The UFC kicks off 2021 and International Fight Week with a return to Fight Island. This card is headlined by former Featherweight champ and future UFC Hall-of-Famer, Max Holloway, and surging contender “The Boston Finisher”, Calvin Kattar.
Although the card starts at noon today, we will have the opportunity to parlay playoff football with UFC on our TV screens. This card is the first of three in the next seven days and it is a deep one.
Some great fights on the card include Dusko Todorovic vs. Punahele Soriano, Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Jianliang Li and, a fight that would’ve headlined most UFC cards 6+ years ago, Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown.
As far as gambling goes, this should be a night for the favorites. As Joaquin Buckley is a heavy favorite, I believe that’s for good reason, same with Ponzinibbio. The closest fights of the night are Joselyne Edwards vs. Yanan Wu, Dusko Todorovic vs. Punahele Soriano and Carlos Felipe vs. Justin Tafa.
Follow me on twitter @thiskid_coby5 for my full card plays, props and picks and follow @SmokeSportss for daily content. Checkout the podcast while you are here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhH-VA38q6E&feature=youtu.be
1. Buckley/Di Chirico U2.5 -125
My first play was between this and Buckley by KO at +110. I’m taking both. Buckley stands at a -285 favorite as of now and for good reason. In Buckley’s 15 pro fights, 10 have went under the 2.5 number, including all of his last 5. Di Chirico has lost his last three by decision, but 10 of his 17 fights have went under. The only worry to have here is the hype on Buckley. Will the hype get to him? He has shown up big time in his last two and a convincing W today will be a huge staple in his career.
2. Max Holloway -160
The Blessed Express will get back on track tonight. Holloway, coming off two controversial losses, is in a must win situation in today’s main event against Calvin Kattar. Kattar is an absolute badass and is riding a high right now following a convincing win over Dan Ige and an unreal KO of Jeremy Stephens. With this being said, I think Stephens gave Kattar serious trouble with the leg kicks and cage control in the first round of their fight. If Holloway mixes in the leg kicks with his volume striking, it will be a long 25 minutes for Kattar. Not to take anything away from Kattar, but this seems to be a slight step down in competition for the Hawaiian legend. Before you say “Coby, this is the same situation as the Ferguson fight,” you’re wrong. Max Holloway is 29 years-old and isn’t fighting a guy on an eight fight win streak. Also, I think Holloway has a better ground game than Kattar, although I’d bet that it doesn’t go there. Overall, I’m taking Max by decision. The line for that prop is +130.
Honorable Mention: Lingo/Kilburn U2.5 -130