Two Rafaels enter, one Rafael leaves ...
This Saturday (July 9, 2022) in UFC Vegas 58’s main event, Lightweight standouts Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev will duke it out in a long-awaited grudge match inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The ESPN/ESPN+-streamed event will also feature an intriguing clash of Middleweight prospects between Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan alongside a Bantamweight battle pitting Said Nurmagomedov against Douglas Silva de Andrade.
Those energy bills can’t be pleasant with this heat, so let’s try to top off those wallets for you ...
What Went Wrong at UFC 276?
Honestly, it’s Robbie Lawler’s loss that breaks my heart. Sean Strickland fought in the dumbest fashion imaginable, so it wasn’t too shocking when he walked face-first into the best left hook in the division; however, Lawler was doing so well until Barberena broke out the elbows. Luckily, some good “Prelims” undercard results kept us in the green overall. Not by much, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.
UFC Vegas 58 Odds For The Under Card:
Cynthia Calvillo (-150) vs. Nina Nunes (+130)
Ricky Turcios (-190) vs. Aiemann Zahabi (+160)
Antonina Shevchenko (-180) vs. Cortney Casey (+155)
Tresean Gore (-125) vs. Cody Brundage (+105)
Kennedy Nzechukwu (-125) vs. Karl Roberson (+105)
Ronnie Lawrence (-135) vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov (+115)
Thoughts: There are numerous close fights on paper, but definitely workable. Let’s focus on Nina Nunes, Ricky Turcios, Antonina Shevchenko, Cody Brundage and Ronnie Lawrence.
I’ll admit that Nunes is an undersized long shot and let me down badly her last time out, which was 15 months ago, but Cynthia Calvillo looked downright atrocious against Andrea Lee. Calvillo had no answers for the sort of mobile, high-volume offense that Nunes brings to the table. Nunes has also beaten a superior wrestler in Claudia Gadelha and gave the division’s best wrestler, Tatiana Suarez, all kinds of trouble.
She’s worth a shot at positive odds.
Though Aiemann Zahabi’s inactivity adds an air of uncertainty because there’s no telling how much he’s improved in the interim, there’s not a whole lot going his way here. Turcios is by far the more active striker and scrambles well enough to take Zahabi’s ground game out of the equation. Zahabi lacks the striking technique, raw power, or offensive wrestling prowess to keep Turcios honest, so expect “Pretty” Ricky” to comfortably outwork him.
Shevchenko just does not have the wrestling skills to be any sort of contender, even in a shaky division like women’s Flyweight. Luckily for her, Cortney Casey is just as inept in that area. Shevchenko has the technical edge on the feet and enough offensive grappling chops to potentially mix in some ground work, making her a solid investment.
Beyond being far less experienced than his foe, Tresean Gore struggled to respond when Bryan Battle controlled him on the fence and repeatedly threatened takedowns. Brundage is more than capable of repeating that effort, albeit without the rangy kickboxing that Battle used to neutralize Gore in the early going. While Gore does possess the power to end things in an instant, it’s historically taken quite a bit to put Brundage down for good, so I like the factoryX product as an underdog.
At the risk of sounding very stupid if things go pear-shaped, Ronnie Lawrence seems to hold all the cards against Saidyokub Kakhramanov. He’s more fleet-of-foot, more technical with his striking, and sufficiently adept with his wrestling to control Kakhramanov the way Trevin Jones did for large stretches of their fight. It’s evident that Kakhramonov has a bright future, but “The Heat” eclipses him at the moment.
UFC Vegas 58 Odds For The Main Card:
Rafael Fiziev (-200) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (+170)
Caio Borralho (-215) vs. Armen Petrosyan (+185)
Said Nurmagomedov (-255) vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade (+215)
Jared Vanderaa (-180) vs. Chase Sherman (+155)
Jamie Mullarkey (-240) vs. Michael Johnson (+200)
Thoughts: Give me Caio Borralho, Said Nurmagomedov and Jared Vanderaa, as well as a nostalgia flyer on Rafael dos Anjos.
Borralho seriously impressed me in his UFC debut against Gadzhi Omargadzhiev, whom I’d tabbed to give the Brazilian all kinds of problems. He’s definitely a bargain here. That’s because he’s not only skilled enough to at least keep pace on the feet, but also possessed of the grappling skill to ruthlessly exploit Petrosyan’s paper-thin takedown defense.
It’s his fight to lose.
I’ve been a fan of Douglas Silva de Andrade since his UFC debut, but I’m aware of his limitations. Nurmagomedov’s striking is effective enough that even Raoni Barcelos couldn’t keep up with him on the feet; “D’Silva” doesn’t have the speed or technique to get through Nurmagomedov’s wall of kicks and get to work inside. Plus, while he hasn’t had much occasion to use it due to UFC’s insistence on pitting him against grapplers, Nurmagomedov’s also got a decent wrestling game to lean on if things ever get hairy on the feet.
Indeed, there’s way too much going his way to pass up.
Point: Jason Vanderaa is 1-4 in the Octagon. Counterpoint: Chase Sherman is 1-7 in his last eight UFC appearances. Vanderaa’s win over Jason Tafa was more impressive than anything Sherman’s done in his professional career, and so long as he’s not worried about being taken down, “The Mountain” is actually pretty sharp on the feet. I’ll absolutely take Vanderaa over a guy who’s only managed to beat Ike Villanueva in the past three years.
My dos Anjos pick is 50 percent a desire to see him succeed and 50 percent acknowledgement that he is an absolutely nightmarish introduction to the world of five-round fights. If anyone at 155 pounds can put the pace on Fiziev, it’s dos Anjos, and he’s got the durability to weather “Ataman’s” dazzling striking offense long enough to really crank up the pressure.
Don’t make a big investment, obviously, but it’s definitely possible.
UFC Vegas 58 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Nina Nunes and Antonina Shevchenko: Bet $80 to make $206.40
- Parlay — Ricky Turcios and Cody Brundage: Bet $80 to make $170.40
- Parlay — Ronnie Lawrence and Caio Borralho: Bet $100 to make $155
- Parlay — Said Nurmagomedov and Jared Vanderaa: Bet $120 to make $140.40
- Single bet — Rafael Dos Anjos: Bet $60 to make $102
Initial Investment For 2022: $600
Current Total: $838.75
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 58 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN/ESPN+) at 9 p.m. ET.
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