UFC Fight Night: Main And Co-Main Event Odds, Preview, and Predictions!
We have some free fights on Saturday and the main event features a marquee matchup in the Bantamweight division. Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen will face off in a likely #1 contender fight. The co-main event is a Featherweight bout that should have fireworks as Edson Barboza takes on Makwan Amirkhani.
Bantamweight Matchup (135): Marlon Moraes (23-6-1) vs. Cory Sandhagen (12-2-0)
Moraes is currently ranked #1 in the Bantamweight division and is looking to put himself back in position for another title shot. In June 2019, he fought Henry Cejudo for the vacant Bantamweight Championship and ultimately lost by KO/TKO in the 3rd round. Before that fight, he was on a 3 fight winning streak where he finished his all his opponents in the 1st round. Those 3 finishes came over top contenders such as Alijamain Sterling, Jimmie Rivera, and Raphael Assunção. This seems to be a common theme with Moraes as he's become a mostly KO or bust fighter. However, his last fight in December 2019 was a split decision win over José Aldo where most people thought Aldo won. As such, Aldo was given a title shot as Moraes had to patiently wait for another fight. Moraes stands at 5'6 with a 67 inch reach, and a very muscular build. In this 5 round fight, he will need to finish it quick to avoid the later rounds because he has conditioning issues.
Moraes will be taking on #4 ranked Sandhagen. Sandhagen has been one of the UFC's top prospects for a while and is starting to get big matchups. In June 2020, he had a huge showcase fight against Alijamain Sterling where he got embarrassed with a 1st round submission loss via a rear-naked choke. He wasn't able to show any of his skills that night because Sterling jumped on his back quick and got the finish. Before that, Sandhagen was riding a 5 fight winning streak in the UFC and destined for a title shot. Luckily for him, a win against Moraes would likely catapult him into the #1 contender position and be line to face the winner of Petr Yan and Alijamain Sterling. Sandhagen is a cardio machine and throws a lot of volume strikes. On average, he's landing a crazy high rate of 6.95 significant strikes per minute. Also, he's a pressure fighter that likes to put his opponents on their back heels and feels comfortable winning by knockout, submission, and decision.
I see this fight going 2 ways. Either Moraes will score the KO within the first 2 rounds, or Sandhagen will win by decision or a late stoppage. Moraes doesn't do well with pressure fighters as he showcased in the Aldo fight, and that's exactly what Sandhagen's strength is. Also, Sandhagen will have a 3 inch reach advantage in this fight and I think he'll be able to stay away from Moraes in the early rounds. Sandhagen has amazing cardio and I see him outlasting Moraes with a late stoppage when Moraes has nothing left in the tank. But, don't be surprised if he loses by a quick KO when Moreas is most dangerous.
Prediction: Sandhagen (-140)
Bulldogs Risky Pick: Sandhagen by KO/TKO (+335)
Featherweight Matchup (145): Edson Barboza (20-9-0) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (16-4-0)
Barboza has been one of the most exciting fighters to watch in the UFC with his highlight reel KO's. However, he's 1-5 in his last 6 fights and is on a downhill skid. But, he's lost to elite competition at Lightweight that includes Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. He's now made the move to Featherweight from Lightweight in an attempt to salvage his career. His Featherweight debut in May 2020 was against Dan Ige and he lost by a close split decision. However, many thought Barboza did enough to win with his diverse attack of power strikes, but the judges didn't think so. Ige is a really tough debut fight at Featherweight and Barboza looked good despite losing in a controversial decision. He will look to bounce back against an opponent who has shown flashes of a contender, but is still a step down in competition for Barboza.
Amirkhani on the other hand is looking to make a name for himself with a big win over a UFC veteran. He is coming off a submission win over Danny Henry in July 2020, but is a modest 3-2 in his last 5 fights. Before the Danny Henry fight, he got KO'd by Shane Burgos late in the 3rd round in November 2019. From what we've seen of Amirkhani thus far, he has gas tank issues and noticeably slows down as the fight goes on. But, he finishes 67% of his fights by Submission, so I believe his only path to victory in this fight is to drag Barboza to the mat and look to lock in a submission, or grind him out to a decision. On the feet, Barboza will have a clear advantage with his diverse attack and nasty leg kicks. Also, Barboza has a KO rate of 60% in his career and always looks for the KO. But, even though Amirkhani tends to gas out quickly, he seems to be very durable as he's only been finished twice in his career. As expected, Barboza is the favourite in this fight and I think he'll stuff takedowns and piece up Amirkhani on the feet on route to a decision victory.
Prediction: Barboza (-265)
Bulldogs Risky Pick: Barboza by Decision (+220)