Before champion Max Holloway and No. 1-ranked Featherweight contender Alexander Volkanovski duke it out at UFC 245, the next 145-pound title challenger could be determined at UFC Fight Night 163 this upcoming Saturday (Nov. 9, 2019) when Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar headline the promotion’s return to Moscow, Russia. Meanwhile, 120 pounds north, former headliner Alexander Volkov looks to halt the rise of late replacement Greg Hardy, while Welterweights Zelim Imadaev and Danny Roberts attempt to rebound from recent defeats.
What Went Wrong at UFC 244?
When I was in college, I had a strategy: work super hard to ace all the earlier, less complicated assignments so as to limit the impact of f***-ups when things got trickier. I called it the “Idiot Buffer,” and boy am I glad I built one up this year.
It’s one thing to underestimate/overestimate a fighter. It’s another, far more infuriating thing for a fighter to lose by dint of terrible game planning. Chance Rencountre, whose only avenue of victory lay in his overpowering wrestling, abandoned any attempt to drag Lyman Good to the mat after a single-leg failed takedown. Similarly, Blagoy Ivanov let Derrick Lewis rack up way too much of a statistical edge despite the former boasting better cardio and absorbing the latter’s best shots without issue.
UFC ‘Moscow’ Undercard Odds:
Magomed Ankalaev (-370) vs. Dalcha Lungiambula (+310)
Rustam Khabilov (-175) vs. Sergey Khandozhko (+155)
Roman Kopylov (-115) vs. Karl Roberson (-105)
Abubakar Nurmagomedov (-275) vs. David Zawada (+235)
Jessica-Rose Clark (-115) vs. Pannie Kianzad (-105)
Grigorii Popov (-200) vs. Davey Grant (+170)
Roosevelt Roberts (-170) vs. Alexander Yakovlev (+150)
Thoughts: I’m liking a lot of what I see here: Magomed Ankalev, Rustam Khabilov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov all seem like safe investments, while Davey Grant has real upset potential.
I like watching Dalcha Lungiambula fight and he is legitimately extremely skilled. Ankalaev is just the worst possible match up for him. The Russian has a considerable edge in height and the long-distance striking to make the most of it, not to mention sufficient wrestling to both shut down Lungiambula’s offensive judo and score takedowns in return. To make matters worse for Lungiambula, Ankalaev has stood up to heavy punchers without issue, so “Champion Dalcha” is highly unlikely to ruin things with an out-of-nowhere knockout shot. He’s the anchor for this event.
When writing up Sergey Khandozhko’s entry for “New Blood,” I noted that he gets taken down with staggering regularity. Though a far more fluid and versatile striker than Khabilov, I can’t exactly pick “Honda” against someone who averages nearly four takedowns per 15 minutes, even if “Tiger” is moving up in weight. He and Ankalaev combine for even odds, so go for it.
I’ve made it clear that Abubakar has nowhere near the ceiling of Khabib, but the dude’s still a good enough wrestler to thoroughly ruin David Zawada’s day. The latter is tricky enough and hits hard enough to make a fight of it, but I can’t see him staying off of his back for any lengthy period of time.
Grant is definitely a long shot, what with his current slump and endless string of injuries. I just can’t pass up a strong grappler against someone in Popov who regularly surrenders takedowns to far, far lesser wrestlers. Popov has lost against the only two competent opponents he’s ever fought and Grant has never been stopped with strikes; in short, the huge layoffs aren’t enough to make “Dangerous” Davey unappealing.
UFC ‘Moscow’ Main Card Odds:
Zabit Magomedsharipov (-290) vs. Calvin Kattar (+245)
Alexander Volkov (-265) vs. Greg Hardy (+225)
Zelim Imadaev (-210) vs. Danny Roberts (+175)
Khadis Ibragimov (-160) vs. Ed Herman (+130)
Ramazan Emeev (-160) vs. Anthony Rocco Martin (+140)
Shamil Gamzatov (-210) vs. Klidson Abreu (+175)
Thoughts: Imadaev on the favorite side, Abreu on the underdog side.
Danny Roberts’ lack of striking defense has led to three (technical) knockout losses in UFC and, judging by the fact that the most recent one was less than six months ago, it doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon. Whatever Imadaev’s issues, he hits like a truck and is definitely persistent enough to reach Roberts’ chin before long.
In my opinion, rough style match ups in his first two Octagon appearances have led to people underestimating Abreu. “Urso Branco” has some of the stronger figures on the Euro circuit on his resume and is a genuinely terrific grappler. Gamzatov, meanwhile, has the striking edge but has been taken down by worse fighters than Abreu. Plus, Gamzatov is coming up from Middleweight for this fight, giving Abreu an edge in strength alongside his Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Gamzatov’s dangerous enough to make this a risky investment, but I’m liking Abreu for the upset.
UFC ‘Moscow’ Best Bets:
- Parlay — Magomed Ankalaev and Rustam Khabilov: Bet $50 to make $50
- Parlay — Zelim Imadaev and Abubakar Nurmagomedov: Bet $50 to make $50.50
- Single bet — Davey Grant: Bet $40 to make $68
- Single bet — Klidson Abreu: Bet $30 to make $52.50
UFC Fight Night 163 doesn’t feature many championship implications outside the main event, but there are heaps of quality prospects and the potential for wild finishes. See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 163 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET.
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