July 30, 2016 at 2:06 PM #84423
UFC 201 “Lawler vs. Woodley” Preview and Picks
Fresh off the spectacle that was UFC 200 the best fighters in the world head to Atlanta this week where UFC 201 will go down. While huge names seem to be lacking on the card, the quality of fights certainly isn’t – any time you have Robbie Lawler on the card you are guaranteed a good night of fighting!
So what should play out on Saturday night? Let’s break down the night.
UFC 201 “Lawler vs. Woodley”
Date: Sat., July 30, 2016
Location: Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia
Broadcast: Pay-Per-View, FOX Sports 2, UFC Fight Pass
Main Card (on Pay-Per-View):
Robbie Lawler (27-10, 1 NC): -225
Tyron Woodley (15-3): +175
The Welterweight Title will be on the line Saturday night when the ultra-exciting Robbie Lawler defends for the third time – this time against Tyron Woodley who has looked like a champion at times and just average at others. Woodley is certainly a worthy opponent – the question is – can he withstand the will and the guts of a champion that just doesn’t look like he will be denied right now?
Woodley bring a very good wrestling game into the Octagon Saturday and that could be his only chance in this fight – Lawler has been submitted five times in his long career. Woodley’s striking is above average for sure but nothing that would seem to be of concern to Lawler. The challenger’s game is to drag his opponent into a boring, stifling type of fight – to lean on his opponent and impose his will.
I can’t see that happening against the dynamic Lawler in this fight. Ruthless is a gladiator in the truest sense of the word – his will is like no other in the UFC – he comes to fight and makes sure a scrap happens every time the gate door closes. Lawler will know what is coming in this fight – he has excelled against wrestlers in the past who haven’t been able to drag him into the snooze-fests that are characteristic of Woodley fights.
Woodley has beaten guys like Josh Koschek, Carlos Condit, Dong Hyun Kim and Kevin Gastelum along the way – far short of the caliber of guys that Lawler has dispatched the likes of Johny Hendricks (twice), Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit in his prime – the best that the 170 pound division has to offer.
Take the Champ to impose his will in this one as Woodley is outslugged badly here. While Lawler is an elite “A-level” fighter, Woodley is at best a solid “B-level”guy. Guts, determination, punching power and an inane ability to draw his opponent into his type of fight gets it done here. The only question is – who’s next for Mr. Lawler?
MMA Betting Pick: Robbie Lawler -225
Rose Namajunas (6-2-0): -260
Karolina Kowalkiewicz (9-0-0): +200
Two up-and-coming prospects win the Women’s Strawweight Division do battle in what should be a heck of a battle Saturday night. Rose Namajunas who was mighty impressive in season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter (before being submitted in the finale) takes on former KSW Champion and still-undefeated but largely unknown Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
Namajunas will enter this fight with a huge wrestling and submission edge – she is one of the better ground fighters in women’s MMA today. She holds wins over top fighters such as Paige VanZant and Angela Hill and has a wealth of experience in the striking and ground games.
Kowalkiewicz has made a name for herself as a stellar striker – technical and powerful in that aspect of the game. She has fought and beaten some tough competition in the past making her a very difficult out for the favored Namajunas.
It should be an interesting fight indeed that will come down to Namajunas ability to get this fight to the mat. If she doesn’t Kowalkiewicz wins this fight with her superior striking. I like Namajunas to be able to do what she wants and to eek out a win against a very tough Kowalkiewicz in this one.
MMA Betting Pick: Rose Namajunas -260
Matt Brown (30-11): -300
Jake Ellenberger (20-14): +230
Welterweights do battle on Saturday night when the obviously declining Jake Ellenberger fights for his place on the UFC roster against the consistent Matt Brown. Ellenberger had been on a path to a Title shot just a few years ago but mounting losses has some questioning why he is still in the organization. Brown on the other hand, although not quite a top 10 talent, always brings the fight making this an intriguing bout indeed.
Ellenberger had been known as a terrific all-around technician but he hasn’t been the same since 2012 – he is just 1-5 in his last six fights and looks like a beaten man. Brown enters this fight off a loss at UFC 198 to Demian Maia and is now 1-3 in his last four trips to the Octagon.
Matt Brown is the favorite for a reason here – his cardio, his strength and his desire to avenge a loss last time out will all be factors Saturday. Simply put Jake Ellenberger is not in Brown’s class anymore. This could be a violent end!
MMA Betting Pick: Matt Brown -300
Francisco Rivera (11-6, 1 NC): -110
Erik Perez (15-6): -120
Bantamweight take center stage on Saturday when a slumping Francisco Rivera tries to right the ship against Erik Perez. Rivera enters having lost four of his last five fights while Perez has won six of his last eight. Perez will try to take this fight to the mat where he does his best work – he will have a major edge on the ground while Rivera has to keep this fight standing and employ is edge in striking.
This fight is a contrast in style for sure – the fighter that can dictate where this fight ends up will be the victor. I’m going with the wrestler Perez here because of his consistent ability to take his opponents to the mat. Rivera’s current form has me shying away as well. We haven’t seen the best of the former prospect Perez – my guess is that he brings it Saturday night.
MMA Betting Pick: Erik Perez -120
Ian McCall (13-5-1): +215
Justin Scoggins (11-2): -275
Flyweights kick of the pay-per-view card when declining veteran Ian McCall takes on up-and-coming prospect Justin Scoggins in a bout that promises fireworks. McCall enters off an 18 month layoff during which time there was some talk of retirement to take on prospect Justin Scoggins who enters on the heels of a nice two fight win streak – the best of which coming against the talented Ray Borg at UFC Fight Night 82.
While McCall has given fighters like Demetrious Johnson fits in the past, his days look to be over as a fighter. In fact he is just 2-3-1 in the UFC and he hasn’t fought in a year and a half. Scoggins on the other hand has been busy and sees this as an opportunity to take the next step in his UFC career.
I don’t love Scoggins but at this point of his career I think he’s better than the oft-injured McCall. While a bet on the underdog was not out of my realm I had to take the younger, hungrier and hotter youngster in this one.
MMA Betting Pick: Justin Scoggins -275
Preliminary Card (on FOX Sports 2):
Nikita Krylov (20-4): -155 vs. Ed Herman (23-11): +125
MMA Betting Pick: Ed Herman +125
Ross Pearson (19-11, 1NC): +175 vs. Jorge Masvidal (29-11): -225
MMA Betting Pick: Ross Pearson +175
Wilson Reis (20-6): -300 vs. Hector Sandoval (12-2): +230
MMA Betting Pick: Hector Sandoval +230
Preliminary Card (on UFC Fight Pass):
Michael Graves (6-0): -210 vs. Bojan Veličković (14-3): +170
MMA Betting Pick: Michael Graves -210
Anthony Hamilton (14-5): -110 vs. Damian Grabowski (20-3): -120
MMA Betting Pick: Damian Grabowski -120
César Arzamendia (7-2): -105 vs. Damien Brown (15-9): -125
MMA Betting Pick: César Arzamendia -105
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