Enjoying fights means you like action. Betting on fights means you like action. Let’s call this an action packed Saturday.
UFC Fight Night from Lincoln, Nebraska has All-Action fighter, No. 7 ranked welterweight Justin Gaethje looking to bounce back from two straight losses against rising No. 10 ranked contender James Vick on FS1.
GAETHJE +140 (Westgate, CG Technology)
VICK -150 (Wynn)
For the boxing fan out there, Gaethje (18-2, 15KOs, 1 SUB) is like MMA’s Arturo Gatti. He loves to mix it up even when it’s not in his best interests but that’s why people root for him. Gaethje is a very talented offense fighter, when it comes to putting together combinations and his relentless pressure. What sorely lacks is Gaethje’s defense, as in he doesn’t really have any.
Vick (13-1, 3KOs, 5 SUBs) put it as clear as day at the UFC 25th Anniversary Press Conference, “You take 10 significant strikes per minute, that’s 50 shots a round. You ain’t lastin’ three rounds with me taking all that beating right there.”
Realistically, I was a little surprised when this number came out with Vick as a slight favorite, I expected him to be over -200. But I realized why while rewatching Vick’s only loss to Beneil Dariush back in 2016. Vick was completely dominated by an aggressive striker that had one-punch power. That said, Vick seemed very nervous and unsure of himself. Not the confident guy his last few fights. Chalk it up to learning experience.
Ideally Vick will fight smart (the exact opposite of how Cody Garbrandt fought in his rematch with TJ Dillashaw a couple weeks back), keep his emotions under control, consistently land kicks to slow Gaethje’s movement and wear him down, likely getting a stoppage from a kick or finding a submission on a grounded exhausted Gaethje.
When a fighter has back-to-back brutal KO losses, it’s a hard thing to rebound from. While there is zero shame in getting knocked out by former UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez and top contender Dustin Poirier, this might be Gaethje’s last shot to stay relevant at the weight class. He should bring his A-game.
Vick likely learned more from his loss than Gaethje has from his and I don’t think Gaethje can fight any other way. Wait a couple days to see if Vick’s betting line falls even further. Vick isn’t a big name while Gaethje has a following from casual fans. Check in on fight night for the best Vick price. VICK
I promised action and we have an action packed doubleheader on ESPN Saturday from Glendale, Arizona. WBO Lightweight Champion Raymundo Beltran defends against Jose Pedraza. The winner might hit the jackpot as the victor is likely to face Vasyl Lomachenko next. Also on the card, WBO Junior Featherweight Champion Isaac Dogboe battles Hidenori Otake.
BELTRAN -125 (William Hill)
PEDRAZA +105 (WH)
As always check with your favorite book as more lines should pop up closer to Saturday.
For Beltran this might be his last shot to cash in one more time. At 37 he’s what experts would call an old 37 as he has been through some wars.
Pedraza’s only loss came at the hands of Gervonta Davis, one of the best young stars in boxing. Pedraza stayed very active in pursuit of Davis but got hit with some absolute bombs in the 7th round, which ended the fight. The 29-year-old might have a bit more boxing skill with his strong amateur background but he doesn’t have the professional experience of a guy like Beltran, who has seen his share of slick boxers.
The question will be if Pedraza can raise his game to handle the physicality of Beltran’s bruising style. This should be a fantastic fight. Something tells me Beltran has one more win under his belt and he earns the showdown via split decision in a coin flip fight. As far as a pick, sorry, the line is right, which means only one thing to do. PASS
The Scratch Sheets: After the supposed Super Fight between WBO/IBF/WBA Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua vs. WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder fell through the finger pointing started immediately.
For my money it was Joshua and his team that didn’t want the fight – yet. As a former Olympic Gold medalist for Britain, Joshua is a huge star in the UK, drawing 78,000 fans to Cardiff, Wales for his title defense against Joseph Parker. The fight also grossed $38 million on PPV at over 1.4 million buys. No rush on his side to take risks.
Enter Tyson Fury, the original conqueror of Wladimir Klitkschko, and lineal Heavyweight Champion, who has agreed to travel to the U.S. to fight Wilder this November or December in Vegas. Winner will get huge payday vs. Joshua, bet on that.