After three “Contender Series” seasons, UFC Apex hosts its first full fight card this Saturday (May 20, 2020) with Welterweight finishers Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns at the helm. The state-of-the-art facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, will also host a Heavyweight tussle between Augusto Sakai and Blagoy Ivanov alongside a clash of “Contender Series” veterans in Roosevelt Roberts and Brok Weaver.
So, got some extra dough from all the summer vacations you had to cancel? Here’s how to use some of it.
What Went Wrong at UFC on ESPN 8?
Practically everything! However, some poor judging kept it from being a total loss. Nate Landwehr and Kevin Holland turned in surprisingly strong performances, Matt Brown got agonizingly close to victory before his chin failed him (highlights), and Edson Barboza was razor sharp in what I thought would be a rocky Featherweight debut. Dan Ige impressed the judges enough to staunch the bleeding, at least.
To the nebulous concept of fate: that still doesn’t make up for screwing me on the Jamall Emmers thing.
UFC On ESPN 9 Odds For The Under Card:
Antonina Shevchenko (-135) vs. Katlyn Chookagian (+115)
Billy Quarantillo (-145) vs. Spiky Carlyle (+125)
Jamahal Hill (-125) vs. Klidson Abreu (+105)
Tim Elliott (-165) vs. Brandon Royval (+145)
Casey Kenney (-290) vs. Louis Smolka (+245)
Chris Gutierrez (-115) vs. Vince Morales (-105)
Thoughts: My first instinct after a losing event is to try and make it all back in one go, but not even my wounded ego can convince me to go HAM on these lines. That said, I do like Spike Carlyle and Klidson Abreu as underdogs, with a dollop of Casey Kenney to sweeten the pot.
Carlyle is a terrific grappler held back by an inability to safely close the distance or set up his takedowns with striking. Luckily for him, that’s not an issue against Quarantillo, whose constant forward advance does “The Alpha Ginger’s” work for him. We saw how Quarantillo’s style compromises his takedown defense on the Contender Series, and though he managed to weather the storm and bury Kamuela Kirk with volume, Carlyle is dangerous enough on the ground to that sort of survival infeasible. Carlyle for the upset.
With proper judging, Abreu would be 2-1 in UFC, that loss coming to arguably the division’s best prospect in Magomed Ankalaev. He’s simply too good on the mat for Jamahal Hill — who gave up a half-dozen takedowns to Darko Stosic — to tangle with for any length of time. The concern is Abreu’s fight IQ, which could lead him to kickbox with a rangier and more dangerous kickboxer, but his grappling edge is sufficient to make him a worthwhile underdog investment.
We’ve already seen Kenney dominate Brandon Royval, who’s cut from Louis Smolka’s same mold. Kenney’s the far stronger wrestler, is sufficiently schooled in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo to avoid “Da Last Samurai’s” submission attack, and is the more technical and powerful boxer on the feet. In other words, expect domination.
UFC On ESPN 9 Odds For The Main Card:
Tyron Woodley (-175) vs. Gilbert Burns (+155)
Augusto Sakai (-115) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (-105)
Daniel Rodriguez (N/A) vs. Gabriel Green (N/A)
Roosevelt Roberts (-335) vs. Brok Weaver (+275)
Mackenzie Dern (-430) vs. Hannah Cifers (+345)
Thoughts: Yeah, the main card’s looking a little sparse. The only one who looks worth a potential investment is Tyron Woodley, as we’ve seen Gilbert Burns’ chin fail him against far lesser hitters than “T-Wood.” That said, we’ve also seen Woodley underperform in winnable fights, so I’d recommend leaving this one alone.
Best bets for UFC on ESPN 9:
- Single bet — Spike Carlyle: Bet $40 to make $50
- Parlay — Klidson Abreu and Casey Kenney: Bet $30 to make $52.80
UFC on ESPN 9 is not the most appealing card on paper, but maybe the smaller Octagon will lead to some proper donnybrooks. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 9 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then remaining main card portion that will air on ESPN/ESPN+ proper at 9 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC on ESPN 9: “Woodley vs. Burns” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.