Jack “Joker” Hermansson tricks opponents as a high-volume, mobile striker with deceptively destructive scrambles on the ground that punishes poor tactics with tight chokes and leg locks.
Why so serious about “Joker” not getting the last laugh Saturday? Chris Curtis’ impressive power leaves no question about how opponents got their post-fight scars.
That power carries through an array of situations, ranging from traditional boxing to the increasingly rare Mui Thai clinch and beyond.
Curtis overcomes his undersized middleweight frame in the strength department. He enters Saturday with perfect takedown defense in the UFC.
His last opponent Rodolfo Vieira compares to a bear by middleweight standards and is a world-class grappler. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu beast failed to Maul Curtis, going 0-20 in official takedown attempts.
Hermansson’s wrestling remains inconsistent.
There’s no guarantee he will find a successful submission if he does manage to introduce Curtis to the canvas. Curtis has only lost one of his 37 fights by submission. That lone loss occurred 11 years ago.
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Vieira and Brendan Allen make their living by making opponents submit, but Curtis survived and thrived.
The puncher’s profile resembles a smaller Marvin Vettori..Both fight in the southpaw stance, display excellent takedown defense, seamless adaptability in the striking game and are durable.
Vettori defeated Hermansson by decision in 2020. Hermansson suffered his latest defeat against Sean Strickland. Strickland corners Curtis and trains with him as a teammate.
Hermansson’s voluminous punching backed by superior cardio causes some concerns. Regardless, I love Curtis’ overall stylistic advantages in this matchup at near-even odds.
The method to this betting madness revolves around walking away with profit irrespective of the winner.
Individually, betting $100 on Volkan Oezdemir to obtain a knockout finish pays $230 — your initial $100 bet, plus $130 in profit. If Paul Craig survives Oezdemir’s heavy onslaught by trapping him into a successful submission, you win $350 the same way.
The hedge respects the unpredictability of one of these highly likely outcomes happening. It guarantees a profit of at least $30 when betting $100 on both — $130 from a correctly predicted Oezdemir KO/TKO, minus $100 from the failed Craig slip. You walk away with a $150 profit if Craig sinches a submission hold.
A decision destroys this hedge. I assure you this fight isn’t likely to reach the judge’s scorecards at all.
Paul Craig’s aggressive guard game overwhelms most of his opponents. His combination of size, limb length to use as a pressurized lever and uncanny speed for his build threatens any light heavyweight leaving his feet.
Nikita Krylov learned that hard lesson in his last fight. Despite having 5 UFC/15 total submission victories, he succumbed to one of the quickest triangle chokes anyone will ever see.
Craig breaking Jamahal Hill’s arm via an armbar from bottom guard was a thing of brutality rather than beauty.
The chin isn’t as strong as the grip. Three unranked UFC strikers knocked out Craig in the first round.
Oezdemir swings heavier hands. He throws seemingly every punch with fight-ending intentions. He has accomplished that goal twice within the first minute, including over talented boxer Jimi Manuwa, whose only losses to that point were to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Alexander Gustafson in their title-challenging primes.
Craig’s skillset differs from the rangy kickboxers that the majority of Oezdemir’s few UFC decisions came from after he couldn’t close the distance.
Nobody accuses Craig of elusive point fighting. All but one of his 22 previous professional fights — 13 in the UFC — ended with a finish. 10 of 13 UFC fights ended with this hedge’s outcomes If the referee recognized Hill’s broken arm at the correct time.
Oezdemir has only been knocked out twice. UFC Hall of Famer Cormier handed him the first and current UFC light heavyweight champion Jiří Procházka caused the second knockout loss. Only one submission victory in 23 professional fights purifies his brawler status.
The odds are literally in your favor. DraftKings sets this fight’s odds of going the distance at -360.
The Curtis Blaydes vs. Tom Aspinall main event of this card creates too many unanswerable questions to confidently predict.
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