UFC on ESPN 32: Quick picks and predictions


MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the best UFC fights. Today we take a look at the main card for UFC on ESPN 32.

Welcome to MMAJunkie’s quick picks and predictions, where I’ll give brief fight day breakdowns for the UFC main cards.

With that in mind, I hope these articles aren’t dry or dismissive, as my goal here is to offer quick picks and analysis in a digestible format. All odds quoted are provided by Tipico Sportsbook.

UFC on ESPN 32 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN after the prelims on ESPN+.

If you want a more detailed analysis from me, feel free to check out my weekly show, The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast.

So, without further ado…

Meeting: Calvin Kattar (+195) against Giga Chikadze (-260)

Summary: As noted in my detailed breakdown, I think this could be a tricky fight to follow and bet on given the intangibles and styles at play.

I ended up siding with big favorite Giga Chikadze due to [autotag]Calvin Kattar[autotag]high guard and traditional kick vulnerabilities (especially to the body). That said, I don’t trust the gas tank or Chikadze’s game if extended, which is why it’s ultimately a dog or a pass in my book.

Match: Chase Sherman (+110) vs. Jake Collier (-140)

Summary: While it looks like the UFC has largely given up care for the co-main event of Fight Night in 2019, this fight looks like one of the more straightforward offerings on the card.

Basically, unless Chase Sherman is able to blast Jake Collier out of the water in the first five minutes, expect Collier’s superior cardio and volume to take over this fight. And given that Sherman opened as a slight favorite, it seems like the audience and I are on board with picking Collier to win, because I see it happening by decision.

Confrontation: Brandon Royval (-180) against Rogerio Bontorin (+140)

Summary: Although I was initially looking to support the underdog in this place, I ultimately decided to go with Brandon Royval after seeing Rogerio Bontorin on the scales.

Sure, Bontorin made it to the flyweight limit, but he seemed a bit sucked in as he struggled to make weight. In fact, Bontorin’s most inconsistent and questionable performances tend to come when fighting in this division.

Make no mistake: Bontorin is still a living hound due to his grappling prowess and the size of The Apex’s cage; I just suspect that Royval’s pace will take over this contest if his body holds up (because I also wonder how long we’ll see Royval in this weight class).

Match: Katlyn Chookagian (-190) vs. Jennifer Maia (+145)

Summary: In their first fight of 2019, Katlyn Chookagian was able to outplay Jennifer Maia with superior volume and footwork. Maia managed to fight back in the third round, but in the end it was too little, too late.

Even though Maia will have the smaller octagon to work with, I still don’t trust her for constant or significant pressure given the somewhat counter-happy way she likes to stick and move on her toes. Add to that the fact that Chookagian’s power and wrestling prowess showed improvement, and I find myself siding with the American for another decision victory.

Match: Dakota Bush (+160) vs. Viacheslav Borshchev (-210)

Summary: Although this was another fight where I was looking to support the underdog struggling in the smaller cage, I ended up siding with Viacheslav Borshchev in the end.

Although Dakota Bush is a major lightweight with a wrestling base, he seems to be a bit too wild for me to trust him from a betting perspective. Bush could certainly have a grand opening round, but I believe the defensive urgency and Borshchev’s overall process will win out by decision.

Match: Joanderson Brito (-150) against Bill Algeo (+117)

Summary: Not only was this fight in jeopardy at the start of this week, it could be one of the toughest matchups for me to call.

Joanderson Brito seems to tick all the boxes, from brawn to power, that tend to appeal to the betting public, but I’d still like to see him and his gas tank tested more before favoring him to beat a proven dog like Bill Algeo. For this reason, I ended up choosing Algeo to survive the initial storms and get away along the stretch.

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