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UFC Vegas 89 Main Event Pick: Ribas vs. Namajunas

UFC Vegas 89 Main Event Pick: Ribas vs. Namajunas

UFC VEGAS 89 MAIN EVENT PICK: RIBAS  VS. NAMAJUNAS – The UFC is serving up a women’s flyweight main event for us this weekend between a former strawweight champion and a fighter that has her eyes set on gold. It’s not often we see women from this division getting the main event treatment, especially if it’s not for a title, but this is worthy of a main event slot.

Amanda Ribas looks to shake this rollercoaster run she is on and start building momentum to earn herself a title shot, something many fans believed she was capable of when she made her UFC debut.

Rose Namajunas finds herself on the first ever losing streak of her career and looks to buck the trend this weekend with her first win up at flyweight.

Will the BJJ black belt of Ribas come into play this weekend and help her pull off the upset? Or will the veteran, high level experience of Namajunas gets her hand raised? Read on to see how these two matchup.

Hey, while you’re at it, click here to check out our Godzilla Wins Daily Staff Picks!

Amanda Ribas

Leading into the COVID-era, Ribas found herself on a five-fight winning streak. Unfortunately, she ran into Marina Rodriguez in January 2021 which put a halt to her momentum. It’s been a back-and-forth swing of wins and losses for Ribas since then, most recently coming off a victory over Luana Pinheiro.

The three losses she suffered in that time were against high level opponents, so it’s nothing to rake her over the coals for, but many expected her to be a top-3 fighter considering the run she had coming into the UFC. Her second win with the promotion was against Mackenzie Dern, handing Dern her first professional MMA loss.

Ribas is a talented BJJ black belt and that has largely allowed her to get the wins that she has. She can take her opponents to the ground and grind them out, but she is improving her striking game enough to be active on the feet. Her pressure, movement, and feints give some openings for her to take advantage of, however she can be touched up due to the big openings she leaves on the feet. It’s often you see her get banged up and show visible damage even in fights that she gets her hand raised.

Her durability is unbelievable, even in the three fights she has lost by TKO, she’s managed to stay conscious, but she gets overwhelmed when she is clearly hurt.=

Rose Namajunas

Considering the level of skill Namajunas has, it’s puzzling to see her holding an unfortunate 11-6 record. After going 3-0 between 2020 and 2021, which included her title winning and defending efforts against Weili Zhang, Namajunas had a very pedestrian matchup against Carla Esparza that saw Esparza take the title from Namajunas.

Namajunas took over a year off and returned at 125lbs but had a bad stylistic matchup to overcome against number one contender, Manon Fiorot. Namajunas was dealt a bad hand in terms of the opponent she was given as her first fight up at this weight class, but she made the most of it and the momentum was clearly in her favor as this fight leaked into the last round.

What has made Namajunas so special and successful was her intelligent striking game. Her speed, accuracy, and ability to set traps and spring them allowed her to find finishes against some of the best fighters in the division.

She also has a sneaky submission game which we don’t see much of, as she is just so comfortable in the striking realm and using her length/range to establish it. She won’t have those physical advantages at 125lbs anymore, so it will be interesting to see how she looks to establish her striking dominance with other processes.

The Pick

It was interesting to see the line movement on this fight since the week started. Namajunas went from -180 up to -260, then we saw some buyback on Ribas which has now leveled out the Namajunas line around -205.

That’s a smidge too chalky for my liking, but I feel Namajunas will have good enough grappling skills to keep this fight upright and take advantage of the poor striking defense of Ribas.

I expect Namajunas to find a finish in this fight within the first three rounds. Look for the patented Namajunas head kick to rock Ribas badly and either present a submission opportunity for Namajunas or just the chance to finish the job with some ground and pound.

Thus, I’ll look to lean into the under 4.5 at better odds than the chalk on Namajunas. This covers a potential Ribas finish as well, which I don’t think transpires. Namajunas, head kick, book it.

Under 4.5 -140

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