Welcome fight Enthusiasts to UFC 227 when two UFC Championships are on the line. I’ll present my main event breakdown which originally appeared in VSiN’s Wednesday’s newsletter called ‘Point Spread Weekly” followed by any updates from today with other releases I feel are worthy of investment.
(All GambLou.com releases are understood to be a standard/hypothetical $100.00 per position unless otherwise stated. We employ $100.00 to easily track results as every GambLou.com release is recorded and accounted for each Monday AM in the “Money Morning’ report. On line, up to date reporting for all sporting events we work is available by accessing the ‘Profitability’ tab on the Gamblou.com webpage. The Profitability tab displays win percentage, gross profit and bottom line profitability up to date in real time. It’s business).
(originally published 8-1-18)
The UFC follows up an excellent FOX fight card with this weeks’ UFC 227 from Los Angeles, CA. The main event is a rematch for the Bantamweight title which figures to be as competitive and violent a match-up as last weekend’s Poirier vs. Alvarez fight. This rematch pits current Champion TJ Dillashaw in his first title defense against the man whom he whupped to earn it, ex-Champion Cody Garbrandt.
TJ Dillashaw -115 vs. Cody Garbrandt -105 Bantamweight Title (135lbs.)
In November of last year Garbrandt defended his title against Dillashaw in an epic back and forth fight that culminated many months of tension, trash talking and threats between the two combatants who had been opposing coaches on the UFC program The Ultimate Fighter.
The origin for the hatred between these two goes back to when they were all a band of brothers at Team Alpha Male. That is until October of 2015 when Dillashaw left the team to join his striking coach’s new gym in Colorado which began a litany of accusations, insults and innuendo between the two fighters and respective camps that continues to rage to this day. These are two of the top fighters not only in the division but on a pound for pound basis, they're both skilled in their own expertise, possess power and each must stick to their respective game plan in order to overtake their most hated opponent.
Dillashaw is a multi-faceted fighter that can wrestle, grapple and strike with great diversity and power. His greatest asset is his movement which allows him to close distance, cut angles and escape most counter punching combatants. Bantamweights all have the ability to move fluidly as well most base their attack on accumulation as opposed to one punch, lights-out power. Dillashaw is versed with the whole package and will have advantage over Garbrandt in his ability to maintain the space needed to inflict damage then evade.
In the first fight Dillashaw struggled in the first round to earn his way inside. He utilized leg kicks to try to close distance against the stalking Garbrandt and as the round was closing, Dillashaw left himself open and got dropped by a lightning quick, powerful Garbrandt right. Had that first round been another eight seconds longer Garbrandt would have won the fight as Dillashaw was rocked and on rubber legs.
An important aspect of that fight and perhaps more important this time around was the fact that the Garbrandt camp figured that the plan of success against Dillashaw (used perfectly by Dominic Cruz when we took the title from Dillashaw) was to frustrate him early, neutralize his movement and force Dillashaw away from his plan of attack. Once they could force Dillashaw off plan they figured it to be Garbrandt’s advantage if the fight transformed into an old fashioned 'throw down'.
In the second round Dillashaw began to move less and fire more power shots on Garbrandt in response to being clipped. The irony of Garbrandt’s plan was that it was working into round two for Dillashaw had taken the bait. What the Garbrandt team had not anticipated was a lethal Dillashaw left leg kick that flushed Garbrandt as he was forcing the action on Dillashaw. This critical mistake of taking the fight to Dillashaw as opposed to patiently waiting to counter allowed Dillashaw to follow up on the stunned Champion with a vicious right hook which spelled the end of the night for Garbrandt.
Cody Garbrandt is two inches taller than Dillashaw and is five years younger than the current Champion (fighters five years younger or more than their opponent are victorious 62% of the time since UFC’s inception). While Dillashaw displays the technique, speed and diversity of a seasoned mixed martial artist, Garbrandt is armed with less multiplicity in attack but more precision, power and finishing ability.
