Werdum v Overeem:
Fabricio Werdum steps into the octagon looking to make his case for a rematch with the man who beat him for the title, Stipe Miocic. As is the UFC’s want, they chose to put Werdum in with Travis Browne rather than grant the immediate rematch; this is not unexpected given that Werdum lasted only half a round. If he starts cold again then Overeem could catch him just as hard.
Alistair Overeem gets yet another opportunity to put himself in the title picture, even though he has a habit of shooting himself in the foot from these positions. He has all the tools but occasionally comes armed with hands of stone and a chin of glass, this has been his continual undoing.
Those who know me know that I swore never to bet again on Overeem after many ridiculous performances where his arrogance outweighed his odds. I’ve been on the wrong end a few times now but I don’t think I will be this weekend. Odds say Overeem, but heart says Werdum by decision.
Recommendation: Fabricio Werdum – 2 unit at +105 (21/20) @ 5Dimes
Romero v Whittaker:
Yoel Romero is a physical freak, some 40 years of age who is better put together than men less than half his age. He ages like a fine win and he is very young in MMA terms. His wrestling is the best in all of MMA and he possesses a flying knee that has ended nights quickly. The main concern I have with him is cardio, he’ll dominate the first round and a chunk of the second, but then its survival time.
Robert Whittaker, Bobby Knuckles, has made some serious headway since making the jump to 185lbs. No longer is he cutting the sort of weight that emptied his gas tank and depleted his punching ability. The way he finished Jacare Souza, a future hall of famer who is one of the best Middleweights on the planet was spectacular. His time is coming, and he is a very bad matchup for the current champion.
This is likely to be the fight of the night and the one I am most amped up for. Both fighters have been the underdog in 4 of their last 6 fights and come out on top. Romero has been forging a path to the top for a few years while Whittaker has come from nowhere. The athleticism of Romero is the swing vote for me though and if he can control Whittaker he wins comfortably.
Recommendation: Yoel Romero – 2 units at -105 (20/21) @ 5Dimes
Nunes v Shevchenko:
Amanda Nunes was viewed by some as a paper champ, or an interim placeholder until the return to MMA of Ronda Rousey. At UFC 207 that myth was debunked in spectacular style as Nunes picked the former champion apart inside a minute. It was as beautiful as it was ugly and cemented her position as number one.
Valentina Shevchenko has experienced just the one defeat in her UFC career; to Nunes in a fight that she didn’t really start to assert in until the final round. By this time the damage was done and Nunes took the victory, and with it a guaranteed title shot. Shevchenko is no slouch and those who are writing her off as just another victim for Nunes should go back and review the striking power that this woman has.
Tough one to call as it goes one of two ways. Either Nunes finds the finish in the opening two rounds or Shevchenko takes the fight in the last three rounds when Nunes inevitably gasses out. I’ll go out on a limb and take Shevchenko by late TKO, setting up a trilogy fight for later this year in Russia or New York.
Recommendation: Valentina Shevchenko – 3 units at -110 (10/11) @ 5Dimes