Algeo vs. Brito
Featherweight Featured Prelim
Two talented featherweight prospects meet in this main card bout. Joanderson Brito is on a 10-fight winning streak, and will be making his debut following a win by technical unanimous decision on Dana White’s Contender Series. Algeo is now 1-2 in the UFC, following his loss to Ricardo Ramos last May.
Algeo is the much taller fighter but will possess only a 1.5-inch reach advantage. Brito will possess the strength advantage and is the much stronger grappler between the two. Brito has five submission wins on his record to go along with five TKO’s.
Brito is very aggressive in the early rounds, which has lead to a lot of early finishes for him. He has the cardio to sustain a solid pace for three rounds, but his output does tend to taper off if his fights get past round three.
I think that aggression, coupled with the significant advantage Brito will have in the grappling department make for an early finish in this fight, in his favor. Algeo has been taken down in each of his last three fights, and has gotten close to being finish by submission a number of times during that span.
Algeo has a habit of giving up his back to get to his feet, and Brito is no stranger to finishing fights by rear naked choke. -135 is a very fairly priced money line for Brito in his debut, and I’ll sprinkle Brito by submission at +550
Conclusion/Bets: Brito Moneyline -135, sprinkle Brito by SUB +550
(5) Royval vs. (7) Bontorín
Brandon Royval is in need of a win following two straight losses, the first to now-champion Brandon Moreno and, most recently, by submission to Alexandre Pantoja. His opponent, Rogerio Bontorin, snapped a two-fight losing streak by defeating Matt Schnell by decision at UFC 262.
Royval is a guy I feel could win the title on any given night if afforded the opportunity. He’s highly skilled and thrives in chaos, but he does absorb a lot of damage. He has spoken recently about reigning in some of those aggressive tendencies, but still maintaining the level of pressure he has become known for.
Bontorin also has a fantastic skillset, especially on the ground. He’s a black belt in BJJ with 11 victories by submission in MMA, however he has yet to finish a fight by submission in the UFC.
Stylistically, it’s difficult not to favor Royval here. He’s the taller fighter with a slight edge in reach, but what’s going to win him this fight is the pace that he fights at. He is constantly moving forward and in his opponent’s face, which has historically been a style which Bontorin struggles against.
Against Kai Kara-France, Bontorin got the fight to the ground early and controlled Kara-France, nearly finishing multiple submission attempts, until Kara-France got back to his feet, swarmed Bontorin, and landed clean shots to finish the fight. Ray Borg beat him by pressure-wrestling and using his cardio as a weapon.
Matt Schnell fell in a close decision against Bontorin because he did not apply pressure. If Royval makes the same mistake, he will likely end up rolling around with Bontorin for three rounds, and the decision will be a toss-up. However I’m inclined to believe Royval is going to continue fighting like the Raw Dog that he is, and bring the fight to Bontorin both standing and on the ground.
Conclusion/Bets: Royval Moneyline -160, possible value parlay piece
Sherman vs. Collier
Heavyweight Co-Main Event
Honestly, I’m surprised to see this billed as the co-main event. Every once in a while, the UFC likes to put unranked heavyweights in co-main slots on fight nights, simply because they’re heavyweights. However, they’re hoping for collisions and while the first round of this fight will likely include a handful of heavy exchanges, the rest of the fight likely will not.
These are two big boys whose conditioning have come into question on a number of occasions. Though Collier possesses a high level of striking speed at heavyweight, but he is fighting at 265 after starting his career as a middleweight. Sherman has a bit of a problem unloading in the first round of fights and, while he looked sharp in the first rounds of the Andrei Arlovski and Parker Porter fights, he very clearly lost the second and third rounds of each of those fights.
If I had to guess, both of these fighters are going to be gassed out by the middle of the second round, and it’s going to get ugly from there. Basically, from a gambling perspective, I want nothing to do with this fight. There are too many variables and the skillsets these fighters possess could become irrelevant, and the fight could become a matter of who’s in better shape, and who wants it more.
If it does come to that, I would have to lean Collier’s way being that he has looked to be in better shape than Sherman in the past, and because Sherman’s will to win when shit hits the fan is something that has been questioned about him. That being said, Collier does fit a similar description to some other fighters that Sherman has smashed in past fights.
Literally anything can happen here, if you really want a bet to take a flier on I would guess that Sherman does find a knockout in the first or second round. Sherman by KO/TKO at +300 offers some value but I don’t see a reason to put money on this fight.
Conclusion/Bets: No bets, lean Sherman by KO/TKO +300
(5) Kattar vs. (8) Chikadze
Featherweight Main Event
An incredible main event to kick off the new year, this featherweight tilt will be pivotal in terms of the title picture at 145. Kattar is returning after a year off, following a brutal five-round decision loss to Max Holloway. Chikadze has been on fire, now 7-0 in the UFC with three straight knockouts.
Giga has been talked about as a future title contender for a long time, and now that time has finally arrived. He is arguably the most elite striker in the featherweight division, Holloway and Volkanovski included. Personally, I don’t think there’s anyone at 145 who would beat him in a pure striking match over 25 minutes, and a pure striking match is what he’s going to get against Calvin Kattar.
Kattar is a planted power puncher with great boxing fundamentals. That style favored him against Dan Ige and Jeremy Stephens, but it caused him to struggle with the speed and the variety of attacks that Max Holloway presented to him. Speed and variety are part of what define Chickadze’s striking ability.
Kattar’s attacks are largely reliant on counter-punching, and Giga just isn’t going to be there to be hit. His movement and pace will likely overwhelm Kattar, and the betting line reflects that, as Chikadze is a -235 favorite. I’ll be including him in parlays, and I like him to win this fight by decision, based on Kattar’s durability.
Conclusion/Bets: Chikadze -230 is a safe play in parlays, Chikadze by DEC +250 value play.