This is the 27th edition of RAPID FIRE QUICK PICKS for UFC Vegas 63. We're coming off a 9-3 week at UFC 280 and I managed to hit my 5th DK optimal lineup of 2022 but unfortunately it was a 176 way tie so the prize pool was a little shallow. I did manage to make about $100 though so it's a win and for that I am grateful.
However this is a new week with new match-ups and these are very difficult fights to handicap because we have a lot of evenly matched fighters but we are called WE WANT PICKS for a reason so without further ado these are my picks and my actual bets for UFC fight night KATTAR VS ALLEN.
CHASE HOOPER-245(11-2-1) VS STEVE GARCIA+205 (12-5):
I'm going with COOPER here but I'm really not very confident about it. However he showed marked improvements in his last outing and I expect he will probably show even more this time around. He's got good jiujitsu and a granite chin. He's also very game and if nothing else I think he'll give GARCIA all he can handle. GARCIA is also very game and he probably has a significant advantage on the feet here but he hasn't been the most reliable fighter throughout his UFC tenure. As I said most of the fights on this card are very competitive so I'm just not confident either way here. I don't think I will be betting on this fight but if I do my money will be on the youth and tenacity of HOOPER.
JOSEPH HOLMES+195 (9-2) VS JUN-YOUG PARK-230(14-5):
I'm going to be on PARK in this one. Again it's not a confident play by any means but I think his experience will probably be the difference here. HOLMES shows a lot of promise but he's still a little green and he has not faced anyone remotely as skilled as PARK. That doesn't necessarily mean that he will be outgunned but to my mind PARK is the much more proven commodity. He's relentless and quite nasty when he's on top. HOWEVER, a HOLMES upset would not surprise me in the least here so I'm just going to pass on this one but my pick is PARK.
ANDRE ARLOVSKI+185(34-20) VS MARCO ROGERIO DE LIMA -215(19-9-1):
I think this is where ARLOVSKI's 6 fight winning streak comes to an end. I've been on ARLOVSKI by decision for his last 4 and it's been a great ride but I'm going to be on ROGERIO DE LIMA here. He has looked really good in his last 3 outings (I thought he got robbed by the judges in his last outing versus BLAGOY IVANOV). He will be the younger, more dangerous fighter here and I think his particular skill set will give ARLOVSKI some problems. Especially if he manages to get this fight to the ground. It wouldn't even surprise me if he finished ARLOVSKI but I won't push my luck. I'm just going to play DE ROGERIO DE LIMA ML and use him in a parlay. Hopefully ARLOVSKI doesn't make me regret it.
PHIL HAWES-165(12-3) VS ROMAN DOLIDZE+140 (10-1):
BOTH of these guys are coming off dominant wins and to my mind they are very evenly matched. HAWES is probably the more well rounded of the two but DOLIDZE is probably the better jiujitsu player and when it comes to raw power he can crack just as hard as HAWES. Both men have had some setbacks so it's difficult to say who is more reliable. I'm going to pick HAWES here but I can't bet on this fight. Conventional wisdom dictates that this is a dog or pass situation but I really don't have a great read here so I'm just going to pass. FDGTD might be a good play here but I probably won't have any betting interests here.
DUSTIN JACOBY-155(18-5-1) VS KHALIL ROUNDTREE +135(11-5):
To my mind this is basically a coin toss. This is two high level strikers coming in with a lot of momentum, they pack a lot of power and they both have pretty good fight IQ when they're at their best. That said I'm going with JACOBY in this one but I don't think I'll have any betting interest here. I think JACOBY is slightly more seasoned in the stand up and he will probably have a slight size advantage here. HOWEVER, that was the narrative when ROUNDTREE faced GOKAN SAKI who is regarded as an elite kickboxer and ROUNDTREE slept him in the opening moments of that fight. This is a volatile match up where either man can best the other in the blink of an eye so a dog or pass approach is probably not a bad look however I'm picking JACOBY to win so this has to be another pass for me. This should be a great fight.
