INSIGHT THE OCTAGON: UNDERHOOK IN URUGUAY

By Lou Finocchiaro  () 

This week, the UFC travels to Montevideo, Uruguay, for a fght card designed to further expand its brand in the fertile South American market. The main event will present less entertainment value than almost every other fght on the card, so we’ll discuss it briefy before returning to a fght twice scheduled for earlier this year, one which may fnally go off Saturday. Value occasionally presents itself earlier in the week on underappreciated favorites. I think we have one this week.

Women’s Strawweight (125 pounds) Championship Champion Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko -1200 vs. Liz ‘girl-rilla’ Carmouche 750

The UFC is sending Shevchenko to Uruguay to familiarize her to South American fght fans because, with Cris Cyborg getting shipped out of the UFC (supposedly), the next big-money appearance for Featherweight and Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes is a potential third fght against the undersized but aptly nicknamed Bullet.

While it would be foolish to disregard Carmouche here (as I did with Nunes against Cyborg), I will say that unless a gaping gash or some unforeseen situation arises where Shevchenko is stopped, she will out-skill Carmouche.

In 2010, these two fought and Carmouche won via doctor’s stoppage, so this rematch provides Shevchenko another shot against the only other fghter not named Amanda Nunes to beat her. Carmouche’s odds are enticing, but it’s early and her price is bound to rise. So a look later in the week may be warranted as I could easily see this fght going a full 25 minutes.

Next up is a fght frst previewed on PSW May 29 for the UFC Stockholm card.

Volkan Oezdemir -125 vs. Ilir Latif 115 Light Heavyweight co-main event

Two Swiss fghters who’ve trained extensively together face one another to determine who steps up in this division and who falls back into the mosh pit.

Latif is appropriately nicknamed “Sledgehammer” as he is stocky, quick, explosive and ultra-powerful, relying on destructive roundhouse punches early in fghts. He has a solid wrestling base, which allows him to pressure opponents to get inside their reach in order to deliver punishment from the inside. I could see

Latif trying to work Oezdemir to the ground because Latif may fnd the stand-up challenging against this opponent. Latif can also counter well but the biggest concern is his ability to fght effectively past 6 to 7 diffcult minutes. Because of his size, he requires massive amounts of energy use, and history shows that he tends to wear down quickly with his style of explosive offensive output.

Oezdemir is fve years younger, which provides an advantage from the start. He’s also the taller, longer fghter versed in BJJ but who wants to use his kickboxing background to batter opponents and fnish them.

Oezdemir, a top-5 fghter in this division, impressed me in his last outing against up-and-coming Dom Reyes in losing a split decision that could have gone either way. He’ll be focused on getting back into the win column after losing a fght that he believes he won.

For their frst scheduled fght, Oezdemir opened at -175 but dropped to -115 before it was cancelled. The same pattern is emerging here as Oezdemir opened -165 and the number has compressed to its current -125.

My advice is to patiently monitor this number to see if it continues to drop. If it rises by a penny, I will jump because the current -125 is acceptable but obviously not as good as anything lower. For publication purposes I’ll have to strike at -125 so anything below today’s published price of -125 is surely a recommendation.

2019 Insight the Octagon results: 10-13 -2.0 units

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