With MMA in full swing since this summer, you can expect to see weekly betting articles from us here at Line Movement, as I’ll be providing you with everything from fight analysis to the potential plays I like for UFC’s offering in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
The main event:
UFC Fight Island 6 will feature an important featherweight fight between Brian Ortega (+160) and Chan Sung Jung (-185).
With this matchup having both action and intangibles written all over it, then I suppose I can understand why the betting lines have rubberbanded a bit in orbit – though I wouldn’t be surprised to see the scale tip toward the Korean’s side come fight night.
An all-action fighter who can competently flow and counter from each phase, Jung presents a tough ask to come back to if you’re in Ortega’s shoes, coming off of a 23-month layoff. That said, Ortega is not a fighter you can fully discount in any spot.
Carrying an almost Babe Ruth-Esque quality about him, Ortega has proven to be one of the UFC’s most notable clutch players. And despite his durability digging him an even deeper hole in his last time out, Ortega’s chin should still be more reliable than Jung’s who – despite his zombie moniker – can be stopped.
So if you’re picking Ortega for that reason, then I wish you the best of luck, as most of your value lies with either the money line at +160 or a prop play of “inside the distance” at +250.
As for me, both the intangibles of Ortega’s time off and the reports Jung looking sharp in camp according to intel from Justin Jaynes via our Line Movement show Octagon Outlook w/ James Lynch have me siding even heavier with the Korean fighter. Anything in the range of -185 to -200 isn’t too chalky for my blood, but I’d still be careful about going too big on either man in this spot.
Capturing the co-main event slot on Yas Island is an interesting flyweight fight between Jessica Andrade (-150) and Katlyn Chookagian (+130).
Given the state of women’s flyweight and the champion who sits atop the division, the winner of this fight could certainly get a leg up on their contemporaries in regards to title contention. But one of the big questions for many will be the size disparity given that Andrade is moving up from strawweight and Chookagian still sits as one of the larger athletes in the weight class.
Sure, both ladies have competed and had success at bantamweight before, but that doesn’t change the fact that there will be a difference of 8 inches in height and 6 inches in reach that favors Chookagian. That said, I still believe that the Brazilian fighter is rightly favored in this matchup.
So long as Andrade doesn’t get stuck following a circling Chookagian around the cage, then I suspect that her speed, strength, and countering savvy (at least when it comes to knowing when to return) should serve the 29-year-old well in regards to washing out the Kiai-fueled combinations that the Armenian-American traditionally scores with.
To Chookagian’s credit, she did remind the masses that she carries a brown belt under Renzo Gracie in her last outing; I’m just not sure she will have the same success when it comes to controlling an explosive Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt like Andrade. Couple that with Chookagian’s recent admissions about retiring, and it becomes hard for me to either pick or play her in this spot.
For that reason, I’ll go with Andrade to earn a hard-fought decision on the scorecards. And with overs coming with serious chalk attached, I don’t blame anyone for keeping it simple and sprinkling on the money line that you like here.
As per usual with my content, I’ll offer my honest analysis as I try to explain my angles and attempt to add to your insight when it comes to both breaking down and betting on fights.
This article is for entertainment purposes only, as I stress to anyone, that gambles to do so legally and responsibly.
Live dog: Claudio Silva +135
In what is a high-intangible fight on both sides of the coin, Claudio Silva (+135) meets James Krause (-155) in a fight that should be a pick’em in my eyes.
The oddsmakers basically agreed with me by opening the line Krause -115 and Silva -105, but public money came in hard on the American (pushing Krause as high as -203 at one point). Good on you if you were able to go the other way and grab the Brazilian fighter for anything north of +150, but I still believe there’s value on Silva within the +130 range.
Don’t get me wrong: I – like many – am a big fan of Krause and the work he’s done as both a fighter and as a coach. However, I can’t help but see Silva (perhaps due to his age and subsequent layoffs) getting disrespected by the betting public once again.
Although Silva spent some miles in going to hell and back in order to return to the octagon, the undefeated 38-year-old has arguably spared himself a lot of fight miles in the process.
A durable southpaw who has a janky-ness to his striking style, Silva has been able to make his relentless pressure game work through the years, earning him victories over sharper and athletic fighters like Leon Edwards and Danny Roberts. Silva also appears to have spent time improving his wrestling at American Top Team in South Florida, which spells trouble when you factor in his ground skills.
Sure, Krause is a legitimate Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in his own right, but not all black belts are created equal, as Silva is a notch above most in this division. Krause may own an impressive win over Sergio Moraes, but Moraes – despite his jiu-jitsu credentials – doesn’t force or sellout for a grappling fight like Silva does.
For that reason, I’ll side with Silva to continue playing the Leonardo Santos of this division by either submitting his foe late or earning a deserved decision on the scorecards. With props still being pretty sparse at the time of this writing, I suggest sticking to the money lines for coverage.
Fight of interest: Thomas Almeida (-135) vs. Jonathan Martinez (+115)
In a fight that’s generating interest from both a styles and betting perspective, I couldn’t help but give a take on the bantamweight banger between Thomas Almeida (-135) and Jonathan Martinez (+115).
Full disclosure: I bet Martinez in this spot at +110, as I missed the boat on the opening line of Martinez +165 (Almeida -190).
With that in mind, I don’t blame anyone on the opposite side of me here, as you can essentially get the fan-favorite in Almeida at a discounted price. Despite coming off a 33-month layoff, Almeida is still only 29 years of age, sitting firmly in his athletic prime.
That said, athleticism or skill has never been Almeida’s problem, as many will point to the Brazilian’s suspect chin. For my money, however, it’s more of a style issue than a durability problem.
Almeida may produce violence with all of his proverbial eight limbs, but you could also argue that a lot of his offense is preset and delivered in an almost-wrote fashion, as the 9-year pro tends to shuffle and slip in the same, predictable directions. Against his first UFC-level lefty in Martinez, I will be curious to see how Almeida conducts himself (especially when you consider that Rob Font technically finished him from a southpaw stance in his last time out).
A fully-fledged southpaw striker, Martinez offers a plethora of threats coming forward and off the counter (a place where he has quietly improved). Martinez also goes to the body more emphatically than most of the higher-level fighters Almeida has fought, which is something to keep in mind if the returning Brazilian looks rough on the scales.
Most importantly, Martinez has yet to be stopped or submitted as a professional or amateur, which is a helpful pre-requisite if you plan on beating a guy like Almeida. Martinez has seemingly also improved his wrestling and scrambling abilities over at Factory-X Muay Thai, which is a camp that has been red hot as far as their flyweight and bantamweight products are concerned.
For that reason, I still like the short-notice fighter in this spot, as Martinez appears to have been dieting and preparing since a week after his last UFC appearance. The line is uniquely playable on both sides, as I suggest caution in going too crazy on sides or props in a fight that will ultimately be a Muay Thai maelstrom.
Regardless of what you’re betting, bet responsibly, my friends!