The UFC octagon sets up in the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the first time in over five years this Saturday for UFC on ABC: Rozenstruik vs. Almeida. We get the big boys – heavyweights – in the main event. It’s a pretty chalky card in my eyes, but I was able to find a couple of live dogs for the night. Here are my UFC Charlotte predictions and best bets.
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UFC Charlotte Predictions & Best Bets
Jailton Almeida (-500) vs, Jairzinho Rozenstruik
The main event matches up two ranked heavyweights in, up-and-comer Jailton Almeida and long-time UFC veteran Jarizinho Rozenstruik. Almeida is the easy choice here, hence the bloated betting line. He’s absorbed a grand total of two significant strikes in his four UFC fights, all victories. He’ll once again use his amazing grappling to avoid Rozenstruik’s power and will finish the fight on the mat, probably inside the distance (-350), probably via submission (-104).
Johnny Walker (-105) vs. Anthony Smith
The light heavyweight co-main event is much harder to call, but I’m going with the slight favorite, Johnny Walker. He has half a foot of reach on veteran Anthony Smith, is four years younger, and has finished his last two opponents. Hopefully, the formerly inconsistent Walker continues his recent stretch of strong performances and pieces Smith up on the feet. Walker via T/KO at +170 is worth a sprinkle.
Alex Morono (-210) vs. Tim Means
I like welterweight Alex Morono to take care of Tim Means in the main card opener. He’s six years younger than ‘The Dirty Bird,’ which is a significant age gap (fighters at least five years younger than their opponents win 63% of the time). He’s also a more active striker, so that he can push the pace on the older Means.
Ji Yeon Kim (-190) vs. Mandy Bohm
Mandy Bohm has not looked “UFC caliber” over her first two fights in the octagon, losing both. Unfortunately, this is just what the doctor ordered for Ji Yeon Kim, as ‘Fire Fist’ has lost four straight fights and five of six. She’s going to put a beating on Bohm on the feet, as she’s way more active landing strikes than the tentative German is. Plus, she has fists of fire, which should help.
Bryan Battle (+115) vs. Gabriel Green
Time to give you a couple of live dogs. Bryan Battle is way bigger than Gabriel Green (four inches of reach), and Green has struggled with long fighters in the past at welterweight. He’s also the better all-around fighter, dangerous on the feet, in the clinch, and on the mat. I don’t know why he’s a dog here, but I’ll take it.
Tainara Lisboa (+100) vs Jessica-Rose Clark
I like newcomer Tainara Lisboa at even money in the curtain jerker on Saturday. While she’s only 5-2 in professional MMA, she is a multi-time Muay Thai world champion. And Jessica-Rose Clark hasn’t looked good lately, so I’m down to fade her. Plus, Lisboa has shown good grappling chops for a striker.
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