Amazing main event attached to the weakest PPV main card of 2018
The blood feud that is TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt was so entertaining the first time that the UFC is running it back for an eagerly awaited sequel. The card will also feature the Flyweight champion and pound for pound all-time great Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. He will defend his flyweight title for a 12th time in a rematch too albeit less hyped; against Henry Cejudo. Two titles on the line is usually a great indicator for a PPV card but after the co-main events the card appears to fall off a cliff. The first two fights on ‘main card’ shouldn’t be a prelim headliner on a fight pass card let alone a main card PPV. It is asking a lot of UFC fans to plunk down their money for a card that appears half-baked. I am always honest with readers and unless you are a hardcore fan it’s tough to justify spending $60+ for one really exciting matchup. I can’t wait to watch Dillashaw vs Garbrandt 2 and I enjoy watching a master like Mighty Mouse work but can’t blame fans for skipping buying this card this weekend. This is more of a catch the main event at a bar or watch the replay a few weeks from now which is a bummer for such an electric main event.
UFC 227’s weak overall card aside I bring back the Burger-meter to get fans ready for the few tasty fights on the card. The Burger meter will look at the fight matchup (how good is it, how important, how entertaining) and associate it with its hamburger equal. I’ll breakdown the main card by relating it to its “burger form” and offer some fight predictions to hopefully help your bank accounts. Let’s get to the card
(100% Imported Kobe Beef Burger): Ridiculously luxurious & best of the best
Bantamweight Title Fight
Cody “No Love” Garbrandt (#1 Contender) vs TJ Dillashaw (Champion) (Bantamweight 135lbs)
Preview: This is about as good as it gets in the lower weight divisions. Two men who hate each other, finish fights, giving fans a sequel for a belt they both are desperate to own. Their first fight was really interesting as I re-watched it this week. The first round had a lot of close exchanges that looked like it was heading towards a razor-thin opening round until Garbrandt floored Dillashaw right before the end of the first round. I’d imagine Garbrandt believes he can catch Dillashaw again but finish him this time without the bell and rest to save the champion this time. However, I think Dillashaw definitely showed more variety in their first fight mixing in both his footwork, kicks, and counter-punches leading to the eventual punch that would end Garbrandt’s night. He did not even use his wrestling in their first bout except to feint shooting for takedowns to setup strikes. I think this bodes well for Dillashaw in the rematch because he has multiple ways to go after Garbrandt in their second bout along with the added confidence that he knows he can hurt and stop the challenger. Garbrandt’s game plan is much simpler but still dangerous in my opinion. I think he needs to push the pace right form the opening bell and not worry about conserving his cardio against Dillashaw. His most successful moments of their first fight were in the midst of scrambles or when he pushed forward to attack. He does not have the luxury of superior wrestling or head kicks like Dillashaw so he has to use his sharp and punishing punches to shut Dillashaw’s lights out if he wants to reclaim his belt.
Odds: Garbrandt (-104) vs Dillashaw (-116)
Prediction: In the rematch when you have a decisive winner; I always take the winner of the first fight barring some unforeseen circumstance. Both men were relatively healthy (despite what Garbrandt’s camp has tried to leak in the wake of his defeat) and the better fighter won that night decisively. Now Garbrandt is absolutely talented enough to beat and stop Dillashaw which is why the odds are a coin flip. I just think the added confidence Dillashaw now has after stopping his rival and the allure of Garbrandt’s unbeatable style now gone only makes Dillashaw more likely to repeat as victor once again. I think there is immense value in getting the champion, winner of the first bout, and the fighter with a bigger repertoire at even money so I have to take Dillashaw to repeat his performance vs Garbrandt and keep his belt Saturday night. Dillashaw stops Garbrandt again, possibly out cold this time.
(Dillashaw by KO or TKO (-116))
(In& Out): Lives up to the Hype & always worth it
(None) Which is a bad sign for a PPV card.
