UFC Vegas 32 ended up being a downer following the betting success at UFC Vegas 31. All the biggest recommended plays on favorites ended up falling through. TJ Dillashaw proved to be the saving grace for a night where Miranda Maverick was robbed by the judges. Without further ado, let’s make some picks for this Saturday.
Rafa Garcia faced a tough test on short notice in his debut. He is getting a much easier matchup in Chris Gruetzemacher this time around, and although his line seems pricey, it is worth playing. He proved his toughness against a top opponent in Nasrat Haqparast and should be able to implement his grappling against a lesser threat this time around. Garcia has 7 submission wins and Gruetzemacher has 3 submission losses, so if an early knockout isn’t in order, a submission is possible. Garcia should be a safe parlay piece given his opponent.
Bryan Barberena has heavy hands and is not afraid to mix it up on the mat, showing proficient takedown defense. That will come in handy against Glory MMA grinder Jason Witt who will be looking to get a submission. Witt has proven to be easy to hit and finish in his career, with 5 knockout losses. Given that Barberena has 10 knockout wins in his career, he should be able to land on Witt’s chin early and put his lights out. Even without a knockout, Barberena has a high striking output and should survive grappling exchanges if he can’t stuff the takedown.
Ashley Yoder has a four-inch reach and height advantage over former atomweight opponent Jinh Yu Frey. In addition to a size deficit, Frey lacks output on the feet, and relying on knockout against an opponent who has never been finished in her career is a bad recipe for an upset victory. Yoder is a smothering grappler, who should use her size advantage to make this a long night and a nightmare matchup for Frey.
Trevin Jones has proven dangerous with his hands, earning 2 knockouts, one overturned for cannabis, since entering the UFC. However, his BJJ black belt and strength are reasons to fade Ronnie Lawrence, who comes in on short notice as a volume wrestler. Lawrence is not beyond getting clipped, and facing a grappler with 4 submission victories could prove dangerous. Jones will remain dangerous for 3 rounds while Lawrence may get desperate as the fight progresses. Lawrence shoots reactively when his opponent lands flush with a strike, Jones should be opportunistic enough to find another UFC finish.
Gloria de Paula and Cheyenne Buys came off Dana White’s Contender Series as hot prospects who took disappointing losses in their first fights. de Paula has a two-inch height and 4-inch reach advantage over Buys and has superior technical standup ability. Buys won’t consistently stick to a wrestling game plan and may run into struggles with the guard of de Paula. Buys should struggle to close the distance on the crisp straight combos from de Paula.
- Kyung Ho Kang -125
Rani Yahya struggles with cardio against wrestlers who can counter his grappling. Enter Kang who has shown proficient body-lock takedowns and smart top control. Kang holds a three-inch height and six-inch reach advantage over Yahya, who has a poor striking differential. Given that Kang can survive the grappling exchanges with Yahya, it is inevitable that Yahya runs out of energy and allows Kang to pour it on late. Expect Kang to roll to victory as the fight progresses, with a finish possible as Yahya tires.
- Nicco Montano (-230) vs Wu Yanan (+190)
Nicco Montano is coming off a long layoff, and might not even make the walk this coming Saturday, given her history with pulling out of fights. While she has faced a higher level of competition, Montano doesn’t inspire confidence on a line over -200. She will be the smaller fighter and coming off concussion issues that forced her to pull out of her last booking. Montano may win this fight handily, but there is no reason to place a bet on this fight.
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