The biggest week in MMA history starts on Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Opening with an extremely rare Thursday night event, on to the TUF Finale on Friday and finishing off with the granddaddy of them all. This is going to be a special week and 5Dimes will be giving you all the odds on every fight.
Northcutt v Pfister:
Plucked from obscurity on the regional scene to almost, but not quite, co-main evening is the new kid on the block Sage Northcutt. Already a highly decorated Martial Artist at the age of 19 he was spotted at a Legacy event in a now famous Vlog that Dana White was recording. His first shot at the big time saw him destroy veteran Francisco Trevino inside a minute to have the MMA media and fans alike salivating over how far this guy can go. Initial suggestions are all the way to the top, something that will be expedited if the new poster boy continues to win as he has done.
Cody Pfister is the latest veteran to be given the opportunity to derail the hype train that is Northcutt. Pfister, a two-time UFC fighter carries a 1-1 record in this promotion with a win over Yosdenis Cedeno in response to a debut loss against James Moontasri. That loss to Moontasri ended an eight fight unbeaten streak that got him here in the first place.
Northcutt will enter the octagon as a huge favourite, perhaps rightly so, but also a little too early. He was a massive favourite against Trevino and will continue to be huge until given a real challenge. Super Sage could, and should be a cut above in this fight and if he is then chances are he does what he has done in 5 of his 6 previous fights and ends this inside a round and a half.
Recommendation: Under 1.5 Rounds – 2 units at -105 (20/21) @ 5Dimes
Namajunas v VanZant:
Whenever a main event fighter is lost from a booked fight and a replacement is called up it is nearly always a lower ranked fighter that steps up. After all there is lots to lose and little to gain by fighting lower than your rank. When #9 ranked Joanna Calderwood was forced out through injury it was #3 ranked Rose Namajunas that stepped up for the headlining opportunity.
With the demise of Ronda Rousey all eyes will be on Paige VanZant to carry the flag for Women’s MMA. While that may sound disrespectful to Holly Holm the UFC has put serious time into positioning Paige as a legit challenger at 115lbs and will not want to see their marketing budget to go waste. VanZant has the energy levels of the Duracell Bunny and she demonstrated when she pushed the pace against veteran fighter Felice Herrig for 15 long minutes at UFC on Fox 15. It was the first legitimate name on her list of victims and has put her a fight or two away from going stratospheric.
This is a really tough matchup for Paige, arguably levels higher than the originally booked bout. Against Calderwood I gave the work rate and energy of PVZ a massive edge but Namajunas is technically better than her in every area barring cardio. Paige has cardio to burn and against Herrig she showed that she can push the pace and maintain it for days. She left herself exposed to a number of potential finishes but came through unscathed, I am sure that Rose will let her off the hook that easily. The UFC would love Paige to take the win and build her up further but I have a feeling that Rose can and will do enough to derail the hype train.
Recommendation: Rose Namajunas – 1 unit at +160 (8/5) @ 5Dimes