The UFC comes to Melbourne for the first time and it has brought out its biggest star in an attempt to break the all-time attendance record at Etihad Stadium on November 15. Ronda Rousey, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Mark Hunt are the star attractions, but a spattering of Australia’s best mixed martial artists, and some great matchups, make UFC 193 a must see event. Check out all our UFC 193 betting tips below!
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In the Main Event we have the peerless Ronda Rousey, who in just a few short years has transcended the sport to be one of the most popular athletes in the world today. She is not only undefeated but completely untested in her MMA career. She has won her last 4 title defences in a combined 2 minutes and 10 seconds and only one opponent has ever made it out of the first round. Her grappling is simply on another level to everyone who steps in cage with her. From the clinch she works a flawless Judo game to put opponents on their back and then transitions to her signature arm bar with unparalleled ease. Her striking continues to improve and she is now at the level where she can knockout opponents almost as quickly as she can submit them. But her strongest attribute may be her strength of will. If you listen to any interview, there isn’t an ounce of her that believes she can be beaten.
Long before Holly Holm entered the UFC she had been earmarked as potential kryptonite for Rousey and while I think she is getting this fight a little bit soon in her career, it makes for an intriguing match-up. Prior to being an MMA superstar, Holm had a long and illustrious boxing career. She is a multiple time world champion and was twice voted Ring magazines female fighter of the year. Holm has been able to transition to a more MMA friendly kickboxing style incredibly quickly and she is one of the few female fighters who have multiple head kick knockouts on their highlight reel. She likes to fight at distance and throws a variety of kicks and long punches, but she is also dangerous fighting in the clinch with devastating knees. She is by far and away the best striker Rousey has ever fought. Another advantage is she won’t be a deer in the headlights come fight night. Many of Rousey’s opponents are so mentality beat prior to the fight that the octagon action is merely a formality. Holm has been in big pressure fights multiple times in her career so going to the big dance shouldn’t faze her. While Holm is a phenomenal striker she is a complete unknown on the ground as she has spent hardly any time there, but I think it’s safe to say she will be at a huge disadvantage if this fight hits the mat.
Prediction: Although Holm presents a new and interesting puzzle for Rousey, you would have to give me Prince of Penzance odds to consider laying any juice on Holm. Holm is an experienced enough striker to avoid Rousey’s power punches so I think a TKO/KO is very unlikely. The fight will come down to how long Rousey can be kept on the outside before she closes the distance, Judo throws Holm onto her head and locks in an arm bar. While Holm will obviously have the pure striking advantage in this fight, she will be so concerned about the takedown that she will leave holes for Rousey to exploit on the feet. I also think she will be tentative to throw many kicks, because if Rousey can catch one, she will be able to quickly get the fight to the ground. Ronda Rousey by 1st round submission
Remarkably, Rousey is not the biggest favourite on the card. That honour goes to the mercurial women’s strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. A multiple time world champion in Muay Thai, Jedrzejczyk is easily in the top 10 best strikers in all of MMA. Her outstanding striking pedigree becomes even more apparent because she is fighting in the newest and shallowest division in the UFC. Thus far in her career it has been clear that her opponents are simply not ready to face a fighter of this calibre (barring Claudia Ghadella). Her beat downs of Carla Esparza and Jessica Penne left many a hardened MMA fan screaming at the TV for the ref to stop the fight. Being only 52 kgs, Jedrzejczyk lacks one punch knockout power, but is able to string together a seemingly endless array of striking combos. Coming from a Muay Thai background her best strikes are knees and elbows and she uses these to punish opponents attempting takedowns. Like all top level strikers, she uses beautiful change of weight distribution to generate power. She is just as comfortable coming forward and peppering her opponent or retreating and picking off counters. She also has fantastic footwork, constantly cutting off the cage and creating angles. She is still an unknown quantity fighting off her back and that is obviously where any opponent will find the most success.
Letournea is a decent striker by women’s strawweight standards. She comes from a boxing background and works behind a jab sprinkling in a variety of high and low kicks. She has quite good movement and much better striking defence than the rest of Jedrzejczyk’s opponents, so it will be interesting to see how the champ fares breaking that down. Strategically, she likes to stand and trade in the pocket, but rather than brawl she keeps her hands up and chin tucked. Despite this, she will go into this one at a massive striking disadvantage, so will need to rely on her grappling if she is any chance of getting a victory. While she has decent positional grappling, she doesn’t have a very strong wrestling game and is coming up against an opponent who not only has brilliant takedown defence but also viciously punishes opponents who attempt takedowns. Unfortunately for Letournea everything she does well, Jedrzejczyk does much, much better and I just don’t see a path to victory for her here.
Prediction: With the Ronda Rousey show coming down under we are going to have a lot of first time viewers tuning into see what the UFC thing is all about. I worry a little bit that this fight might put a few of those types off. This is going to be a one-sided bloody beat down and the longer it goes the worse it’s going to look. Hopefully Letournea is buoyed by the opportunity and can make this one competitive, but I don’t think she will have anything for the Polish champion and will succumb to strikes in the early rounds. Jedrzejczyk by 2nd Round TKO.
This fight is a replay one the greatest heavyweight fights in UFC history. In December 2013 in Brisbane, Mark Hunt and Bigfoot Silva battled in an epic five-round war that was so back and forth that the judges awarded a draw. Now fans in Melbourne will be treated to the sequel which hopefully has all the drama from the first fight but with a more definitive ending.
