Before the UFC moves out of the APEX centre for the next couple months, we’re back one final time for UFC Vegas 70.
A new light heavyweight title contender could emerge in the main event between Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann. The same could be said at middleweight in the co-main event between André Muniz and Brendan Allen. One biggest stories of this card may be the long-awaited return of the undefeated contender Tatiana Suarez who’s looking for huge performance to get back in the mix. Canadians will be happy to see some talent with appearances from Mike Malott, Yohan Lainesse and Jasmine Jasudavicius.
Main Card (4:00 PM PST)
Erick Gonzalez vs. Trevor Peek
Gonzalez: +175 Peek: -220
Over 1.5: +145 Under 1.5: -189
Much like last week, there are a lot of matchups with debuting fighters and fighters that haven’t been doing well in the UFC. On the one side, you’ve got the undefeated Trevor Peek making his debut; on the other side is Erick Gonzalez who’s lost his only two UFC fights. On paper, the obvious choice would be the undefeated Trevor Peek. However, when you watch his Contender Series fight, you might reconsider that choice.
Peek was almost finished on multiple occasions by his opponent there, getting blown away on the feet. Meanwhile, Gonzalez lost his fights, but they were against the man with the most fights in UFC history. That was Jim Miller, and the wrecking ball known as Terrance McKinney. Now that he’s finally going to get a good matchup, I think this is Gonzalez’s chance to get a win and even get a finish.
Gonzalez by Finish
Mike Malott vs. Yohan Lainesse
Malott: -220 Lainesse: +175
Over 1.5: -108 Under 1.5: -119
Good news: a Canadian is going to get a win here. Bad news: another Canadian is likely going to get cut after this fight. It could go either way in terms of who’s going to take the win and keep their spot. After watching the tape on both guys, I think this is going to come down to who’s got the cleaner, more technical striking. That has to be Malott; he’s simply a better, more precise and technical striker.
Lainesse has power and he’s a scrappy guy, so a finish for him isn’t out of the question. That being said, when you’re looking for the best pick, consistency and technical skill is what you’re looking for. Finally, with both guys favouring a brawl, I’m expecting either a finish or a long, bloody scrap.
Malott by Finish
Tatiana Suarez vs. Montana De La Rosa
Suarez: -800 De La Rosa: +533
Over 2.5: -158 Under 2.5: +122
After years of waiting, the undefeated Suarez is finally back in action. Even though she’s the clear favourite in this matchup, there are some concerns. Obviously, not fighting for a few years isn’t the best start. Not only that, this is at flyweight instead of strawweight. On top of that, she’s going against a fairly large grappler. All that being said, I can’t go against Suarez.
She was hailed as one of the most promising prospects and possibly a future champ and she’s extremely dangerous on the ground. With De La Rosa pushing for grappling, I wouldn’t be surprised if Suarez used those positions against her to grab a finish. If she can do it, she’ll already be propelling herself into the top 15 conversation.
Suarez by Finish
Augusto Sakai vs. Don’Tale Mayes
Sakai: -134 Mayes: +110
Over 1.5: -184 Under 1.5: +140
Sakai may be tumbling into this one on a 4-fight losing streak, but this is the easiest matchup he’s had in years. Those losses all came to top 10 opponents like Overeem, Rozenstruik, Tuivasa and Spivac. Mayes just simply is not that calibre of fighter, only beating Josh Parisian and Roque Martinez and losing his other 3 in the UFC. I’m not sure if Sakai can get a finish here, so I’d expect him to use his size to win the decision.
Sakai by Decision
André Muniz vs. Brendan Allen
Muniz: -234 Allen: +185
Over 1.5: -145 Under 1.5: +114
This is by far the easiest matchup of the main card to predict. Allen is one of those fighters that can beat lower fighters, but barely edges wins against everyone else. On the other side, Muniz is closing in on a title shot and has absolutely dominated every opponent he’s had in the UFC. Muniz should be able to easily win this matchup and could very easily grab a finish.
Muniz by Finish
Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann
Krylov: -172 Spann: +140
Over 1.5: +133 Under 1.5: -172
Krylov has had a couple good wins in a row over Oezdemir and Gustafsson, but this new version of Ryan Spann is terrifying. It sounds insane, but Spann admitted he’s only recently started to take fighting seriously and train full time. Since then he walked straight through both Reyes and Cutelaba in the 1st Round. Krylov has always struggled against similar fighters, so I’d give Spann the clear edge.
Spann by Finish
BLU’s Prelim Picks (Prelims begin at 1:30 PM PST)
Nurullo Aliev vs. Rafael Alves
Aliev: -186 Alves: +150
Over 2.5: -113 Under 2.5: -113
This one’s the sleeper fight of the card. Most people won’t know either guy in this matchup, but it’s one of the most exciting on paper. Alves has gone 1-2 in his fights in the UFC, but don’t let that fool you, he’s an extremely dangerous, explosive fighter on the feet and on the ground. His losses came to the feared Damir Ismagulov and the always-dangerous and explosive Drew Dober. On the other side is the incredibly impressive, undefeated young prospect from Tajikistan who dominated his opponent on the Contender Series.
The heavy grappling style of Aliev is a problem for anyone, but this seems like it may be too much, too soon for a UFC debut. Alves should be able to use his elite UFC experience and outrageous power to grab a finish over the rookie. I will say though, if Aliev can withstand this onslaught and take the win, we’re looking at a real future contender at only 23 years old.
Alves by Finish
Ode Osbourne vs. Charles Johnson
Osbourne: +133 Johnson: -167
Over 2.5: -113 Under 2.5: -113
Here’s another exciting prelim matchup. Ode is one of the most unique, exciting strikers in the division, while Johnson has been having VERY impressive performances against top 15 guys. This one could go either way and is very likely to go the distance. The main question is whether or not Ode can handle Johnson’s relentless wrestling pace. Sadly for him, I’m not really sure he can overcome that pace. I think Johnson will use that grappling pace to control Osbourne’s striking and win a decision.
Johnson by Decision
BLÜ’s Best Bets
Here I highlight some betting lines that you might want to take advantage of for UFC Vegas 70. These are odds that favour the bettor. Although some of them may conflict with my picks, they offer a fair reward for a slight bit of risk.
The Underdog Rafael Alves at +150
He’s had close fights with two of the most dangerous, skilled lightweights in the UFC and is always looking for a finish. Aliev is a great prospect, but with this being his UFC debut, I don’t think he’s ready for the wrecking ball that’s named Rafael Alves. At the very least, taking a +150 betting line for the more experienced fighter is worth a play.
The Underdog Erick Gonzalez at +175
This is definitely a bit more of a gamble than Alves. Gonzalez hasn’t really wowed audiences, but he HAS fought two tough fighters in Jim Miller and McKinney. On the other side, Peek was almost finished on multiple occasions in his Contender Series matchup. At +175, I’d much rather take the guy who’s fought a couple of big names than the guy who barely got a contract a few months ago.
The Underdog Ryan Spann at +140
This comes down to Spann’s newfound motivation. He’s openly admitted that he was barely training for fights before his last couple matchups. Since then he’s absolutely destroyed Cutelaba and Reyes with 1st Round finishes. I haven’t really seen anything all that impressive from Krylov, so this could be one of the betting lines that makes your entire week.
The Short Run
Solecki + Suarez + Muniz
The Long Run
Solecki + Malott + Suarez + Sakai + Muniz