The UFC heads to Sydney, Australia this weekend for UFC 293, headlined by a Middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and American contender Sean Strickland. In the co-main event Tai Tuivasa will look to shoey again when he faces Russian veteran Alexandr Volkov and Flyweight contender Manel Kape meets undefeated newcomer Felipe dos Santos. We take a look at my best bets on the UFC 293 card below.
UFC 293 Preview & Betting Picks
Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland
I don’t love this fight from a betting standpoint as the odds are skinny about Israel Adesanya but he should put away Sean Strickland without too much issue. The Kiwi regained the title last time out beating bitter rival Alex Pereira. Before the Pereira fights, he turned away Robert Whittaker showing his improved wrestling, and secured dominant wins over Paulo Costa, Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori, all of which have or I believe would beat Sean Strickland.
Strickland was flatlined by Alex Pereira last year and his plodding pressure style is a recipe for disaster against another fighter who loves to snipe from the outside. If Strickland can clinch up and test the champions wrestling, he is in with a rough chance of pulling off the upset but more likely than not he gets picked apart as he closes the distance. His low hands, lack of head movement and the inability or lack of desire to tuck his chin ends the challenger’s night in brutal fashion.
Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov
Fan favourite Tai Tuivasa returns this weekend as he looks to bounce back into the win column against Alexander Volkov. Tuivasa is a slugger who has heavy hands and an exciting style but gets a horror match up in Volkov.
The Russians movement, clinch work and distance management will prove troublesome for the Aussie. Tuivasa does his best against strikers and while Volkov is largely just that, he has never been one to engage in a fire fight. Add to the fact that Tuivasa has a near non-existent ground game and if the Russian chooses the path of least resistance, it should be over pretty quick. Back Volkov to get his hand raised.
Manel Kape vs. Felipe dos Santos
Manel Kape was originally set to fight Kai Kara-France before the Kiwi was forced to withdraw after a training injury. Kape is one of the most explosive Flyweights, with serious knockout power and insane hand speed, even for a Flyweight. He meets UFC debutant Felipe dos Santos, who has as a 7-0 record and faces a baptism of fire on debut.
Kape started his UFC career 0-2 but has since gone on a run and cemented himself as a title contender. He has all the tools to dismantle dos Santos and won’t have to worry about takedowns in this fight so will be able to let his hands go. Expect him to register a dominant win this weekend.