It was refreshing to witness a 6-4 underdog result from last week’s UFC event. It’s but a couple of times a year that dogs beat favorites, but when they bite, it makes for a profitable evening.
Last week Insight the Octagon’s release, Gina Mazany -135, finished Rachael Ostovich in the third round. Mazany closed -190, so readers had the best of the number for that fight. Obtaining a better-than-market number is always a goal of the profitable investor.
With three fight cards left in 2020, Insight the Octagon’s results stand: 38-27 + 18.97u.
Marvin Vettori -135 vs. Jack Hermansson + 115, middleweight (185 pounds), main event
This week we have another example of how styles make for great intrigue. We’ll witness a polished submission specialist with capable striking against an aggressive, powerful kickboxer who is a capable grappler Saturday night in Las Vegas.
The 13th-ranked Vettori is the kickboxing-based fighter who is decorated with a blue belt in BJJ. He’s aggressive, forward-pressing and powerful in his pursuit of engagement. Vettori, who can be quite emotional, must be measured in this bout and maintain his wits against an opponent like Hermansson. He must manage distance and space, which will enable him to attack from a stand-up position using an array of power punches, bludgeoning kicks and piercing elbows.
Vettori fought current champion Israel Adesanya to a split decision in April 2018. In that fight he was very competitive despite being inexperienced. His competitiveness and the confidence gained by going the distance with Adesanya fuel his intensity to earn another crack at the champion. Vettori is an ascending fighter who will enter the top 10 in this division if he wins.
Hermansson is ranked fourth in the division. He holds a slight edge in level of competition faced and will be the taller man with reach advantages of 3 inches in the arms and 6 inches in the legs.
Hermansson hopes Vettori charges him like a bull pursues a matador, making the task of getting this agitator to the ground much easier. However, should Vettori take a measured, tactical approach, Hermansson will have to earn his way inside the pocket of a mad power puncher, clasp onto him and drag him to the floor.
Vettori has fought three BJJ submission specialists in recent fights, going 1-1-1. In Hermansson he’ll face the best submission fighter in the division. He must keep this bout standing.
Hermansson has faced three true power strikers since 2017 and is 1-2 in those fights. When tagged, Hermansson tends to lose confidence. He can be bullied at times by power strikers, so he must smother the pressing power puncher and find a way to maneuver him to the floor.
Vettori’s aggression and forward-pressure fighting might make him susceptible to a refined submission specialist like Hermansson, but that same aggression and forward pressure have shown to be the best way to dominate Hermansson and take him out.
I lean Vettori but will hold off pending weigh-ins.
Vettori opened -120.
Fight total: 2.5 Over -120.
Jamahal Hill -165 vs. Ovince Saint Preux + 145, light-heavyweight (205 pounds), co-main event
Saint Preux is 37 yet retains a top-15 ranking among UFC light-heavyweights. He is pretty much self-made. An ex-linebacker at the University of Tennessee, Saint Preux is athletic, explosive, unorthodox and at times inconsistent.
He has a depth of experience and has faced the division’s finest. Saint Preux has altered the trajectory of other young aspiring UFC fighters hoping to use him as a stepping-stone for their own careers, such as Alonzo Menifield.
The handicap with Saint Preux is determining what form of effort to expect to receive from him. He has been consistently inconsistent throughout his career. On any given night he could dominate … or be dominated.
Hill enters as the new flavor of the month in that he is younger by eight years. This will be his third UFC fight. In his first two, Hill displayed dynamic range, quickness, precision striking and electric power, though against fighters of dubious capability.
Hill is taller but won’t have a reach advantage, and both men are left-handed, which compounds the potential for oddity in this fight. This might be one of the best watching fights of the evening. I regard Saint Preux as live.
Hill opened -170 for this fight.
Fight total: 1.5 Over -160.
Roman Dolidze -195 vs. John Allan + 170, light-heavyweight (205 pounds)
Dolidze enters off a debut win against Khadis Ibragimov, who was perhaps the least qualified UFC fighter in any weight class in the organization’s history. For my handicapping, Dolidze coming into this fight off a win like that leaves much to prove.
Allan arrives off a three-round war with rising light-heavyweight Mike Rodriguez. Allan is tough, durable and able to go a full three rounds, as witnessed against Rodriguez. He took that fight on less than two weeks’ notice and won, though the result was later ruled no contest.
Allan opened + 135 and is now + 165, which I believe is based on his being reprimanded by the USADA after the Rodriguez fight. Allan is focused and looking to redeem himself off that spectacular effort against Rodriguez. Monitor this price and jump it at its apex, but make no mistake that I’m on Allan.
Allan + 170.
Fight total: 1.5 Over -130.
Last month Insight the Octagon released Aljamain Sterling + 120 vs. Petr Yan. That fight has been postponed until February, so those bets come down.