Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated and I'm back! I last had an article on August 11th of this year and since that time the UFC has had very mediocre events and my personal life has been hectic. Finally feeling back on track or at least moving in the right direction along with taking advantage of a sick day, I'm ready again to dive into exciting MMA content. Saturday September 23rd, starting at 3PM CST on ESPN+ the UFC will have an exciting card top to bottom so without further ado let's look at interesting fights and odds on this card. Draftkings is the source of all my betting odds and I can't contain my excitement any longer.
MOHAMMED USMAN VS: JAKE COLLIER
This fight is at men's heavyweight above 205 lbs. Usman is the brother of former 170 lb champ Kamaru Usman and unfortunately thus far the far less talented Usman brother. Mohammed is 9-2 in his record and 2-0 so far in his young UFC career. He stands at 6'2" with a reach of 79 inches and the majority of his wins at 44% for 4 total wins come by KO/TKO. He's 50/50 on losses with one by sub and one by decision. Collier is 13-9 overall with a UFC record of 5-8. He stands at 6'3" with a 78.5 inch reach and the majority of his wins come by KO/TKO with 38% for 5 total in this manner. His losses are split at 44% and 44% by decision and KO/TKO. Collier is on a 3 fight skid in the UFC and I give the nod to Usman here. Draftkings has Usman at -142 to Collier's +120 and I know Usman has looked technically unsound and unathletic for his physique but this is a layup for Usman and an excuse to boot Collier who has been aggressively mediocre since 2014 when he entered the UFC. The odds should be a little more drastic on this to me. Usman by KO/TKO at +300 is too good to pass up to me.
MARINA RODRIGUEZ VS: MICHELLE WATERSON
This fight is at women's strawweight of 115 lbs. Marina is 16-3-2 with a UFC record of 6-3-2. She stands at 5'6" with a reach of 65 inches and 56% of her wins for 9 total have come by decision. Her losses at majority of 67% for 2 have also come by decision. Waterson is 18-11 and 6-7 in the UFC. She stands at 5'3" with a 62 inch reach so height and reach favor Marina the striker in this one. Waterson primarily wins by submission at 50% with 9 wins in this manner. She loses primarily by decision with 55% at 6 total coming in this manner. Though Waterson primarily wins by sub she isn't known as an effective grappler and instead often times in puzzling fashion, decides to make every fight she's in an awkward and sloppy karate boxing fight. Her nickname the Karate Hottie clearly is applicable and apt for both her fight style and physical appearance. Marina is a proficient Muay Thai and Kickboxing fighter who should be able to keep the fight standing and cruise to a unanimous decision. Marina struggles against wrestlers and other grapplers but this aspect of fighting is a frustrating afterthought to Waterson as I've said and she doesn't have the acumen to make it work against Marina I feel. Marina is -310 and Waterson is +250 and I gotta go Marina on this one. I will be cheeky and say Marina at +400 for KO/TKO is tempting to go for but unlikely. Marina is usually an overwhelm with volume striker who could win by KO/TKO in this way rather than a one punch power shot but it's too tempting to pass as Waterson is looking slower and slower each fight and has terrible striking defense. Why not?
BRYCE MITCHELL VS: DAN IGE
A lot of people are writing off Bryce Mitchell after a tough defeat to talented and ascending Ilia Topuria back in December 2022 but I feel this is a good bounce back for Bryce who I'm a huge fan of. This fight is at men's featherweight of 145 pounds. Bryce is 15-1 overall and 6-1 in the UFC. He stands at 5'10" with a 70 inch reach and 60% of his wins for a total of 9 have come by submission. His lone loss was by way of submission also. Ige is 17-6 while 9-5 in the UFC. He stands at 5'7" with a slight reach advantage of 71 inches. He primarily wins by decision with 41% coming in at 7 overall in this way. He loses primarily by decision with 100% of his losses coming this way. He is a striker while Bryce is a great grappler who uses striking to set up takedowns and look for submissions anywhere and anytime he can get them. I see Bryce easily being able to control the pace of the fight and where the fight takes place which is going to be on the mat in the grappling exchanges. Bryce is -205 while Ige is +170 but I'm taking Bryce here by sub at a shocking +500. I can't believe the odds on Bryce by sub considering his record and skill in this department. It's free real estate at this point. Bryce has thrived in his career by subbing strikers like Ige and giving them no time on the feet or making them hesitant to throw. Expect Bryce back in the win column on this one.
RAFAEL FIZIEV VS: MATEUSZ GAMROT
This is the main event at men's 155 lbs the lightweight division. Fiziev is 12-2 with a UFC record of 6-2. He stands at 5'8" with a reach of 71.5 inches. The majority of his wins at 67% for a total of 8 have come by KO/TKO. His losses primarily come by a 50/50 split of KO/TKO and decision. Gamrot is 22-2 overall with a UFC record of 5-2. He stands at 5'10" with a 70.5 inch reach which slightly favors Fiziev. He primarily wins and loses by decision with 45% of his wins for 10 coming this way and 100% of his losses coming in this manner. Fiziev is at -155 while Gamrot is +130. I'm taking Gamrot as I think he's more well rounded and has more ways to win. Fiziev is a very talented Muay Thai and kickboxing fighter but Gamrot has serviceable striking and really good takedowns and wrestling. I think Gamrot can take Fiziev down and control the fight on his terms and Fiziev will be out of his element. If Fiziev isn't allowed to use his excellent striking then Gamrot should be able to impose his game plan and his plan revolves around limiting the striking for Fiziev which I feel is easier for him to do rather than Fiziev stopping the takedowns. +240 for Gamrot by decision is great value here.