As quarantine drags on, our collective insatiable craving for sports has only gotten stronger. While The Last Dance has provided some solid Sunday Primetime entertainment (special mention to the scenes of Dennis Rodman getting turnt in Vegas), we sadly can’t go back in time and throw on the Bulls +350 to beat the Cavs in the 1989 Eastern Conference Playoffs. By now I’m sure everyone has a favorite KBO team (go Doosan Bears), but waking up to big ass losses the past three days has turned me off for the time being (Note to self: stop making dumbass Korean baseball parlays). However today we can rejoice, as God has sent a prophet who is finally bringing back American professional sports to us. Dana White, the poor man’s Joe Rogan, is finally giving the people what they want: Two grown men trying to beat the absolute shit out of each other for the purpose of public entertainment. Saturday’s event in Jacksonville is not only the first American sporting event in nearly two months, it also features some of the best pound-for-pound fighters in UFC, some fan favorites, and even a fighter that non-UFC fans will be interested in watching (see Greg Hardy). If you are new to the sport, these guys are absolute sickos and watching them run around a fucking cage trying to rip each other’s heads off is great leisure activity (I promise). To help guide you through this glorious event, this hardened UFC bettor with over 9 months of experience is here to give you his LOCKS for Saturday Night.
Note: All odds come from Caesar’s Sportsbook
1. Francis Ngannou wins in 1st round v. Jairzinhho Rozenstruik (+155)
As a bit of a novice UFC fan, I can tell you that if you want to get into the sport, Francis Ngannou is one of the guys you should be watching. The son of a Cameroonian street fighter, this man absolutely wrecks dudes who look like NFL defensive ends. He’s lost two decisions to top fighters in his division, but has bounced back well and looks poised to challenge Stipe Miocic’s title again in the near future. His opponent, Rozenstruik, is an interesting prospect whose gone 4-0 in the UFC. However, his first two fights could be considered cupcakes, and while his next two were against good fighters, they were somewhat over the hill in their careers (Andrei Arlovski at 40 and Alistair Overeem at 39). He’s a knockout artist, but the problem is Ngannou doesn’t get knocked out. Fighting old dude’s will not have prepared him for the fucking savage he’s about to face off against. I see both of these guys looking to knock each other the fuck out early on, with Ngannou being able to land the knockout blow in the 1st. Under 1.5 rounds at -110 is another intriguing line for this fight.
2. Anthony Pettis wins by KO/TKO/DQ v. Donald Cerrone (+200)
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is a fan favorite within the UFC, which I believe is keeping this line closer than it should be, with Pettis at -140 ML and Cerrone at +110. Pettis won the first meeting of these two back in 2013, which might not be a great indicator of what will happen 7 years later considering Cerrone was on the other side of 30 at the time. Cerrone has said he wants to avenge against Pettis after "he kicked my liver out of [his] body", but I don’t think Cowboy will get the vengeance he craves. Both fighters are looking to bounce back after a string of tough results, but Pettis seems more poised to do so given his age and history as a former lightweight champ. With both of these guys fighting at 170 instead of the 155 lbs they’ve been at for most of their careers, I’m predicting they won’t go the distance, and Pettis will win by KO in round 2.
3. Henry Cejudo wins by decision v. Dominick Cruz (+145)
This will be a very interesting fight as both fighters have a legitimate claim at being the best fighters in ever in the Bantamweight division. The biggest difference between the two is that Cruz hasn’t fought in over three years due to a series of injuries. As a novice UFC fan, I don’t know much about Cruz’s career apart from hearing what analysts have said about his unorthodox fighting style, and his overall domination of the division, hence the nickname, “The Dominator”. My pick in this fight is based off of Cejudo’s current run of form, combined with the long layoff for Cruz. Cejudo is diminutive in height, but I’m sure not many people would dare talk shit to this 5 foot 4 inch powerhouse. I can’t trust anyone who hasn’t fought in 3+ years against a beast like Cejudo.
4. Tony Ferguson by KO/TKO/DQ vs. Justin Gaethje (+250)
Unfortunately, UFC 249 will not feature the long-awaited match-up between Khabib and Tony Ferguson. However, I don’t think Ferguson will allow another challenger to leapfrog him on the line to face Khabib. Tony Ferguson should be among everyone’s favorite UFC fighters. He’s one of the most exciting fighters in UFC and never takes a second off during a fight, putting constant pressure on his opponents. If his 12 fight win streak isn’t enough to convince you of his ability, check out this video of the guy kicking a fucking iron pole as hard as he can. If that’s not one of the most savage and painful looking things you’ve ever seen, you’re probably friends with Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville. With this fight being 5 rounds, and Gaethje’s two losses coming via knockout, I look for Ferguson to wail on Gaethje relentlessly, and win this fight in round 3-4.
UFC also provides a nice opportunity to throw together ridiculous parlays with some juicy odds. They will likely bust on the first fight, but that will only get you more fired up to watch some savages try to kill each other in a cage. Here’s a parlay I’ll be playing for UFC 249 that will likely cost me my stimulus check.
FOR GEEKS: Vincente Luque ML (-280), Anthony Pettis ML (-140), Greg Hardy ML (-210), Calvin Kattar ML (-260), Francis Ngannou ML (-280), Cejudo ML (-240) and Tony Ferguson ML (-200): Combined odds: +1271.
This is a fun favorite’s only parlay to ride throughout the night, particularly because of the intrigue of the fights mentioned above, in addition to Greg Hardy. The “Prince of War” (UFC has the sickest nicknames of any sport) is inexperienced, but makes up for it with ridiculous strength and quickness for a 265 lb man. I mean this man was a Pro-bowl defensive end in the NFL, you've gotta be a psychopath to want to fight him. Although Hardy's resume is short he boasts 5 wins resulting in knockouts in his professional career. If Hardy's past is any indication for his fight tonight, expect an exciting (probably brief) fight tonight!
As always, I will say you’re welcome in advance if my picks win. More probably, I’ll be calling you a dickhead when these picks miss, for following the advice of a self-proclaimed novice. Good luck!