“Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, hosts two of the Bantamweight division’s fiercest strikers this Saturday (Oct. 10, 2020) when Marlon Moraes takes on Cory Sandhagen for a potential spot in the championship queue. UFC Fight Island 5 also features a Heavyweight tussle between the resurgent Ben Rothwell and Marcin Tybura, Edson Barboza’s sophomore Featherweight appearance opposite Makwan Amirkhani, and Markus Perez welcoming former EFC double champ Dricus Du Plessis to the Octagon.
UFC 254 is looming, which means it’s time to stock up on pay-per-view (PPV) money and enough dough to throw away on drunken bets with your friends. Let’s load up!
What Went Wrong at UFC Fight Island 4?
I’ve got to say, watching Holly Holm effortlessly dominate Irene Aldana the way I knew she would after Jessin Ayari’s recklessness torpedoed any chance to profit from it stung. Luckily, Casey Kenney and Loma Lookboonmee helped erase that loss, and that long shot Josh Culibao pick was inches away from hitting. Better luck next time ...
UFC Fight Island 5 Odds For The Undercard:
Tom Breese (-260) vs. KB Bhullar (+220)
Rodrigo Nascimento (-265) vs. Chris Daukaus (+225)
Impa Kasanganay (-250) vs. Joaquin Buckley (+210)
Tony Kelley (-230) vs. Ali AlQaisi (+190)
Omar Morales (-145) vs. Giga Chikadze (+125)
Tracy Cortez (-230) vs. Stephanie Egger (+190)
Tagir Ulanbekov (-400) vs. Bruno Silva (+325)
Thoughts: There’s quite a lot to work with here, from the extremely undervalued Chris Daukaus to the ostensibly reliable Tony Kelley and Tracy Cortez.
Rodrigo Nascimento unquestionably exceeded expectations in his UFC debut win over Don’Tale Mayes, but Daukaus is both a far better striker than Mayes and, at least on paper, a more proven defensive wrestler. “Ze Colmeia” will find it more difficult to get his wrestling going, and though he has a notable reach advantage, it’s not enough to make up for the gap in boxing skill. In other words, Daukaus is definitely worth the investment as an underdog.
If you add the debuting Tagir Ulanbekov — who badly out-classes foe Bruno Silva — you can get three-to-one odds on it.
Were it not for the fact that he’s cutting to Bantamweight for the first time, I’d recommend a major investment in Tony Kelley. As is, he’s definitely worth a look. His considerable edges in height, reach and fluidity leave him equipped to dominate Ali AlQaisi, and his ability to scramble off of his back the way he did against Kai Kamaka III suggests that “Royal Fighter” will struggle to impose his ideal grinding gameplan.
In short, a moderate investment on Kelley makes sense.
Stephanie Egger is a very capable judoka. Stephanie Egger is also a terrible striker. Cortez has the wrestling chops to keep it standing and the raw aggression to punch straight through her late-notice foe’s shoddy defense. Add the fact that Egger tends to fade late and you’ve got a reliable winner in Cortez.
You can probably stick Impa Kasanganay in there as well. Joaquin Buckley is a natural Welterweight whose tendency to load up on his strikes leaves him open to the sharp striking and occasional takedowns “Tshilobo” has shown in the past.
UFC Fight Island 5 Odds For The Main Card:
Cory Sandhagen (-130) vs Marlon Moraes (+110)
Ben Rothwell (-160) vs. Marcin Tybura (+140)
Edson Barboza (-260) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (+220)
Dricus Du Plessis (-155) vs. Markus Perez (+135)
Tom Aspinall (-485) vs. Alan Baudot (+385)
Youssef Zalal (-185) vs. Ilia Topuria (+160)
Thoughts: While Marcin Tybura had a pretty damn rough run recently, Ben Rothwell hasn’t looked good in a fight since 2016. He was losing to the 2019 incarnation of Stefan Struve until the groin kicks started piling up and he barely beat natural Light Heavyweight Ovince St. Preux in May. I favor “Tybur” to win a slow-paced, ugly kickboxing battle, and even the outside possibility of Rothwell clipping him or catching him in that gogo choke doesn’t stop the Pole from being a tempting underdog.
You can beef up those odds with the biggest favorite on the card, Tom Aspinall, who faces a natural Light Heavyweight with grappling issues.
As far as the others, Edson Barboza looks like a worthwhile investment. He’s struggled with aggressive wrestlers before, but Makwan Amirkhani’s poor striking and even poorer cardio suggest that “Junior” should have little issue wearing down “Mr. Finland” and finishing him late the way Shane Burgos did.
UFC Fight Island 5 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Chris Daukaus and Tagir Ulanbekov: Bet $30 to make $91.80
- Parlay — Impa Kasanganay and Tracy Cortez: Bet $70 to make $70.70
- Parlay — Tony Kelley and Edson Barboza: Bet $40 to make $39.60
- Parlay — Marcin Tybura and Tom Aspinall: Bet $30 to make $56.70
UFC Fight Island 5 boasts two terrific finishers in the main event and top prospects strewn throughout, making this a quality fight night. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Island 5 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance at 8 p.m. ET (also on ESPN+).
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