JOSH FREMD-180(9-3) VS TRESEAN GORE+155(4-2):
I'm all over FREMD in this one. He's the bigger, stronger, faster fighter and he is more durable than GORE. I also think his stand up and his ground game are substantially better than GORE's. FREMD had a rough debut verse Anthony HERNANDEZ but he went the distance in that one and he had his moments whereas GORE has been less than stellar thus far in his UFC campaign. GORE is on record as saying that he will be a double champ and perhaps he will but he has yet to win a fight in the UFC so until he does he is an auto fade for me. I think FREMD rolls here.
WALDO CORTES-ACOSTA-215(7-0) VS JARED VANDERAA+185(12-9):
I'm going with CORTES-ACOSTA here. Admittedly I am not very familiar with him but he is more explosive and far more dangerous than VANDERAA who has lost in all but one of his UFC appearances. However CORTES-ACOSTA has been knocked out in boxing matches so I am worried about potential chin issues(especially with 4oz gloves) but I can't trust VANDERAA anymore until he shows me something bet worthy. I'm picking the debuting DWCS graduate to win his debut but I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to be betting on this fight. This could very well be a trap line so if I do bet the debuting fighter I will be proceeding with caution.
TIM MEANS+150(32-13) VS MAX GRIFFIN -175(18-9):
I love “the dirty bird” MEANS. He's got a beautiful jab, razor sharp elbows and a beautiful muay thai clinch. There's just something about the way he fights that is endearing to me and while he isn't a jiujitsu ace he does have decent submissions so he can get it done on the ground if he wants to. However I have this gut feeling that GRIFFIN wins this fight by knock out. Perhaps it's recency bias because of what Kevin Holland did to MEANS last time out or perhaps it's because I feel like MEANS has begun a decline due to age. I think MEANS is hands down the superior fighter here but GRIFFIN has a distinct power advantage and I think that will ultimately be the difference in this one. I have learned the hard way that it is not wise to bet from a place of emotion and I feel like betting on MEANS would be a bet made from the heart because he is one of my favorite fighters on the UFC roster whereas I'm not exactly a fan of what GRIFFIN brings to the table. I think this will be a close fight right up until the moment it isn't. I'm thinking GRIFFIN will catch MEANS at some point before the final bell so I'm going with my intuition here. I think this will be GRIFFIN by KO but a part of me really hopes I'm wrong. I'm not betting this fight because “the dirty bird” could conceivably managed to come through with the upset, as I've said I believe him to be the more skilled fighter but sometimes it's not about skill and in this instance I can't shake the feeling that GRIFFIN gets it done. I'll be cheering for “the dirty bird” but I'm picking GRIFFIN to win here.
CALVIN KATTAR-110(23-6) VS ARNOLD ALLEN-110(18-1):
This is a great main event. Both guys are well rounded fighters and they are very evenly matched when it comes to their respective skill sets, which is why this is a true pick 'em. Neither guy can be counted out here so I'm not picking a side. I think the best play here is FGTD and for the purposes of this article I will say that if I was forced to pick a side I would go with ALLEN by decision but that is based solely on recency bias. KATTAR is coming off a questionable decision loss to Josh EMMETT (a fight I thought he clearly won) while ALLEN is coming off a KO victory against Dan HOOKER. However those fights have no bearing here. I made the mistake of betting Giga CHIKADZE against KATTAR and it cost me dearly so I'm not prepared to write him off in this match up. KATTAR has fantastic boxing and a decent ground game so he could absolutely pull off the upset here but the same can be said for the surging ALLEN. As I said the only action I will have on this one is a wager on FGTD but that prop will likely be juiced to the gills so I will probably have to parlay it with another favorite to get closer to plus money.
This card is flying under the radar in the wake of UFC 280 but it features brilliant matchmaking and that makes it rather difficult to bet on but I think we are in for some outstanding fights here so I'm looking forward to an evening of high level MMA.
As always fade me or follow me at your own peril and above all enjoy the fights.