Alistair Overeem -150 vs Augusto Sakai
Fight is five rounds at heavyweight and is -270 to end inside the distance.
This should be a main event that gives us some solid fight time, but not a full five rounds of it. I’ll get to the spoiler early in this breakdown, as I think this line should be significantly wider. Starting with Augusto Sakai, he is 4-0 in the promotion, and that run has earned him the main event slot. Sakai is a large and athletic heavyweight, that has a somewhat rounded skill set, but lacks a real go-to attribute. Among the departments he lacks in, is having true power for a heavyweight. He is not a one-shot killer, nor does he bring an elite overall skill set, and at least one of the two has consistently been the required recipe for beating Alistair Overeem.
In the past six years and across 13 fights in the promotion, Overeem’s losses have come to Stipe Miocic, Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, and Jair Rozenstruick (Overeem was easily winning the Rozenstruick fight for 24 minutes and 56 seconds, and the stoppage was questionable). The talk of Overeem of late is that he has durability issues and I can’t agree with that. He can be affected by shots from guys without elite power, but he is only being finished by elite fighters, and by ground and pound, which won’t happen in this fight.
Sakai will push forward on Overeem but Reem’s striking is tighter and more powerful, and I believe a left from Reem will eventually be the difference-making shot as Sakai will not be calculated enough with his pressure. Even if Sakai is able to inflict damage, Reem can fall back on grappling. Reem isn’t the most skilled wrestler, but I think if he is forced to resort to selling out for a takedown, he can land one, and is the much better fighter on the floor, particularly in top position. All in all, I am unsure how Sakai wins this fight. I believe the cardio will be on the Reem side, so deep water likely isn’t an option, and Sakai will be left clutching for an answer. Again, this line simply isn’t wide enough, and Overeem probably presents the best value on the card. Sakai is tough and has never been finished, and with the ITD line not really presenting value on Overeem at just +120, Overeem flat at -150 is the most attractive play.
Alonzo Menifield -135 vs Ovince Saint Preux
Fight is at 205 lbs and is -245 to end inside the distance.
While Saint Preux (OSP) is not a helpless fighter on the feet by any means, this fight should be viewed as a striker versus grappler matchup. The strategy of the first round for OSP will be surviving the power and pressure of the heavy-handed Menifield. OSP has not looked exceptional on the feet of late, and if you’re unaware of Menifield’s skill set, he brings a massive KO threat early in fights. Menifield won his first nine career fights within the first five minutes 32 seconds of total fight time, before finally having a setback in his most recent outing.
While he was still throwing quite heavily, his grappling skill set was somewhat exposed by Devin Clark. Even still, Menifield defended the vast majority of takedown attempts in that fight, Now, Clark is a better wrestler than OSP is, but from a BJJ and submission perspective, OSP is world’s ahead. If and when OSP gets the fight to the floor, at any point, it is quite a reasonable expectation for a submission to follow directly. The earlier OSP can get this fight down the better, but it seems questionable or even improbable that he will be able to do so in the first round.
Menifield certainly slows to some degree after the first round and doesn’t have quite the pop behind his strikes later in the fight, but he is an absolute killer in that first round. Early survival for OSP is the sole name of the game if he’s to book a win. It is a massive if, but if and when he is able to get to deeper water, he will be able to work his game and inch closer to submitting a far more dangerous striker, but one that is completely outclassed on the floor. If you have a lean in this fight, betting the likely avenue of victory is prudent. Menifield in Round 1 sits at an extremely attractive +325 and provides the best value. OSP via sub at +250 is the best avenue for him, but Round 2 +575 and Round 3 +1100 are the punt plays with the best returns.
Viviane Aruajo -180 vs Montana De La Rosa
Fight is at 125 lbs and is +165 to end inside the distance.
I mentioned that Overeem was the best value on the card, but we get another favorite in this fight that is a close second. Montana De La Rosa has a strong grappling game, particularly from top position, sound cardio and is durable, but that just might end the list of attributes to mention in this particular matchup. Viviane Araujo is a bona fide top 10 fighter in the women’s flyweight division and will have just a massive striking advantage in this matchup. Aruajo is a powerful striker and uses a good deal of movement, and will essentially tee off on De La Rosa for at least two rounds.
The only real worry for Araujo is her cardio, as round 3, should the fight reach that point, could be dicey. Araujo has never been taken down in the UFC, and if De La Rosa is to have any chance in this fight, she will have to snap that streak. I would give Aruajo the wrestling edge in this one. On the floor, De La Rosa is probably better, but the dominance she has shown on the floor has come against much lower level opponents, and I don’t think she has a huge advantage to press, particularly if Aruajo is not gassed. Araujo probably walks away with a decision win, but we absolutely cannot rule out a knock out win. The -180 flat price tag on Aruajo is an attractive one, but perhaps the best value comes in her winning via KO, at +575.
Thiago Moises is very live for a submission against Jalin Turner, but the massive question is whether Moises can find a way to get the fight to the floor with his wrestling skill set. If we get a standing affair for the duration, Turner will walk away with a win as an underdog, and likely via KO. Turner can crack and will be the extremely longer fighter.
Brian Kelleher draws short notice replacement Kevin Natividad. While Natividad might be able to be competitive early in the fight, I don’t see a real path to an early finish on Kelleher and Kelleher should own the second half of this fight, with a finish being at least a coin flip.
Enjoy the card and happy Labor Day Weekend!