Francisco Rivera vs. John Lineker
Interestingly enough, this has been one of the fights talked about most on forums where a lot of bettors see value in Rivera. I have seen people say they believe Rivera should be as high as -300. Despite all of this talk, odds remain fairly close to even with Lineker actually slightly favored. I’ve got to say, I don’t see how people see Rivera being so heavily favored. Rivera has fallen when taking steps up in competition, and I view this as another step. I do see the point being made that Rivera has a large size advantage, but it’s not as if he is a fighter using size in clinch and grappling work. He’s not a particularly long striker either, so I think the size factor isn’t really a major advantage. I think both fighters will be in the pocket often, so this will be up for grabs.
At this point, I think the odds are fairly correct as the fight is a tossup. I have a gut feeling Lineker takes it, so I’m going to wait to see if all the talk online means he’ll end up an underdog. If so, he’s the play.
Jessica Andrade vs. Raquel Pennington
Pennington has been bet down from when she spiked above +200, and rightfully so. This is an interesting matchup as both fighters use a similar bulldog style. I’ve mentioned several times that physical advantages still mean a lot in Women’s MMA. They can overcome skill gaps which isn’t quite as common in Men’s MMA. Both fighters here have used their physical advantages to win their fights, and I think will see that neutralized here. Pennington’s biggest problem has been pulling the trigger, but I don’t think that will be a major problem here as Andrade comes forward. Andrade is probably the rightful favorite, but Pennington is the play here if she gets back near +200.
Paul Felder vs. Ross Pearson
This is a very interesting matchup where Pearson is being overlooked. In the UFC, Pearson has only lost to two strikers – Barboza and Iaquinta. Barboza showed himself to be a very tough matchup for Felder, and I think Iaquinta would be tough for Felder as well. Felder has shown himself to be a great striker, there is no doubting that, but I don’t think he’s much better than Pearson with his hands. He’s flashier which fans like, but I think Pearson will be in his face. I am a shade worried about Pearson’s chin if he gets cracked, but I think he keeps this very competitive against Felder. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Pearson switch it over into a grappling and clinch affair to ice rounds.
I can understand Felder being favored here with his diverse striking and the chin concerns with Pearson. With that said, I can’t fathom him being such a large favorite. Pearson is the play here as the fight is much closer than odds suggest.
Clay Collard vs Thiago Trator
This is one of those fights that I’ve really been looking for a play, but I’m having a hard time finding one. Collard has shown me that he can’t really be a dependable guy with his loss against Benitez. I remember being impressed with how tough he was against Holloway and then he looked decent in his win against White. One thing that I can say for sure is that he’s durable and doesn’t look to be much of a finisher himself. The issue is that he’s going up against a guy who mainly finishes. I’m having a hard time capping Trator’s abilities, but what I’ had been trying to figure out is if the over/under on the 2.5 is worth a play. Lucky for us, all props have been released and the “fight starts round 3” looks pretty fair at -163. If I had to make a play on this fight, it would be that prop.
Joe Riggs vs Ron Stallings
Simply put, I believe Riggs is battle worn at this point. Stallings looked great against Jones and I feel he is enough of a veteran to handle Riggs. Riggs has shown his ability to win lately has been through being a veteran, but I don’t think he has that edge here. Stallings looks to be the quicker, more physical fighter at this point in their career. I see Stallings winning the scrambles and also able to win in the clinch. I like Stallings here up to -200.
Nazareno Malegarie vs. Joaquim Silva
This is a very tough one to cap. With a gun to my head, I’d pick Malegarie and look at him as the play to make. He has experience against better competition and looks to be more well rounded. It’s tough to cap and may be a pass, but Malegarie would be the play if forced to make one.