The Bantamweight women get the spotlight this Saturday (Oct. 3, 2020) when Holly Holm and Irene Aldana headline the second leg of the UFC’s current “Fight Island” stint inside Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Also at 135 pounds, Germaine de Randamie looks to rebound from her unsuccessful title shot at the expense of Julianna Pena, who fights for just the second time since 2017. In addition, Heavyweight slugger Yorgan de Castro collides with fellow bruiser Carlos Felipe in ESPN main card action.
I think we can find some diamonds in this rough. Shall we?
What Went Wrong at UFC 253?
My justification for picking Aleksa Camur went as follows:
So long as he doesn’t fall into the same trap so many other fighters did and gas himself out in the grappling before getting swept and battered, he should run “Knightmare” over without issue.
Three guesses as to what he did ...
Besides that, Sijara Eubanks was one first-round takedown away from coming through as an underdog, but Ludovit Klein thankfully intervened to keep the losses to a minimum.
UFC Fight Island 4 Undercard:
Court McGee (-130) vs. Carlos Condit (+110)
Charles Jourdain (-445) vs. Josh Culibao (+355)
Jordan Williams (-140) vs. Nassourdine Imavov (+120)
Loma Lookboonmee (-135) vs. Jinh Yu Frey (+115)
Casey Kenney (-310) vs. Alateng Heili (+255)
Jessin Ayari (-115) vs. Luigi Vendramini (-105)
Thoughts: Some of the most appealing lines fell off a cliff these last couple days, but there’s still value to be found. I like Loma Lookboonmee and Casey Kenney to win their respective fights comfortably and consider Josh Culibao a decent longshot “eh, why not” investment. Jessin Ayari looks tempting as well.
The key obstacle between Lookboonmee and UFC Strawweight success is her lack of size. Luckily for her, that doesn’t figure to be an issue against Frey, a career Atomweight. In addition, Lookboonmee is exponentially busier in her fights than Frey and looks to have the defensive wrestling acumen to keep the fight standing. Expect the Thai fighter to take a wide decision on the strength of her superior output and be in position to profit.
Alateng Heili has ferocious power in his right hand, but he throws so little that he needs his wrestling to win him rounds when the knockout isn’t there. That’s not an option against Kenney, a highly skilled and versatile grappler who’s held his own in the takedown department against everyone besides Merab Dvalishvili in his Octagon run.
He’ll outwork Alateng without much issue.
Yeah, Josh Culibao looked awful in his debut, but he doesn’t deserve to be the biggest underdog on the card. He (a natural Featherweight) stepped up on short notice against one of the largest Lightweights on the roster and got predictably smashed. He’s still a highly skilled and versatile fighter who can ostensibly out-slick Jourdain, who remains an awful wrestler and technically iffy striker. Again, it’s a longshot, but Culibao should be in the +200 to +250 range.
At +355? Toss a coin and see what happens.
While it’s always risky betting on a fight in which one or both fighters are coming off of long layoffs, Jessin Ayari is worth a look despite no longer being an underdog. He’s far more proven than Vendramini, who’s beaten just two men with winning records, and his only decisive loss in the Octagon came against an overweight Darren Till. He’s got the skills to bully Vendramini the way Elizeu Zaleski, so bank on it.
UFC Fight Island 4 Main Card:
Holly Holm (-120) vs. Irene Aldana (EVEN)
Yorgan de Castro (-255) vs. Carlos Felipe (+215)
Germaine de Randamie (-130) vs. Julianna Pena (+110)
Kyler Phillips (-440) vs. Cameron Else (+350)
Dusko Todorovic (-330) vs. Dequan Townsend (+270)
Thoughts: Even with all of her recent struggles, and speaking as a long-time fan of Irene Aldana, I like Holly Holm to win this. “Robles” doesn’t have the strength or wrestling chops that have so troubled Holm in the past, and I’m not convinced she has the technical striking to keep up with Holm in a straight-up kickboxing match. I still remember Aldana falling behind against Bethe Correia as the fight progressed, and without any takedowns to throw Holm off of her game, she’s not going to fare much better against “The Preacher’s Daughter.” Holm’s win will be boring, as always, but at least you’ll make some money off of it.
UFC Fight Island 4 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Casey Kenney and Loma Lookboonmee: Bet $60 to make $78
- Single bet — Josh Culibao: Bet $20 to make $77
- Parlay — Jessin Ayari and Holly Holm: Bet $40 to make $97.20
Honestly, I wouldn’t judge you for skipping this one, but hopefully this’ll help make it a productive evening anyway. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Island 4 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+/ESPN “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 10:30 p.m. ET.
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