UFC Fight Night 132 is Saturday, June 23rd from Kallang. Most of the fighters on this card are from Asia and have only fought in the Asian regional scene. There were hours of new fights to watch and athletes to analyze, even though there aren’t any household names, there still is money to be made. After some careful analysis, I have some fantastic value bets to make money sitting on your couch this weekend.
Naoki Inoue (11-0) -195
Inoue is an undefeated Japanese Flyweight who started Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at age seven. His family has fighting in their blood as his sister Mizuki competes in Invicta Promotions. After two victories in the amateur MMA circuit, Naoki Inoue turned pro and subsequently went 10-0. After his success in Japanese MMA, he signed a contract with the UFC and faced fellow undefeated fighter Carls John De Tomas (now 8-2) in 2017.
De Tomas weighed in at 131, five pounds over the non-title Flyweight limit of 126. As we’ve seen recently, missing weight is extremely beneficial to winning fights (7 of 9 fighters who missed weight in 2018 have won). However on this night De Tomas didn’t have the power, strength or speed advantage. His lone successful takedown was early in the first round and Inoue sprang right back up.
For the rest of the fight, Inoue’s sprawling and quick grappling rendered De Tomas useless on the ground. The smaller fighter Inoue regularly found success with arm drags and switches to gain back control, thus dominating his opponent on the ground for three rounds.
Inoue had the advantage on the feet as well. De Tomas had the reach advantage but was never able to consistently find Inoue’s chin and hurt him. He has a creative striking game from his Karate background and his fight IQ is exceptional. Naoki looks like a veteran in the cage at age 21 because he reads fighters and knows where and when attacks will come. He avoids initial danger and counters with his own attacks. His footwork and stamina are exceptional, even for a Flyweight, and never diminished throughout three rounds in his first UFC fight.
Inoue’s opponent this weekend, Matt Schnell, is 1-2 with two knockout losses so far in the UFC. He has the quick foot speed to rival Inoue however, evidenced by two knockout losses to Rob Font and Hector Sandoval, Schnell has cracks in the armor. He is vulnerable with his back on the canvas and Inoue will surely focus on that. I’m confident Inoue’s fight IQ will allow him to find the openings on the feet and take it to the ground if he can’t end it standing.
Song “The Terminator” Yadong (12-4) +105
“The Terminator” is a Chinese Bantamweight who has 16 professional fights at just 20 years old. Yadong competed in Russia and Japan, but mostly in China before entering the UFC. He could already be considered an MMA veteran, having faced multiple grizzled Russian brawlers while still a teenager.
Song looked comfortable the first time in the octagon, getting $50,000 for a “Performance of the Night” 1st round submission Bharat Kandare. “The Terminator” lived up to his name by knocking his opponent down to the canvas with an overhand right, then pouncing on the neck for a front headlock choke.
Before connecting with the right to knock down Kandare, Yadong was outclassing his opponent tenfold. Despite his bulldog-like frame, Song is as light as a feather on his feet. He doesn’t waste any movement or energy, flowing in and out of his strikes. The power and speed combo on the feet makes Song Yadong an intriguing future prospect at 135.
His opponent this weekend is Felipe Arantes (18-9-1), a Brazilian submission specialist who has 11 UFC fights (5-5-1) under his belt. Arantes will be a healthy challenge for Yadong, his game plan will be to get the fight to the ground any way possible and get a submission. The false perception that Arantes is far more experienced and will catch Song in a submission is why the Brazilian comes in as the favorite. However, Yadong has experience on the ground with three submission victories of his own. Arantes has to keep it on the ground and get a submission early or tire out Song to find a win.
The glaring problem for the Brazilian is his stand up game, he looks hesitant and too caught up in counter striking. In his most recent fight, Arantes was knocked down twice within the first two minutes against Josh Emmett. Yadong will take full advantage and maximize with his power striking. Yadong’s physicality and expanding MMA skills at age 20 is the perfect recipe for the first money prospect from China. Jump on the “Song” train this weekend for some underdog profits.