Mark Hunt is the hardest puncher in the UFC. This was on show recently when he became the first fighter in UFC history to KO the granite chin of Roy Nelson and he did it with a one punch walkaway uppercut. Very few fighters have been able to take Hunt’s best shots and Big Foot Silva’s chin will be the perfect height for Hunt’s signature leaping left hook. He may look slow and cumbersome, but Hunt is quite nimble when he needs to be, utilizing intelligent head movement to stay out of the way of opponent’s power shots. He is also quite economical with his striking, waiting for an opening rather than gassing himself out with unnecessary combinations. His Achilles heel has always been takedown defence and the ground game and although he has improved markedly in that area, it remains every opponent’s best chance at victory. In his last fight, he had no answer for Stipe Miocic’s wrestling game and this is certainly a blueprint Bigfoot could implement.
One of the big storylines coming out of their first fight was how Bigfoot was able to absorb Hunt’s power punches. That was somewhat answered in the post-fight drug tests when Bigfoot was found to have outrageously high levels of testosterone. He was subsequently suspended and has really struggled to regain that kind of form. He is still a colossus of a man with a lot of power and will have comically big size advantage over Hunt. He also possesses an underrated BJJ and wrestling game and if he is able to get Hunt on his back I think he will be able to pound him out.
Prediction: It’s hard to predict how two fighters in the twilight of their career will perform. In their first fight, Bigfoot found a lot of success when he kept the fight at distance and was really hurting Hunt with outside leg kicks. I think he will win the early portion of this fight in a similar fashion, but as soon Hunt can close the distance and use his superior technique to catch Bigfoot clean that’s going to be all she wrote. Mark Hunt by 1st round KO.
This to me is the most interesting fight on the card. It is a great stylistic matchup between two excellent counter fighters. Since moving up to middleweight, Whittaker has reeled off two ultra-impressive wins and a victory here will catapult him into the division’s top 10. Fighting out of Sydney, Whittaker is primarily a striker holding a black belt in Hapkido and Karate. He uses a jab and leg kicks to keep distance and blitzes in which multi punch combinations. His best punch is a wicked left hook and he throws in a lot of unconventional strikes such as a counter elbow. Like most Karateka, Whittaker has fantastic head movement and timing, but his aggression can sometimes make him a bit hittable which may spell danger against a striker of Hall’s calibre. Whittaker has exceptional takedown defence and I don’t foresee Hall being able to take this one to the mat.
Hall exploded onto the scene via ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ where he registered a number of highlight reel knockouts. His wheel kick knockout of Adam Cella is still one of the scariest things I have seen in the octagon. However coming off the show he failed to live up to the hype and lost to a number of mid-level UFC fighters. It seems in recent times Hall has been starting to put it all together and has won 5 of his last 6 fights including a spectacular jumping back kick KO against the heavily favoured Gegard Moussai. The biggest criticism of Hall during his UFC tenure has been lack of activity, even in fights were he has a significant striking advantage he has been hesitant to engage. When he does though, his strikes are devastating. Also a black belt in Karate, Hall has some of the best spinning attacks the octagon has seen. He has knockout power in every limb and once he has an opponent hurt he has great instinctual ground and pound to force the finish.
Prediction: This will be a fascinating contest. Both combatants have the technique and power to finish the fight with one strike. There will be a lot of feeling out in this fight and one mistake or overextension could be all it takes. If it goes to decision, I think its Whittaker’s fight as he should be the more active fighter. Whittaker is undefeated in front of his home crowd and Hall is taking this fight on short notice. I’m picking the underdog to get it done in this one. Robert Whittaker by 3rd Round TKO.
I’m a little surprised this fight is on the main card considering some of the talent on the undercard, but UFC fans love to see the big men go at it. It is a bout between two pretty run of the mill heavyweights who will probably never go on to challenge the division’s elite. At seven foot, Struve is the tallest man to ever compete in the UFC and has to cut weight to make the 120kg limit. At one stage he looked like a future superstar, but after a number of devastating losses and a cavalcade of heart and mental issues, that hype is completely gone. He has won only once since 2012 and that was a lacklustre decision against a completely shot Big Nog. He is a good Dutch kickboxer, but isn’t very good at using his reach advantage preferring to trade in the pocket. He is effective at using his long limbs to pull off submissions, particularly triangle chokes. However he has little to no offensive or defensive wrestling game.
Rosholt, a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler, is 5-1 in his UFC career. Wrestling forms the cornerstone of his game and he is the quintessential grinder. He is predominantly a chain wrestler looking to transition from single legs or work his opponent against the cage. On the ground he looks to wear the opponent out with constant pressure transitioning between headlocks and top control. On the feet he has the unfortunate combination of poor striking defence and a suspect chin. Struve isn’t the hardest hitter in the heavyweight division, but if he finds the chin he can definitely put Rosholt out. He is also pretty poor at using his strikes to set up takedowns.
Prediction: The thing I can’t go past in this fight is Struve’s non-existent takedown defence and Rosholt’s wrestling credentials. Rosholt will have to be wary of getting tangled up in Struve’s octopus limbs, but if he can avoid the big shot on the feet, it’s his fight to lose. Its possible Struve puts all his striking together and puts a clinic on, but I just can’t go past Rosholt as an underdog. Jared Rosholt by 30-27 decision.
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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