UFC Tips | 20th December 2015


AFTER a flood of winners for us last week David Walker (@Walkerdavid32) is back with more UFC views this weekend.

Michael Johnson v Nathan Diaz | Sunday 02:00

This fight sees two southpaws with very similar records going head to head. Johnson should be coming in on a five fight win streak but was robbed by the judges in his last fight against Beneil Dariush. Diaz on the other hand has fought only once in the last 24 months due to his constant bickering with the UFC over money and respect that he feels he is due.

Johnson is a huge favourite for this fight at 1/4 and it is easy to see why as it is impossible to know where Nate Diaz is at mentally. He has appeared more jovial that usual this week in his interactions with the press but that means little as he has also shown his surly nature and petulance whenever questioned about money or when he might fight next after this one.

Diaz is a big outsider at 4/1 and whilst he should never be this much of an underdog due to his undeniable talent, he is much too inconsistent and complex for anyone to put a considerable amount of money on. Diaz’s undoing in this sport is his attitude, not his ability.

Looking at each fighter, this should be an interesting match up. Diaz out strikes Johnson with 3.92 and 3.6 significant strikes landed per minute respectively. Johnson, however, has a better defence absorbing only 2.79 significant strikes per minute with a 63% defensive success in comparison to Diaz who takes 3.06 strikes per minute with a lesser defensive success of 54%.

Johnson will look to keep the fight on the feet whereas Diaz will look to utilise his submission skills and will be happy to take the fight to the ground. Unfortunately for Diaz, he only has a 30% take down accuracy and Johnson has a very respectable 80% take down defence, which suggests that the majority of the fight will take place on their feet.

Johnson is unlikely to have the power to finish his opponent with 8/10 of Diaz’s defeats coming via decision or split decision not to mention that 5/8 of Johnson’s wins in the UFC coming via decision also. Therefore, the best bet for me in this fight is Michael Johnson winning via decision at 11/10 with Bet365.

Rafael Dos Anjos v Donald Cerrone | Sunday 04:00 | BT Sport 2

Rafael dos Anjos (RDA) caused a tremendous upset earlier this year by defeating highly rated striker and champion Anthony Pettis for the UFC lightweight belt.

Pettis had looked set to dominate the division until he faced the Brazilian dos Anjos in March of this year and was completely outmatched as RDA out wrestled and out struck the champion on the way to a decision victory.

Although the win came as a surprise, looking back over RDA’s record, it is difficult to see why we were all so shocked. In his last 10 fights Dos Anjos has lost only once to Khabib Nurmagomedov (who were it not for constant injuries would likely be the champion). During that run RDA knocked out former champion Benson Henderson as well as earning decision victories over Evan Dunham (who destroyed Joe Lauzon last weekend) and his opponent for the belt this weekend, Donald Cerrone.

Dos Anjos is a very durable fighter with a predominantly grinding wrestling style which sees the majority of his fights go the distance. RDA has an average fight time of 12:16 and has seen only seven (including one injury stoppage) of his 18 fights finish inside the distance.

Using his strength and wrestling, RDA has an average of 2.65 take downs per 15 minutes which should test the impressive, and improving, 69% take down defence by Cerrone. If the Brazilian manages to get ‘Cowboy’ to the ground, expect him to posture up and throw a combination of elbows and hammer fists.

Cerrone will prefer to keep this fight on the feet as he is a renowned Muay Thai striker with viscous body and head kicks mixed with ferocious knees to the body and a recently added inside stepping elbow.

‘Cowboy’ has a tremendous 3.99 significant strikes landed per minute with 47% accuracy so RDA will need to utilise his 69% striking defence to stay out of danger.

If Dos Anjos does manage to take Cerrone down, however, the American has a superb BJJ game averaging 1.7 submission attempts per 15 minutes with 15/28 of his wins coming via submission. This is not to be scoffed at, although RDA has a strong Brazilian jui jitsu game as well, so it would be unlikely for him to be finished in this manner.

As mentioned above, the two fought previously with Dos Anjos coming out on top via a dominant decision. As a result, and because he is the current champion, he is a best price 1/2 favourite for this fight. However, it should be noted that Cerrone had this defeat during a spell of two losses and one victory in three fights when he openly admitted that he was mentally in the wrong place for fighting.

Since his defeat to RDA, ‘Cowboy’ has been undefeated in eight fights including decision victories over highly ranked opponents such as Myles Jury, Eddie Alvarez and Benson Henderson.

The 15/8 on offer for Cerrone to win is very appealing, particularly if you give any credence to the view that RDA may have been using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in the past. Because of the new testing system in the UFC which sees USADA test in and out of competition randomly, the use of PEDs has quickly diminished amongst fighters.

Cerrone has made thinly veiled attacks on RDA and his use of PEDs and, whether this has been done to antagonise the Brazilian or because Cerrone truly believes it, the fight will show if there is any truth in the allegations.

Getting down to the betting, I feel like this one is going the distance. Not only did the opponents see out the three rounds in their previous match up but they have both only been finished twice in their lengthy careers.

As mentioned above, RDA has an average fight time of 12:16 whilst Cerrone has a fairly high 10:01. Neither fighter will tire during this fight and whilst I would love Cerrone’s fun, attacking style to win by stoppage, I genuinely see nothing but this fight going the distance which can be backed at a best price of 4/5.

Best Bets

Michael Johnson v Nathan Diaz – Michael Johnson to win via decision (11/10 Bet365)

Rafael Dos Anjos v Donald Cerrone – Fight To Go The Distance (4/5 Coral)

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