UFC 234, 10th February 2019 – Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Considering this is the first Pay per View Event of the year, I have to say I’m pretty underwhelmed by this card. Not by the top two fights, which are top draw, but by the lack of depth. Beyond those first two, the quality of the match ups drops off very fast. It’s also been a lot more difficult to find any value this week – and in order to find any we are having to go for a real longshot. Be warned and be cautious – one of these is a very speculative bet indeed.

Lando Vannata v Marcos Rosa Mariano

The headline fight of the early prelims looks like the most egregious mismatch I’ve seen in a while. ‘Groovy’ Lando Vannata has had a a poor run of late results wise but I can forgive that as he’s been fighting close to the top of the division and performing with some credit.

Clearly the UFC must like him and have decided to cut him a some slack with this match up. I’ve never heard of Marcos Rosa Mariano, nor have I ever heard of anybody he’s fought. All of his opponents combined have a record of 55 wins and 44 losses. Hardly world beaters methinks – and he’s managed to lose to a fair few of them!

Unless I’m missing something massive, Lando is way, way clear of his opponent here in terms of experience and ability. Barring a hail mary big shot, he should win cosily. The odds are tight but still offer some value – I personally think he is more like a 1-10 shot.

Advice: 2 points win Lando Vannata 1.29 at Sky, Hills, VC

Anderson Silva v Israel Adesanya

This is a tough one and one I won’t be able to go in too heavily on.

Anderson is right there in the argument for greatest fighter of all time but he’s been out for a while , he’s lost 4 of his last 5 (and to be honest, he also lost and was gifted the decision against Derek Brunson) and he’s 43 years old!

Adesanya is being touted as the next big thing. 15-0 in MMA, a huge record in kickboxing and a super exciting, fan friendly style. He’s big for the weight class and combines youth with a ton of experience. He’s also EXTREMELY confident.

However, let’s look a little more closely at the vaunted record of Adesanya.

Three fights ago he barely squeaked past Marvin Vettori in a split decision that could have gone either way. Now, Marvin Vettori is a tough guy – but he’s not Anderson Silva.

In his second to last fight, he went the distance with Brad Tavares – another tough guy but the kind of guy I would expect him to beat a little more convincingly if he really is the next big thing.

Finally in his most recent effort, he destroyed Derek Brunson in a first round mauling. Pretty impressive I have to agree but Derek Brunson fought emotionally after all the pre fight bad blood and – as he tends to do of late – steamed out swinging like a lunatic and got himself knocked out.

Even with my doubts about the quality of Adesanya’s wins in the UFC, The Spider is still a genuine underdog here and is very likely to lose… just not as likely as the available odds would have you believe. When I saw the 9/2 available, I knew I would’t be able to let it pass. I think it’s a fair bit too big even taking into account the layoff and the fact he’s a shadow of the fighter he once was.

I think he will be highly motivated for this fight with the promise of a title shot and I’ve seen him produce some truly miraculous performances before now. I accept he’s likely to lose but, as a value bettor, he has to be my play.

Advice: Anderson Silva 0.5 points win @ 5.5 Sky, Hills, Betfred

Robert Whittaker v Kelvin Gastelum

The main event and an intriguing match up between two very talented fighters – both of whom started out at welterweight but have found far greater success since the move up to middleweight. Crazy weight cutters take note – sometimes it’s better not to be massively depleted the day before a fight!

I was very tempted to put up a bet here as I think that the very slick boxing of Gastelum is being underestimated. However, Whittaker is such a tough competitor with a will to win and heart that is rare even among the most elite competitors. I think he probably finds a way to win.

If I were to suggest a bet in this one, the prices just about dictate that It would be on Gastelum to win. if I could get 5/2 instead of 2/1 I’d be all over it. Sadly I can’t, so I’ll just be watching this one.

Summary:

Advice: 2 points win Lando Vannata @1.29 Sky, Hills, VC

Advice: 0.5 points win Anderson Silva @ 5.5 Sky, Hills, Betfred

Thats all from me today so have a great weekend and be lucky!

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