This article is part of our The MMA Mashup series.
It's Thursday, folks, and that means another edition of the MMA Mashup. We keep it spicy with several plays across the formats this week, including a prediction that a fight between two knockout artists will go the distance, and an under total for a fighter who simply can't help but go over the century mark on significant strikes (One final note before we begin: all betting lines were taken from the various sportsbooks offered on the RotoWire Sports Betting section).
Without further ado, let's get to it
Bet to Consider:
Maxim Grishin vs. Dustin Jacoby goes to decision (+108)
Grishin is as big and powerful as they come at light heavyweight, but can fight at a glacially slow pace as someone who waits for his opponents to throw a shot before counterstriking, Dustin Jacoby's finish of Justin Ledet marked a triumphant return for the 32-year-old, but I think a veteran like Grishin will try to draw out Jacoby here and perhaps try to take over in the later rounds, as he hasn't faced much high-level competition since he left the sport in 2015.
Plays to consider on DraftKings:
Ciryl Gane ($9,000)
Gane has so many advantages heading into his fight with Jair Rozenstruik that I'm tempted to say $9,000 is a bargain. While both men are kickboxers by trade, Gane is by far the more fluid and athletic man. If that speed advantage isn't enough, the French fighter will also have his wrestling/grappling game to fall back on. Rozenstruick hits hard enough to knock out any opponent with the right shot, but Gane simply has too many tools to be anything other than a large favorite in this one.
Alexander Hernandez ($8,700)
After three lackluster fights in a row, it looked like Hernandez was fading as a promising prospect, but the 28-year-old got back to form with fluid combinations that led to a quick stoppage against Chris Gruetzemacher in October. Thiago Moises is a talented grappler but has been outclassed on the feet in every bout where he has been forced to stand. While it's natural to think that Hernandez may be hesitant to take Moises down due to those grappling chops, it should be noted that Beneil Dariush had no problem dominating the Brazilian on the ground for the better part of three rounds, and Hernandez was good about using the fence to block advancement from the bottom in his bout with Olivier Aubin-Mercier.
Ronnie Lawrence ($8,600)
Lawrence took down his Contender Series opponent 12 times on his way to a decision victory, while Vincent Cachero was brought to the mat five times in his loss to Jamall Emmers. Those facts alone make Lawrence an interesting play here, but it should also be pointed out that Lawrence is a fantastic control grappler who excels at neutralizing his opponents in compromising positions. This should come in handy against Cachero, who has shown himself to be quite scrambly and elusive from the bottom.
Ramazan Kuramagomedov (TBD)
Kuramagomedov may be taking the fight against the ever-tricky Alex Oliveira on short notice, but the Contender Series Alumni is every bit as good a control grappler as his surname suggests, methodically climbing his way to positions after takedowns in an attempt to secure a position. "Cowboy" will always be able to use his athleticism as an equalizer but has been far too willing to engage in the clinch in the past, which should spell trouble for him along with points for us.
Kevin Croom ($7,400)
Croom may be popular against Alex Caceres, who has traditionally had trouble with aggressive wrestlers and submission grapplers. Croom pushes a frantic pace and won't be at a disadvantage in the height or reach department against the lanky veteran. I expect "The Hard-Hitting Hillbilly" to overwhelm Caceres with pressure before taking him to the ground and racking up the points, as "Bruce Leeroy" has always been susceptible to getting backed up against the fence.
Plays to Consider on FanDuel
Magomed Ankalaev ($23)
A last-second submission loss in his debut is the only blemish on an otherwise sparkling UFC resume for Ankalaev, which includes five consecutive wins (four by KO/TKO). Nikita Krylov is a committed wrestler and grappler but has missed on five takedown attempts in each of his last two fights and Ankalaev will enter this matchup with an 85 percent takedown defense rate. This should allow the Dagestani fighter to get some defensive points while using his pinpoint striking to control the fight and potentially find another finish.
Mayra Bueno Silva ($16)
The same can be said for Bueno Silva, who not only comes into this fight with a solid 71 percent defense rate on takedowns but will constantly attempt submissions if she does wind up on her back. This makes her an interesting target on the platform, as Montana De La Rosa has succeeded on just 30 percent of her takedown attempts during her seven-fight career in the UFC. It should also be noted that Silva is a relentless pressure striker, which could force a few more bad shots out of her opponent than normal.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Angela Hill UNDER 78.5 significant strikes and Ashley Yoder UNDER 41.5 significant strikes
This is a rematch of a 2017 bout wherein these fighters landed a combined total of just 72 significant strikes, but that's not the only reason I settle on an under here. While Hill is notorious for fighting at a high pace, Yoder can slow fights to a crawl with how deliberate she is on the feet. The big reason I see low totals in this one, however, is that Yoder likely won't want to stand with the far superior striker, and Hill has been vulnerable to takedowns throughout her career. Thus, I see this fight playing out very similarly to the first one, which should allow us to cruise to a cash.
Jimmie Rivera OVER 60.5 significant strikes and Pedro Munhoz UNDER 78.5 significant strikes
This fight is also a rematch, and though it's been quite a while since their 2015 bout we can still find a few things to inform our play here. One thing that immediately jumps out is Munhoz, who doesn't typically wrestle much, shot for a whopping eight takedowns in the fight. It seems likely that this is due to the overwhelming speed advantage of Rivera, a dynamic that should be similar in 2021. I believe this speed advantage will once again work to freeze Munhoz on the feet, which should lead to a somewhat depressed total and allow Rivera to flow with combinations.
Alexis Davis OVER 57.5 significant Strikes and Sabina Mazo UNDER 88.5 significant strikes.
Styles make fights. This isn't just true in terms of who wins and who loses, it also plays a big role in the type of fight combatants have. Mazo has notched over 100 significant strikes in three of her first four UFC fights, with the exception being when she landed just 64 significant strikes against Maryna Moroz, the only grappler on that resume. Davis should be the second opponent who pursues a grappling strategy, which should be just enough to keep Mazo's total beneath the target. Meanwhile, Davis' Janky kickboxing style should come with enough volume to surpass her total.