This week, the UFC brings a loaded card of action to Nashville, Tennessee, headlined by Cory Sandhagen -357, taking on Rob Font +255. This card also features what should be an all-action Featherweight clash between fan favourite Billy Quarantillo -182 and Damon Jackson +141. I went over every fight on the card and gave my picks and best bets, so let's get into it.
Odds Provided by Stake.com Accurate as of 8/4/2023 4:30 PM EST
Two highly ranked Bantamweights meet here at a Catchweight for our short-notice main event. Cory Sandhagen is a crafty, long striker with a very high fight IQ; he has also proven to be very durable and capable of attacking grappling as well. Rob Font steps into this spot after a big bounce-back win over Adrian Yanez; his jab is one of the best in the sport, and his volume is incredible, yet his durability remains a massive concern.
I’ll pick Sandhagen here as I am very high on him overall and think he has several key advantages here, yet this price is way too much as Font is a very high pace and dangerous opponent. The only way I see Sandhagen covering this price is by doing a lot of early damage to get a stoppage, but I’ll pass on betting against Font’s chin with him never actually being stopped by knockout.
Pick: Sandhagen O/U: Under 4.5 -120
Big test for one of the most intriguing prospects in the sport here at Strawweight. Jessica Andrade has bounced around weight classes fighting anyone near the top of late, she has powerful striking, but her last two performances have been bad even when on the feet. Tatiana Suarez looks to stay more active here back at her regular weight class; she has a very strong wrestling game that has led to her an unbeaten record thus far.
I like Suarez to get the finish here as she has a very strong ground game that has proven effective against even high-level grapplers at this weight, and I expect her to use that to dominate here.
Pick: Suarez O/U: Under 2.5 -200
Battle-tested Light Heavyweights clash here. Dustin Jacoby is a solid kickboxer with decent volume, although he is getting older, and his last performance was far from his best. Kennedy Nzechukwu has had an interesting run in the UFC, showing the ability to weather a storm and get opportunistic finishes.
I’ll take Jacoby here as I believe if he can avoid the big power on the other side he will put the pace on Nzechukwu for all three rounds.
Pick: Jacoby O/U: Over 2.5 -122
High-level grapplers square off here in this Featherweight matchup. Gavin Tucker returns after several years off following his early knockout loss to Dan Ige; prior to that, he proved to be a well-rounded threat, dominating Billy Quarantillo using his grappling for three rounds not too long ago. Diego Lopes made a name for himself by stepping in on short notice and giving Movsar Evloev a tough fight with several deep submission attempts.
I’ve got Tucker in this one, as although the age and layoff are a concern, he has proven he can compete anywhere the fight goes, and I feel he will be winning most minutes of this fight.
Pick: Tucker O/U: Over 2.5 -104
Light Heavyweights looking to get things on track battle in this one. Tanner Boser stays down in weight despite a tough debut; he has pretty fast hands and decent volume, although his ground game is not good. Aleksa Camur is a very athletic and powerful guy coming off a long layoff, making him tough to read as he lacked some fundamentals the last time we saw him.
I’ll lean with Boser here as he has been more active, but it is hard for me to take either side with much confidence here.
Pick: Boser O/U: Over 2.5 -149
Lightweight firefight here to open the main card. Ignacio Bahamondes is very tall for the weight class, and he uses his size well with good punches and kicks at range; his ground game has not looked great, but he has a solid submission attack. Ludovit Klein is an explosive striker who has also shown he can mix in the grappling as he did in his impressive win over Mason Jones.
I’ll pick Bahamondes here as he should have a sizable advantage in the striking and is live for a submission if it goes to the ground, but I am not interested in laying this price on his against someone with a decent wrestling game.
Pick: Bahamondes O/U: Under 2.5 +122
Explosive clash here at Bantamweight that shows off the depth of the division. Raoni Barcelos returns here after a brutal knockout loss to Umar Nurmagomedov; that result was shocking as many hold Barcelos in very high regard considering his skills with both powerful striking and a great submission game. Kyler Philips has a crazy style that has earned him some impressive wins, although it has a cost which was shown in the Raulian Paiva fight when he seemingly had nothing left late; he has also been rather inactive over the last few years with several cancellations.
At this price, Barcelos feels like the side, as Philips won’t have much for him after what will likely be a tough first round, but with him coming off the recent knockout, he is tough to play here.
Pick: Barcelos O/U: Over 2.5 -169
Close matchup here at Welterweight that has fans and oddsmakers split. Jeremiah Wells has had a fun run in the UFC, showcasing crazy power and athleticism along with a strong wrestling attack, although he has been hurt several times, and his cardio is not the best. Carlston Harris is a striker with a long reach and solid volume, although he is rather hittable and was given trouble by Jared Gooden on short notice in his last fight.
I give Wells the slight edge here as I think he is more powerful, but he is much smaller here and has made some strange mistakes in fights that are keeping me away from betting on him.
Pick: Wells O/U: Under 2.5 -185
High-pace Featherweight action is expected here. Billy Quarantillo is known for his pace and cardio, but he has also shown himself to be very hittable and has been controlled on the ground at times. Damon Jackson is a long guy for the weight, and he uses his reach well offensively, although he is rather hittable, especially as the fight goes on, although he has great grappling that he can use to control opponents.
I’ll pick Jackson here as I think he will win the early round at a rather high rate; the only question for me is whether he will be able to survive late against Quarantillo, who will be at the same pace all fight.
Pick: Jackson O/U: Over 2.5 +109
Fantastic matchup of Flyweights on win streaks here. Jake Hadley is a bright prospect with a great grappling attack and decent striking as well; he has looked great in his last two after a tough UFC debut against Allan Nascimento. Cody Durden is a solid vet with a great wrestling game for the division, although he has sometimes been caught in some submissions and hurt badly.
I took Hadley to get a submission here as I think we will see a lot of grappling exchanges in this one, and Hadley is good enough to catch Durden in a bad spot and finish the fight.
Pick: Hadley O/U: Under 2.5 -112
Short notice fight that has fans excited here at Featherweight. Sean Woodson is a tall and long volume striker with some problems when grappling, and his durability is questionable. Dennis Buzukja steps in here after several opponent changes; he has competed on Dana White's Contender Series several times, although he was not signed after either fight.
I like Woodson to get a late finish here as I think he will have an edge in cardio and volume that will help him take over if he gets through the first.
Pick: Woodson O/U: Over 2.5 -156
Flyweights kick off the card with an interesting matchup of veteran and newcomer. Ode Osbourne has a long reach for the weight class and uses it well; he also was able to mix in the grappling in his last fight against Charles Johnson, although his cardio did not look good there, and his chin is questionable. Assu Almabayev makes his debut here; he has shown a strong grappling game on the regional scene, although it has been against lesser competition.
I’ll pick Almabayev here as I think his grappling attack will be enough to tire out Osbourne and allow him to win the late rounds or even get a finish.
Pick: Almabayev O/U: Over 2.5 -122
Dustin Jacoby +127
Gavin Tucker +136
Jake Hadley by Submission +215