This is the 23rd edition of RAPID FIRE QUICK PICKS wherein I will give you my picks and actual bets for UFC VEGAS 60: SANDHAGEN VS YADONG.
I served up an appallingly embarrassing 2-7 stinker on last week's RFQP for UFC 279 which cost me $274 and left me asking myself: “WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING HERE?”
However, now that I've had some time to process the ass whooping that was UFC 279, it occurs to me that taking the good with the bad is part of the process and the only thing worse than a bad night is dwelling on a bad night. In this game you pay your money and you take your chances, then you move on to the next. Hopefully SANDHAGEN VS YADONG will provide more desirable results.
NIKOLAS MOTTA-230(12-4) VS CAMERON VAN CAMP+195(15-6-1):
I'm not overly familiar with either one of these fighters. Both of them have only had one UFC fight and both were dispatched rather quickly in their respective debuts. Based on the tape I've watched, these are two aggressive fighters that pack quite a bit of explosive power and I expect that both men will be very hungry for that first UFC victory. MOTTA has a slight edge in strength of schedule but outside of that these two are pretty evenly matched. I think this a very close fight that is winnable for either side so I'm not confident either way. HOWEVER, I do think FDGTD is probably a good look here as far as an actual bet goes. As far as a prediction for who wins, the odds makers seem to think that MOTTA is the right side but if I decide to bet this fight I'm gonna go with a small wager on the underdog and the plus money in VAN CAMP because I think these odds are way off. FULL DISCLOSURE: This would be a low confidence shot in the dark and chances are I will just pass on this one.
TONY GRAVELY+155 (23-7) VS JAVID BASHARAT -180 (12-0):
BASHARAT was very impressive in DWCS appearance but considerably less impressive in his debut against Trevin Jones. Granted, that is due to the step up in competition and he did manage to win that fight. He is undeniably a UFC caliber athlete and he has a lot of potential. However I think that GRAVELY represents yet another step up in competition here and that he will ultimately bounce BASHARAT from the ranks of the undefeated. He has great wrestling to complement good striking and he probably has a power advantage. BASHARAT will likely be the faster fighter and we can't overlook his skills on the ground but I have to go with the experience and strength of schedule that GRAVELY represents. At plus money GRAVELY is definitely worth a shot so I will be playing his ML.
MARIYA AGAPOVA(10-3)VS GILLIAN ROBERTSON(10-7):
I'm going to be on AGAPOVA in this match up. I think she is the superior striker and while I give ROBERTSON the jiujitsu advantage I think AGAPOVA is savvy enough to stay defensively sound if the fight hits the floor. AGAPOVA might even be able to impose her will on the ground if she manages to get on top. AGAPOVA has a bit of a mean edge to her game and I feel like she is the more dangerous fighter. I was really surprised to find out that she was the underdog in this match up so this is a no brainer for me from a betting standpoint. Give me the AGAPOVA ML for the win.
TREY OGDEN (15-5) VS DANIEL ZELLHUBER (12-0):
Again I am not overly familiar with these two fighters but based on what I have seen this I'm going to be on ZELLHUBER. He is an extremely well rounded fighter and he has excellent striking. I don't think OGDEN will be completely out of his depth but I do expect that he will be outgunned on the feet. If this fight hits the ground it could favor OGDEN but ZELLHUBER has a couple of submission victories on his record so the opposite could also be true. I have done quite poorly betting on debuting fighters of late so I'm a little gun shy but to my eye this is ZELLHUBER all day. I will not be employing the DWCS fade in this spot and I will be using ZELLHUBER in a two fighter parlay but I will be proceeding with caution.
DENISE GOMES+220(6-1)VS LOMA LOOKBOONME-260 (6-3):
GOMES is coming off of a great DWCS fight but it was less than a month ago and I'm not a fan of quick turnarounds. This will be a step up in competition with a UFC tested commodity in LOOKBOONME and as I've mentioned I have been taking a beating on debuting fighters of late so I'm not comfortable betting GOMES under these circumstances. I do think GOMES has all the skills to win this fight and she will likely have a size advantage here but the Muay Thai pedigree and the high level MMA experience of LOOKBOONME are making me very hesitant to pull the trigger on a GOMES dog shot. Add to that the quick turnaround by GOMES who will likely be at a speed disadvantage and I think this will be a hard pass for me but if I do decide to bet this fight I will have to play the plus money on the GOMES ML. I think this fight will make it to the judges scorecards and I think it will be close so other than a full on pass GOMES+220 strikes me as the right play.
