Two of Europe’s best duke it out for a potential crack at the Middleweight title this Saturday (Dec. 5, 2020) when Jack Hermansson takes on late replacement (details), Marvin Vettori, at UFC Vegas 16, which takes place inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The ESPN+-streamed event also features a Light Heavyweight clash between veteran Ovince St. Preux and “Contender Series” standout Jamahal Hill, plus rising Flyweight Taila Santos against dangerous The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) alum Montana De La Rosa.
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What Went Wrong at UFC Vegas 15?
Everything! In an event that saw underdogs win six out of 11 fights, we ended up with a complete bust. Nothing for it but to dust ourselves off and keep going. Still, pretty sure that Albazi-Blaydes parlay would have worked if either of them made it to fight night, though.
UFC Vegas 16 Odds For The Undercard:
Gian Villante (-200) vs. Jake Collier (+170)
Jordan Leavitt (-400) vs. Matt Wiman (+325)
Jimmy Flick (-165) vs. Cody Durden (+145)
Ilia Topuria (-230) vs. Damon Jackson (+190)
Gabriel Benitez (-220) vs. Justin Jaynes (+180)
Louis Smolka (-135) vs. Jose Quinonez (+115)
Thoughts: I’m liking what I see out of the bottom three: Ilia Topuria, Gabriel Benitez and Jose Quinonez are the undercard bargains of choice.
Topuria, whom I’d already tabbed as one to watch, seriously impressed me in his debut win over the surging Youssef Zalal. He’s the heavier-handed of the two and, more important, the stronger wrestler by a significant margin. In addition, he’s got the tools to recreate Mirsad Bektic’s successful efforts without the cardio issues that allowed Damon Jackson to pull off a wild comeback. Don’t go nuts, as Jackson’s chokes are a real threat, but Topuria’s a solid investment.
Even with his recent struggles, Benitez looks to be a far better striker than Justin Jaynes. He successfully kept up with the lethal Omar Morales and was giving Sodiq Yusuff all kinds of hell before getting clipped, while Jaynes ran out of steam and got diced up by Gavin Tucker after hurting him early. I favor Benitez to dismantle him at long range.
The last time Jose Quinonez and Louis Smolka were booked to fight, I had this to say:
“Getting stopped by Nathaniel Wood and Sean O’Malley doesn’t make Quinonez a bad fighter, just one who’s not elite. He’s got the wrestling to keep the fight standing and the boxing to wallop Louis Smolka while there. Add the fact that Smolka did his best work at Flyweight and you’ve got a recipe for an upset.”
Smolka ended up missing weight by three pounds and subsequently withdrawing. I’d imagine that makes my argument a bit more convincing.
UFC Vegas 16 Odds For The Main Card:
Marvin Vettori (-140) vs. Jack Hermansson (+120)
Jamahal Hill (-160) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (+140)
Taila Santos (-210) vs. Montana De La Rosa (+175)
Roman Dolidze (-190) vs. John Allan (+165)
Movsar Evloev (-630) vs. Nate Landwehr (+465)
Thoughts: Jamahal Hill and Taila Santos are appealing favorites, while John Allan looks like a quality underdog investment.
Ovince Saint Preux recently turned aside another “Contender Series” product in Alonzo Menifield, but Hill is nowhere near that green. “Sweet Dreams” is an extremely crisp striker with the speed, versatility and output to run circles around the 37-year-old “OSP.” Saint Preux’s only real shot at victory lies on the ground, but Hill’s extremely difficult to hold down.
In short, expect a dominant effort from Hill.
The co-feature looks a lot like Montana De La Rosa’s last fight, which saw her thoroughly out-classed on the feet by Viviane Araujo. Santos is a similar level of striker and showed significantly improved wrestling against Molly McCann last time out, making it unlikely that De La Rosa can bring her dangerous submission game to bear. Santos should turn in another one-sided performance.
Roman Dolidze is, to put it mildly, not very good. He’s strong and he hits hard, but he feasted on subpar opposition before joining UFC and faced one of the division’s worst in Khadis Ibragimov his last time out. Allan isn’t a world-beater, but he’s got far more experience and excels in the sort of slugfest Dolidze prefers. He’ll get his first official UFC win without much issue.
UFC Vegas 16 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Ilia Topuria and Gabriel Benitez: Bet $50 to make $54.50
- Parlay — Jamahal Hill and Taila Santos: Bet $60 to make $84
- Single bet — John Allan: Bet $60 to make $99
- Parlay — Jamahal Hill and Jose Alberto Quinonez: Bet $30 to make $74.70
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 16 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+/ESPN2 “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+/ESPN2 10 p.m. ET.
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