Two of the Heavyweight division’s most brutal finishers cap off the UFC’s weeklong stint in Jacksonville this Saturday when Walt Harris throws down with Alistair Overeem. On the other end of the size spectrum, Claudia Gadelha faces off with Strawweight stalwart Angela Hill, while Dan Ige takes on Edson Barboza in what could be a Featherweight banger.
It’s a quality card, and one that could net you a tidy sum. Here’s how.
What Went Wrong at UFC ‘Jacksonville?’
I was initially cranky about Marvin Vettori’s fight falling through, but a strong performance from Andrei Arlovski against the other half of that parlay, Philipe Lins, rendered that moot. Still, Brian Kelleher kept us in the black.
UFC on ESPN 8 Odds For The Undercard:
Miguel Baeza (-210) vs. Matt Brown (+175)
Anthony Hernandez (-105) vs Kevin Holland (-115)
Mike Davis (-200) vs. Giga Chikadze (+170)
Darren Elkins (-120) vs. Nate Landwehr (EVEN)
Cortney Casey (-165) vs. Mara Romero Borella (+145)
Don’Tale Mayes (-120) vs. Rodrigo Nascimento (EVEN)
Thoughts: Now this is what I’m talking about. Matt Brown, Anthony Hernandez and Darren Elkins are all worthwhile investments.
Besides Jake Ellenberger, Matt Brown has not lost to anyone who wasn’t a former or future title challenger since tapping to Seth Baczynski’s guillotine in 2011. Though he’s lost a step or two, he’s still infinitely more proven than Miguel Baeza, who was passable on the Contender Series and whose debut UFC opponent, Hector Aldana, never managed to secure an Octagon victory. Unless Baeza can mulch Brown’s liver the way Ellenberger and others have, “The Immortal” should overpower him in a brawl.
“Fluffy” Hernandez had a brief stint as an underdog late last week, which would have been an excellent catch, but there’s still value there. Kevin Holland is worryingly nonchalant with his takedown defense, which should have cost him the decision against Gerald Meerschaert, and Hernandez managed to drag Jun Yong Park to the mat six times before ultimately finding his neck. Hernandez’s front chokes are too potent a weapon for Holland to try and scramble around, and I fully expect him to catch “Trail Blazer” in transition at some point.
Though Darren Elkins’ recent struggles have me a bit worried, Landwehr is the sort of opponent “The Damage” has historically dominated. “The Train’s” berserker offense comes at the expense of striking defense and, more importantly, his takedown defense, which Elkins is more than good enough to plow through. Landwehr’s got some pop, sure, but not to the extent of Michael Johnson or Alexander Volkanovski. Elkins still has enough in the tank to win this.
UFC on ESPN 8 Odds For The Main Card:
Walt Harris (-160) vs. Alistair Overeem (+140)
Claudia Gadelha (-190) vs. Angela Hill (+165)
Edson Barboza (-130) vs. Dan Ige (+110)
Krzysztof Jotko (-160) vs. Eryk Anders (+140)
Song Yadong (-190) vs. Marlon Vera (+165)
Thoughts: Dan Ige is an absolute steal at +110, and I say that as a massive fan of Edson Barboza.
Not only is Barboza making his first cut to 145 pounds under nonideal conditions, he’s doing to against an inordinately tough bruiser with the same blend of pressure striking and dominant wrestling that’s historically vexed the Brazilian. Ige would be a mighty tough out even in a semi-normal world, and to see him end up the underdog against a guy cutting 10 extra pounds in a pandemic is too tempting to pass up. The Hawaiian makes it six straight.
UFC on ESPN 8 Best Bets:
- Single bet — Matt Brown: Bet $40 to make $70
- Parlay — Anthony Hernandez and Darren Elkins: Bet $40 to make $103.20
- Single bet — Dan Ige: Bet $50 to make $55
UFC on ESPN 8’s main event, Dan Ige vs. Edson Barboza, and Song Yadong vs. Marlon Vera are worth the price of admission by themselves, and the supporting cast ain’t too shabby, either. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 8 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.