UFC Vegas 82: Three Best Moneyline Bets
Chad Anheliger (12-6) vs Jose Johnson (15-8)
I’m always excited to see Canadians make the walk to the Octagon, but I am often letdown by their performances except for a few. Anheliger is a slugger who is coming off a loss to Alatengheili in his last outing. That night, his opponent outstruck him and dictated the pace, getting out ahead and winning a decision.
Anheliger is at his best when he can get into his groove and crash the pocket effectively, using his power to find the knockout blow.
Johnson stumbled in his UFC debut against a superior grappler, a flaw in his game he has worked on diligently after being smothered by Ronnie Lawrence a few years back. Johnson has defeated two standout grapplers in Mo Miller and Jack Cartwright, the latter of which was the win that earned him his UFC contract. He is a long, lanky striker who loves to establish his range with kicks, volume, and footwork to stay safe.
Speed is another big part of his game where he can get in and out with his strikes against most opponents without being countered.
I feel this is the perfect fight for Johnson to get his first UFC win. Anheliger is an aging veteran who will be at a pretty big speed disadvantage. Anheliger does not have the grappling approach to make this fight competitive in that realm, so he will be stuck at distance being chipped away at.
A Hail Mary knockout is the only path to victory for Anheliger and I just don’t see it happening.
The Pick: Jose Johnson -205
Jonathan Pearce (14-4) vs Joanderson Brito (15-3-1)
Now riding a five-fight winning streak after dropping his UFC debut, Pearce looks to be in his groove. Finishing three of those five wins is also a step in the right direction, although I believe he should have been able to finish Darren Elkins last time around. Pearce is a dominant grappler who can get off on solid damage from top position, but he’s still trying to find the confidence in his striking game to be dominant in that realm too.
He seems a tad panicky late in fights when he can’t get his grappling going, but luckily for him it has yet to come back and bite him.
Brito is a madman when he steps in the cage. Forward movement, big power punches, or a relentless grappling game, Brito does not let his opponents off the hook. He stays in their face, makes them uncomfortable, and inflicts pain like some of the best.
His lone defeat came against Bill Algeo, a fighter who was able to use Brito’s style against him with Algeo’s long range weapons and awkward fighting style. Even in some of the bad positions Brito found himself in, it was not long until he found his way back to his feet and got back to dishing out damage.
Pearce is probably the better fighter from a technical standpoint, but I don’t think he will fare well under the forward pressure and power punching style of Brito. Takedowns will surely be on the menu for Pearce, but I think he will have trouble containing Brito, allowing Brito to get back to his feet to eventually lay out Pearce with a big shot within the first two rounds.
The Pick: Joanderson Brito +110
Uros Medic (9-1) vs Myktybek Orolbai (11-1-1)
I must give Medic his flowers considering he is performing better than I originally expected of him. I was happy to call the Jalin Turner upset win, but Medic has rebounded with two solid wins, finishing both of his opponents. He has yet to see the scorecards in his career, showcasing how dangerous he can be.
Proving himself against tougher competition is still something I need to see from him. His long-range striking with brutal knees and elbows makes him dangerous, but he may have a hole in his grappling game when he’s put on the defensive.
Fresh off a brutal uppercut knockout victory back on October 27th, Orolbai accepts this short notice spot to make his UFC debut. This is a promotion and he’s at level I fully believe he deserves to be at. From his relentless grappling approach to his significantly improving striking game, Orolbai is dangerous no matter where the fight goes.
His lone defeat was a clear robbery that surprised even his opponent. You don’t often see Orolbai in bad positions because he is normally the one dictating the pace and putting the pressure on his opponents.
If Medic is able to win this fight, he will finally pass the test for me. Many are overlooking Orolbai due to his level of competition, but he has gone out there and done exactly what he needs to do against the guys that are put in front of him. I also don’t think Medic is a massive step up in competition for him, but Medic is still dangerous.
I like the chalky “fight doesn’t go to decision” prop most for this fight, but I also love the price we are getting on Orolbai. Look out for this guy, he could make a name for himself in the UFC quickly.