The UFC travels to the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden for UFC on ESPN+ 11 on Saturday. The main event takes place in the light heavyweight division where Alexander Gustafsson takes on Anthony Smith. The co-main Stays in the lightweight division where Jimi Manuwa goes up against Aleksandar Rakic.
Also, on the man card Chris Fishgold faces off against Makwan Amirkhani, Damir Hadzovic takes on Christos Giagos, and Daniel Teymur vs. Sung Bin Jo.
The prelims will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 9:00 AM (CST) with the main card starting at 12:00 PM (CST) also on ESPN+.
Some challenges with technology due to the storms that have come through prevented me from providing the type of preview you’re accustomed to reading. However, I will still handicap each of the fights on the card and hopefully provide you all with some winning bets.
I will say this is another card that doesn’t present many solid money-making opportunities. I have a few “leans” that I will mention, but nothing solid. Check my Twitter for any changes.
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
Anthony Smith (31-14) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (18-5) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Gustafsson -305; Smith +245
Pick: Gustafsson by decision.
I’m staying far away from this one. The value is on Anthony Smith here. Gustafsson’s skillset is superior in every facet. The problem is I don’t know where Gus is mentally. He knows he can’t beat Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier, so I wonder if the hunger is still there. The home cooking should give him a boost. Anthony Smith has shown improvement in every fight; the Jones fight notwithstanding. He has talked openly about how disappointed he was in his performance against Jones and he’s desperate to get another crack at him. The odds on this fight should be tighter in my opinion.
Jimi Manuwa (17-5) vs. Aleksandar Rakic (11-1) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Rakic -205; Manuwa +165
Pick: Rakic by (T)KO. If Aleksandar Rakic can make it through the first three minutes of the fight, it’s his fight to lose. Manuwa is a boom or bust fighter these days and his chin just isn’t there at this stage of his career. That said, Manuwa has the power to sleep Rakic so I expect him to come out hot and try and get Aleksandar out of there early.
I lean towards Rakic.
Makwan Amirkhani (14-3) vs. Chris Fishgold (18-2-1) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Fishgold -120; Amirkhani -110
Pick: Amirkhani by decision.
Damir Hadzovic (13-4) vs. Christos Giagos (16-7) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Hadzovic -170; Giagos +140
Pick: Hadzocic by decision.
Daniel Teymur (6-3) vs. Sung Bin Jo (9-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Jo -150; Teymur +120
Pick: Jo by stoppage.
I like Jo here, but I think the odds are a bit high.
Tonya Evinger (19-7, 1 NC) vs. Lina Lansberg (8-4) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Evinger -300; Lansberg +240
Pick: Evinger by decision.
At that price, no thanks. Perhaps in a parlay.
Stevie Ray (22-8) vs. Leonardo Santos (16-3-1) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Santos -205; Ray +165
Pick: Santos by decision.
Ray doesn’t do anything particularly great, but Santos’ long layoff is worrisome.
Nick Hein (14-4, 1 NC) vs. Frank Camacho (21-7) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Camacho -125; Hein -105
Pick: Camacho by (T)KO.
Bea Malecki (2-0) vs. Duda Santanna (3-0) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Malecki -125; Santanna -105
Pick: Malecki by decision.
Darko Stosic (13-1) vs. Devin Clark (9-3) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Stosic -125; Clark -105
Pick: Stosic by decision.
Money coming in on Stosic has made him the bigger favorite. Slight lean to Stosic, however if the odds continue to rise I would pass.
Joel Alvarez (15-2) vs. Danilo Belluardo (12-3) – Middleweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Alvarez -115; Belluardo -115
Pick: Belluardo by (T)KO.
Rostem Akman (5-0) vs. Sergy Khandozhko (25-5-1) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Khandozhko -155; Akman +125
Pick: Khandozhko by (T)KO.
Enjoy the fights!