One of the greatest strikers in mixed martial arts (MMA) history looks to kick off one last championship run this Saturday (Dec. 3, 2022) when Stephen Thompson squares off with the always-dangerous Kevin Holland in UFC Orlando’s main event. Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., will also host what looks like a slugfest between Rafael dos Anjos and Bryan Barberena, as well as Matheus Nicolau vs. Matt Schnell in an explosive Flyweight match up.
Now’s the time to get holiday shopping done, so let’s see what we can do about increasing those budgets …
What Went Wrong at UFC Vegas 65?
Natalia Silva, Miles Johns, Jack Della Maddalena and Vanessa Demopoulos
We scored some nice wins, although Johns’ passivity and Demopoulos’ late-fight wilting had me nervous.
He “won” that fight. I cannot see a rational reason for giving him either of the first two rounds, and I honestly feel terrible for Zhalgas Zhumagulov.
Jennifer Maia fought her perfectly. Those sharp counters kept Moroz from ever finding her groove and getting the volume going. I won’t be underestimating Maia again anytime soon.
UFC Orlando Odds For The Under Card:
Niko Price (-140) vs. Phil Rowe (+120)
Price opened around even odds with most sportsbooks, even as an underdog in places, and bettors swarmed all over that to bump him up to his current -140 status. There’s a reason for this: Rowe’s Contender Series appearance and two UFC fights saw him struggle with limited fighters before swarming his way to comeback stoppage wins, a tactic not likely to pay dividends against someone as experienced and powerful as Price. While he’s had his struggles, “The Hybrid” has almost exclusively fought a higher class of Welterweight than Rowe, and the way he stood up to heavy hitters like Vicente Luque and Michel Pereira in recent efforts suggests that Rowe won’t easily find the finish. In short, bank on Price.
Emily Ducote (-120) vs. Angela Hill (EVEN)
Props as always to Hill’s longevity and a reminder that a lot of her recent losses were either bogus decisions or extremely unfavorable style match ups. Even with that, though, this is Ducote’s fight to lose. Beyond being nearly a decade younger than “Overkill,” she can match or exceed Hill’s boxing technique and volume on the feet and has some wrestling she can lean on if needed. I’m comfortable recommending a bet on Ducote.
Scott Holtzman (-150) vs. Clay Guida (+130)
With these guys’ inconsistent recent form, I don’t think I want to get involved in this one. Gun to my head, it’s Holtzman, as losses to Beneil Dariush and Mateusz Gamrot are 100 percent excusable, but he’s been grinded out before — best avoided.
Marc Diakiese (-315) vs. Michael Johnson (+260)
The current line (-315) is right at the upper border, but I say pull the trigger on Diakiese anyway. He’s more than durable enough to survive Johnson’s power-punching and has the wrestling skills to ruin “The Menace’s” day as so many others have before.
Jonathan Pearce (-450) vs. Darren Elkins (+360)
While I feel like I’m tempting fate here, Pearce seems like a safe parlay booster. His cardio is every bit as good as Elkins’, and he’s a more efficient wrestler and striker besides. Elkins basically needs opponents to get tired to make up for his poor defense and lack of speed, and Pearce proved he can power his way through a 15-minute grind without issue.
Amanda Ribas (-110) vs. Tracy Cortez (-110)
I’m feeling Cortez, honestly, though I wish she’d stayed an underdog. She’s an excellent wrestler with very, very good submission defense, which should take the threat of Ribas’ judo off the table. She already beat a quality judoka in Stephanie Egger, and on top of that, Ribas’ nonexistent defense should give Cortez a clear edge on the feet. Ribas does have a chance of grinding her against the fence, as Cortez does give ground too easily, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take for -110.
Natan Levy (-190) vs. Genaro Valdez (+160)
I cannot impress upon you enough how good a bargain Levy is at better than -200. Valdez is an overly fragile brawler with limited striking technique to back it up and poor wrestling besides. Levy can handle himself wherever the fight goes, and so long as he doesn’t get suckered into a slugfest, he’ll dominate.
Francis Marshall (-155) vs. Marcelo Rojo (+135)
I’m fairly high on Marshall, so if you’re willing to pin your hopes on a fairly green fighter, go for it. It really just boils down to whether he can get the ultra-game Rojo on the back foot, which his wrestling should facilitate. Once on the ground, it’s all Marshall.
Yazmin Jauregui (-305) vs. Istela Nunes (+255)
I’d avoid this one. Nunes is extremely dangerous in the early going and Jauregui is aggressive enough to leave herself open to the sharp counters Nunes brings to the table.
UFC Orlando Odds For The Main Card:
Kevin Holland (-155) vs. Stephen Thompson (+135)
Honestly, I could buy Thompson as an underdog. His only issues of late have come against powerful grapplers; for example, he gave two extremely dangerous strikers in Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal the business not too long ago, so he’s still among the cream of the crop in a pure stand up battle. Holland’s not much of a takedown threat, so put a bit down on Thompson to counter his way to victory.
Rafael dos Anjos (-540) vs. Bryan Barberena (+420)
I think dos Anjos is going to run Barberena over just on the strength of his wrestling, so if you want to squeeze every last drop out of a parlay, it would’t be the worst idea to put him in.
Matheus Nicolau (-380) vs. Matt Schnell (+310)
Nicolau all day every day. The man has lost just once in the last 10 years and looked terrific in his recent battle with David Dvorak, whom I rate extremely highly. That shiny 93 percent takedown rate will be more than sufficient to keep it on the feet, where he’ll torch a guy in Schnell who got knocked out about a half-dozen times by a one-legged Sumudaerji last time out.
Sergei Pavlovich (-210) vs. Tai Tuivasa (+180)
Under normal circumstances, I’d avoid this one. You could rightly argue that Pavlovich is a bit overvalued, as the three men he beat before last July’s stoppage of Derrick Lewis were nothing to write home about. What makes Saturday different is that Tuivasa is only three months removed from the worst beating of his career. Combine that with Pavlovich’s wrestling advantage and I say it merits a look.
Jack Hermansson (-190) vs. Roman Dolidze (+160)
Roman Dolidze has now pulled wild stoppages out of nowhere in two consecutive fights that I pegged him to lose badly. I think he’ll lose here, so that’s clearly a sign not to bet on it.
Kyle Daukaus (-215) vs. Eryk Anders (+185)
We’re coming up on 3.5 years since Anders last impressed in the cage. Daukaus has had his share of issues, of course, but he’s game enough to merit a look thanks to Anders’ issues with capable grapplers. Just keep the amount middling.
UFC Orlando Best Bets:
- Parlay — Francis Marshall and Jonathan Pearce: Bet $50 to make $50.50
- Parlay — Sergei Pavlovich and Tracy Cortez: Bet $50 to make $91
- Single bet — Emily Ducote: Bet $70 to make $58.33
- Parlay — Natan Levy and Matheus Nicolau: Bet $86.40 to make $80
- Parlay — Niko Price and Rafael dos Anjos: Bet $60 to make $61.80
- Single bet — Stephen Thompson: Bet $50 to make $67.50
- Parlay — Marc Diakiese and Kyle Daukaus: Bet $53.50 to make $50
There’s some serious violence potential here and it’ll be nice to see “Wonderboy” fight someone willing to trade with him. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Initial Investment For 2022: $600
Additional Investment (Aug. 2022): $400
Current Total: $917.32
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Orlando fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN/ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.
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