UFC Vegas 16 – Vettori vs Hermansson Betting Plays and Predictions
04 December 2020
Welcome back for the 16th installment of UFC Vegas betting plays. This Fight Night like the previous Vegas cards takes place at the UFC Apex and, a reminder, takes place in the smaller Octagon.
When calculating wagers on this card, put at least some level of weight on the fighters that will benefit from increased engagement and grappling. It is easy to forget that is the case after so many cards at the venue, just putting a reminder out there on that aspect.
We don’t have household names on this card but it is solid matchmaking overall. The card should be entertaining, particularly if you’re a fan of grappling, as we could realistically see some level of wrestling and grappling in every single fight. We will have fight dedicated plays, and as on all UFC Picks, a prediction for every fight on the card.
Let’s get to the plays, first in video and then in text below.
Marvin Vettori -135 vs Jack Hermansson
Fight is five rounds at 185 lbs and is -195 to end inside the distance.
From the time this main event was announced, including early on in the week, I thought this fight was razor thin and was thinking a pick em betting line would be appropriate.
As the week progressed and after playing out iterations of this matchup, I slowly but surely started leaning to one side. If that lean was to the favored side of Marvin Vettori, I still would have passed on this fight and not made it a dedicated play, but the lean is to Hermansson and the plus figure that comes with him.
Vettori does have areas of advantage in this fight. He is the physically stronger fighter, he is the more technically sound striker and he is the better wrestler. All of these edges exist, but none are ones that are wide advantages by any means. Hermansson has edges of his own, and I think his areas of strength and advantage in this fight are the ones that will be the more important and ultimately decide the fight.
In the stand up, Hermansson tries to use unpredictable movement and is unorthodox, but as mentioned, will still be at a slight disadvantage. The worry in this department is mitigated however, as Hermansson has had struggles with high end fighters with dynamic power. Vettori is not one of those fighters, and like Hermansson, doesn’t have one shot fight ending ability in the standup.
Cardio could play a huge role in this fight, as it is questionable whether Vettori can stand up to the demands of a 25 minute high paced fight. Hermansson has done it and should have the edge in the championship rounds in that department. This brings us to the largest edge of either fighter in this matchup, and that is Hermansson’s ground game. He has owned BJJ black belts in the octagon over the last three years, and by my count has five wins in such fights, including four finishes and three submissions.
Vettori is not helpless while grappling, but he will not have an answer for the top game of Hermansson if his wrestling fails him. Hermansson is very live for a finish on the floor, but also if Vettori decides to wrestle. Hermansson has one helluva guillotine and Vettori will want to mind where he places his neck.
All in all, even if Vettori is able to keep the fight upright early, I think his cardio fading later will keep that game plan from continuing, and the fight gets to the mat at some point. This will lead to a Hermansson decision or late finish on the floor.
Betting Play: Hermansson +115
Jamahal Hill -170 vs Ovince Saint Preux
Fight is at 205 lbs and is -180 to end inside the distance.
Jamahal Hill gets a nice step up in competition after an impressive start to his UFC tenure. Ovince Saint Preux (OSP) is an established name with mounds of experience and it will be a real litmus test to where Hill stands in the division.
Hill is athletic and rangy, uses his length well and puts out strikes in volume. This type of striker is one OSP is likely not ready for at his advanced age, despite coming off a win at light heavyweight after a brief jump to heavyweight. OSP’s last win against Alonzo Menifield was against a one trick pony that is early KO or bust, and OSP completely weathered that storm and scored a KO of his own.
The fight with Hill is entirely different and one OSP will likely need to force to the floor. OSP’s submission grappling will be an advantage on the floor and it will be a place Hill will need and want to avoid. I think he will be able to do so with superior movement and keeping the range he desires. At that range, the volume will flow and he will touch OSP early and often.
The volume disparity in the striking will be an absolute chasm and Hill will run away with a decision or perhaps finish a worn down OSP later in the fight. In any event, I do not see the line as wide enough and we are certainly attacking Hill on the flat line to cover all avenues of victory.
