significant improvements in his last outing. He’s the slightly younger fighter and I think he has a slightly more upside than KELLEHER. I’m not sure that I even want to bet a side here but I’m thinking about BAUTISTA by decision or I might just decide to bet FGTD if the odds are juicy enough. 

JP BUYS-112(9-4) VS CODY DURDEN-102 (12-4-1):

As you can see by the odds here this is yet another coin toss according to the bookies. I’m leaning BUYS here but I have no real confidence that he’s the right side. As such this is a very hard pass for me and in all likelihood it should probably be a Dog or pass scenario based on the numbers. My pick is BUYS but I’m really at a loss as to how this one will play out so I humbly recommend staying away from this one. 

RAULIAN PAIVA+134(21-4) VS SERGEY MOROZOV-149 (17-5):

I’m going to be on MOROZOV in this matchup but once again I’m not overly confident about it. However I feel like I have to step up at some point and to my mind MOROZOV is the better fighter here even though it’s not by a wide margin. This a very close fight that will likely see the judges scorecards. I imagine a lot of people will take the plus money shot on PAIVA because this is clearly another dog or pass scenario but my gut tells me that the right play is MOROZOV by decision. I should probably just pass altogether on this one but in the interest of having some skin in the game I will probably play the MOROZOV ML and/or MOROZOV by decision. 

SHA YILAN+180(37-10) VS TJ BROWN-205 (16-8):

 I’m not very high on either one of these fighters but I think BROWN is probably the right side in this one. He will likely have the wrestling advantage and as long as he can avoid getting knocked out he should be able to get it done  However, given BROWN’S inconsistent performances in the Octagon thus far I do think YILAN is a viable underdog here but I usually like to fade lower tier Asian fighters on American soil so I’m not about to take the dog shot here. My pick is BROWN but I don’t know that I will be betting on this fight. It just feels way too volatile for my liking. 

CARLOS ULBERG-116 (6-1) VS TAFON NCHUKWI+105(6-2): 

At this point I have to apologize to our readers for my indecisiveness but this is yet another fight that is basically pick ’em. It almost feels like a TRAP no matter what side you settle on. However in terms of a viable underdog NCHUKWI is probably one of the safer options on the card. ULBERG is a good striker but I don’t know that he has a significant advantage over NCHUKWI who is arguably the more well rounded fighter here. As such I’m going to take the dog shot on NCHUKWI and hope that it doesn’t bite me in the ass. This is another low confidence play but on a card that is full of coin toss fights this strikes me as being a reasonably priced risk.

CHRIS CURTIS-152 (28-8) VS RODOLFO VIEIRA+137 (8-1):

I’m gonna be on CURTIS here. Again this a very closely lined fight for good reason and VIERA cannot be counted out by any means given his world class jiujitsu pedigree. However CURTIS has been very impressive thus far in his UFC campaign, I expect he will have the striking advantage as well as the cardio advantage which has proven to be somewhat problematic for VIEIRA. I might be forcing this play but I will be betting the CURTIS ML and I am considering a small play on CURTIS by KO/TKO depending on what the odds look like. 

NATHAN MANESS+650 (14-1) VS SAID NURMAGOMEDOV -1200(14-0): 

These odds seem excessively wide to me but it is difficult to bet against an undefeated NURMAGOMEDOV, especially when he is coached by his legendary cousin KHABIB who retired as an undefeated champion. MANESS is a very skilled fighter who has KO upside no matter who he is fighting so I don’t think a small sprinkle on his ML is outrageous but I imagine the large majority of MMA gamblers would probably disagree with that opinion. My pick is NURMAGOMEDOV but I will be sacking up and placing a very small wager on MANESS strictly on principle. Sometimes you have to play the number when it’s this juicy even if it feels counter intuitive. Call it a YOLO play, or a dart throw, but this is a high variance sport where absolutely anything can happen and while I think this is likely NURMAGOMEDOV 9.9 times out of 10, I will sprinkle MANESS by KO in the unlikely event that he manages to land the seminal knockout blow. 

THIAGO MOISES-225 (15-5) VS CHRISTOS GIAGOS+175(19-9):

I think MOISES is the right side in this match up. Even though he will be at a slight size disadvantage he is the better striker and he has the better jiujitsu. GIAGOS is the more decorated wrestler and he may well be a live dog in this spot but I think MOISES is the superior mixed martial artist here. On a card that has very few clear cut picks,  I think this is probably one of the safer bets. I will look to use MOISES in a 2 fighter parlay but I will be proceeding with caution. 

JOSH PARISIAN-102(14-5) VS ALAIN BAUDOT-112 (8-3):

As you can see by the odds this is yet another near pick ’em, which speaks to the glaring uncertainty that has consistently shown itself throughout this entire slate. I might literally take a coin from my pocket and flip it to decide what side I’m on here. Both of these fighters have had poor showings in the UFC but PARISIAN has managed at least one win in the UFC whereas BAUDOT has lost in both of his UFC appearances. However BAUDOT is a slight favorite here which is a little confusing. I just don’t see how anyone can have a confident read either way here. Again, this is the definition of a coin toss fight.  I’m going to pick BAUDOT to break through and notch his first UFC victory but that is more of a guess than anything else. PARISIAN is one of the few opponents I could see him beating but then the same can be said for BAUDOT in terms of PARISIAN so I have no idea who gets their hand raised when it’s all said and done.  My pick is BAUDOT but this is the very definition of a stay away fight. I will not be betting this one under any circumstance. 

NEIL MAGNY+336 (26-9) VS SHAVKAT RAKHMONOV-389(15-0):

I’m all over RAKHMONOV here. I just don’t see how I can pick against him at this stage. He has shown himself to be a very dominant prospect who is well on his way to becoming a very real title contender. NEIL MAGNY is usually always a viable underdog no matter who he is matched up with but RAKHMONOV is a different animal in my opinion.  He’s one of those next level fighters that has all the attributes of a potential champion and at 15-0 I simply cannot bet against him even if it is NEIL MAGNY across the cage. Fighters like RAKHMONOV are pretty rare and I am a firm believer in the hype that surrounds him. I have to ride the money train until someone manages to derail it and in this case I don’t think MAGNY will be the one to bounce RAKHMONOV from the ranks of the undefeated. I will look to use RAKHMONOV in a 2 fighter parlay and I will also have a small play on him to win ITD. 

ARMAN TSARUKYAN-265(18-2) VS MATEUSZ GAMROT+225 (20-1):

This has all the makings of an epic main event. These two are next level fighters with a ton of hype surrounding them. Not unlike SHAVKAT RAKHMONOV in the co-main event TSARUKYAN & GAMROT have all the attributes of future title contenders/champions. Both men have been very impressive thus far and I expect that they will continue to impress regardless of who wins this main event. While I agree that TSARUKYAN is probably the rightful favorite I think this fight should be lined way closer than the implied odds. As such the bookies are basically forcing me to take the plus money dog shot here. I just don’t  think Tsarukyan runs through GAMROT the way he has run through most of his other opponents. This is not an easy fight for either man. In fact I think this should be lined closer to a pick ’em so at more than 2 to 1 I have to take a shot on GAMROT. At very least I think this one goes the distance so in addition to the plus money dog shot on Gamrot I will also be betting FGTD.

This card is a prime example of uncertainty in MMA betting as evidenced by all of the closely lined odds throughout. Admittedly I have not felt this much uncertainty in a very long time. If I’m being totally honest I’m just hoping for the best at this point. In fact the only thing I’m fairly certain about is that many of these will be very close fights that should be very entertaining for as long as they last.

As always fade me or follow me at your own peril and above all enjoy the fights.

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