We spun our wheels with my picks last week, going 1-1 at UFC 243. But no harm, no foul – only lost a couple bucks, so we’ll brush ourselves off and get back at it this weekend with UFC Fight Night: Jedrzejczyk vs Waterson, which goes down Saturday from the Amalie Arena in Tampa. After six-straight events abroad, this will be the first time the octagon gets set up in the United States since the middle of August.
The main event pits former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk against top contender Michelle ‘Karate Hottie’ Waterson. The Artist Formerly Known as Joanna Champion is a huge favorite going into this one, currently running as a -400 favorite. She should have several advantages over the woman gunning to be the first mother to win a UFC belt, Waterson. First off, Double J will have a distinct size advantage – three inches in height and reach, plus she most recently fought at 125 lbs, while Waterson was a 105 pound fighter before she entered the UFC. Plus Joanna is a better striker, and should have the wrestling defense to keep this a striking battle.
On to my picks.
Kron Gracie (-180) vs Cub Swanson
The term “jiu-jitsu wizard” gets thrown around often, but in the case of ‘Ice Cream’ Kron Gracie, it is fitting. When your grandfather invented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and your father, Rickson, is a legend, it comes with the territory. But Kron definitely lives up to his famous last name. Earning his black belt in BJJ under his father at the tender age of 19, the now-31-year-old first conquered the grappling world before turning to mixed martial arts five years ago. Since that time he’s gone 5-0, with every fight ending in – you guessed it – a submission.
His opponent on Saturday, Cub Swanson, is a tough, grizzled cookie (not sure if cookies get grizzled, but just go with it), but has lost via submission seven times in his career, including twice in his last four fights (which were all losses). Once Gracie gets him down to the mat, the fight probably won’t last much longer.
James Vick (+127) vs Niko Price
It’s a bit of a risky play going with a guy who has lost his last three fights, two via KO. But let’s look at the list of people who beat James Vick in those fights – Justin Gaethje, Paul Felder, and Dan Hooker. All killers.
Before that stretch, he won four-straight fights, and 13 of 14. Now, for the first time in his career (other than one fight in 2011), the 6’3″ Vick won’t be destroying his body cutting down to lightweight. He’ll weigh in as a welterweight in this one, which should help his chin and allow him to edge past Niko Price.
Gerald Meerschaert (+135) vs Eryk Anders
Let’s throw some money behind another underdog. The veteran GM3, aka ‘The Machine’, is coming off a very impressive performance in his last octagon appearance, choking out Trevin Giles. He’s a bit of a submission wizard (there’s that word again), winning 21 (!!!) of his 29 fights via his jiu-jitsu.
His opponent on Saturday, Eryk Anders, has never been submitted, but he’s also never fought a grappler as good as Meerschaert. He also relies solely on knocking out his opponent to secure victory – three of his four UFC victories are via (T)KO and eight of his 12 career wins. The Machine has a chin like one – he’s only been TKO’d once, by the vicious Thiago Santos. Definitely a live dog here.
Overall Results for This Column
Earnings (based on $100 bet per): $238.81
Return on Investment: 6.3%