Lots of funs fights but is this a PPV worthy card?
The UFC managed to keep its terrible streak of losing one of its main card bouts heading into this weekend’s UFC 228 PPV Woodley vs Till. The inaugural women’s 125 lbs flyweight championship of Valentina Shevchenko vs Nicco Montano was scrapped, due to Montano getting admitted to the hospital because of a dangerous weight cut. The real main event Tyron Woodley vs Darren Till for Woodley’s 170lbs welterweight belt still should satisfy fans but the card definitely has some holes for a PPV. I hate seeing two iffy PPV cards in terms of interesting fights and real stakes but this card is tough sell to a casual fight fan and I can’t blame fans for skipping buying this card this weekend. For fans that do choose to plunk down their cash I do think they’ll see some really fun fights with a few chances to see some spectacular finishes.
Another PPV card means 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
(None which is a huge red flag for a PPV)
(In& Out): Lives up to the Hype & always worth it
Welterweight Title Fight
Darren Till (#1 Contender) vs Tyron “Chosen One” Woodley (Champion) (Welterweight 170lbs)
Preview: Despite fans and pundits alike questioning Darren Till’s legitimacy of getting a title shot this quickly into his UFC career the dominoes fell into place giving him this shot vs Woodley. This fight actually has the potential for an amazing barn burner type fight, but any time Woodley fights there is potential for a snooze fest. Fans last saw Woodley over a year ago win a very one-sided but very pedestrian win over Demian Maia to defend his belt for the 3rd time in two years. Woodley is one of the few fighters who is openly opinionated which will inevitably rub both the promotion and fans the wrong way at times. However, the fact that his most recent performances have been wins but snoozers from a spectator perspective makes him a tough sell for fans to tune into his fights. Till presents Woodley a chance to get a highlight reel type finish and bring fans back into his tent for wanting to watch him fight. Woodley knows Till’s gameplay; the big Brit is going to come forward like a heavy storm of strikes looking to overwhelm the champion from the opening bell. Till has the type of power in his strikes that punish opponents instead of just knocking them out cold. Woodley will have to utilize his superior wrestling and occasional big counter-strikes to ensure the bigger man can’t just walk him down. This will not be a repeat of Wonderboy vs Woodley 3 as Till is not apt to counter-punch like Thompson did with Woodley during their two bouts. Till has yet to fear a man at 170lbs power and I think he’s going to make Woodley show him his power before he respects the champion. The real key to this fight is going to come down to whether Woodley can take Till down at will like he has so many other top fighters at 170lbs. The one thing Woodley has been able to count on during his reign as champ is his ability to grind out rounds with his superior wrestling and scoring takedowns at critical moments in his fights. If he can take Till down, it could be a long night for the challenger. If Till can keep this fight on his feet it suddenly becomes a very interesting bout that could see Woodley facing some really dangerous exchanges vs a much larger opponent with some nasty striking.
Odds: Woodley (+110) vs Till (-130)
Prediction: Initially I was a little surprised to see the challenger a slight favorite vs a Champion who has not been in serious trouble since his loss to Rory McDonald in 2014. However, there are several factors that I think makes sense for why Till is the favorite in the odds makers eyes. He’s substantially younger (nearly 11 years) than the champion. Woodley hasn’t looked great in his last few bouts and while some may chalk that up to opponents, he’s also getting closer to 40 now which is always difficult for a high level fighter to maintain his performance. Till also possesses a significant height and reach advantage, and while those tend to get overblown in some bouts, in this one where you have a striker vs a wrestler/counter-puncher I think Till’s length is a significant advantage. If he’s able to utilize his jab and neutralize Woodley’s takedowns it could be a huge advantage for Till. The larger factor I think that might give Woodley the most problems is the fact that he hasn’t fought in over a year now. His last opponent was a jiu-jitsu master but didn’t pose any significant threat to Woodley’s head or body via strikes. Ring rust is a real thing and coming in against a bigger and younger fighter who is looking to make a name for himself is a dangerous task for a champion that may need or round or two to get back into a title fight focus. Normally I’d take the champion at plus odds but something about this matchup makes me think the Welterweight division is destined to have a new champion after Saturday night.
(Till by KO or TKO (-130))
(Home Cooked Burger): Solid, reliable, and hits the spot
Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera (5th) vs John “The Magician” Dodson
Preview: This will be the 2nd best fight on the card hands down. You have two very high work rate fighters, who like to mix it up and want to make a case for another possible title shot at a crowded 135 lbs division. Both men will stand in the pocket and exchange; there could be some blazing exchanges in this one.
Odds: Rivera (-142) vs Dodson (+122)
Prediction: Dodson I think will find a home for his lightning quick combinations. I think he pulls off a minor upset with a tough split decision win. (Dodson by decision (+122))
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Niko “The Hybrid” Price
Preview: This is a ‘who is for real’ fight between Alhassan and Price. Both men have had some really spectacular finishes but both lost a tough fight in 2017 keeping them out of the top 15 rankings. The winner of this fight will definitely crack the top 15 at 170lbs and likely build enough name recognition to stay on a main card fight vs a top 10 opponent in the future. Price is a energy dynamo but Alhassan I think has the more gifted striking which could carry him in this fight. Casual fans won’t know who these guys are but they’ll likely enjoy the show these two put on.
Odds: Alhassan (-123) vs Price (+103)
Prediction: I like Alhassan to announce himself to the 170lbs division with a spectacular finish of Price. (Alhassan by knockout (-123))
(Waffle House Burger): It won’t kill you but high quality it is not
Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (2nd) vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz (4th)
Preview: Why is a #2 vs #4 fighter so low on my burger meter? When you have a completely overwhelmed & inflated ranking fighter like Kowalkiewicz being thrown to a wolf Andrade is why. Odds makers have Kowalkiewicz as a 4-1 underdog in this fight so despite her #4 ranking she’s severely outclassed in this fight. We’ve seen Andrade vs top 115lbs fighters and she belongs in the same tier as Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk but Kowalkiewicz gets steam rolled by anyone in this current top 5. Why this is now the fight before the main event I’ll never know. It’s going to be a brutal ground assault loss for Kowalkiewicz and not worthy of a main card PPV fight.
Odds: Andrade (-460) vs Kowalkiewicz (+370)
Prediction: Andrade beats Kowalkiewicz into submission with her deadly ground and pound. It will get bloody. (Andrade by knockout (-460))
(Gas Station Burger): Hello darkness my old friend
Zabit Magomedsharipov (15th) vs Brandon “Killer B” Davis
Preview: NOPE. Zabit is supposed to be a real contender at 145lbs so why is he fighting a guy whose lost 2 of his last 3 fights to unranked opponents? This is a showcase fight better left to fight night cards or under cards. If the UFC truly thinks Zabit is ready for a PPV main card, put him in against a real opponent worth his time. He’s favored by as much as 13 or 14-1. This isn’t a PPV fight its a baloney sandwich being sold at filet mignon prices. I’m pulling for Davis if only to ruin this farce of a softball the promotion is serving Zabit. Prediction: (Zabit by KO) but who cares?!
Prediction Record since 2016 to Date (69-47-1) (+$1590.50)
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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