UFC Vegas 13 – Santos vs Texeira Betting Picks and Predictions
05 November 2020
After a main event that doubled as a farewell last week, this week’s high end banger will be a huge factor in shaping the future of the light heavyweight division. Thiago “Marreta” Santos returns after rehabbing from surgery to repair multiple knee tears sustained early on in his fight with Jon Jones.
The UFC is simply a better product when Marreta is fighting. He is one of the most dynamic and explosive fighters in the world and it will be a treat to see him back in the cage. This is as high end of a main event as we can get at light heavyweight, be sure to enjoy it. Let’s get to our betting picks and predictions.
This weeks picks. Keep reading for thoughts on the main event and full betting play analysis.
|Thiago Santos -245 vs Glover Texeira||Santos ITD -150|
|Raoni Barcelos -370 vs Khalid Taha||Barcleos ITD +110|
|Darren Elkins -235 vs Eduardo Garagorri||Elkins via sub +345|
|Anthony Birchak -120 vs Gustavo Lopez||Lopez +120|
Thiago Santos -245 vs Glover Texeira
Fight is at 205 lbs and is -375 to end inside the distance.
Mentioned in the intro was the return of Marreta Santos, and his matchup is with the resurgent Glover Texeira. After losing his title shot in 2014, the 41 year old Texeira was uneven for years, but has gone 4-0 since the start of 2019.
He has continued to use his high end grappling skill set to win these fights, and often has to weather a storm or even take a beating in the first round to get to the point of taking his fights down. On this four fight win streak, he was touched up heavily and often in the first round in two of the matchups, against Anthony Smith and Ion Cutelaba.
He was also briefly knocked out cold by a clinch elbow against middleweight Karl Roberson, but the referee did not notice because he was on a double leg against the fence at the time. Glover tends to let these more athletic and explosive fighters unload in the first round, as he says he’s learned to literally roll with the punches, but this matchup is unlike the previous ones in which he weathered the storm.
If Cutelaba and Smith were storms, Santos is a hurricane. Santos will remain one of the most prolific finishers on the roster and will bring added levels to the fight finishing strikes Texeira will have to wear if he is to compete in this fight. Santos was truly surging prior to the knee injury. He knocked out current champ Jan Blachowicz leading up to his title shot against Jones. He then lost a razor thin split decision to Jones, which I scored for Santos, despite blowing out his knee in the very first round.
Santos simply brings a level of dynamism no one else does, and if Texeira thinks he is going to eat the power coming from all limbs of Santos and survive the same way, I fear he will be extremely disappointed with Saturday’s result.
The question begs asked, how does Texeira turn the tide? Well, it would have to be with his grappling. He is the better grappler in this fight, despite Marreta having a black belt of his own. He would likely have to luck into some ring rust from Santos early on and then complete multiple takedowns as I believe Marreta would have the gas tank to get up multiple times, if and when taken down.
He essentially will have to drag the fight into the deepest of waters, all while dodging the nuclear bombs being hurled at him. It seems quite unlikely all these things go his way, and despite a high end skill set, we have likely seen Glover level up one too many times and see his win streak obliterated.
Just knowing the amount of damage Glover has survived in his recent fights, I can’t look in any direction but the next chapter, with that damage coming from Santos, being the one he is unable to survive. Look for Santos to knock Glover out early on and reclaim his top spot in the light heavyweight rankings.
With the added value on the ITD line of -150, that is our avenue of attack. On another note, if and when Santos wins this fight convincingly, it would be criminal to give the next title shot to anyone but him.
Betting Play: Santos ITD -150
Raoni Barcelos -370 vs Khalid Taha
Fight is at 135 lbs and is -155 to end inside the distance.
Even with Giga Chikadze sitting as a -665 favorite, Barcelos remains my most confident pick on this card to get a win. This fight, in my opinion, is terrible matchmaking and one in which Barcelos outclasses his opponent in every single facet of MMA.
The literal only path to victory for Taha is a one shot KO, and that is an extremely tall ask against a fighter who has never been KO’d before and has lost just once in his career. Barcelos should win the striking exchanges, but will ultimately work his way to his grappling. He is the better wrestler and has a high end BJJ skill set that he puts to use very well in MMA. He is patient and forces opponents into mistakes on the floor, and I expect that to happen again in this fight.
While the -370 flat line is playable and is still a value, I tend to avoid playing any line that wide. Instead, I think we get a significant value on Barcelos on the ITD line, which actually sits at +110. The finish may not come early, but I do believe Barcelos finishing the fight is far more likely than getting the nod on the scorecards and we get a beautiful value to attack ITD.
Betting Play: Barcleos ITD +110
Darren Elkins -235 vs Eduardo Garagorri
Fight is at 145 lbs and is +105 to end inside the distance.
As the year approaches closing out, we have reached peak 2020 when Darren Elkins, sitting as a -235 favorite, is an incredibly attractive favorite. If you don’t know Darren Elkins by now, he has a very rounded skill set, but his nickname “The Damage” is such an ironic one. He probably has more scar tissue around his face than any other fighter in the UFC, and wears damage in every single one of his fights.
He will not be the superior striker in this fight, but it is close enough in the standup and he certainly won’t need to win in the striking. The wrestling and grappling skill set of Garagorri is not on the level it needs to be if he is to compete in a fight like this, and he will be taken down at will by Elkins.
Garagorri may well need to get a KO prior to the first take down if he is to win, and that is highly improbable given the durability of Elkins. Once on the mat, it will be all Elkins, and I think Elkins will have a somewhat easy path to a submission once he gets to work on the floor.
The wild part of that is that Elkins by sub sits at a massive +365. Sure, Elkins could ride out top control to an easy decision win, but I think finding a choke is at least as likely as the submission win, and we get massive value with that +345 price tag. Take Elkins to get the sub at long shot pricing without it actually being such a longshot.
Betting Play: Elkins via sub +345
Anthony Birchak -120 vs Gustavo Lopez
Fight is at 135 lbs and is -165 to end inside the distance.
This is a short notice fight for Birchak made just this week, and waiting for this line was the delay for the column this week. I was waiting to see at what level favorite would open as, and to my joy, Birchak actually opened as a -155 favorite.
Of course, many saw the value I saw there and in just about 12 hours it has been bet down to nearly a pickem, and we will absolutely see Lopez flip to the favorite by fight time. Even if this wasn’t extremely short notice for Birchak, I would be siding with Lopez, and now that we have Lopez as a slight underdog and with the short notice conditions, I have fallen in love with the Lopez play.
Lopez is the better striker and he has very real power. In his last fight prior to his UFC debut, he flatlined a fighter named Joey Ruquet and now Lopez makes his first octagon walk with a full training camp. Birchak will need to put his grappling to work and do it quickly if he is to win this fight.
I believe Lopez to be the better wrestler and not helpless on the floor, but Birchak will have an advantage if he is able to settle Lopez to the floor, and would be live for a back take and a submission. Ultimately we will see Lopez take advantage of the short notice opponent and progressively run away with this fight in the striking and potentially find a KO. Given the very fun betting line, Lopez is absolutely a flat play.
Betting Play: Lopez +120
Other Fight Predictions
👊 Tanner Boser via decision over Andrei Arlovski
👊 Brendan Allen via decision over Ian Heinisch
👊 Yan Xiaonan via decision over Claudia Gadelha
👊Giga Chikadze via KO over Jamey Simmons
👊 Alexandr Romanov via GNP over Marcos Rogerio de Lima
👊 Max Griffin via decision over Ramiz Brahimaj