UFC results in 2023 began with a run of favorites, but underdogs have realized some correction after the last month of events. Currently, favorites are enjoying a 60.6% success rate which is actually down two to three points off the traditional 63% (+/-) average.
One such dog was last week’s release of Bruno Silva +140 who finished a tough, durable veteran in Brad Tavares to push profitability this year to 6-4 +1.41u.
This week, we’re back in the cozy confines of the UFC Apex with a smaller cage and a fight card populated with more obscure and less recognized mixed martial artists.
Ricky Simon -120 vs. Song Yadong +100
Bantamweight (135 pounds) main event
This is a bantamweight fight between two of the most physically powerful men in the division.
In tenth-ranked Simon, we have a wrestling-founded fighter with a black belt in BJJ. At age 30, Simon is aggressive with his forward pressure and offers a variety of attacks based on his well-rounded pedigree.
After a couple of defeats in 2019, Simon has gone on to earn victories in his next five bouts, the most impressive being his most recent finish over a game Englishman in Jack Shore.
Power striking, formidable wrestling, gifted grappling and unending cardio are the tools Simon totes to fights, and in this one, he brings a little extra something as he was defeated by Uriah Faber years ago.
Chinese athlete Yadong, the eighth-ranked bantamweight, opened a slight +105 underdog in this bout. Now training at Team Alpha Male in NoCal with Uriah Faber, Yadong has addressed some of the cardio and wrestling aptitude issues he had earlier in his career. He’s refined his mixed martial arts weaponry to a more professional, effective and well-rounded state while still possessing the explosive power striking that is innate to him.
Yadong will be the slightly larger man in the cage, and he’s five years younger, but these two are so well matched that the number of potential outcomes between them seems innumerable.
Once this fight begins, it seems reasonable to expect Yadong to keep it standing where his speed, agility, quickness and diverse striking advantage can play out for him.
On the other hand, Simon will want to make this a dirty, gritty affair and press into the younger fighter to back him up, wear him down and try to smother him with in-fighting elbows and knees.
Where Yadong would like to touch Simon early and end his evening, Simon would like to systematically usurp the zip from the Team Alpha Male athlete in order to take him down, gain top position and then batter him.
Simon’s not to be underestimated for he’s an ascending fighter who has targeted revenge on Faber through this fight. Yadong and camp have known what’s coming at them for months since this fight’s been announced. Faber’s input will be all over this bout. I can’t wait!
Total in this fight: 4.5 Rds. Under -140
Julian Erosa -145 vs. Fernando Padilla +125
Featherweight (145 pounds)
Erosa opened -325 in this bout based on his wealth of UFC experience, weaponry and competition faced.
Though a bit chinny, Erosa is a superb grappler. He’s cagey enough to lure opponents into his guard where he can clasp, clinch, then attempt to choke them out or overextend a limb.
Erosa is a seven-fight UFC veteran and enters this bout off a loss to Alex Caceres, but he has beaten formidable talents such as Hakeem Dawodu, Charles Jourdain and Nate Landwehr. Is it potentially bounce time?
Across the cage from Erosa stands the debuting Mexican athlete Fernando Padilla. Padilla is primarily a stand-up striker with active leg kicks who steps up considerably against an opponent that appears well-designed for his attack. Padilla opened a massive +275 underdog and has been bet down to current pricing which seems back-asswards to me based on each man’s body of work.
I handicap Erosa in the -200 to -240 range for this bout. Erosa, who is now priced a paltry -145, has been in with the more elite competition. He’s a more complete mixed martial artist and provided he can avoid receiving Padilla’s straight one-two, I believe he is poised to award Mr. Padilla his PhD. in MMA.
Pick: *Erosa -145 to win .5unit, Erosa via submission +250 for .5unit
*Patience on betting Erosa straight up as his price is dropping like a hammer in a lake! Grab via submission now.
Total in this fight: 2.5 Rds. Under -160
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Enjoy the bouts and thank you for reading!