While “Fight Island” is lurking on the horizon, UFC APEX still has plenty of mixed martial arts (MMA) action to deliver. This Saturday night’s (June 20, 2020) event on ESPN will see Curtis Blaydes take on Alexander Volkov in a clash of top Heavyweights, while Josh Emmett squares off with Shane Burgos in what could easily be “Fight of the Year” Featherweight fireworks.
Also on tap are Raquel Pennington vs. Marion Reneau and Belal Muhammad vs. Lyman Good.
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What Went Wrong at UFC on ESPN 10?
Anthony Ivy was...more than a little underwhelming, but everyone else did great. I am, however, kicking myself for not following through on my “oh God I’m in the red I need to fix this RIGHT NOW” plan of putting literally the entire remaining balance on Cynthia Calvillo. Oh, well; live and learn.
Bobby Green (-245) vs. Clay Guida (+205)
Brianna Van Buren (-190) vs. Tecia Torres (+165)
Oskar Piechota (-125) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault (+105)
Gillian Robertson (-120) vs. Cortney Casey (EVEN)
Matt Frevola (-125) vs. Frank Camacho (+105)
Roxanne Modafferi (-120) vs. Lauren Murphy (EVEN)
Max Rohskopf (-185) vs. Austin Hubbard (+160)
Thoughts: The pick-‘ems look like the most fertile ground this week. I love the line on Gillian Robertson and there’s value in both Matt Frevola and Lauren Murphy.
Cortney Casey has been taken down at least once in seven of her last eight fights, resulting in a deeply underwhelming 39% defense rate. That’s more than a slight problem against Robertson, who not only averages almost 3.5 takedowns per 15 minutes but is a nightmare to deal with on the ground. “The Savage” did get tapped from guard by Mayra Bueno Silva and Casey has a couple of nice armbars to her credit, but the style matchup favors Robertson in a huge way.
Frank Camacho is oodles of fun to watch, but he’s far less than the sum of his parts. Solid power, jaw-dropping striking volume, and a killer ground game should make for more Octagon success than a controversial decision over Damien Brown and a TKO of Nick Hein , who insists on ignoring his judo in favor of trying to box with some of the division’s stubbiest arms. This sort of consistent underperformance has me favoring Frevola, who’s shown some quality takedown chops and quite a bit of toughness when not dealing with Polo Reyes’ insane power. “The Steamrolla” should outwrestle Camacho to a comfortable win.
EDIT: Frevola is out.
I’m a fan of Roxanne Modafferi; I’ve seen her treated as a punchline in the past, but she’s a skilled grappler who’s found success against strong opposition despite a lack of physicality. That said, Murphy’s not an easy woman to control on the mat and figures to be the more powerful striker of the two. “The Happy Warrior’s” standup remains a weak link, one that even someone as limited as “Lucky” can exploit. At the very least, Murphy should be able to control the fight on the fence long enough to get the decision.
Shane Burgos (-130) vs. Josh Emmett (+110)
Raquel Pennington (-165) vs. Marion Reneau (+145)
Belal Muhammad (-120) vs. Lyman Good (EVEN)
Roosevelt Roberts (-225) vs. Jim Miller (+185)
Thoughts: As someone who was slow to tab Roosevelt Roberts as a legitimate prospect, I like his odds here. Even if Jim Miller’s had some strong performances lately and is getting treatment for the Lyme disease that derailed his career, he’s still 36 and significantly weathered. He visibly slowed and struggled with the physically stronger Scott Holtzmann last time out and the far taller Roberts poses a similar threat, especially with his killer guillotine stymieing Miller’s wrestling. Roberts’ takedown defense has failed him in the past, notably against Vinc Pichel and almost disastrously against Alexander Yakovlev, but he’s got enough physical advantages here to make him worth a play.
Curtis Blaydes looks worth a look as well. Alexander Volkov has never been a great defensive wrestler; he managed to outlast Fabricio Werdum after getting taken down three times, but Blaydes is far less likely to gas and far more likely to do major damage with ground-and-pound while he’s on top. Use “Razor” to nudge a close line into the positives.
Best bets for UFC on ESPN 11:
Parlay-Gillian Robertson and Curtis Blaydes: $60 to make $78
Parlay-Matt Frevola and Roosevelt Roberts: $50 to make $80
EDIT: Frevola’s out, so parlay Roberts with Blaydes.
Parlay: Roosevelt Roberts and Curtis Blaydes: $60 to make $48.88
Parlay-Lauren Murphy and Curtis Blaydes: $40 to make $75
There are some matchups here, like Emmett-Burgos and Muhammad-Good, that you absolutely do not want to miss. See you Saturday, Manaics.
Initial Investment For 2020: $300
Current Total: $309.64
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 11 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
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