Garbrandt expertise is utilizing efficient movement while he takes a premeditated, stalking approach to encouraging exchanges with opponents. He works patiently to lure opponents into trading, thus allowing him to fight at his strength which is off the counter. Garbrandt possesses unusual quickness, speed, power and when effectively delivered the effects are devastating as his record displays (Garbrandt is 11-1 with nine finishes). He utilizes a less diverse fighting style but it is exemplary in its quickness, simplicity and power.
In this rematch, Garbrandt must maintain control the center of the Octagon and encourage Dillashaw to engage trusting that once he makes a mistake, Garbrandt may capitalize, this time hopefully with enough time in the round to finish the job. This was his plan last November and (with some minor modifications) it will be the plan Saturday night.
In the first fight Garbrandt opened -135 to Dillashaw’s +105, at closing the price had escalated to Garbrandt -200 and Dillashaw +170.
There were factors that made it possible for Dillashaw to upset Garbrandt in the first fight. I attribute much of Dillashaw’s success to the guile and experience of a thirty-year-old fighting a recently crowned, twenty-four-year-old who was unprepared for the distractions and commitments of being a UFC Champion. The weeks long TUFF production also had a profoundly negative effect on Garbrandt as Dillashaw was able to push the younger man’s buttons and grind on him incessantly throughout the production.
Finally and ironically, it was an over anxious Garbrandt who ignored the patience plan and inadvertently engaged with what he thought was a wounded Dillashaw only to walk into a head kick followed by a crushing right hook. That impatience and variance from the blueprint for Garbrandt success will not occur Saturday night for Garbrandt took his PhD. in MMA that night in November and enters this fight a calmer, more cerebral, focused fighter.
Garbrandt enters this fight with infinitely more maturity, focus and determination as he attempts to regain the Championship he lost. I strive to uncover fighters who for any number of reasons are poised to deliver their absolute best performance on fight night. For Garbrandt the press demands have waned and the daily interaction between these two combatants via the TUF production are history leaving Garbrandt time and effort to prepare for one singular task.
I believe at a pick-em this fight reflects certain value for the younger, larger, more finitely focused ex-Champion. I expect Garbrandt to quietly and systematically chop Dillashaw down over time and earn back the Bantamweight Title.
As you may see the price on Garbrandt has actually increased to +115 at the time of this writing. Clearly he is still a release anywhere around current pricing. Good luck, he’ll have to beat a damn equip Champion in TJ to get his hand raised.
Johnson -450 vs. Cejudo +400
Demetrious Johnson is truly a marvel of the sport and I’ll go as far as saying the he’s a top five all-time pound for pound talent in the history of the organization. That said, he is a human and though he deserves to be a rightful favorite in this spot it’s my judgement that he could well toil against an Olympic Gold Medal wrestling talent on his second at bat against Johnson. No doubt Johnson continues to evolve but in intricacies whereas I believe Cejudo has ascended in MMA’s skills at a more rapid rate this last couple of years. This fight will be competitive and I believe there’s a way for Cejudo to take this fight into the later rounds and wrestle the champion for Cejudo must fight at his strength in order to shock the world.
Cejudo +400 (half)
Munhoz -195 vs. Johns +180
Johns +200 was released yesterday @Twitter so while we lose a few pennies at times like the Garbrandt release above (Tuesday deadline for PSW) where we could not wait until post weigh-ins to drop the position, I do often achieve an above market price.
Munhoz is a submission specialist that may wish to engage John’s standing as it’s Johns who will want to get this to the floor for his forte’ is wrestling, grappling and ground control. The cat and mouse here is can and how will Johns get Munhoz to the mat? Shooting in on a guillotine expert is a sure way to slumber in sleep city so Johns must not expose his neck. Another interesting aspect of the fight is how the stand-up goes as Johns has a seven-inch reach advantage. Pumping a steady jab at the Brazilian and making him have to force his way inside would be a fine situation for the Welchman. Johns, the wrestler is the taller, larger, heavier man tonight and I believe it makes a difference in a very close fight.
I have my eye on another couple of real deep mangy mutts on this card but will wait until I feel the flow of the card to release anything further. Keep an eye on @Twitter.