UFC Fight Night 176 Prediction: Billy Quarantillo vs. Spike Carlyle
On a preliminary card filled with young talent, a couple of featherweight prospects in Billy Quarantillo and Spike Carlyle will go toe to toe. Despite both of these fighters making their careers at featherweight, they agreed to take this fight at a catchweight of 150 pounds. Both men are known for their finishing ability so this should be a fun back and forth battle for as long as it lasts.
Billy Quarantillo (13-2)
Fans may remember Billy Quarantillo from his 2015 appearance on Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter where he was eventually eliminated by Saul Rogers. Quarantillo quickly bounced back going 7-1 on the regional scene, including an impressive win on the Contender Series. Finally securing a contract, Billy Quarantillo managed to win his octagon debut with a second-round submission of Jacob Killburn. Quarantillo showed the legitimacy of his blackbelt in that fight, transitioning from an arm triangle, to a rear-naked choke, and to an arm bar before finally setting up a triangle from the top to get the finish. If this fight hits the mat, these men will be in Quarantillo’s world where he is at his best.
If you have seen a Billy Quarantillo fight, you have seen him get beat up in the first round. It seems that every fight, he gets caught early, rallies, and finds a finish in the second or third. This is dangerous against an opponent like Spike Carlyle who can put opponents away with one shot and is particularly dangerous early on. With that being said, few fighters rally in the later rounds like Quarantillo. He seems to never tire as the fight wears on. If this fight reaches the second or third rounds, expect Quarantillo to be the fighter pushing forward and throwing far more volume.
Spike “The Alpha Ginger” Carlyle (9-1)
Spike Carlyle tore up a lot of bet slips -- including mine -- with his clean knockout of Aalon Cruz in the opening round of his UFC debut in February. In the limited time, that fight took, we saw a physical transformation in Spike Carlyle. Carlyle has been putting in work with world-renowned strength and conditioning coach, Sam Calavitta -- whose clients include TJ Dillashaw (wink, wink) -- upon entering the UFC. Despite the fight lasting just over a minute, we saw a clear improvement in power and striking technique in Spike Carlyle’s game. With Quarantillo’s tendency to start slow, “The Alpha Ginger” could be live for another first-round knockout.
Despite the clear physical improvements of Carlyle, we have not seen enough of him to trust his cardio yet. In his regional footage, we see “The Alpha Ginger” looking absolutely exhausted in the second and third rounds on multiple occasions. That is absolutely not an option against a fighter like Billy Quarantillo who tends to push the pace even harder in those rounds. This is a fight that Spike Carlyle will likely want to keep on the feet, so he cannot try to force the knockout and throw huge shots if he hopes to stay competitive.
Spike Carlyle is a dangerous power puncher with solid wrestling but he will likely not want to take down a grappler like Billy Quarantillo who is dangerous off his back. Because we value round winners over a single power shot when the odds are this close, a small bet on Billy Quarantillo is the way to go before the fight. While I am aware that he could get knocked dead in the first round, the volume, cardio, and ground game of Quarantillo all outpace that of Carlyle. Quarantillo loves pushing forward with his striking, utilizes calf kicks, and is excellent with maintaining top position and passing guard on the ground.
Because Carlyle is so dangerous in the first round and we do not know exactly how much he has improved since entering the UFC, pre-fight bets on Billy Quarantillo should be small. Personally, I am getting one unit down on Billy Quarantillo at his current price, then looking to live bet after round one. If Carlyle comes out hot but looks as tired as he did on the regional scene, I will look to add to my bet at underdog odds.
Pick: Billy Quarantello (-125) with focus on live betting after Round 1