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UFC On ESPN 9 Card, Odds, And Prediction

The UFC is back home.

On Saturday, the Las-Vegas-based MMA promotion has its first event in Las Vegas since it received clearance from the Nevada State Athletic Commission to move forward with events at its own UFC Apex venue.

The first show, which is UFC on ESPN 9, takes place on Saturday. It’s headlined by the Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns battle at welterweight.

Here is a look at the odds, preview and predictions.

Odds, Preview and Predictions

The Upset Picks

Blagoy Ivanov

Augusto Sakai is the bigger and younger man, so why am I going with the slight underdog, Blagoy Ivanov?

There are three reasons, and the first is pure toughness. Ivanov has otherworldly resolve that has kept him from ever being stopped via strikes in his career. He also survived a nearly fatal stabbing, massive weight loss during the recovery and treacherous rehabilitation to return to the sport.

The 33-year-old Bulgarian is a tank and his ruggedness should serve him well against a younger heavyweight who hasn’t really been taken into the deep water.

Ivanov also has underrated boxing ability. His jab is especially effective for a shorter heavyweight, and he has excellent timing with his punches.

Lastly, Ivanov is due. In his last fight, he got the short end of the stick against Derrick Lewis, and that was a bout I believed Ivanov deserved to win. Heading into what could be another close fight, Ivanov should get the nod.

Chris Gutierrez

Vince Morales doesn’t have a ton of experience competing at 145 pounds. He also has yet to demonstrate the ability to shine against any increased level of competition in the UFC. Chris Gutierrez should be the bigger, more talented striker with better stand-up skills.

It’s a little surprising to see Morales as the favorite. Perhaps the oddsmakers know something that we don’t.

Klidson Abreu

As talented as Jamahal Hill is as a striker, he has shown some weaknesses in defending takedown attempts. Klidson Abreu has been flashing some better stand-up skills, but he would be wise to use those solely for the sake of closing the distance to initiate a takedown.

Abreu might be the stronger of the two men, and he is without a question, the better grappler. If Abreu has time to work, he’ll defeat Hill by submission, or he’ll control the fight and win by decision.

Why Woodley Beat Burns

Burns is on fire. He has won five fights in a row as he has settled in at 170 pounds. However, Woodley will be a much larger and stronger man in the Octagon on Saturday.

Burns owns an edge over almost everyone he faces in Jiu-Jitsu. However, Woodley has also earned his black belt in the art form, and that makes him a force to reckoned with on the ground.

Perhaps most importantly, Woodley is motivated and prepared to deliver a big performance. At the weigh-ins, Woodley looked fit and focus and that should be a bad combination for Burns.

Lookout for my DraftKings preview as well as the post-fight coverage.

Source: Forbes Business

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