The UFC is venturing off its beaten path and setting up shop in Boise, Idaho for this week’s Fight Night (Saturday, July 14th). Safe to say the company isn’t calling on their top dogs to carry the card from potato country, however, there are a few intriguing names gracing the card.
Chad Mendes returns to action after taking a 2-year suspension from USADA on the chin with no appeal. He faces Myles Jury, who is a strong submission artist and can pose problems for a possibly rusty Mendes. Mendes has scary wrestling skill and can hold most featherweights down for 3 whole rounds. However, Jury ranks best in the UFC in significant strike percentage, avoiding 73.4% of what’s coming at him (Fight Metric LLC). This bout is tough to call either way so I’m not going to force a pick here. Instead, we can just enjoy the show.
Elsewhere Said Nurmagomedov, cousin of Khabib, starts his UFC journey against Justin Scoggins. Nurmagomedov is 11-1 in other promotions before entering the octagon, his lone loss coming at the hands of Magomed Bibulatov who also is now in the UFC. Said is explosive on the feet, after watching a few fights he looks like an ultra-aggressive striker who throws any punch or kick at will. However, Justin Scoggins is no novice on the feet, absorbing just 1.78 significant strikes per minute (Fight Metric) putting him just outside the top 10 in the UFC. This should be a good test for the Dagestani fighter looking to uphold the family name Saturday Night.
This week I’m looking at a matchup that is getting almost no fanfare at all, Elias Garcia (5-0) against Mark De La Rosa (9-1). This bout is all the way down on the undercard, the second fight on the UFC Fight Pass. Watching the YouTube highlights that Garcia has produced so far in his five-fight career, it’s evident he’s a high-energy fighter that can finish a fighter using his hands or a choke. Garcia’s last fight ended in two minutes, but not before Garcia thoroughly rocked his opponent and subsequently choked him out in the barrage. The Flyweight from California now fighting out of the famed Roufusport in Wisconsin has five amateur wins to equal his number of pro wins, a great deal of experience for a 25-year-old fighter. He has a great camp behind him and He’ll be ready to get another win in Boise.
His opponent Mark De La Rosa struggled in his first octagon action, being choked out by (16-8) Tim Elliot in round 2. De La Rosa looked overmatched from the onset, unable to get up off the mat and forced to search for a last-gasp submission off his back. De La Rosa landed just two total strikes in this match against Elliot, who isn’t known as an overpowering fighter in the slightest. De La Rosa didn’t fight the best competition in his regional and Latin American circuit before entering the UFC, and I think he’s too reliant on submissions from his back to save him when UFC caliber fighters don’t easily fall into those traps.
I see many avenues leading to a Garcia victory and at only -145, this is a bargain to bet on. Mark De La Rosa’s style doesn’t look like a good match for the relentless Garcia. Don’t gloss over this easily overlooked fight and capitalize on the friendly odds to score a payday from the couch Saturday night.