BCDC Analyst picks are in for UFC Fight Night

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Aspinall

July 23, 2022

Emrick’s UFC Fighter Pick Record (159-84) – 65% Correct

Prelim Predictions:

WW: Claudio Silva (14-3) vs. Nicolas Dalby (19-4-1, 2 NC)

  • Pick: Nicolas Dalby

WFLY: Mandy Bohm (7-1, 1 NC) vs. Victoria Leonardo (8-5)

  • Pick: Mandy Bohm

LW: Jai Herbert (11-4) vs. Kyle Nelson (13-4)

  • Pick: Jai Herbert

FLY: Muhammad Mokaev (7-0, 1 NC) vs. Charles Johnson (11-2)

  • Pick: Muhammad Mokaev

FW: Makwan Amirkhani (17-7) vs. Jonathan Pearce (12-4)

  • Pick: Jonathan Pearce

FW: Nathaniel Wood (17-5) vs. Charles Rosa (14-7)

  • Pick: Nathaniel Wood

LW: Marc Diakiese (15-5) vs. Damir Hadzovic (14-6)

  • Pick: Marc Diakiese

LW: Mason Jones (11-1, 1 NC) vs. Ludovit Klein (18-4)

  • Pick: Mason Jones

Via Chris Unger/Handout Photo

Main Card Predictions:

LHW: BCDC #8 Paul Craig (16-4-1) vs. #9 Volkan Oezdemir (17-6)

  • Pick: Paul Craig (+140)
  • Quick Reasoning: Not to go overboard on the comparisons, but Paul Craig could be the Charles Oliveira of the LHW division. He was getting beat badly on the ground by Nikita Krylov, but then was able to slip in a wicked submission. Oezdemir’s ground game isn’t great, but his takedown defense is pretty respectable at 80%, so getting in a favorable position may prove difficult for Craig. Oezdemir should have lost 6 of his last 7, with a surprising decision given against Rakic, and I feel like him and Craig are going down a crossroads of career trajectories. I see Craig carrying his momentum and three-year unbeaten streak alive against Oezdemir, eventually pulling off another submission in the first two rounds. 

WFLY: Molly McCann (12-4) vs. Hannah Goldy (6-2)

  • Pick: Molly McCann (-400)
  • Quick Reasoning: As long as this doesn’t go to the ground, this should 100% be Molly’s fight to lose. Even if it does go to the ground, “Meatball” should still be in the driver’s seat. Her standup game, strength of schedule, wrestling ability, and defensive efficiencies are much better than Goldy’s. McCann was en route to losing her last fight against Luana Carolina until landing a spinning breakfast KO. If Goldy is able to use her strength successfully on the ground against Molly, then this could be a rocky matchup for McCann. I doubt this will happen, as McCann is the much better fighter. Is this line a bit wide? Absolutely, but I’d still take McCann via TKO or UD in this matchup.

LHW: #11 Nikita Krylov (27-9) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (18-7)

  • Pick: Nikita Krylov (-200)
  • Quick Reasoning: I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Gustafsson has been out for nearly two years to the day after suffering an early armbar loss to Fabricio Werdum in 2020. He hasn’t won a fight in five years, plus the long layoff is usually not a good addition to Gustafsson’s situation. Krylov looked good before getting submitted by Paul Craig and has been the only fighter to outstrike Magomed Ankalaev. I don’t think either fighter will grow to champion-contender status, but I do trust the activity and well-roundedness of Krylov. Give me Krylov by finish in the first two rounds.