(Home Cooked Burger): Solid, reliable, and hits the spot
Flyweight Title Fight
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (Champion) vs Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo (1st) (Flyweight 125lbs)
Preview: This is the first time I’ve ever put a championship fight below a “4 Burger” rating and it has nothing to do with Johnson or Cejudo. DJ has done everything you could ever ask of a champion, beat every challenger and never ducked a number one contender. Cejudo has won his last two fights against really game opponents at 125lbs and is arguably the 2nd best Flyweight in the world. However, their first meeting wasn’t an exciting fight or even a possible fluke worth running it back. It took Johnson less than a minute to completely obliterate Cejudo via 1st round TKO. I don’t see how we get any other outcome or why anyone would pay money to tune into this fight, other than to see a master like Demetrious Johnson put on a show. Cejudo couldn’t take Johnson down in their first matchup and if he can’t Johnson down he can’t win this fight. I will say if you are watching appreciate the masterful excellence that is Mighty Mouse and how he dissects his opponents with surgical like precision. However, I just don’t understand why of the many rematchs the UFC has avoided or refused to book, this one got made.
Odds: Johnson (-480) vs Cejudo (+380)
Prediction: Cejudo is going to have land a miracle shot or hope a man notorious for always being in shape; didn’t take his camp seriously because I do not see a legit path to victory for Cejudo otherwise. There is no value in the minus odds unless you are a big spender; so instead I’ll take the nice odds we get another early finish just like the first bout. Under 4.5 rounds is easy money.
(Johnson via TKO / Under 4.5 rounds (-155))
Cub Swanson (5th) vs Renato Moicano Featherweight 145lbs)
Preview: The fight between Swanson and Moicano is the second most interesting and fight on this main PPV card. If this was the kickoff or even second fight of the main card it’s a delicious fight. However, as the 2nd best fight on the card it’s a ‘3 burger’. Swanson is the last of a dying breed of UFC fighters. He’s fought all comers over the course of his 34 fight career. He’s beaten champions and lost to champions in a variety of fashions. The one thing you can count on when Swanson fights is that he is going to give his opponent hell no matter the outcome. At 34 years old and coming off two straight losses he appears he is in the last stages of a fantastic career. Swanson thinks he’s still got an outside shot at one final title shot and insists he is no longer a gate-keeper. He will have a chance to prove that assertion when he takes on the ever dangerous Ranto Moicano. Moicano despite being only ranked 10th in the division is a heavy favorite against the 5th ranked Swanson. He nearly handed current number contender Brian Ortega his first loss if not for a late fight IQ mistake resulting in his first ever defeat in a shocking late submission. Moicano likely believes he not Ortega should be preparing to fight Max Holloway for his belt but instead he gets a game Swanson. Moicano’s game plan is simple, tap Swanson. Swanson is a formidable jiu-jitsu black belt himself, so this is not such an easy task as the odds makers may have you believe. I expect Swanson to try to get Moicano to stay on his feet and test his scrambling skills as they exchange along the cage fence. Swanson will likely want this fight to get wild and fight at a grueling pace that favors the veteran war dog.
Odds: Swanson (+285) vs Moicano (-350)
Prediction: Moicano is the obvious choice at first glance in this matchup. He’s younger and his only blemish is against a top-tier opponent who likely should have beaten. However, as I look at this fight closer I think Swason may give Moicano some trouble. Moicano is a world-class jiu-jitsu practitioner but Swason is in a similar class which essentially negates Moicano’s biggest strength. I think Swanson has better cardio and striking in scrambles which Moicano has not shown a propensity to want to do. I’ll take the battle tested veteran with a bunch of skills fighting a good fighter still figuring out if he’s great or not at a nice upset price.
(Swanson by late stoppage (+285))
(Waffle House Burger): It won’t kill you but high quality it is not
(Gas Station Burger): Hello darkness my old friend
Thiago “de Lima Marreta” Santos (13th) vs Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland-
Preview: NOPE. Fringe top 15 fighter fighting a total unknown making their UFC debut on a main card PPV? Prediction: (Santos by KO) but who cares?!
Polyana “Dama de Ferro” Viana vs JJ Aldrich:
Preview: DOUBLE NOPE.
Prediction: Santos by submission in a fight no one watches.
Prediction Record since 2016 to Date (67-45-1) (+$1653.50)
Record & predictions based on Win vs Loss predictions only. Unless specified otherwise I use increments of $100 (for + odds predictions) & $110 (for – odds bets) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction.
(Predictions & Records are for entertainment value only)
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