Coming off the heels of UFC Raleigh, Jon Jones returns along with another week of ‘Best Bets’!
Our ‘Best Bets’ are 2-2 this year so I’m hoping to land our first clean sweep.
See which two fights on I got on the docket this week and put some extra cash in your pocket.
Let’s jump into it!
UFC 247: Jones vs Reyes | Best Bets
- Miles Johns vs Mario Bautista
- Valentina Shevchenko vs Katlyn Chookagian
Miles Johns vs Mario Bautista
Miles Johns comes out of the highly-touted Fortis MMA camp, holding a perfect 10-0 pro record.
He’s a high school state wrestling champion and a one-year collegiate wrestler (stopped due to injury).
Despite his undefeated record, I’m largely unimpressed him.
Johns packs a solid punch but is very wild on the feet and lacks technical striking ability.
To note, a large percentage of his fights will take place on the ground.
He’s got very good entries to TDs but doesn’t present much of a submission threat.
Going forward, Miles will have trouble with accomplished BJJ guys.
He had a pretty dominant win on the contender series but gassed heavily in third.
In his UFC debut, he edged out a split decision over Cole Smith (I thought he lost).
He got backpacked the whole first round and was controlled a decent amount of the second.
Overall, he’s still very green, one-dimensional and has a questionable gas tank.
Mario Bautista got a tough draw in his debut, taking the fight on short notice against surging 135’r Corey Sandhagen.
He made good on his second bout, getting a UD win over Jin Soo Son.
There isn’t a ton of tape on him but he has technical striking ability mixing a bunch of different strikes.
His style is predicated on pressure and his opponents standing in front of him.
He was submitted by Corey Sandhagen but in the little grappling I saw outside of that fight, he seems to be competent on the ground.
Bautista utilizes good hips on TD entries and is largely able to keep the fights standing.
This fight comes down to how much Bautista can stay off of his back and when he’s there, can he threaten with submissions/work back to the feet.
It is important to note that 3 of 7 of Bautista’s wins have come by submission; however, via a dominant position.
Bautista hasn’t spent much time on his back but does seem to possess the footwork which largely keeps him upright.
If he’s able to keep this standing, I think he’ll be able to pick apart Johns on the feet over the course of three rounds.
Best Bet: Mario Bautista at +100 or Better
I capped Bautista as a slight favorite here at –115, as I think he just has more tools to win this fight.
Johns opened a massive favorite and has slowly been bet down over the past few weeks.
I wish I taped this fight sooner, as I think a lot of people got immense value on Bautista at those large odds.
However, I was able to secure him at +120, giving me an 8% differential.
Johns could come in and grind him out but I think the footwork of Bautista will largely keep him upright here to secure a W for our first of two ‘Best Bets’.
Valentina Shevchenko vs Katlyn Chookagian
Valentina Shevchenko is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and is riding an undefeated streak at 4-0 since moving to Flyweight.
She’s a world Muay Thai champion and has really only had trouble against one opponent — female GOAT, Amanda Nunes.
Her fighting style never changes from fight to fight, as she fights from the outside and looks to counter-strike.
One of her best attributes is her distance management, never being there for the strikes of her opponents.
Shevchenko always keeps her opponents guessing as well, never throwing the same two strikes in a row.
This was prevalent in the second Nunes fight, as she was consistently countering with knees and hooks.
She also presents a diverse kicking game with low, side and roundhouse kicks.
The only success opponents have had against her have been in the grappling (Nunes 1) and not engaging in the pocket exchanges.
For opponents to have any sort of success against her; they need to kick, feint the jab and land the straight right.
Outside of that, she’s been near picture-perfect.
The Ricardo Almeida product and BJJ brown belt, Katlyn Chookagian, is 4-1 since transitioning to Flyweight.
She’s primarily a counter fighter who throws lots of volume.
Kicking is a large part of her game plan, as well as she’ll throw just about everything.
Chookagian utilizes good footwork to cut angles and largely stay at range.
What she does really well is throwing phantom or set-up strikes to land the final shot of combinations.
This is key for her because she’ll throw a lot of strikes that will miss but, in the eyes of judges, she’s being a lot more “active”.
This has won her some very close fights in the past.
However, opponents can pick up on those setup strikes and can land straight shots on her if she gets lazy.
Ultimately, she’s been a tough out but has found herself in some close fights.
I heavily favor Shevchenko here as the odds indicate but I do think this fight may play out a lot closer than people think.
Because of the excellent counter ability of Shevchenko, opponents have always been cautious to engage with her (rightfully so).
However, Chookagian throws a ton of volume which I think will open her up for counters but will also score in the eyes of the judges.
With this being a matchup of two counter-strikers, I’m interested to see how Katlyn approaches this fight.
If she can consistently land the leg kicks and keep forward pressure, she may steal some rounds here.
I do think this will be a pretty uneventful fight with a lot of standing around trying to gauge range though.
Overall, Shevchenko will have a clear speed advantage here and will be able to land the more effective shots over the course of 5 rounds.
Don’t be surprised though if Katlyn takes a round or two though!
Best Bet: Shevchenko/Chookagian – Fight Goes to Decision at -185 or better
Because of the counter vs counter fighter match up here, I bet the “fight goes to decision” prop at –165.
Chookagian has been to decision in all 8 of her UFC bouts and Shevchenko has been to decision in 6 of her 9 UFC bouts.
I don’t see a submission here as both fighters are competent on the ground and I think this fight will largely taking place on the feet.
Shevchenko could time a high kick but I see Katlyn largely playing this safe.
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