Usman Earns Career-Defining Win over Maia
Kamaru Usman (-415) is the most avoided fighter in the division for a reason: he is a large and powerful wrestler who has shown little weaknesses. He dominated all seven of his UFC fights. Against Demian Maia (+285), he faces his toughest test: a former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion and two-time title challenger. A win for either fighter puts them in immediate title contention.
Although Maia has the grappling advantage on paper, other factors greatly favour Usman. The younger fighter also enjoys a size and reach advantage. This will be invaluable if the fight stays standing, which it may as fights between two high-level grapplers usually end with the fight staying on its feet.
Usman's 3.94 strikes landed to 1.57 strikes absorbed ratio is a bit misleading as plenty of these strikes came within the clinch or from the ground. Usman has bullied his opponents, none of which had anywhere close to Maia's grappling. The Brazilian could be the first to frustrate Usman with his wrestling.
Like he showed in his fight against Colby Covington, Maia's striking shouldn't be underestimated. He prefers to grapple but if Usman keeps it standing, Maia won't be entirely defenceless. He is too basic as a striker and hardly has power but if he is the aggressor, he could steal a few rounds especially early in the fight.
This is Usman's fight to lose but don't count out Maia.
Maia vs Usman Betting Trends & Tidbits
Money quickly came in on Usman who opened as a moderate favourite over Maia. Bettors are riding the Nigerian's hot streak and judging by their recent betting track record, the "Nigerian Nightmare" is likely to deliver.
- Usman opened at -175 and his line has been bet down by 34.2% since
- Maia opened at +135 and his line has been bet up by 53.6% since
- Main event fighters who opened as favourites are 9-4 in 2018
- Four of Usman's last five fights ended in a decision
- Maia is 1-4 in his last five fights when he opened as an underdog
The one factor that all but seals this fight for Usman is endurance. Maia tends to slow down especially after the first two rounds. His ultra-aggressive grappling style can wear him down quickly especially as a 40-year-old. Maia could win the first two rounds but Usman will take over the moment he gasses.
Maia's best shot is to get Usman down and submit him but it's easier said than done especially against the stronger wrestler. Usman has never defended a takedown but Maia hardly sets up his takedowns and becomes predictable the longer the fight goes. Usman should have no problem dealing with him.
Prediction: Usman will win a comfortable decision here. Maia could make it interesting for the first two rounds but once Usman figures him out, it's over.
Our Record: 13-6
UFC Fight Night: Maia vs Usman Fight Card Predictions
All betting odds via Sports Interaction.
Value Pick: For Diego Rivas (-160) against Guido Cannetti (+125). Rivas is coming off a loss hence why his line is where it is but he should be at least 2-1 as the superior athlete. He is bigger, faster, and has the wrestling edge. Wherever the fight goes, Rivas should have the edge. At -160, this is a solid value.
Our Record: 14-5
Underdog Pick: Jared Cannonier (+190) has better than 34 per cent chance of winning as his line implies. Dominick Reyes (-260) is a much-hyped prospect but hasn't fought past the first round. Cannonier is an experienced striker and has fought significantly tougher competition including heavyweights. He's a sneaky bet to derail the hype train.
Our Record: 8-8
Don't Bother: with Andrea Lee (-335) versus Veronica Macedo (+240); this line is ridiculous and based primarily on hype. Lee is a striker who has not fought high-level competition and shouldn't be trusted with that much money. Macedo is another striker and would be a live dog if it wasn't for her 20-month layoff. Enjoy the fight, avoid the play.
Main Card (TSN 2, 10:00 PM ET)
- Welterweight (170 lbs): #5 Demian Maia (+290) vs #7 Kamaru Usman (-420)
- Women's Strawweight (115 lbs): #9 Alexa Grasso (+410) vs #12 Tatiana Suarez (-630)
- Light Heavyweight (205 lbs): Jared Cannonier (+190) vs Dominick Reyes (-260)
- Bantamweight (135 lbs): Diego Rivas (-160) vs Guido Cannetti (+125)
- Women's Flyweight (125 lbs): Veronica Macedo (+240) vs Andrea Lee (-335)
- Welterweight (170 lbs): Vicente Luque (-200) vs Chad Laprise (+150)
Prelims (Fight Network, 8:00 PM ET)
- Welterweight (170 lbs): Zak Cummings (-140) vs Michel Prazeres (+110)
- Flyweight (125 lbs): #7 Brandon Moreno (+105) vs #12 Alexandre Pantoja (-135)
- Women's Flyweight (115 lbs): Poliana Botelho (-180) vs Syuri Kondo (+140)
- Bantamweight (135 lbs): Gabriel Benitez (-230) vs Humberto Bandenay (+170)
Prelims (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 PM ET)
- Featherweight (145 lbs): Enrique Barzola (195) vs Brandon Davis (+155)
- Bantamweight (135 lbs): Henry Briones (+220) vs Frankie Saenz (-300)
- Lightweight (155 lbs): Claudio Puelles (+230) vs Felipe Silva (-315)
Best Online Sportsbooks for UFC/MMA
This card is flying under-the-radar and is catered to the Latino demographic but Canadians can still tune in on TSN and Fight Network. Additionally, heading to these online sportsbooks allows fight fans to bet as they enjoy the action.
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