100 Dollars and a Dream: Fighters Worth Backing at UFC 227

Overall Record: 7W – 4L (Last week 1-2)


UFC on Fox: Poirier vs. Alvarez didn’t favor Tap In on the betting line, giving us two fat L’s and our first overall losing week. The Dagestani Gadzhimurad Antigulov thoroughly disappointed against Ion Cutelaba, losing by first-round KO due to vicious elbows. Antigulov started out the fight in usual form, securing the easy takedown.

However, unlike his first two fights in the UFC, Antigulov wasn’t able to hold Cutelaba down. The Dagestani struggled for two more brief takedowns before completely gassing out. Cutelaba pounced on his exhausted opponent and battered him with punches and elbows on the cage forcing the referee to stop the fight.

Antigulov’s terrible cardio was surprising considering he never displayed any ill effects in his previous fights. Grappling with Cutelaba’s own size and strength sapped Antigulov’s energy to nothing in minutes. Perhaps his 14 fight win streak was heavily aided by smaller fighters.

Elsewhere we predicted John Makdessi to beat downs the veteran Ross Pearson and he did exactly that in thrilling fashion. The “Fight of the Night” winner was a bloodbath with Makdessi doing most of the damage. He was simply too quick with his strikes and caught Pearson coming in time after time. In all Makdessi threw 265 total strikes in three rounds and had bounced back with two wins after taking a brutal wheel kick KO from the foot of Lando Vannata.

Lastly, we had confidence in Matheus Nicolau to outlast Dustin Ortiz on the feet, but oh we were so wrong. A one strike KO in the first round courtesy of an Ortiz head kick ended Nicolau’s night and ends his 3-0 undefeated streak in the UFC. As we can surmise from this result, mixed martial arts can be hard to predict, one mistake can have you seeing stars. Nicolau looked comfortable against Ortiz until he let his hands down for one instant. We mistakenly looked past Ortiz’s power while predicting this fight (5 KO’s and 3 first round finishes in UFC). Nicolau was taking a step up in competition and experience and we didn’t quite realize that well enough. Luckily the UFC stays busy in the summer and we got another chance to keep the money long this weekend at UFC 227.


Spotlight This Week: Ricardo Ramos (11-1) -210

 This week we’re focused in on the prelim fight between Ricardo Ramos and Kyung Ho Kang (14-7). Ramos is 2-0 in the UFC so far and has impressed with his all-around skills in the octagon. His first UFC fight came against Michinori Tanaka and Ramos dominated en route to a unanimous decision victory. Ramos showed knock down power early in the first, catching Tanaka with a counter right to the chin.


He wasn’t able to finish Tanaka in the first but continued to impose his will throughout the final two rounds. According to Fight Metric, this takedown attempt technically counted for Tanaka but we can see that Ramos is reversing position on the fly and ends up on top on the ground. Ramos was a Brazilian champ in BJJ and he has shown world-class grappling and submission skills in the cage.


Next fight he took on Aiemann Zahabi, brother of famed Tristar Gym trainer Firas Zahabi. This was a tough matchup for Ramos as Zahabi was streaking and had some shine behind his name. Ramos had to get through a tough fighter and trainer with an excellent game plan to stay undefeated in the octagon.

In his second UFC fight, Ramos again showed the all-around game, landing some vicious kicks early and securing three takedowns. In round three Ramos saw the opening for the spinning elbow and delivered it on the button with ferocity. The KO won “Performance of the Night” and could possibly still win “Knockout of the Year”.


Why Kyung Ho Kang Won’t Win

 Kyung Ho Kang is 3-2 in the UFC but has only one fight under his belt in the last four years. In his most recent fight against Guido Cannetti, Kyung looked rusty and if it weren’t for a last-gasp submission from his back, he would’ve lost via a decision. Kyung looked a step slower on the feet and got outstruck by Cannetti 19-3 in significant strikes.


Kyung has made his money dominating fighters of lesser stature on the ground, but in this matchup, Ramos matches his size exactly. They have one opponent in common, Michinori Tanaka, and Ramos fared far better than Kyung. Tanaka fought Kyung in 2014, though Kyung won by split decision, he got taken down three times and was outstruck by Tanaka. Ramos knocked Tanaka down in the first round and though he couldn’t finish him, he constantly dominated on the ground, reversing takedowns and transitioning to submission attempts. If this is any indication, Ramos will have his way with Kyung on the ground and could finish the fight with a submission.


Other fighters to bet on

Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1) –480

Because it’s DJ, Cut the bullshit.


Alex Perez (20-4) –140

 Alex Perez is undefeated in the UFC and he takes on Jose Torres, undefeated in all fights. Torres got extremely lucky in his first UFC fight, he was in trouble immediately after getting knocked down by a Jarred Brooks elbow then Brooks knocked himself out cold when he botched a big slam and landed awkwardly. Torres struggled in his only octagon action and Alex Perez is talented enough to make Jose pay for those mistakes.

Like Brooks, Perez has an excellent ground game; finishing two out of three UFC fights by submission. In his last two fights he’s taken down opponents five times and will have the skills and game plan to give Torres his first career loss Saturday night.

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