The first challenger for Zhang Weili’s Strawweight title could be determined inside Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., this Saturday (Oct. 12, 2019) when Michelle Waterson puts her three-fight win streak on the line against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (at least we hope). UFC Fight Night 161 will also host a Featherweight crossroads bout between Cub Swanson and Kron Gracie, as well as a clash of Lightweight prospects in Thomas Gifford and late replacement Mike Davis.
Before all that, though, it’s time to crunch the numbers and see what we can squeeze out of this card.
What Went Wrong at UFC 243?
I picked every single “Prelims” undercard bout correctly except for the one I recommended betting on. I can guarantee you that Maki Pitolo is usually much better than he looked against Callan Potter. I think I’m going to limit my use of parlays for a bit.
UFC Fight Night 161 Odds For The Under Card:
Niko Price (-150) vs. James Vick (+130)
Ryan Spann (-140) vs. Devin Clark (+120)
Deiveson Figueiredo (-200) vs. Tim Elliott (+170)
Max Griffin (-150) vs. Alex Morono (+130)
Miguel Baeza (-200) vs. Hector Aldana (+170)
Marvin Vettori (-290) vs. Andrew Sanchez (+245)
J.J. Aldrich (-165) vs. Lauren Mueller (+145)
Marlon Vera (-170) vs. Andre Ewell (+150)
Thoughts: I like the line on Max Griffin, though a bit on Andre Ewell makes sense as well.
Alex Morono is a very solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu player who’s oddly loath to use his greatest skill, instead preferring to just slug it out and let opponents decide whether or not they want it to hit the ground. Griffin — who would be 3-1 in his last four with competent judging — is a far sharper striker who has proven himself in multiple slugfests. “Max Pain” is just better than Morono at Morono’s favorite style of fight, and he should win comfortably.
I think Marlon Vera vs. Andre Ewell is a toss up, so a bit on “Mr. Highlight” at +150 makes sense. He’s got a considerable reach advantage over Vera, who’s improved his wrestling in recent fights, but is often content to rely on his kickboxing. I think Ewell can do enough work at long range to eke out a decision.
Ryan Spann could be worth a look, too. He’s got loads of height and reach on Clark and seems to have finally fixed the cardio issues that held him back earlier in his career.
UFC Fight Night 161 Odds For The Main Card:
Joanna Jerdzejczyk (-370) vs. Michelle Waterson (+310)
Kron Gracie (-170) vs. Cub Swanson (+150)
Thomas Gifford (N/A) vs. Mike Davis (N/A)
Mackenzie Dern (-145) vs. Amanda Ribas (+125)
Luis Pena (-165) vs. Matt Frevola (+145)
Eryk Anders (-150) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+130)
Thoughts: Man, that’s a lot of inconsistent competitors. I do think Mike Davis is worth it at anything better than, say, -270. Gifford really doesn’t have much to offer besides his guillotine, which relies on opponents initiating the wrestling, and he’s badly out-classed in the striking. Davis is a really solid fighter when not dealing with monsters like Sodiq Yusuff and Gilbert Burns, and should be able to outclass Gifford without issue.
You know what, I know I just said I’d be doing fewer parlays, but I can’t resist Jedrzejczyk. She’s got height and reach advantages over Waterson, superior boxing and the takedown defense to completely nullify the “Karate Hottie’s” ground game. In short, bank on the former champ.
UFC Fight Night 161 Best Bets:
Single bet — Andre Ewell: Bet $30 to make $45
Single bet — Ryan Spann: Bet $42 to make $30
Parlay — Max Griffin and Joanna Jedrzejczyk: Bet $70 to make $78.40
Well, at least there’s Figueiredo vs. Elliott to look forward to. See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 161 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
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