We are in for some early Saturday morning activity as the UFC switches time zones to Singapore for the annual pilgrimage to the far east.
A very strange main card, with only 4 fights and only 2 of them with an upside. For that reason, I am going to avoid the main and co-main to focus on the two fights I think will be the most competitive.
As always, I’ll be giving you my picks for the best of the card and 5Dimes will be providing the odds.
Saffiedine v dos Anjos:
Since signing for the UFC in 2013 Tarec Saffiedine hasn’t had the best of times. Injury prone and hardly prolific (2-3) he has had the back luck of being matched with some solid pressure wrestlers in Story and MacDonald and at UFC 207 dropped a split decision to the Stun Gun in a bout that only 10% of the MMA media gave to Kim. His takedown defence stands at 85% but when he is on the ground he is a little exposed.
Rafael dos Anjos makes his bow at 170lbs after a career fighting at 155lbs, a career that culminated in securing and defending the championship belt. In beating Pettis we saw dos Anjos at his dominant best as he literally rag dolled the champion for 25 minutes; it only took 66 seconds to finish Cerrone, who at the time was on a literal tear. Back to back losses, firstly losing his title to Eddie Alvarez and then to Tony Ferguson cemented the decision to move up in weight.
The keys to victory here are for dos Anjos to do everything in his power to put Saffiedine on his back, if he can do that then he has the tools to outwork him for a decision. Conversely, if Saffiedine can keep this on the feet and his opponent at range then he may be able to strike his way to a TKO victory. I’m going to make a small play on Saffiedine here for two reasons, one the odds about RDA are just atrocious for a fighter making his debut at a higher weight and two, because RDA took some heavy blows in his last two fights and Saffiedine can more than match that.
Recommendation: Tarec Saffiedine – 1 unit at +225 (9/4) @ 5Dimes
Kim v Covington:
Dong Hyun Kim, AKA the Stun Gun looks to extend his 3-0 winning streak with a victory over a surging opponent. That streak is somewhat fortunate given his questionable win over Tarec Saffiedine at UFC 207 but it remains nonetheless. The long-time veteran of the UFC has competed all over the world and suffered only 3 losses, to current champion Tyron Woodley and to former challenger Carlos Condit and, depending on whether you believe the boss Dana White, the next challenger in Demian Maia. It’s an impressive resume, regardless and if nothing else it shows the level of competition faced by Covington.
Colby Covington has impressed since his UFC debut in 2014. His high-pressure wrestling style has seen him pass several veterans and international stars, accumulating many solid finishes along the way. His lone defeat was to Warlley Alves was the only blot on his copybook and should be taken with a pinch of salt as Alves has done little since. Covington has been a heavy user of Social Media to claim what he feels is rightfully his, a shot against a ranked opponent. Now he can showcase to the world what his levels really are.
This is a tough fight to call, although the oddsmakers disagree and have Covington as a heavy favourite. This seems a little disproportionate given how good Kim’s takedown defence is and he holds the advantage in pretty much every physical area; reach, height, etc, but if Colby is to confirm that he is the future of the division then he needs to impress in fights like this.
Recommendation: Colby Covington – 3 units at -335 (3/10) @ 5Dimes