ASPEN LADD-125 (9-3) VS SARAH MCMANN+105(13-6):
This is another tough fight to call in my opinion. Both of these ladies are very capable when they are at their best but they are also very untrustworthy at times. This one really comes down to who is going to show up and there is no way of knowing for sure until the fight starts. As far as a pick goes, I'm going to go with the younger, meaner LADD but I was very impressed with MCMANN and her unanimous decision victory over KAROL ROSA in her last outing and I wouldn't be surprised to see her do the same thing to LADD here. MCMANN will likely have the wrestling advantage but the striking/ground and pound favors LADD. The fact that MCMANN is in her 40s is really the only reason I'm picking against her but it's not enough that I would actually bet LADD because I think this is probably a dog or pass scenario given the respective skill sets of both fighters. I just won't bet on a fighter that's more than 7 years older than their opponent since I saw the UFC Stat that states that they lose 67% of the time. So my pick is LADD but this is a no bet scenario for me.
JOE PYFER(8-3) VS ALEN AMEDOVSKI(9-2):
PYFER is yet another debuting DWCS graduate from the 2022 season. He was the only fighter to get a contract in the first card of the year and he did it with relative ease. He was the only fighter to finish his opponent and he took no damage whatsoever so I'm not overly concerned with the quick turnaround here. The fact that he is fighting AMEDOVSKI who has done absolutely nothing of note besides losing all three of his UFC fights (2 of which were finish losses) bodes very well for PYFER who has shown himself to be a nasty finisher. If you are one if those people who believes in set up fights or intentionally favorable matchups, this fight is definitely looking like the UFC has arranged a lay up for PYFER, who, in all fairness, did seem to make a very favorable impression on DANA WHITE in week one of the DWCS. The debuting fighter is not a concern for me in this spot and I will look to parlay him with another favorite. Based on what I've seen from AMEDOVSKI I might even take a shot on the PYFER by KO prop. My only concern is that it almost feels too easy and while AMEDOVSKI hasn't fared so well at the UFC level he does show multiple KO victories under the Bellator banner and other regional scene promotions so I would be negligent if I didn't remind our readers that there is no such thing as a sure thing at this level. PYFER is one of my most confident plays on the card but I will exercise some restraint at the betting window.
TREVIN GILES-200(14-4) VS LOUIS COSCE+170(7-1):
Yet again we have 2 unreliable fighters in what strikes me as an extremely volatile match up. GILES has great boxing technique and a decent ground game but he is very inconsistent and he has suspect cardio at times. COSCE was undefeated with a 100% finish rate until his UFC debut against Sasha Palatnikov which he was winning rather handily until he gassed out and got himself knocked out. He has big power and good wrestling so he could absolutely pull off the upset and come through as the underdog here. It's very difficult to pick a side with any level of confidence in this match up. To my mind the safest play in this spot is most likely FDGTD but I expect it will probably be pretty chalky. As far as a pick goes I'm going to go with GILES but it is a low confidence read and I will not be betting a side due to the inherent volatility that these two fighters bring to the table. Regardless of who you decide to play I strongly recommend that you proceed with caution here.
DAMON JACKSON+175(21-4-1)VS PAT SABATINI -205(17-3):
Both of these guys have been rather impressive thus far in their UFC campaigns but I like SABATINI in this spot. His wrestling and jiujitsu are next level and he trains with an impressive stable of fighters, most of whom are doing exceptionally well in the UFC which proves that iron sharpens iron when it comes to training partners. That said I expect JACKSON to have the size advantage here and his Jiujitsu is nothing to sleep on. I also think JACKSON will have the better striking in this match up so I think he is a viable underdog play. I am picking SABATINI for the win but I'm not confident enough to play him at chalk against the likes of JACKSON. NOR am I confident enough to take the dog shot on JACKSON against the likes of SABATINI. As such I'm just going to pass altogether on this one but I'm expecting a fantastic fight from these two. In fact this could very well be a FOTN candidate so if your book offers FOTN prop you might want to sprinkle this one.
ANTHONY HERNANDEZ-170(9-2)VS MARC ANDRE BARRIAULT+145(14-5):
This is another very close fight but I'm probably going to be on HERNANDEZ in this one. He has impressed me in his last 2 outings and I expect that he will continue to show improvements moving forward. HERNANDEZ has tremendous pace and grappling pressure to complement a well rounded skill set but I'm not sure how that will play in this match up. BARRIAULT is nicknamed “powerbar” for a reason. The dude simply doesn't get tired and he's always throwing his hands when he's on his feet. I have been a fan of BARRIAULT since he fought on the TKO regional promotion, which was my region's biggest feeder league to the UFC (GSP, Charles JOURDAIN and Cyril GANE are also TKO standouts who made it to the big show). I think BARRIAULT has a good chance of pulling off the upset in this spot but I have to go with the more well rounded fighter in HERNANDEZ. I haven't officially decided to bet on this fight but if I do I will likely fade my local hero BARRIAULT in favor of “FLUFFY” HERNANDEZ. This is yet another potential FOTN candidate.