LW: Paddy Pimblett (18-3) vs. Jordan Leavitt (10-1)

  • Pick: Paddy Pimblett (-260)
  • Quick Reasoning: As annoying as “Meatball” and Paddy are, there is no denying that he brings some extra entertainment to his fights. But as his opponents get tougher, the road to reaching ranked status will do the same for Paddy. Leavitt isn’t bad either, as he has one loss to a solid grappler in Claudio Puelles. But Leavitt’s standup game is not great, only averaging 2.5 strikes landed per minute. I believe Paddy’s ground attack is equal to, or even more dangerous, than Leavitt’s. Paddy also has some wild striking attributes that can put him in dangerous situations, but he is far superior compared to Leavitt in that department. Because of this, I see Paddy keeping this fight standing and keeping Leavitt in dangerous positions in almost every aspect of this bout. Although the hype will end at some point, this isn’t the fight to start fading Pimblett. Give me Paddy by TKO. 

MW: #8 Jack Hermansson (22-7) vs. Chris Curtis (29-8)

  • Pick: Chris Curtis (-110)
  • Quick Reasoning: Recency bias aside, this is a great matchup for Curtis. The “Action-Man” is a takedown defense king against some of the top MW grapplers, which should make for a highly entertaining fistfight come Saturday. Hermansson is somewhat of a MW rankings gatekeeper, as he’s done well against borderline ranked opponents. This fight is fairly even, hence the current odds, especially considering their similar striking efficiencies. Although I like Hermansson’s resume and strength of schedule, Curtis is a seasoned vet who has a lot more momentum coming into this bout. This is a pure toss-up and I feel like Curtis should be at underdog money, but I’ll be siding on the short-notice “Action-Man” to defend any takedowns and apply pressure against Hermansson. It’ll be very telling for Curtis’ ceiling and Hermansson’s ability to bounce back after a tough loss to Sean Strickland. Although this could be FOTN and a quality brawl, I see Curtis getting this done via decision. I’d pass on bets here and enjoy the – what should be good – show. 

HW: BCDC #7 Curtis Blaydes (16-3, 1 NC) vs. BCDC #1 Tom Aspinall (12-2)

  • Pick: Tom Aspinall (-135)
  • Quick Reasoning: Getting my bias out of the way: Tom Aspinall is one of my favorite fighters in the UFC. Not only because he finishes fights, but because his fight IQ and the well-roundedness he possesses at the HW division should be illegal. In Aspinall’s last win, he became the first person to submit and the third to finish Volkov since 2010. Aspinall makes it look too easy out there, finishing his opponents while also keeping damage to a minimum with a 3:1 striking differential. A jiu-jitsu coach and sparring partner for Tyson Fury, Aspinall can really do it all. Just because Aspinall has performed exceptionally well should not take anything away from his opponent. Blaydes is as legit a contender as they come, only suffering losses to Francis Ngannou (twice) and Derrick Lewis. I’ll also note that Blaydes was beating Lewis with ease up until the perfect uppercut short-circuited Blaydes into another dimension. Blaydes has great wrestling, with his ground and pound specialty serving as one of the best in the HW division. I love Blaydes’ wrestling ability in this fight, but at the same time I believe that Aspinall’s jiu-jitsu should be able to effectively counter it. To whoever else it may surprise, Blaydes has yet to submit any opponents once making it to the ground, so the danger outside of punches and elbows from Curtis isn’t exactly present. Aspinall will also have the crisper striking, even though Blaydes has improved a lot by mixing in the threat of the ground game to keep his opponents’ hands down. I got to watch Blaydes KO Chris Daukaus in Columbus earlier this year, so I’m super excited to see him back in there with one of my favorite fighters. I got Aspinall at underdog money a few months ago, largely because I believe that he has multiple ways to win. I’m hoping this goes a couple rounds to see how both fighters’ gas tank holds up, but I doubt both of them will let that happen. Give me Aspinall via TKO, but don’t be shocked if he becomes the first to submit Blaydes. 

Emrick’s Combat Sports Betting (-3.782u):

  • Straight Bets:
    • Dawg of the Week (3-1): Paul Craig ML
      • 0.5u to win 0.7u
    • Tom Aspinall ML
      • 5u to win 5u
  • Parlay Bets:
    • Muhammad Mokaev, Mason Jones ML’s
      • 1.5u to win 0.915u
    • Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann ML’s
      • 3u to win 2.305u
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