UFC on ESPN 27: Main Card Betting Guide & Predictions - 7/23/21
All odds are mean odds taken from www.bestfightodds.com
Articles written before weigh-ins.
Cory Sandhagen vs.
Just too many things in Sandhagen’s favor here. Height, reach, momentum, never being knocked out, a tricky switch stance, Dillashaw coming off of a large layoff, the fact TJ will presumably be fighting clean for the first time. Yeah, too much here for me to go against Sandhagen. TJ’s awkward movement and footwork will no doubt be a bit of a problem for Sandhagen but it only took him 35 seconds to adjust to the janky pressure of Frankie Edgar so I think he makes it 3 in a row and spoils the return of TJ. Sandhagen the official pick but will pass on the bet since TJ could come in with a great game plan and wrestle Sandhagen and potentially snatch up a rear naked choke during a scramble. Should be competitive.
Aspen Ladd vs.
After watching a pile of both girls’ previous fights, it’s clear they both have the strengths to expose the other’s weaknesses. Pretty classic grappler vs striker match and it seems like both girls are going to have success. Because it’s in heavy split decision territory I’m going to pass on betting it but here is some additional info on both fighters if you like these lines. Chiasson is a bit of an odd one. She has some very crisp and technical combinations with obvious pop in her punches. When she lets her hands go it’s noticeable that she has skill. But in the same vein her striking defense and foot work is pretty sluggish. In the grappling department, she showcases some very smart head positioning, wizards, and some very nice Muay Thai strikes in the clinch. But on the flipside she does some bonehead moves like giving her back standing. She has some good trips but struggles to keep fighters grounded. She’s also very susceptible to getting taken down herself, but is pretty good at getting back to the feet. So as you can see, she’s a mixed bag and pretty green as a mixed martial artist. All flaws that are fixable however.
Ladd is hyper aggressive and will close the gap to try and get things to the mat where she does her best work. She is coming off a decent hiatus due to MCL and ACL injuries but before that she got a TKO finish over Yana Kunitskaya. It should be noted that she dropped Kunitskaya while they were on the feet so she has some power as well. She will be at a pretty good reach and height disadvantage at this one (5’ 11” vs 5’ 6” & 72” vs 66”) but like I said, Chiasson has let slower, less explosive fighters in on her hips pretty readily. Honestly, on the surface I was ready to pick the underdog here because of how Ladd’s aggression got her put away by Geraldine de Randamie, who landed a great counter. The thinking being that the same aggression will likely get her into heaps of trouble against a solid offensive, rangy striker. But when I dug a bit deeper into that hypothesis, De Randamie is excellent while moving backwards and is still an offensive threat. When Chiasson is on the back foot, she is not. The distance gets closed and she winds up in the clinch.
Whenever I flip flop like that I tend to put in more research (hence the novel I’m writing right now) so I started watching some recent interviews of both fighters and I gotta say, the body language and mentality of both girls is night and day. Chiasson was saying things like “I’m ranked 9th, I don’t know why she wants to fight me” and noticeably stuttering and nervous when specific questions about Ladd came up. I’m not saying anyone should hang their hat on a fighter interview to make a pick or bet but these are human competitors and every single piece of information we have should be used to analyze. And every once in a while, fights are lost on the mental front before even stepping into the cage.
Edit: and the bout just got scrapped due to injury from Chaisson
Kyler Phillips vs.
This should be a great fight. I’m thinking with how good Phillips' reactive shot has looked, he’s going to use this to exploit Paiva’s kick-heavy approach.Paiva has solid takedown defense of his own but with jumping up to bantamweight, I could see Phillips being a bit too much. If you got Phillips back when the line opened then I think that’s a great play. Moved a bit too far for my liking but there’s still value on a decision win for Phillips with Paiva’s durability.
Bet: Phillips by Decision at +100
Darren Elkins vs.
Will Minner get the finish in round 1 or will Elkins survive it and go on to get the W? That’s the proverbial question in any Darrick Minner fight. He comes out hard throwing heavy and attempting guillotines. I’d say Elkins is savvy enough to avoid the guillotine but I’m not convinced he will sustain long stretches of top control in order to steal the rounds. He’s only ever been submitted once in the UFC and that was to Charles Oliveira so it doesn’t seem likely Minner locks up that early guillotine. However, Minner looked solid enough in his last outing against Charles Rosa and it seems like the James Krause crew is helping him put things together nicely. Combine this with the fact Elkins seems to end up a bloody mess more times than not, doesn’t seem to sway the judges. I’ll take the favorite for the pick but this might end up being a live betting situation.
Miranda Maverick vs.
Seems to just be a bad matchup for Barber. She was at her best when she had a huge athletic advantage and Maverick arguably has that edge for this one. I’d say Maverick is the far better grappler and it seems certain she’s going to use it. It’s not to say Barber doesn’t have a chance. She has shown incredible heart and definitely has power so if this thing turns into a wild firefight, Barber could score a KO. But Maverick bullying her just seems like the far more likely option. Sort of feels like UFC jumping off one hype train and hitching on to another. Maverick is still pretty green in the UFC so Barber has the edge when it comes to competition faced. May play a factor but I'm siding with Maverick.
Mickey Gall vs.
Williams is a type 1 diabetic who historically fought at middleweight for his entire career. He’s tough as hell with decent takedown defense. His cardio isn’t great (see him checking the clock 20 seconds into round 2 of his last fight) but there is no quit in him. I only bring up the diabetes thing because he’s cutting to welterweight for the first time. Gall ain’t great but once this fight gets turned into a grapple-heavy slog, I like his chances marginally a bit more. He also looked surprisingly good in the stand up against Mike Perry last time out (other than the horrendous few seconds when it wasn’t) so I’d say he’s savvy enough to avoid Williams power edge. I’ll pick him but I can’t in good conscience recommend betting on Mickey Gall.
Phillips by Decision
To view the undercard breakdown, click here.