Freelance: UFC Fight Night 109 Full Card Odds and Predictions
In just a week’s time the mixed martial arts world will see the return of Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson to the UFC’s octagon for just the second time since late last year and for the first time in 2017.
With just days remaining before the collision of the former light heavyweight (205-pound) title challenger and perennial contender Glover Teixeira of Brazil, the betting odds are still coming in as the world leader in MMA prepares once again to touch down in Sweden’s capitol city of Stockholm, emanating from the Ericsson Globe Arena on May 28.
Have a look at the complete card below!
Main Card (Fox Sports 1)
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Glover Teixeira
The Early Odds: Bovada has your current (as of May 21) Fight Night 109 odds and the oddsmakers are favoring the host country’s favorite son in Gustafsson—the -265 favorite opposite the +205 underdog in his opponent, but should you favor him?
A “Mauler” No More?
As has been said before, MMA is very much a “what have you done for me lately?” kind of sport and while Teixeira remained close to the championship picture, Gustaffson took a single unanimous decision victory against Jan Blachowicz last September. Shortly after the fight, Gustafsson appeared on The MMA Hour web-show to put retirement rumors to rest, saying he was “never even close” to saying that he was done competing but that he was struggling to find motivation.
Desperate to taste victory, the Swede abandoned the stand-up approach that has made him famous, preferring to wrestle his way to the sound of the final horn after 15 minutes against Blachowicz.
He said to MMAFighting.com, “It's been a tough year for me. Everybody knows that. I got stopped here in Stockholm against Anthony Johnson, and then I had a split (decision) against DC. So, I had some pressure on (me), and I just knew that however this fight goes, I have to win it no matter what. I don't care if I win on submission, knockout, or decision. I just needed a win to start from scratch and start with something good, with a win.”
FightMetric, LLC Stats
The numbers that separate Gustafsson and Teixeira are narrow but worth mentioning. At 26-5 overall, Teixeira has a win percentage of about 84 percent compared to his opponent’s 17-4 record (a success rate of about 81 percent.) The visiting fighter also has a shorter average fight time (although this would also include losses) of 7:40 against 10:10.
Physically, Gustaffson will have both a three-inch height (6’ 5” to 6’ 2”) and reach (79” to 76”) advantage heading into the contest, but Teixiera is the leader in almost every measurable way. Gustaffson lands 4.12 Significant Strikes per Minute to his 4.03 but trails in striking accuracy (44 percent to 40 percent,) Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (3.63 to Teixeira’s 3.33,) and in striking defense (57 percent to 50 percent.)
On the ground is another area where Gustaffson could fall short. Neither man is a serious submission hunter (Teixeira averages 0.8 subs per every 15 minutes with Gustaffson again just getting edged out at 0.6 in the same amount of time) and “The Mauler” does favor striking, beating his violent dance partner in takedown defense rates by a wide margin—86 percent to 58 percent. Although, Teixeira does get more takedowns per fight (2.63 to 1.93) and is far more accurate with his attempts, bringing in a success rate of 54 percent to Gustafsson’s 40 percent.
Additionally, while Teixeira did get knocked out in just 13 seconds (which would have tied the “Notorious” Conor McGregor’s fastest finish record had the bout been a title fight,) he is 4-1 in his last five contest while his adversary will enter the venue at 3-2. Again, the differences are slight, but they are there. An upset could be a real possibility in next Sunday’s main event.
Pick: Glover Teixeira def. Alexander Gustafsson by way of a Unanimous Decision.
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Misha Cirkunov
The Early Odds: Oezdemir’s (13-1) last finish (a KO) came in September of 2014 while he last upset Ovince St. Preux by decision Circkunov (13-2) has amassed four consecutive finishes since 2015 including his last three all being subs which explains why he’s favored by Bovada at -365 to his fellow combatant’s +265.
Oezdimir might not get ragdolled as he’s proven his durability, but the result of this clash is as easy to guess as those in modern-day pro wrestling.
Pick: Misha Cirkunov def. Volkan Oezdemir by way of submission.
Peter Sobotta vs. Ben Saunders
Third Time’s the Charm: “Killa’ B” Ben Saunders may require lasting the full duration of his fights to pick up a win, but by all accounts from various sources, that doesn’t make him any less of a dominator. Saunders is competing in the UFC for a third run with previous stints being from 2007-10, going 4-3 then and then a slightly more successful 3-1 between 2014 and 2016.
Sobotta return for a second run with the UFC in 2014, going 3-1 after starting out at 0-3 in 2010 and getting cut. He is a submission fighter at 16-5-1 in MMA with 63 percent of his wins coming on the ground. However, his takedown accuracy is less than that of Saunders (40 percent to 36 percent) and he only gets measures around two a fight.
Saunders lands 3.33 Significant Strikes per Minute to Sobotta’s 2.0 and beats him handedly in striking accuracy (53 percent to 38 percent.)
Pick: Ben Saunders def. Peter Sobotta by way of a Unanimous Decision.
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Omari Akhmedov
Obviously Outmatched: It has been noted that 7-0 Alhassan has ended all of his fights in way under two minutes while Akhmedov last broke a two-fight skid by lasting 15 minutes with the now-released Kyle Noke of Austrailia. Can you guess the pick?
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Omari Akhmedov by way of KO/TKO.
Oliver Enkamp vs. Nordine Taleb
Not Going the Distance: If the debuting 7-0 Enkamp doesn’t get the often talked about “UFC jitters,” he should be on his way to another submission win (his has five finishes overall and four by tap-out.) The 35-year-old Taleb is 12-4 with six victories by KO/TKO, so the pick looks like it may just depend who can control pacing and where the fight takes place.
