UFC Vegas 44: Font vs Aldo Best Bets, Picks, and Predictions
My picks last week were about as bad as bad gets--I went 1-4, and those four losses were losses by every definition of the word. However, this week paints a different picture. I’m seeing the board clearly, I’ve done my research, and now I’m ready to get back on the winning side of things, and let me tell you: oddsmakers should be shaking in their boots. Here are some of my best bets for this weeks fight card:
Jake Matthews (-188) vs Jeremiah Wells (+158)
My redemption tour starts in the prelims, and I’ve chosen one of the most difficult fights on the card to start off with. Here we’ll see UFC sweetheart Jake Matthews (17-5, 8-5 UFC) go up against the newcomer Jeremiah Wells (9-2, 1-0 UFC) in what could be an early contender for fight of the night.
Jake Matthews first fought in the UFC when he was only 19 years old, while his opponent Jeremiah Wells just made his UFC debut this June at age 35. Matthews, now 27, is coming off of a submission loss to star prospect Sean Brady, who seemed to dominate Matthews in all aspects of the fight, ultimately winning via submission in the third round. Matthews showed some promise in the opening minutes of that fight, displaying some improved striking with some strong counters and great foot movement--but it was the second the fight went to the ground that the tides started to shift. Matthews, whose strength is usually wrestling, was simply outclassed by the much stronger Brady.
Jeremiah Wells first stepped foot into a UFC octagon just 6 months ago, where he quickly made his presence known to the UFC world by knocking out veteran Warley Alves in a devastating fashion. Wells came out charging in the first round, putting his brawling style on display as he dropped Alves in just the opening seconds. The remainder of the first round was spent clinched up, against the fence, or on the ground, where Wells continued to look like the better fighter. The second round then began and Wells charged at him again and landed cleanly, and finished Alves in just 30 seconds of the second round.
There’s no doubt that Wells has cinderblock hands--and his always moving forward, aggressive style of fighting is exactly the kind of style that could prove to be a nightmare for the “jack of all trades yet master of none” type fighter Jake Matthews is. I can see Wells causing a real problem for Matthews, and seeing as he’s the underdog I’ll gladly take Wells to come out on top in this one.
Picks: Jeremiah Wells (+158), Wells by KO/TKO (+400)
Jamahal Hill (+150) vs Jimmy Crute (-178)
Before his last fight, the entire UFC world (myself included) was riding high on Jimmy Crute. At just 25 years old he had already cemented himself as one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division, thanks to his top-notch wrestling and heavy hands to match. Coming into his fight against Anthony Smith at UFC 261, Crute was only 4-1 in the UFC but still considered the betting favorite--but all it took was a perfectly placed leg-kick by Anthony Smith to shut it all down. Anthony Smith had hit a nerve in Crute’s leg that made it impossible for him to stand, so the fight was stopped after just the first round. Because of this, Crute was unable to effectively wrestle, and seeing as he lands an average of five takedowns per fight (at an 80% success rate) it’s fair to say he didn’t use his greatest weapon. Ironically, Crute saw great success against Smith with some leg kicks of his own, but Crute could seemingly do nothing against the barrage of jabs Smith was hurling at him through the fight. I expect Crute to return to the ground game in this fight, which might be a good idea considering his opponent is one of the best pure-strikers in the division.
Jamahal Hill has never attempted a takedown inside the UFC octagon--instead, he’s earned the number next to his name the old-fashioned way. Hill has a significant strike rate of over 7.5 a minute, and lands with some power too, proven by his 50% finish rate (all by KO/TKO). His last fight was at UFC 263, where he seemed almost helpless against the now ranked #11 Paul Craig. Hill tends to stand stiff against his opponents, feeling them out for a bit before he decides to throw his first blow--but against Paul Craig, the fight went to the ground sooner than Hill would’ve liked, resulting in a presumed broken (but only dislocated) elbow and about 30 unanswered strikes to the face.
Here we have a classic striker vs wrestler matchup, but where this differs from the rest is that the wrestler has some hands of his own. Because of that, I’ll ride the with the favorite on this one, and expect Crute to get it done in a close bout.
Picks: Jimmy Crute (-178), Jimmy Crute by TKO/KO or Submission (+100)
MAIN EVENT: Jose Aldo (+128) vs Rob Font (-152)
Our main event of the evening finds a top-ranked Bantamweight matchup with serious title-picture implications, as #3 Rob Font takes on #6 Jose Aldo. Jose Aldo has seemed to have caught a bit of a second wind after having lost three fights in a row, by nabbing victories against Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz en route to a two-fight win-streak. Rob Font has also been enjoying recent success, beating former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt almost 6 months ago, extending his win streak to four.
Both fighters are evenly matched--both rely on kickboxing but have the ground game in their back pocket if needed. Rob Font will likely look towards his jab again after seeing massive amounts of success in his last fight, but he must be careful--Jose Aldo is one of the best counter strikers in UFC history. If Font doesn’t set up his strikes with some feints, it could be a long night for the Bostonian kickboxer. Secondarily, Jose Aldo utilizes a lot more than just his hands and feet--Aldo is a master at implementing knees and elbows in this arsenal, which work great for opening up cuts and really wearing down an opponent in these 5-round fights.
If you couldn’t already tell, I love Aldo in this fight-- but expect it to be an incredibly close and technical striking match.
Picks: Jose Aldo by Decision (+260)