Betting Play: Hill -170
Roman Dolidze -200 vs John Allan
Fight is at 205 lbs and is -260 to end inside the distance
This one is going to be fun, Roman Dolidze takes the next step in storming the light heavyweight division. Both fighters in this matchup are well rounded fighters, but I am having a difficult time finding John Allan’s area of advantage in this fight. He is not a more technical nor more powerful striker than Dolidze, and Allan is likely to be far too willing to engage, which will be a good recipe for him being knocked out by the high end power of Dolidze.
Dolidze is undefeated in MMA with a 100% finish rate, and it appears we have seen his striking perhaps overtake his high end grappling game. After starting his career with submissions (including two heel hooks, his leg lock game is extremely dangerous, and we saw him try to employ it before knocking out Ibragimov in his UFC debut), he has been knocking opponents out of late, and I believe it is going to take a higher level opponent than Allan before he gets a truly competitive fight.
Allan is a BJJ black belt and is no slouch in the floor, but I believe the submission game of Dolidze is much higher end for MMA in that department. I am unsure whether we will be able to see that grappling game on display however, as I believe Allan will be pushing forward early and will get himself knocked out. I fully expect a fun finish from Dolidze, and with the ITD line of -110 cutting the risk in half against the flat line, that will be our avenue of attack.
Betting Play: Dolidze ITD -110
Ilia Topuria -250 vs Damon Jackson
Fight is at 145 lbs and is -195 to end inside the distance.
We get a grapplers delight in this matchup, and while Topuria can be explosive and Jackson is technically more sound, he is quite hittable and could get hurt standing, particularly early in the fight. Both fighters have high end grappling games, but Topuria is the superior wrestler.
This could lean to some fun 50/50 spots on the floor as Jackson does not mind being on his back, and he will have the cardio advantage. Now, Jackson will be taken down in this fight, that is essentially a given. Where it gets interesting, versus his last fight, is if he can stop positional advancement from Topuria in top position. If he is unable to, he will be in big submission trouble early in the fight, and Topuria will roll.
However, if and when Jackson survives that and brings the cardio factor into the fight, he will be the one taking over late and will be in a fantastic spot to find a submission himself. This is a fight I was initially going to take Topuria ITD, but have made a change at the time of writing.
I think the Topuria earlier finish is still the most likely outcome, but if that doesn’t come, a Jackson finish will. With that being the case, the best play in this fight is for the fight to end ITD, and costs less than Topuria does a flat favorite. Fight ends ITD is the play.
Betting Play: Fight ends ITD -195
Gian Villante -200 vs Jake Collier
Fight is at heavyweight and is -175 to end inside the distance.
Whew wee. If you would have told me a few months ago I was going to have an automatic play on Gian Villante at heavyweight, I would not have believed it, but also, 2020. Alas, here we are, and any fighter squaring off with this 2020 version of Jake Collier will be a fighter I will be betting on. I wish it were more complicated than that, but it is not.
Let’s start with Villante. He is a blown up 205er and is never going to be a truly successful UFC heavyweight. However, he was not totally helpless in his heavyweight debut against Maurice Greene. Greene is a very long heavyweight with decent movement and Villante did have problems finding his way inside for a big right hand, but he did utilize his kicks well, including effective ones to the body and to the outside lead leg. He additionally showed enough power to be competitive at heavyweight, despite unideal size. He sat Greene down with a left in the third round and landed some heavy ground and pound before Greene got his wits back. Villante ultimately fell victim to the length of Greene, as he fell into something of an inverted arm triangle choke while trying to improve position on the floor chasing a finish.
Collier on the other hand, did not last long enough in his heavyweight debut to gauge his power. Collier was returning from a three year absence and has blown up from middleweight to heavyweight. While he probably has the frame for heavyweight, he did not pack on weight intelligently, and simply does not have an impressive physique. He also appeared to have no interest in eating heavyweight shots, as he hit the canvas on the first clean punch. I expect a repeat in this fight and any ensuing fights, and as I said, auto bet ITD against Jake Collier.
Betting Play: Villante ITD +145
Other Fight Predicitions
👊 Jimmy Flick via submission over Cody Durden
👊 Jordan Leavitt via decision over Matt Wiman
👊 Jose Quinonez via decision over Louis Smolka
👊 Movsar Evloev via decision Nate Landwehr
👊 Taila Santos via decision over Montana De La Rosa
👊 Gabriel Benitiez via decision over Justin Jaynes