The UFC machine keeps on rolling and following the collapse of the much anticipated Cory Sandhagen v TJ Dillashaw fight, we have women’s flyweight action at the top of the bill instead as ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson and Contender Series alum Marina Rodriguez take centre stage.
After the madness of having fans back in Jacksonville for the loaded UFC 261 card, this event reverts back to what has arguably been the home of combat sports in the COVID era, the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Make sure you have your card marked by checking out our best value plays from the card below.
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This is another well-matched fight on the card. Having taken some tough losses in Dana White’s Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter, Phil Hawes is now taking his chance in the UFC going 2-0 against solid opponents since getting a contract on the Contender Series the second time around.
In what is becoming quite a regular occurrence, this is a fight between two Contender Series alumni, with Daukas not getting a contract after his appearance back in 2019.
He eventually got his shot in 2020, going one and one since. I’ve underestimated Hawes in his two UFC appearances and with him being an underdog here, I think it might be about time to get him onside.
Verdict: Phil Hawes to get it done here. He’s fought two solid opponents in the UFC and does carry power in his hands. Providing he can avoid the submission skills of Kyle Daukaus, which are very dangerous, then Hawes is good value as an underdog.
Hill has been the most active woman on the UFC roster since 2019, fighting nine times in the period and coming out with a record of five wins, four losses. She’s insanely tough having never lost by KO in her pro career, however, she does have three submission defeats on her record.
Hill has been fighting at this level for longer and is the more experienced fighter, but she has often struggled when stepping up against higher level opposition.
Conversely, three of Ribas’ 10 wins have come via submission, so she does appear to have a strength where Hill has a vulnerability which opens up an opportunity for some value. In her short UFC career to date, Ribas has fought some good women and has been marked as something of a prospect.
Verdict: I think this fight either goes to a decision or is finished with a Ribas submission. She has a black belt in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and having taken a tough loss last time out, it’s very possible she looks to utilise her strengths here. With Hill’s vulnerability to submission, this looks the best gameplan from a betting perspective.
It’s Neal v Neil in the UFC’s welterweight division and I like the matchmaking as both guys will be looking to bounce back from comprehensive losses last time out. Magny has been fighting in the UFC since 2012 but has never really broken into the elite of what is perennially a stacked division.
Geoff Neal had together a good run of six wins in the UFC prior to losing to Stephen Thompson in December.
Despite that loss, I think there is still room for improvement and he still has some upside. Conversely, at this stage in Magny’s career, we likely know what we’re going to get from him.
Verdict: This is a well-matched fight, but I think Geoff Neal gets the win after some good wins of late. To also use some MMA maths, Neal has been fighting, and beating, the better guys of late and as I mentioned previously he likely still has some improving to do.
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