The UFC is pressing its luck once again with a lopsided fight as its main draw with UFC Fight Night Cyborg vs Lansberg card taking place in Brasilia, Brazil. There are some recognizable names on this card, including one matchup between two top 15 ranked fighters. However, at first glance it looks like a lot of mismatches throughout most of the card. I will breakdown what I think are the most compelling fights on the card. I will also let you know if some of these big under dogs stand a chance. After a rough time out predicting fights last card, I’ll try to get back on track as I make my predictions in hopes of getting you some extra dollars for your weekend.
Notable Main Card Fights:
Renan “The Baron” Barao vs Phillipe “The Filipino Assassin” Nover (Featherweight 145lbs)
Preview: Renan Barao is looking to avoid losing his third straight fight as he faces the wild Phillipe Nover. After getting knocked out by TJ Dillashaw and losing a super close but competitive fight against Jeremy Stevens, Barao hopes returning to fight in front of his hometown fans will help him get back into the win column. Barao will give up the arm reach & height advantage to Nover but is three years younger than the Brooklyn based Nover. He also has a tremendous advantage in the competition he has fought against and beaten in his UFC career. Barao is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the featherweight division, with a skill set that allows him to win many ways. Barao’s extensive arsenal of striking, ju-jitsu, and cardio is why he is a large favorite against an explosive but beatable Nover. Nover’s gameplan will likely consist of trying to hurt Barao early in hopes of planting doubt in his mind coming off of two straight losses. If Barao can avoid getting hit flush with some Nover’s big shots, and find a rhythm it could be a long night for Nover.
Odds: (Barao -450) vs (Nover +340)
Prediction: Typically a guy with explosive power in his hands, fighting a guy on a losing streak, and getting almost 4-1 odds would get me to back him in most fights, but this is not most fights. I truly believe Barao is a superior fighter to Nover, and barring an injury, taking Nover lightly, or getting caught with a wild shot; I don’t see how Barao loses this fight. However, -450 is a lot of juice to swallow, so instead I’ll focus on the round total because both fighters are capable of being knocked out. Both fighters also have the power to stop their opponents too, making the under at plus odds far more appetizing than taking a side in this fight.
(Under 2.5 rounds (+125)
Roy “Big Country” Nelson (11th) vs Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (15th) (Heavyweight 265lbs)
Preview: Two longtime stalwarts in the heavyweight division will face off in what feels like a loser should likely retire match. Both Roy Nelson (40 years old) and Antonio Silva (37 years old) are no longer serious contenders in the heavyweight division. They no doubt have the skills to hurt anyone in the division but the wars both fighters have been in have made their decline precipitous as they’ve aged. It is no coincidence both fighters have lost 3 of their last 4 fights, and they now face each other in hopes of getting some of their old confidence back. Nelson has one game plan, knock his opponent into next week. If he cannot do that his opponents usually get a decision victory because Nelson’s chin is one of the toughest in the sport. Silva was an equally daunting opponent with both striking an ju-jitsu skills to back up his iron chin. However, having been knocked out in his last three losses all in the first round, it appears Silva is susceptible to get knocked out anytime he fights now. Silva will have a monstrous 8 inch reach advantage against Nelson, but if he can’t knock Nelson out he’ll need a smart defense if he hopes to get in the win column. Nelson will be looking to land one of his big over hands as it is likely all he’ll need to finish Silva. The fight could be a fun one while it lasts.
Odds: (Nelson -410) vs (Silva +435)
Prediction: Like the Barao fight, I do not believe there a lot of value in betting Nelson at such a steep price. However, Silva appears completely shot at this point in his career, making it hard to make a logical case to pick him. I think under 1.5 rounds is the only legitimate play here as Nelson likely makes quick work of Silva. For Silva’s sake I hope he gets the upset or gets a decisive loss forcing retirement because it stinks to see such a great fighter be a shell of himself.
(Under 1.5 rounds (-225)
Main Event (Non-Title Fight)
Cris Cyborg vs Lina “Elbow Queen” Lansberg (140lbs Catch weight)
Preview: I understood the UFC attempting to make a super fight between Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey back when Rousey was still a power house 135lbs champion. Cyborg is a massive physical and athletic freak, and Rousey seemed unbeatable. However, now that Rousey’s era and possibly her career is over, I’m not sure the appeal of marketing Cris Cyborg. She has stated numerous times she can’t make 135lbs consistently. The UFC has stated they do not intend to make a 145lbs women’s division due to the talent pool being super shallow, so why is Cyborg headlining a UFC card at a 140lbs catch weight. What are her plans in the UFC if she’s a fighter without a division? This is in not meant as a critique of Cyborg, she’s fighting where the money is and I do not blame her, but I do blame the UFC. We already saw a freak fight when Mickey Gall obliterated CM Punk on a UFC PPV, and now we have a literal no named fighter in Lina Lansberg making her UFC debut vs an absolute monster in Cyborg. She has never competed at anywhere near the high level that Cris Cyborg will present her on Saturday night. She will give up both size, height, reach, and weight advantage on top of her talent and inexperience disadvantages. Again this is not Lansberg’s fault, she got offered the fight, and as a fighter believes she can shock the world. However, the MMA community already knows how dangerous Cyborg is, so beating up an unknown and overmatched Lansberg does what for her bran? It also asks the question why is this a 5 round main event fight? Underdogs like Meisha Tate or Holly Holm with big fight talent and big fight experience are great. They are longshots but have skills that could secure a win if the fight went right. Women like Lansberg are essentially being thrown to slaughter as underdog. The fact that does not even have the “proverbial” punchers chance, I think is awful for the sport. I hate this fight, but I’ll be watching.
Odds: (Cyborg -1200) vs (Lansberg +775)
Prediction: This isn’t worth looking at the side totals, Cyborg is a 12-1 favorite, and Lansberg even if she was 30-1 still likely wouldn’t be worth a shot in the dark on her. I think this fight ends quickly but we are looking for value when making our predictions, and I think if Lansberg has even a bit of defense she might be able to make into the second round before she gets stopped. It’s a long shot but its the only long shot angle I like in this fight, over 1.5 rounds at almost 2-1 odds.
( Over 1.5 rounds (+190)
Prediction Record Year to Date (11-10-0) (-$278)
-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
*Stats via www.UFC.com
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