An underwhelming fight card will be live this weekend at the crack of dawn as the UFC’s first Fight Pass fight card is live from Marina Bay in Singapore. The prelims begin at 6:30 am ET. For those on the West coast that equates to 3:30 am and for the quality of card, we wouldn’t blame you for sleeping through it. For the first time, our mathematical model cannot be used to predict any fights on a fight card. Lim vs Saffiedine is close, but we require 3 fights which have been recorded statistically and Lim only has 2. We will be looking to build on a big night at UFC 168 where we went 4-1 on our bets for a profit of 13.10 units. Without further adue…onto the picks!
In the main event, Tarec Saffiedine will return from a 1 year layoff to take on Hyun Gyu Lim. After watching film for this match-up, it’s clear that Saffiedine is the more technical of the two on the feet. We expect Saffiedine to be able to dictate the match-up, using his technical striking to pick apart Lim. Lim’s offense tends to come at the expense of defense which is evidenced by him impressive 6.79 significant strikes per minute and much less impressive 5.24 significant strikes absorbed per minute. Saffiedine has much safer striking numbers with 4.27 significant strikes landed per minute and 2.49 significant strikes absorbed per minute. Both men also defend the vast majority of takedowns against and attempt very few which is why we expect this fight to remain standing. While a late stoppage is possible, we expect Saffiedine to cruise to a decision victory assuming Lim isn’t able to land a lucky punch. We added Saffiedine to a parlay with another fighter which we will describe below.
The co-main event is a featherweight contest between UFC newcomers Tatsuya Kawajiri and Sean Soriano. As a side note, having two UFC newcomers co-main event any UFC card is ridiculous. Dana White brags constantly about the 500 fighters the UFC has under contract and while we understand part of the goal of this card is to discover new prospects, there are tons of better options for the UFC to put in the co-main event of this card. The rant is more in regards to Soriano as Kawajiri is a relatively big name in Japan. Based on the film we’ve seen and their historical records, we expect Kawajiri to take the victory in this fight, but it is a tough fight to bet with Kawajiri sitting at just under 1.5 to 1. Soriano looks to have pretty decent stand up in the film we’ve seen on him, but the level of competition he has faced has been well below Kawajiri’s level. As mentioned before as well, both guys are debuting the UFC so we don’t know how that will impact their performance. Unless the line moves greatly in one direction or the other, we will pass on placing a bet on this one.
The second fight of the main card is Kiichi Kunimoto taking on Luiz Dutra Jr. Dutra fought once on TUF Brazil so we could watch one of his fights on the show where he displayed good grappling and servicable striking to defeat Pedro Irie. Irie though, is only a 9-5 fighter fighting on the regional Brazilian scene so it doesn’t really give us a good indication of how Dutra will perform on Saturday. Kunimoto is even tougher to guage. He’s 15-5-2, but has also been fighting mostly cans. Give the advantage to Dutra in this one, but save your money for better value.
Kicking off the main card will be bantamweights Kyung-Ho Kang and Shunichi Shimizu. A quick look at the background of these two fighters had us thinking Shimizu had some value at 3.19 to 1. Once we watched film on the two though, our tone completely changed. Kang has shown that he is a UFC caliber grappler. He did lose his first two UFC fights, but they were against a much higher level of competition than Shimizu offers. In addition, in both losses, Kang was able to get on top early and maintain that position for significant portions of the fight. In the film we were able to watch of Shimizu (vs Yerzhan Estamov), he was taken down and dominated for a round against a relatively low level of competition. He was only able to come away with the victory because his inexperienced opponent gassed very quickly. Look for Kyung-Ho Kang to get his first UFC win in a boring decision.
In the main event of the early prelims, Max Holloway and Will Chope will do battle. Chope is one of those guys who has basically been beating up no-name guys for years and padding his record. After watching his fights, there are some serious holes in his game and he is likely not even UFC calibre. The 6 fight UFC vet, Holloway will likely win a decicive decision or TKO. Against a UFC level competitor, we likely wouldn’t place our money on the unreliable Holloway, but against Will Chope and at 1.48 to 1, we won’t hesitate. We bet 3 units on a parlay with Holloway and Saffiedine at 2.16 to 1.
Due to a lack of film, our analysis of Mulhern vs Kikuno, Wee vs Galera, Taisumov vs Bang, Kimura vs Reyes and Doane vs Issa is relatively limited. In terms of bets, the only value we saw was to put a couple of these guys in our parlays.
Saffiedine and Holloway over Lim and Chope. 3 units at 2.16 to 1
Kang, Taisumov and Kimura over Shimizu, Bang and Reyes. 2 units at 2.53 to 1