Taleb does have a takedown defense rate of 69 percent, but Enkamp only needs one opportunity to do what he’s best at.
Pick: Oliver Enkamp def. Nordine Taleb by way of Submission.
Jack Hermansson vs. Alex Nicholson
Throwing Hands: Nicholson might have 86 percent of his wins bu KO/TKO but his adversary also comes in at a respectable 57 percent. Neither fighter has never been finished by strikes himself but Nicholson is also less experienced (7-3) alongside Hermansson (14-3,) who has three submission victories as well.
Despite the last fact, this will undoubtedly be a boxing match. The Swede has a striking accuracy rate of just below 50 percent will Nicholson is presently around 43 percent. They match-up evenly enough that a finish feels unlikely, but the brawl will be fun. Either way, don’t blink!
Pick: Jack Hermansson def. Alex Nicholson by way of a Unanimous Decision.
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)
Pedro Munhoz vs. Damian Stasiak
Don’t Give Up Your Neck: Munhoz has come off of a year-long suspension for elevated testosterone and redeemed himself in great fashion thus far, earning two “Performance of the Night” bonuses as originally reported by USA Today’s MMAJunkie.com. Both victories were via the ground game and Stasiak is also on a 2-0 sub streak, making this fight extremely fun if the two don’t struggle against each other and resort to dominant (but considered resting) positions.
Things should come down to who will be first to make a mistake as there is a combined (KO/TKO and submission) 18 finishes between the two men.
Pick: Pedro Munhoz def. Damian Stasiak by way of Submission.
Trevor Smith vs. Chris Camozzi
An Even Split: SportsChatPlace.com recently reported that Smith is 50/50 at 6-6 in his last 12 bouts with his opponent in Camozzi following suit at 5-5. However, 64 percent of Smith’s victories have come by tap-out while Camozzi has been more likely to let a win hinge of point-fighting by collecting 42 percent of his overall wins by decision.
You just can’t wait to attack and neither has been great at that recently as Camozzi last scored a TKO finish in in February of 2016 and Smith last earned a KO in November of 2014. Hopefully, Camozzi’s overall experience (24-12-0) compared to Smith’s (14-7-0) will help him out. If it does go to the canvas, even just struggling to get not get finished could give Camozzi an “L”.
Pick: Trevor Smith def. Chris Camozzi by way of a Unanimous Decision.
Reza Madadi vs. Joaquim Silva
A Quick Fix: This fight is honestly a toss-up as it resulted out of a shoulder injury to Silva’s original opponent, Mairbek Taisumov, which means as far (as the rest of the world knows) Madadi is pretty much fresh off of his couch and Silva must formulate a brand-new strategy with only days to go until show time.
“Mad Dog” Madadi is inconsistent in the cage, going 2-2 (although both victories were finishes) over the last half-decade as he has been fighting undisclosed legal issues. Meanwhile, Silva is a flawless 9-0 with 8-0 finishes (5 KO/TKOs and 3 submissions) but it will have been almost a year since he last fought as a part of last July’s Ultimate Fighter finale card, getting his last KO win in just 34 seconds.
Pick: Joaquim Silva def. Reza Madadi by way of KO/TKO.
Nico Musoke vs. Bojan Veličković
A Hiatus Ends: For no reason known to media sources, Sweden’s Nico Musoke (13-4 overall and 3-2 in the UFC) hasn’t competed in over two years. His last effort was a failure as he gave up a decision to Albert Tumenov.
Serbia’s Veličković (14-4-1) isn’t in that much better of a spot at 1-1-1 in the UFC. With lackluster performances as of late and the best areas of both men’s game being in the submission department (five and six submission wins respectively) this fight is about as easy to guess as a coin toss. However, both men have also gone the distance seven times each.
Musoke lasted the full fight in each of his last four consecutive bouts and his opponent is only slightly better when things go to the judges at 3-1-1.
Pick: Bojan Veličković def. Nico Musoke by way of a Unanimous Decision.
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Darren Till vs. Jessin Ayari
Ring Rust is Real: This particular contest should be unusually easy to pick as Ayari (16-3) is fresh of a victorious UFC debut opposite Jim Wallhead last September. Till comes in at 13-0-1 but is a humble 1-0-1 as a part of the most elite combat organization. He has been out of action for almost two years. Till fought Nicholas Dalby to a draw his last time out and has since been dealing with a shoulder injury.
With submissions making up half of Ayari’s triumphs, he could give Till his first real blemish as nine of those victories were also during the first round.
Pick: Jessin Ayari def. Darren Till by way of Submission.
Marcin Held vs. Damir Hadžović
A UFC Career on Life Support: Poland’s Marcin Held is a former Bellator MMA world champion at lightweight (155-pounds,) one of the most stacked division’s in the sport regardless of what promotional banner a fighter is competing under, but he very well could be on his last legs in the UFC, being dropped all the way to one of the lowest spots on a card—the UFC Fight Pass portion.
The former champion known as “The Polish Prodigy” failed to get the job done in his UFC debut, falling to Diego Sanchez in January by unanimous decision and then was robbed by the judges his next time out against Joe Lauzon (something the winner agreed with.)
Held should do well against the 10-3 “Bosnian Bomber” Damir Hadžović, who also came up short in his first appearance in the octagon by getting stopped due to strikes within the opening five minutes. It was his first loss since 2012 but Held also went on an impressive winning streak of six fights with five finishes (four by way of submission.)
With 12 career submission wins on his record to his opponent’s three, Held should be favored in this aspect but he still needs to end things quickly as it is extremely rare for a Hadžović bout (either a win or a loss) to last the full time allotted. He’s never been submitted himself, but there is always a first time for everything.
Pick: Marcin Held def. Damir Hadžović by way of Submission