UFC Betting Tips: UFC on ESPN 1
UFC on ESPN 1 takes place February 17, Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona. Perhaps the heaviest hitter in the UFC, Francis Ngannou takes on former two-time heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez who hasn't fought in two years due to injury. The UFC had big plans for Ngannou until he took two losses against Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis. In his return to the win column he KO'd Curtis Blaydes in the first round. But Velasquez is back to claim what he thinks is rightfully his.
The Bet UK MMA tipster has a 71% success rate so follow him as he gives his predictions for UFC on ESPN 1. Get the latest UFC betting odds here at Bet UK.
Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez
There are questions that will be answered after this fight, which are: is Ngannou really elite and is he here to stay? And can a 36-year-old Velasquez continue from where he left off, being one of the most successful heavyweights in UFC history. Ngannou needs to seriously improve his MMA skills, having one-punch knockout power isn't enough at the elite levels in the UFC. The best and most dominant top-10s in the world have a complete set of MMA skills, which incorporates disciplines for all situations. There are also questions about Ngannou's cardio. Velasquez, however, he's a former two-time UFC champion with immense cardio, he's an all-American wrestler, BJJ blackbelt and a quality Muay Thai practitioner. He has a list of UFC records and accolades as long as his arm. Whether he's been out for two years or five years I don't see how he loses this fight. I will give Ngannou a puncher's chance as would anyone but I don't see anything other than a Velasquez win by a classic wrestler beatdown.
James Vick vs. Paul Felder
Vick was handed a slice of humble pie in his last fight with Justin Gaethje after being finished in round one, before that he was riding a 13-1 record with a four-fight winning streak. He did a lot of trash talking before the fight and paid the price, now he'll be looking to get back to winning ways and start another run. Felder is now a commentator and an extremely nice guy but don't let that fool you, his striking is top level. He's also coming off a split decision loss against Mike Perry. Both Vick and Felder have a common opponent in Francisco Trinaldo, Vick won by decision and Felder lost by TKO. MMA maths doesn't always add up because it's styles that make fights. Both guys will come out aggressive and not give an inch. Vick is the taller man with longer reach but Felder has the power advantage here. The fight will take place mainly on the feet with clinch work too. I would have to give the edge to Felder based on his 10 knockouts to Vick's three with his strike accuracy at 43.7% compared to Vick's 38.6%.
Winner Paul Felder 10/11*
Cortney Casey vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Both women are looking to break into the title mix. Casey is huge for the weight class and she's got an aggressive sprawl and brawl style with heavy hands and excellent BJJ. Again, Calvillo will face a bigger, stronger opponent and her strategy should be to stay loose, stick and move and pick her opponent apart. She has shown in the past she is capable of doing so.
Alex Caceres vs. Kron Gracie
Alex Caceres welcomes promotion debutant Kron Gracie, who's part of the famed Gracie BJJ family. Kron is 4-0 in his MMA career and multiple time BJJ champion. He has won all fights via submission and rightly so. Caceres has also been tapped multiple times but has an elusive style, which is full of spinning kicks, jumping elbows and everything between. In true Gracie fashion I can't see Caceres doing anything in this fight but getting eaten up in Kron's guard and tapping.
Vicente Luque vs. Bryan Barberena
Luque steps into the cage with a 50% knockout ratio, winning seven of his last eight fights. All seven wins have come with finishes, I believe he's one of the more underrated fighters in the UFC who's got a bright future in the sport. He's dangerous everywhere with pure knockout power that few have. Barberena has won seven of his last 10 and comes into the fight with a healthy knockout ratio himself with 77%. His latest win came at the expense of Jake Ellenberger, he's got a good chin, which means he's able to put himself in situations where he can give a shot in the pocket. He's also never been finished. However, based on momentum and pure knockout power I feel Luque is just more of a slick, polished fighter and will eventually take his chances to score more points.
Andre Fili vs. Myles Jury
The value here is clearly in favour of Fili at odds on, he's not been able to put a consistent run together but on his day he's one of the better fighters in the division. He has a knockout percentage of 44% over an 18-6 MMA record. Training out of Team Alpha Male he's got a stable of lower weight fighters around him all capable of title runs and some former champions. He has the talent and the right people around him but there seems to be something missing. He stays busy with around 3/4 strikes per minute with a strike accuracy of 46%. He's rarely outworked in the cage. Jury enters the bout with a 17-3 record with a 53% percent knockout ratio. Although his output is slightly lower the data says that his strikes are more powerful. I prefer Fili as a fighter but Jury is just a more complete fighter with good defence and a little more snap in his strikes.
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online sportsbook correct at the time of writing.
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