UFC Fight Night 101 Odds: Previews and Picks

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UFC Fight Night 101 Fight Picks

With the loss of the original main event between middleweight contenders Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 101 in Melbourne, Australia went from a great UFC fight card to merely decent. It sucks, but the show must go on.

The New UFC Fight Night 101 Main Event

Fortunately, the fight between Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson is an underrated fight. You might not know much about the two, but they’re each riding five fight win streaks and one victory away from title contention. That’s impressive, given how competitive the 185-pound class is right now.

The two other fights to watch on this card feature Aussies Kyle Noke and Jake Matthews. Noke is a “put on a show” type fighter, while Matthews is a young prospect with a ton of potential.

Let’s break down your options to bet on fights this Saturday, courtesy of the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu.


Derek Brunson (-130) vs Robert Whittaker (+110)

Over/under 2.5 rounds, over -125, under +105

Brunson might not just be a wrestler anymore, and that’s scary a thought for the three-time DII All-American. Training at Jackson-Wink with guys like John Jones and Cowboy Cerrone seems to be doing wonders for his standup – Brunson has knocked out his last three opponents. In his most recent bout, he floored Uriah Hall – an awesome kickboxer – in the first round.

Still, he might want to think twice before engaging Whittaker in a standup battle. The 25-year old is a superb boxer with plus power. Moving up to middleweight has improved his gas tank, and the Aussie’s increased aggression and punching volume add another layer to his game.

UFC Betting Breakdown

Brunson has a fallback in his wrestling, and even if he chooses to keep it standing it’s not a guaranteed outcome that Whittaker can beat him there either.

The American has more tools and can carve out different paths to victory, though it will not be easy against the always-game Whittaker.

Prediction:

Brunson UD Whittaker


 

Jake Matthews (-190) vs Andrew Holbrook (+160)

Over/under 1.5 rounds, over -190, under +160

Matthews is just 22 years old but already has a nice skillset to work with. His striking is solid, he’s shown good timing on his takedowns and his grappling shows promise. Plus, youth and athleticism go a long way in this sport.

But Matthews hasn’t showed greatness in any one MMA phase yet, and until he does, the Australian won’t be breaking into the top-10 any time soon. He also needs more experience, as evidenced in his last fight, when he was knocked out in the first by Kevin Lee.

Holbrook’s calling card is his grappling, with nine of his career 11 wins coming by submission. But he’s by no means one-dimensional. On the feet, he’s an aggressive boxer that with a damaging clinch game. However, he has glaring holes in his defense, which Joaquim Silva exposed wtih a first-round knockout this past July.

UFC Betting Breakdown

It’s a tough call for fight picks. Matthews has the higher ceiling but Holbrook has a clear advantage in the grappling department. But in a three-round matchup, I think Matthews can fend off Holbrook’s submission and stay feisty enough to win on points.

Our Prediction:

Matthews UD Holbrook


 

Kyle Noke (+161) vs Omari Akhmedov (-190)

Over/under 1.5 rounds, over -175, under +150

Every Akhmedov fight seems to run the same course: he starts off strong and falls off a cliff by the middle of the second. For whatever reason, the Dagestani “Wolverine” cannot seem to throw anything but full power punches.

While it’s fun to watch, it’s obvious that it completely drains his gas tank. It’s how he lost his last two fights, against Sergio Moraes and Elizeu Dos Santos.

Noke’s nickname might be “KO”, but he’s much more of a striker that damages through volume than knockout blows. Technical boxing has never been his thing, but the Aussie’s kicks and spinning attacks are an entirely different story. He’s one of the few fighters in UFC history to score a knockout by front snap kick, with Peter Sobotta as the victim.

UFC Betting Breakdown

If Akhmedov can preserve his energy, he can win this fight. But Noke’s kicking arsenal presents a challenge and could send the Russian into full power mode – an approach that will inevitably exhaust him. Considering Akhmedov’s recent history, the second option seems the most likely.

Our Prediction:

Noke TKO Akhmedov, R3

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Abe first encountered MMA in 2000, watching a VHS tape of Kazushi Sakuraba kicking the legs of a downed Royce Gracie in Pride Fighting Championships. He's been hooked ever since. Abe has penned NBA and NFL articles for Sports Illustrated and RotoExperts. In 2010, Abe signed on as the lead MMA writer for BigOnSports.com, and is now dedicated to helping fellow fans beat the odds.