TANNER BOSER-160(20-8-1) VS RODRIGO NASCIMENTO +155(9-1):
I have to go with BOSER here. He's a heavyweight that moves like a middleweight. He puts out tremendous volume and while he's not a KO artist we've seen him shut out the lights on his opponents before. However if NASCIMENTO gets this fight to the ground he will probably have a significant grappling advantage. I also think NASCIMENTO will have a power advantage in that if he touches BOSER clean it could be all she wrote. However this is heavyweight so a clean land from either side could mean the end of the fight. My pick is BOSER but I'm going to pass altogether on betting this one because of the inherent variance at this weight class.
ANDRE FILI-120(21-9)VS BILL ALGEO+100 (16-6):
I'm going to be on ALGEO in this match up. He is an absolute dog in the Octagon and he has zero quit in him. Regardless of how bad his position may appear to be, ALGEO will fight tooth and nail for my money. He has awesome cardio, great jiujitsu and good volume striking. FILI is a UFC mainstay and he will likely have a power advantage in this match up but he has been very inconsistent over the years. Sometimes he looks like a potential title contender and sometimes he comes up wanting. He can grapple, he can strike and his cardio is also on point but as I've said he's somewhat inconsistent. Styles make fights though and I believe this clash of styles will make for a very competitive bout. These are two high level fighters that bring a well rounded skill set to the table but I'm going to bet that ALGEO will be the one feasting on fight night. This is yet ANOTHER FOTN candidate.
CHIDI NJOKUANI+100(22-7) VS GREGORY RODRIGUES-120(12-4):
I really don't know what to do with this fight. Again this is a prime candidate for FOTN. These are two killers capable of ending the other's night in the blink of an eye. RODRIGUES has insanely good jiujitsu as well as crazy knock out power in his hands and feet. His cardio isn't quite where it should be because he carries a lot of muscle but it's still good enough that he is able to go the distance if he needs to. NJOKUANI has three vicious knockouts under the UFC banner (this includes his DWCS bout) and a wealth of experience in other organizations like Bellator. Apparently he is also a BJJ blackbelt but I have yet to see him use it in the UFC because he has been dispatching his opponents with brilliant striking sequences(all of whom were very respectable in terms of skill level). To my mind this will be NJOKUANI's toughest test to date. I believe this fight will come down to who catches the other with the cleaner shot. I also have a greasy theory that this fight might actually go the distance because we are dealing with two high level fighters who could very well respect the power coming back their way. Everything about this fight points to violence and conventional wisdom dictates that this will not go to the scorecards but oftentimes these are the exact kind of high variance bouts that fool everyone and end up being a greasy split decision. As I said though that is just a greasy theory so I probably won't pull the trigger on a FGTD play. As far as picking a side goes I'm really not sure who has an edge here so this is probably a dog or pass scenario but my gut tells me that RODRIGUES finds a way to get it done so I will not be taking the dog shot on NJOKUANI. If anything I will probably play the RODRIGUES ML and hope he manages to halt the surging NJOKUANI.
CORY SANDHAGEN-200 (14-4) VS SONG YADONG+175 (19-6-1):
I think this is the frontrunner for FOTN which says a lot given that this card is littered with FOTN candidates. Both of these guys are straight killers and to be completely honest I think this is a coin toss. In terms of a pure pick I'm going with SANDHAGEN but I can't bet him in this spot. YADONG is way too live here for me to risk it. Conventional wisdom dictates that this is a dog or pass scenario but I'm not about to fade SANDHAGEN. Both guys have a complete MMA arsenal and quite frankly I'm not sure that either guy has a significant advantage anywhere. This comes down to who shows up on the night and I expect that both guys are coming for war. This one is an instant classic and I cannot wait to see how it plays out but I would be lying if I said that I have a good read here. Sometimes it's best to abstain from betting and just watch as a neutral observer.
To my great dismay this is the last card before we head into another break week which means 13 days without UFC action. If you read this article on a regular basis you already know I'm not very happy about that but hopefully UFC Vegas 60 will see us off on a winning note. Regardless of how it plays out, I'm pretty sure this card will be outstanding from an entertainment standpoint so as always fade me or follow me at your own peril and above all enjoy the fights.