Pacheco vs de Randamie is the first fight of the night this Saturday and it should shape up to be a good one. Both fighters are looking to make a name for himself in the women’s bantamweight division. Germaine de Randamie is currently ranked #15, but I really don’t see much merit behind that. She’s 2-2 in the UFC without any overly impressive victories. Her most notable victory is over Julie Kedzie, but Kedzie was near the end of her career by that point. However, Pacheco has a recent TKO victory over Invicta staple, Irene Aldana. Pacheco is 10-1 with her only loss coming in her UFC debut against Jessica Andrade. Before her loss to Andrade, Pacheco had finished all 10 of her victories. Pacheco has never been to a decision in her professional career. I look for Pacheco to get back to her winning ways and to do so inside the distance, likely via TKO.
Pick Larissa Pacheco wins inside distance +250 @5Dimes
Joseph Duffy is a name you’ll be hearing a lot of in the MMA world. Right now he’s best known as “the last man to beat Conor McGregor“. He also holds a submission victory over current UFC fighter, Norman Parke. Duffy is another legitimate prospect coming out of Ireland and will be a fighter to watch going forward. Duffy’s opponent however is already 0-2 since joining the UFC and was finished on both occasions. Lindsey was even victim to a bizarre loss due to submission from heel strikes and he could be on his way out of the UFC if he’s unable to pull a win off in this fight. I see this as an easy victory for Duffy to introduce him to the American audience.
Pick Joseph Duffy wins inside distance -140 @5Dimes
Cruickshank vs Dariush is a very important fight for the future of both of these lightweight competitors. The winner of this fight will put himself right on the outskirts of finally cracking the top 15 of the division. Daron Cruickshank is returning to the octagon for the first time since having his tear duct torn during a fight against K.J. Noons. It should also be noted that Cruickshank was unable to make weight for this fight. Cruikshank missing weight may have been a blessing in disguise for bettors out there as the odds moved in Dariush’s favor. Dariush is now the favorite at -115 for this fight, but I see Cruickshank taking this one. Cruickshank’s striking has always been elite and I believe he’s learned how important it was to improve his grappling after his loss to Jorge Masvidal.
Pick Daron Cruickshank +105 @5Dimes (This fight is my pick of the week. If you’re betting on one fight this week, then make it this one)
Nelson vs Overeem may be the biggest spectacle of the night as the two massive heavyweights square off. Nelson is currently ranked #8 and Overeem is #9 so this fight holds some significant implications for the title picture going forward. A lot of people seem inclined to take the underdog, Nelson, in this matchup, but I see Overeem winning. Overeem’s detractors all put his questionable chin and Nelson’s power forward as their chief reasoning behind picking Nelson. Nelson does have great power, but he really only has one punch, his overhand right. Most of his KO’s all come from that some strike. A seasoned striker like Overeem will know to anticipate that overhand right and stay away from it at all times. Also, when Nelson has struggled in the past it has been against more athletic technical strikers such as Stipe Miocic and Junior Dos Santos. Overeem is the definition of an athletic, technical striker so he looks to be the Achilles heel for Nelson. As for Alistair’s questionable chin, I look for Alistair to stay away from Nelson’s right hand and possibly use his wrestling or clinch striking to avoid the big shots.
Pick Alistair Overeem -140 @5Dimes
Carla Esparza vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win fight of the night looks like a good bet to me. I see this fight being highly competitive throughout and possibly going all 5 rounds. Both of those factors make for a solid chance at FOTN.
Pick Esparza vs Jedrzejczyk wins FOTN +450 @5Dimes