Best bets for UFC Fight Night 227: Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2

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Best bets for UFC Fight Night 227: Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2

Never in my wildest imaginations did I believe that Sean Strickland would actually execute the proper plan of attack to clasp the middleweight title away from former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Strickland with his one-sided decision win has left the MMA community dumbfounded heading into this week’s card.

 

This week, from the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, comes “Noche UFC,” an event described by the UFC as “The UFC brings an action-packed card to T-Mobile Arena on Mexican Independence Day for the first time ever. It has become a great tradition in combat sports to hold big fights on September 16th, and this year we’re honoring our UFC fans and fighters from Mexican communities with an inaugural Noche UFC.”

On this fight card are six true Mexican fighters and another three of Mexican heritage now residing in the US. They’ll take on other athletes from around the globe in this event highlighted by current Mexican flyweight champion Alexa Grasso’s first defense—a rematch with former champion Valentina Shevchenko who Grasso submitted to earn the title this past March.

Last week, we realized great displeasure by wagering on “The Pleasure Man” Anton Turkalj. We step back in profitability with the goal of enhancing that bottom line with this week’s release.

Alexa Grasso (Champion) +140 vs. Valentina Shevchenko -165

Women’s flyweight title (125 pounds) main event

Months ago, this line opened Shevchenko -225. Immediately after release, I advised ‘Bout Business Podcast listeners to attack that Grasso +195 price. As we can see, that price is long gone, and the current number depicts a more realistic price on this bout in my judgment.

Shevchenko’s shown an ebb in her effectiveness for a couple of fights now, and intertwined with that slight erosion of skill has been the evolution of seeing Valentina in evening wear, out on the town and actually enjoying life a little bit.

While she’s surely earned that right, I can only relay what I was taught by ol’ Angelo Dundee many years ago, and I have found this to be so true of fighters.

Dundee would warn of the paradox in this manner: Once a fighter who started with little to nothing earns the reputation and riches they’ve longed for from their fighting success, it’s that notoriety, money and distraction coming from the public accolades that end up diluting the fighter’s skills. Success corrodes and dulls the focus, drive, and desire of championship-level fighters.

Valentina’s mind knows she can overcome almost any obstacle because previously she has always been able to overcome any obstacle. However, she’s now thirty-five and has been competing with absolutely every world-class adversary the organization put in front of her since 2015.

Valentina is well-rounded. She’s highly intelligent and keenly driven. In this fight, it will be 70% of her pride yearning to recapture that title substantiated with 30% grit, determination and nasty.

For Grasso, she’s had months to prepare for this second challenge. The old boxing saying that fighters become 35% better once they clasp the championship is accurate in my judgment.

In March, Grasso utilized speed, timing, and her specific plan for success, which ended up being enough to earn her the title. Now, Grasso and camp know they have the formula to defeat the unbeatable “Bullet” Shevchenko, but as they enter the cage for this tussle, how will they adjust, if at all?

Different in this fight is the pressure Grasso will carry into the cage for not only is she fighting the former champion, but the crowd will be chock full of Mexican fight enthusiasts all yearning to see their fighter dominate. So yes, there is pressure on Grasso entering this rematch.

Once the bell rings for this bout, I look for Shevchenko to immediately try to bully Grasso and back her up.

Grasso will need to face the fire, but she’ll realize too that it’s in her best interest to bully the bully, Shevchenko! In fact, Grasso taking this fight to Shevchenko seems a great way to instill doubt immediately into the Russian’s mind and let her know immediately that the “orgullo de los Mexicanos” or Mexican pride will inspire Grasso in her attempt to retain her title.

Grasso +195 was surely the wrong price. Grasso +150 is more in line. It’s difficult for me to recommend Grasso +150 when I already hold her +195, so I’ll look to a bout other than this main event to pad 2023 profitability.

Total in this fight: 4.5 Rds. Over -155

This price indicates a potentially close, competitive decision.

Tracy Cortez -125 vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius +105

Women’s flyweight (125 pounds)

Tracy Cortez comes from a family of wrestlers. Her forward pressure, clinch attack and cardio are what one would expect from a top-end grinding wrestler.

Cortez has faced decent UFC-caliber foes, and she’s shown an ability to press the pace and utilize her wrestling in the cage. The issue here however is that this is a mixed martial arts competition, and Cortez, though apt as a pressure wrestler, is lacking with her striking and strike evasion which offers opponents a singularly versed opponent.

Jasudavicius enters this fight as the larger lady, the older fighter, and the athlete with deeper experience. She’s also been in the cage with a higher caliber set of opponents.  Jasudavicius is coming off an impressive victory over another forward-pressing wrestling-based athlete in Miranda Maverick, one I handicap to be at or above the ability of Ms. Cortez. The Maverick bout could not have come at a better time for Jasudavicius, for it is a terrific precursor to Ms. Cortez, as both are very similar in fighting style.

Jasudavicius’s experience, her size, the absolute bad intention she carries, and above all, her effective power striking, will be the difference in this fight as she’s seen fighters similarly equipped as Cortez. Meanwhile, Jasudavicius represents a substantial step up in class for Cortez and one that will do all she can to finish this fight.

The contention here is that Jasudavicius should be the athlete with the minus next to her name so I find it advantageous to invest in Jasudavicius +100.

Total in this fight: 2.5 Rds Over -350

GambLou’s ‘Bout Business Podcast drops every Friday there is a UFC fight card. This week, the pod will be available around 1 p.m. PT!

Enjoy the fights and thank you for reading!