May 30, 2020

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UFC Fight Night Main Card Preview & Best Bets – May 13, 2020

By: Trent Pruitt & Nick Stavas

Dana White is proving that he is by far the most competent and the number one commissioner/president in North American sports. Not only was he able to put together a phenomenal UFC 249 event, but he will follow it up with UFC Fight Nights on May 13th and May 16th. 

From a betting perspective, Nick and Trent had a very profitable outing for UFC 249. They racked up a 9-6 overall record including three plus-money payouts. The boys will look to stay hot on Wednesday night as UFC Fight Night kicks off from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. 

Main Card – 8 P.M. EST on ESPN+

Main Event: Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixeira – Light Heavyweight

Ben Rothwell vs. Ovince Saint Preux – Heavyweight

Alexander Hernandez vs. Drew Dober – Lightweight

Ricky Simon vs. Ray Borg – Bantamweight

Karl Roberson vs. Marvin Vettori – Middleweight


Best bet: most likely to profit

Value bet: best bet relative to Vegas odds

Confidence level: 5-star scale next to each bet (★★★☆☆)

Anthony Smith (-175) vs Glover Teixeira (+145)

Two fighters whose careers were sidetracked by Jon Jones face off in this main event. Now 40 years old, Glover Texeira seems to be in the latter part of what has been an illustrious UFC career. However, Texeira has rattled off three straight wins, the most recent being a split decision victory over Nikita Krylov back in September. Both of these fighters have a very well-rounded arsenal, so it will be interesting to see if this bout turns into a boxing match or gets taken to the ground. While Texeira is always a threat grappling and striking, I feel like Anthony Smith has a major edge with his ability to adjust to whatever his opponent does. I mean, taking the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter (Jones) the distance and then choking out Alexander Gustaffson less than three months later is no small feat. Even though he hasn’t stepped in the octagon in nearly a year, it surprises me that he still isn’t a heavier favorite against an aging Texeira. Smith is a precise striker that loves to control the octagon and stalk his opponents. Not only that, but he clearly showed in his win over Gustaffson that he can hold his own on the ground as well. Being only 31 years old, Smith’s career is far from over, and with another win under his belt he might just find himself with another title shot in the near future.

Best Bet: Smith (-175) ★★★★☆

Value Bet: Smith by stoppage (-120) ★★☆☆☆

– Nick Stavas (@nickstavas)

Ovince Saint Preux (-145) vs. Ben Rothwell (+125) 

Interesting is an understatement when it comes to this Wednesday night bout. Ovince Saint Preux will be making his heavyweight debut and what gift did the UFC have for him? They match the former light heavyweight fighter (206 Lbs.) with a 265 Lb Ben Rothwell. 

Rothwell is coming off a win against 6’11 Stefan Struve in which he TKO’ed him late in the second round. Unfortunately for Ben, there wasn’t much of a celebration as he accidentally had two kicks below the belt so it’s kind of like there’s an asterisk next to the win. Overall, The King of Kenosha is 37-12 in his career but just 1-3 over his last four. From the film that I watched, he’s a power puncher who likes to be patient and wait for his opportunity. Additionally, Rothwell has a tough chin and his stamina is up to par as the three losses that preceded the Struve win, went the distance. As for OSP, I don’t think the weight difference will be too much of a factor – this guy is pretty thick. I watched his most recent win, a submission over Michał Oleksiejczuk, and he looked like 225. 

Both of these fighters seem to have more of a patient style. I think their styles, paired with the fact that this is OSP’s heavyweight debut, sees this fight go the distance. Saint Preux packs a heavy punch but as I mentioned, Rothwell can take hits and he’s pretty good at rolling with the strikes. I believe that Saint Preux will look to beat Rothwell with speed while Big Ben will counter that by tiring OSP with leaning his bodyweight on him up against the cage. Essentially what I’m getting at is that the bout should be in the stand up position for a vast majority of the time and I think it’ll go to a decision. If I had to pick a winner, I’d probably roll with Rothwell since there’s plus value and my philosophy in the heavyweight division is to take a shot with the dog as one solid punch from these big bodies is capable of putting anyone away. 

Best Bet: Fight Goes the Distance (+160) ★★★☆☆

-Trent Pruitt (@the_real_pruitt)

Drew Dober (-115) vs. Alexander Hernandez (-105)

This fight has the potential to be the most exciting bout of the night. Two very evenly matched young fighters trying to break onto the scene in the lightweight division. Drew Dober earned himself a bonus last time out when he knocked out Nasrat Haqparast in just over a minute at UFC 246 back in January. Not to mention Dober was a +260 underdog in that fight. The 31-year-old Omaha native brings a versatile fighting style that is mainly centered around precise boxing skills. While he does have nine professional victories by submission, he has a tendency to get himself in trouble on the ground every now and then. One sure thing about Dober: it’s really hard to knock him out. All four of his UFC losses are either by submission or decision. With that said, he’s going to have to be careful against Alexander Hernandez if this fight is taken to the ground. Hernandez is a savvy grappler and currently holds a brown belt in Brazillian jiu-jitsu. At just 27 years old, Hernandez is the youngest ranked lightweight fighter in the UFC. After starting his UFC career with two wins, Hernandez was knocked out by Cowboy Cerrone last January, but bounced back with an impressive unanimous decision win over Francisco Trinaldo. Even though both Dober and Hernandez are solid grapplers, I expect this one to be fought standing up most of the way, in which case I would have to lean Dober. Dober’s punch accuracy and high-paced boxing style has the ability to completely control a fight if his opponent isn’t ready.

Best Bet: Dober (-115) ★★★☆☆

– Nick Stavas (@nickstavas)

Ricky Simon (-165) vs. Ray Borg (+135)

Fighting four times in 14 months is a very rare feat for any professional fighter, but Ray Borg is apparently up for it. Since enduring a two year layoff between 2017 and 2019, Borg is 2-1 and finally looks back to his normal self. At just 26 years old, Borg has gone toe-to-toe with some of the UFC’s best lower-weight fighters such as Demetrious Johnson and Jussier Formiga, giving him a major experience advantage over his counterpart Ricky Simon. Following a 3-0 start to his UFC career, Simon has dropped two in a row to Rob Font and Urijah Faber. This fight on Wednesday is going to be a clash of two nearly opposite styles: Simon is a pure striker who prides himself on his technical boxing, while Borg relies heavily on his elite grappling skills. A simple rule I like to follow when analyzing UFC fights: if the styles are opposites, there’s a good chance it’s going to end up in a decision. If it goes to the judges’ scorecards like I expect it to, I have to lean toward Borg. If Borg is able to take Simon down, his ability to control top position and bleed clock while scoring points is fantastic. This isn’t to say Simon could catch him with a nasty combination and end the fight in an instant, but odds-wise I’ll ride with the underdog here.

Best Bet: Borg (+135) ★★★☆☆

Value Bet: Borg by decision (+200) ★★☆☆☆

– Nick Stavas (@nickstavas)