This Saturday, the UFC heads to Charlotte, North Carolina for a FOX card that at first glance, might not seem very special. But despite its lack of stars that would bring in the casuals, UFC on FOX 27 features some pretty sick fights that should have plenty of impact on their respective divisions.
In the main event, Ronaldo Souza will try and rebound from a shellacking at the hands of Robert Whittaker in a failed bid for the interim title. Making that defeat even more bitter is the fact that Bobby Knuckles was later installed as the undisputed champ after GSP vacated the belt (big surprise there).
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace meets Derek Brunson, who is looking to vault into title contention with a win over the longtime top-5 middleweight. Brunson has been on a tear recently, knocking out back-to-back opponents in the first round.
In the featherweight division, No. 11 Dennis Bermudez meets action fighter Andre Fili, a man who specializes in wild chaos. Bermudez is no stranger to hard-hitting brawls himself, setting up a dark horse thriller.
Kicking off the main card is undefeated lightweight prospect Gregor Gillespie. Even in a division as loaded as 155, Gillespie has managed to become one of its brightest young scrappers.
Not bad, right? And as always, there are some undervalued picks you can make here. Let’s take a look at the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu and break it all down.
Derek Brunson +120 vs. Jacare Souza -140
Over/under 1.5 rounds, over -127, under +107
At 38, it’s fair to question how much Souza’s got left. He hasn’t shown any signs of physical decline yet, but his whupping at the hands of Whittaker starts to make you wonder. While Brunson isn’t Whittaker – especially when it comes to boxing – he’s every bit as athletic. And Brunson’s 100% takedown defense is going to cause some serious problems.
When Jacare couldn’t get Whittaker to the ground, he got torched by Bobby Knuckles. With Brunson’s brawling days seemingly in the rearview, expect the Jackson-Wink rep to use his speed advantage to blast Souza with lightning fast counter punches. Souza’s power has to be respected here – he did knockout Brunson in a Strikeforce encounter in 2012 – but the rematch should prove very different. Brunson is a much better fighter than he was back then.
Our Pick: Brunson to win at +120
Brunson’s price is playable as a straight bet. If you’re looking for a better payout, consider Brunson by TKO/KO. Jacare is a tough out, but it’s hard to deny how well Jackson-Wink has trained Brunson to fight with controlled bursts. Guys just aren’t seeing that overhand right coming right now, and it’ll only take on to put the Brazilian away.
Dennis Bermudez +135 vs. Andre Fili -150
Over/under 2.5 rounds, over -190, under +155
This one’s gonna be fun. Both Bermudez and Fili have aesthetically pleasing styles and can switch on go-for-broke mode at the flip of a switch. Bermudez is a puncher-wrestler who does everything with authoritative power. He swings hard, and drives for takedowns at full force. There have been plenty of moments where Bermudez appears to be a contender, but he’s come up short against nearly every top-5 fighter he’s faced.
Fili has never been in the top-10 conversation, electing more to be a fan-friendly fighter rather than a focused contender. He is reckless in every phase, whether it’s throwing wild kicks in the standup or chasing a high-risk sub on the mat. It’s almost impossible to win with any kind of consistency when you fight like that, and Fili has literally alternated wins and losses since entering the UFC. It works better against less experienced guys, but Bermudez is not that guy.
Our Pick: Bermudez to win at -160
Fili presents some unique dangers, but Bermudez simply has more paths to victory. If things get hairy on the feet, Bermudez can revert to his wrestling and win this fight from the top ride. The rounds over also makes sense as well, as neither man consistently finishes fights.
Gregor Gillespie -585 vs. Jordan Rinaldi +440
Over/under 2.5 rounds, over -156, under +131
Ready for a grapplefest? Gillespie is a former NCAA Division I national wrestling champion and four-time All-American. Rinaldi has racked up eight submissions in 13 career wins. One might think that Rinaldi’s BJJ talents will give Gillespie pause, but that’s highly doubtful as “The Gift” is extremely comfortable in every phase from full guard to full mount.
Rinaldi tends to have trouble against superior athletes, like when he was shut down by Abel Trujillo and James Moontasri. Gillespie is an even better athlete, and is a far more active striker to boot. This one could get ugly for Rinaldi.
Our Pick: Gillespie inside the distance +144
This is a showcase fight for Gillespie, who should be able to line up a ranked opponent in his next fight out. Rinaldi isn’t a scrub, but he’s outmatched physically and talent-wise, and it’s hard to see him making to the scorecards.
Check out the latest UFC on Fox 27 betting odds and prop bets.