UFC Betting: UFC on ESPN 2
UFC on ESPN 2: Barboza VS. Gaethje will take place March 30 at Wells Fargo Centre, Philadelphia. The event sees two of the most exciting strikers in the UFC today. It's got Fight of the Year written all over this one, two tough guys with nasty leg kicks and excellent chins meet in the centre of the cage and not one of them will take a step back. Both men come into the contest off the back of a knockout win and while both men jockey for the #1 contender spot the lightweight division remains the most exciting in the sport.
The Bet UK UFC betting tipster gives his thoughts, tips and analysis on UFC on ESPN 2. He will also use the Bet UK online sportsbook and UFC betting odds to provide a headline treble.
Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje
The long time UFC vet, Barboza, comes in against Gaethje for his 21st fight in the UFC and with 14 wins, including multiple knockout of the night, fight of the night and knockout of the year honors his experience speaks for itself. He's an expert Muay Thai practitioner hailed as the best leg-kicker in the business. The Brazilian's weakness is his cardio though, he throws so much power into every shot if he gets taken into the later rounds he does slow down, but Barboza slowed down is still about the same output as some good fighters in the UFC. He's strong everywhere and is a real professional. Gaethje, the former WSOF champion has shown that he's belongs in the very top level of fighters. He's had four fights in the UFC against four top 10 ranked opponents with two performance of the night bonuses and two fight of the night bonuses. Gaethje is as tough as they come and with harsh leg kicks himself this fight is going to be for those who really love striking. The fight metrics show that Gaethje lands 8.53 strikes per minute to Barboza's 3.99 that's almost double, however, Gaethje absorbs 10.54 strikes per minute as opposed to Barboza's 4.14. This shows that Gaethje will take a few shots to land his own big strike, it's a risky way of fighting and against Barboza's movement and footwork I can't see this working.
David Branch vs. Jack Hermansson
Branch has fought for Bellator and WSOF, now in the UFC he has handled business really well. Even beating title contender Thiago Santos and earning himself a top 10 ranking. He suffered a setback in his last fight against Jared Cannonier when his was KO'd in the second round. Branch comes from WSOF same as Gaethje and boasts an impressive set of accomplishments with the organisation: Most submission wins, former champion, undefeated (10-0), multiple weight-class champion, second most wins in WSOF. He fights Hermansson, who's also been impressive since joining the UFC ranks. four wins in his last five fights shows he's a gamer. Branch now 37 and has bags of experience against a younger fighter here, but the styles are virtually identical. I think the experience of Branch will help him slow the fight down and gain the right positions if it hits the deck. Bet UK are offering him at evens, which is a good price considering, I wouldn't have prices him as an underdog.
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson
Emmett was 11-0 before his first loss to Desmond Green, although he bounced back he was then KO'd by Jeremy Stephens. Since the loss he hasn't been in the cage for 13 months, due to loss of feeling on the left side of his mouth and other injuries from that fight. Emmett has enjoyed a lot of success against good level opposition. Johnson, it looks like, has had a rough time for a while now, with mixed wins and losses. However, my argument here is that he's faced the very best fighters in the division, every fight he's had in the UFC has been against the who's who. He holds huge wins over Poirier, Barboza and Lauzon and with losses against Nate Diaz and Khabib, it doesn't really go against him in my book. After 13 months off because of injuries for one fight you have to wonder how much of an effect is that going to have on Emmett when it comes to his mindset, although he's the longer fighter, Johnson has much more experience and he's proved he can beat the best fighters in the division. Bet UK have priced both fighters at 20/23.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Michelle Waterson
Kowalkiewicz defeated top contenders including current champion Rose Namajunas within her first 10 pro fights and therefore fought for the title, losing by decision. She bounced back with back-to-back wins but was then stopped by Jessica Andrade in her most recent fight. Waterson has a 4-2 record since her UFC debut. This fight will be a striking affair with both fighters having a similar point scoring style. Kowalkiewicz is a little bit sharper and her striking style fits MMA a little more, she can rough her opponents up in the clinch and has knockout power. Waterson will try to keep the distance but if Kowalkiewicz can get close and use some clinch and dirty boxing she should edge the win.
Paul Craig vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu
Nzechukwu will be making his full promotional debut after earning a 6-0 record at the age of 26. He has fought twice on the UFC development league, Dana White's Contender Series and winning both fights. He's an excellent athlete with KO power. Paul Craig is on the decline, it has to be said and coming off a submission loss to Kim Crute the 31-year-old is 2 losses away from being cut in my opinion. Nzechukwu is young, hungry and a lot faster than Craig who's been KO'd twice in 2017.
Sheymon Moraes vs. Sodiq Yusuff
Moraes began his MMA climb in WSOF going 7-0 and showing a range of kickboxing and Muay Thai skills. He's already fought three times for the UFC winning two of them in his last two outings. His only losses come from UFC title contender Marlon Moraes and top ranked Russian Zabit Magomedsharipov. Sodiq Yusuff is an 8-1 fighter who has a TKO victory in the UFC and who earned his UFC contract on Dana White's Contender Series. Yusuff has one-punch KO power as he's finished 3 fights in the very first round. This will be a really good scrap between two young fighters looking to make a run in the weight class. Both guys tend to look for the early finish but based on power and accuracy I'm going with Yusuff.
Bet UK Headline MMA Treble
*All odds from Bet UK’s online sportsbook correct at the time of writing.
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