UFC Zombie vs Ortega. Another Fight Night, another #1 Contenders Fight
Story of the Card: UFC Fight Night Zombie vs Ortega is a welcome return to high quality fight cards. In the main event one time title challenger Brian “T City” Ortega takes on dangerous contender Chan Sung Jung. Jung, known by all as The Korean Zombie, is fighting for a shot at the title. The winner of the main event will take on defending champion Alexander Volkanovski in a highly anticipated title bout. In the co main event heavyweight uber prospect Cyril Gane looks to build up his already considerable hype train against Ante Delija. Further down the card we’ve got Jimmy Crute taking on Modestas Bukauskas. Rounding out the main card is the return of the very exciting Thomas Alemdia vs Jonathan Martinez.
UFC Fight Night – The Best Bets for Saturday Night
Thomas Almeida vs Jonathan Martinez
Once upon a time Thomas Almedia was a rising star in the Bantamweight Division. Almedia is capable of ferocious technically brilliant offense. Almedia is also saddled with one of the most damning flaws in MMA which is a glass chin. Cody Garbrandt showed cracks in his durability early on and since then Almeida has either been injured or getting finished in the octagon. It’s a bummer because when Almeida is on he’s a ton of fun to watch. He’s incredibly potent offensively and was 20-0 before his loss to Garbrandt. Now he sits at 22-3 and has not fought since the beginning of 2018. He takes on Jonathan Martinez in his return.
Martinez is a nice up and comer, he’s 26 years old and sits at 12-3 in his career. He’s not a spectacular talent but he is coming off a nice win over Frankie Saenz in his last fight. He’s finished fights via knockout and submission and is generally a competent well rounded fighter. To me this fight is a litmus test for Almeida. This is the least proven and dangerous opponent Almedia has fought in years, if he is gonna make another run at being a Bantamweight contender status he should win this comfortably. If Almedia’s chin issues and durability problems are death sentences in this fight as well things look pretty dire for Almedia. I think the time off for him has probably helped and I still think he’s a great offensive fighter. I think Almeida bounces back here with an impressive win.
The Pick: Thomas Almeida to win. -125 to win at PointsBet Sportsbook.
Number to Know: 4 straight Performance of the night bonuses for Almeida in his last 4 victories. When he’s on, look out.
Jimmy Crute vs Modestas Bukauskas
Two young up and comers at Light Heavyweight battle it out in this matchup. Jimmy Crute is 11-1 and coming off an impressive submission victory in his last outing. Modestas Bukauskas is also young at 26 years old and coming off a good win. Jimmy Crute is the favorite here, he’s shown off a decent takedown and submission game mixed in with his striking where as Modestas Bukauskas hasn’t shown much of anything on the ground yet.
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I think Crute is showing signs of a well rounded complimentary game which is rare in MMA and even rarer at LHW. This should be a fun fight but I trust Crute’s process more and think the odds, which have Jimmy Crute as a -385 favorite, speak to that. My guess is Crute gets it done here which sets him up for some fun fights in the future.
The Pick: Crute to win -385.
Number to Know: 0 percent – Bukauskas’s Takedown Success percentage in the UFC. I think his one dimensional style is the difference here.
Ciryl Gane vs Ante Delija
Ciryl Gane is a French heavyweight prospect who has people legitimately excited about his long term potential. Heavyweight is a division without a lot of hot prospects, dominated mostly by savvy durable vets. The undefeated Gane has people excited due mainly to a blend of big man athleticism and legit kickboxing skills. He’s 3-0 in the UFC and has looked dominant in all 3 fights. He takes on UFC newcomer Ante Delija looking to keep the momentum going. Ante, who goes by the delightful nickname “Walking Trouble”, is 17-3 with all his fights coming outside the UFC. His one fight with UFC competition ended with a loss to Marcin Tybura via leg injury so again he’s tricky to evaluate.
This is heavyweight MMA where anything can happen with one punch but the UFC is very excited about Gane and I think the co main event placement and matchmaking speaks to a desire to put him in position to get a highlight reel victory. Gane has a rare level of dynamic power and also seems to be a well rounded fighter. I think he takes on Delija and continues his ascent to the Heavyweight Top 10.
The Pick: Ciryl Gane to win -590 at FanDuel Sportsbook
Number to Know: -590. The odds on this one are crazy and for good reason. Gane deserves to be a huge favorite here. Just parlay it with your favorite NFL moneyline.
Brian Ortega vs Chan Sung Jung
Brian Ortega vs Chan Sung Jung For the second week in a row we’ve got a number one contenders fight in a fun division. Ortega was the hottest thing at Featherweight before he took a hellacious beating in a title fight loss to Max Holloway. Chan Sung Jung has always been a contender at 145lbs but a series of injures plus mandatory military service in South Korea has stalled a promising career. Jung is currently back in the swing of things, coming off a highlight reel knockout of Frankie Edgar. This is an interesting fight because we haven’t seen Ortega inside the Octagon since his brutal loss to Max Holloway. He took inhumane levels of punishment in that fight, setting a record for strikes absorbed in a title fight. How will Ortega look in his return?
He’s been off for a long time so we could see a new and improved T City but after the beating he took I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a diminished Ortega. Jung has been injured on and off his whole career but inside the Octagon he looks great. Stylistically this fight should be a lot of fun. Jung always brings the action and Ortega showcased one of the slickest submission games in the sport on his rise through the division.
Can Ortega snatch The Zombie’s neck? Or will Jung earn a title show with superior striking. This is a tough fight to call but I believe in Ortega’s process as a fighter and think if he has continued to improve in his long layoff he could be the pick here. I love Ortega’s ability to snatch submissions quickly and could see that being the path the victory here. Give me Ortega by Submission.
The Pick: Ortega to win +155 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Top Prop: Ortega by KO. Watch Ortega’s choke on Cub Swanson. The guy is nasty with the submissions. Good value here too.
Number to Know: 678. That’s how many days it’s been since we’ve seen Ortega inside the Octagon. How will the layoff impact him? Do we see an improved or diminished T-City. Considering his rapid ascent and how often we saw him adding layers to his game, ’ll take the odds he’s improved.
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