This Sunday will see Rogers Place in Alberta, Canada, play host to a cracking card for UFC 240. The lineup is highlighted by a much-awaited Featherweight clash between Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar in the Co-Main Event.
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However, due to Edgar notably losing a step it’s hard to see much of a path to victory, especially as it’d likely requiring outlasting the tireless Holloway down the stretch. Instead, I’d recommend a prop play. Overs will likely make sense in this bout, with both fighters being legendarily durable, and Edgar lacking the defensive lapses of Brian Ortega that allowed Holloway to pile ludicrous amounts of damage on the BJJ fighter.
Deiveson Figuerido is clearly a spectacular athlete, possibly the Flyweight division’s best, but his workrate issues have contributed to his status as a somewhat ‘finish or bust’ fighter. Alexandre Pantoja’s workrate, grappling wiles and striking should be enough to ensure that he is consistently picking up rounds along with taking advantage of Figuerido’s defensive lapses.
Alexandre Pantoja is true to the classic ‘Brazilian Jiu Jitsu + Muay Thai’ archetype that has been used to great effect in the UFC. I feel that he is a very similar fighter to Formiga who recently was able to shut Figuerido out with disciplined offense on the way to a 30-27 unanimous decision. He’s more than capable of tangling in the grappling with Figuerido, and should be safe on the feet.
As a result, I feel that Pantoja is clearly the value side at the current price of $2.00 for his win market. Figuerido will likely need a knockout to win this fight, and Pantoja is defensively sound enough to remain upright in the face of Figuerido’s bursts of high-powered offense. As a result, I’d recommend a play on Pantoja to win at $2.00.
In my opinion, Jotko is a top 10 Middleweight who’s been on the wrong side of a few spikes of variance in his last few fights. Barriault is fringe UFC-class, with a game that lacks strong points aside from some decent clinch striking. Although I’d usually be reluctant to play mild favorites in UFC, I’m happy to look at playing Jotko with his current price.
Jotko should have notable advantages in range striking, cardio, fight IQ, athleticism, grappling and more. Clinch striking is the only area I see Barriault really having a meaningful chance of success, though Jotko’s mental state has been a bit shaky in recent fights. Nonetheless, Barriault’s last bout was against Andrew Sanchez, a fighter with similar attributes to Jotko aside from being a lot shakier in cardio and durability. His loss in that bout makes it difficult to see him as lasting at the level of fringe-ranked Middleweights that the UFC has been matching him up against. The main difficulty here is trying to predict what Jotko will do, as Jotko is both willing and capable of grinding out wide decisions against fighters he should be able to finish easily.
As a result, I’d recommend sticking to Jotko to win at $1.62 instead of trying to get fancy with his prop plays. Jotko submission may be value if it’s at least $6.00 at release, but it’s hard to rely on his initiative and willingness to push a finish.
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