Grant Emrick BCDC Analyst Previews UFC Fight Night

UFC Fight Night: Gane vs. Tuivasa

September 3, 2022

Emrick’s UFC Fighter Pick Record (197-106-2) – 65% Correct

Prelim Predictions:

WFW: Stephanie Egger (7-3) vs. Ailin Perez (7-1)

  • Pick: Stephanie Egger

BW: Khalid Taha (13-4, 1 NC) vs. Cristian Quinonez (17-3)

  • Pick: Cristian Quinonez *Underdog of the Week*

LW: Benoit Saint-Denis (9-1, 1 NC) vs. Gabriel Miranda (16-5)

  • Pick: Benoit Saint-Denis

MW: #12 Nassaourdine Imavov (11-3) vs. Joaquin Buckley (15-4)

  • Pick: Nassourdine Imavov

LW: Fares Ziam (12-4) vs. Michal Figlak (8-0)

  • Pick: Michal Figlak

MW: Abus Magomedov (24-4-1) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (14-4)

  • Pick: Abus Magomedov

Main Card Predictions:

FW: Charles Jourdain (13-5-1) vs. Nathaniel Wood (18-5)

  • Pick: Charles Jourdain (-150)
  • Quick Reasoning: I picked Jourdain to lose against Shane Burgos in his last bout, but I was biting my nails and praying that they didn’t give Jourdain the nod after an uber close performance. Although on the losing side of that matchup, Jourdain looked ready and deserving to be in the ranked discussion at FW. Nathaniel Wood is the perfect opponent to launch Jourdain into the rankings with a win come Saturday. Wood looked great in his last fight too, but the size discrepancy after moving up from BW will be noticeable as both fighters enter the octagon. I do believe we’ll see both in the rankings at some point in the future, but I think Jourdain has had the better resume of opponents to keep his hot streak going. This should be a decision either way, but don’t be shocked if Jourdain pulls off some crazy attack to claim the win. 

FW: William Gomis (10-2) vs. Jarno Errens (13-3-1)

  • Pick: William Gomis (-220)
  • Quick Reasoning: Both fighters are debuting in the UFC this week, so we don’t have too much info to go off of. However, Jarno Errens did just fight to a UD in Brave CF over two weeks ago, so that may be a red flag in terms of coming in at 100% strength. Gomis has finished 7 of 10 fights and is a solid striker with some decent skills on the ground. Errens tends to fight to a decision and has better ground skills than his opponent, but I don’t think it will be enough to outduel the Frenchman in Gomis. With the crowd backing the favorite and a streaking/more rested Gomis, I’ll avoid betting this one but side with Gomis to get this done. 

LW: John Makdessi (18-7) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (13-5)

  • Pick: Nasrat Haqparast (-230)
  • Quick Reasoning: If there’s one thing that’s a red flag to me in fighting more difficult competition, it’s inactivity. Makdessi has fought only once in each calendar year since 2017, and has not fought since April 2021. He’s a good striker, winning four of his last five; but to be honest, Haqparast should be able to handle Makdessi. Nasrat lost his last two to even better strikers in Dan Hooker and Bobby Green, but the experience of facing those two and the likes of Drew Dober and Marc Diakiese in his UFC run should more than prepare Haqparast to win this fight. If Haqparast has learned and progressed his striking defense since these fights, he should be able to use his four inch reach and two inch height difference very well in what should be a solely stand-up fight. I like Haqparast to bounce back against a less difficult opponent, but who knows what we could see from Makdessi after another long layoff. 

MW: Alessio Di Chirico (13-6) vs. Roman Kopylov (8-2)

  • Pick: Alessio Di Chirico (-110)
  • Quick Reasoning: So this one is a pure toss-up. Kopylov hasn’t won yet in the UFC, and Di Chirico has dropped four of his last five in the promotion. At least we know Di Chirico is somewhat capable of hanging in there, right? But seriously, we know that Di Chirico has some ability to get takedowns and even has some power on his shots. Kopylov didn’t end up victorious against Duraev, but he did manage to land a knockdown of his own in that matchup. He also lost to Karl Roberson in his UFC debut, which both opponents are fairly difficult as a new prospect in the promotion. Overall, I don’t like either in this one, but I think Di Chirico has more facets to his game in ability to land takedowns and trade strikes with his opponents. I’d advise to stay away from betting this fight, but I’m going to roll against Kopylov until he begins to show he can win. 

MW: #1 Robert Whittaker (24-6) vs. #2 Marvin Vettori (18-5-1) 

  • Pick: Robert Whittaker (-210) *Lock of the Week*
  • Quick Reasoning: Yes, Marvin is a blockhead. Vettori probably won’t get finished. But, Whittaker has the grappling/takedown abilities to counteract Marvin’s best gameplan and to keep this fight standing at Whittaker’s pace. The three-round fight might make it easier for Vettori to push his pace on Whittaker in clinch positions against the fence, but that is not likely. Whittaker was able to land as many takedowns against Adesanya as Vettori did in their last matchup, and even managed to shoo away a vast majority of attempts from wrestling opponents such as Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza. Whittaker is also the clear second-best MW at the moment – based on current resume – and has given Adesanya some of his toughest tests as a champion. With similar striking metrics against different levels of competition, I’d side with “The Reaper” to get this one done and potentially face the winner of Adesanya/Pereira early next year. Show me Whittaker via decision, with a strong possibility to of a trilogy fight with Adesanya.

HW: #1 Ciryl Gane (10-1) vs. #3 Tai Tuivasa (15-3)

  • Pick: Ciryl Gane (-520)
  • Quick Reasoning: Gane is nearly -600 for a reason. His well-rounded skillset gives many, as well as myself, belief that Gane could be the future of the heavyweight division. Would I like to see the non-killer version of Gane as the face of the division? Absolutely not. But, you can’t deny that his technical skills and movement in the division aren’t the least bit intriguing. Few active HW’s move like that, such as Tom Aspinall and even Curtis Blaydes, but to be able to avoid the big shots from Francis Ngannou was pretty impressive in itself. Yes, he was getting taken down by a version of Ngannou with torn ACL’s and not close to 100%, but these are growing pains and learning experiences as you move up quickly in any division. Tuivasa hasn’t really experienced those growing pains, as he got tagged multiple times by Derrick Lewis but refused to go down. Hell, even Greg Hardy was able to wobble Tuivasa before the lights came back on and Tai returned the favor with a KO. I can’t explain Tuivasa’s rise, other than thank god for his chin and lack of opponents who can grapple. Gane is just way too much in this matchup. He has over a 2-to-1 significant striking differential, can work Tuivasa on the ground with ease, and boasts a 6” reach and 2” height advantage that bode well for avoiding the big shots from his opponent. I see this fight playing out in a similar direction for Gane as it did when he fought for the interim title against Derrick Lewis, as he’ll seek for a late-round KO/submission to pump up his home crowd. 

Emrick’s Combat Sports Betting:

  • Straight Bets:
    • Dawg of the Week (3-6): Cristian Quinonez ML
      • 0.5u to win 0.6u
    • Lock of the Week (1-0): Robert Whittaker ML
      • 2u to win 1.4u
  • Parlay Bets:
    • Imavov, Jourdain, Whittaker ML’s
      • 1.5u to win 3.716u
    • Andy Ruiz Jr., Gane ML’s
      • 2.5u to win 1.286u
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