The UFC Apex hosts the next UFC fight night on September 18th. This is on the Saturday night before UFC 266 and expects to feature some high-impact fighting. This evening of action is headlined by three fights. Below is our analysis and preview along with a couple of UFC Fight Night Picks.
|UFC Fight Night 9/18 -- Main Card|
This light-heavyweight bout (185-205 lbs.) serves as the main event for this UFC Fight Night 192 more commonly known as UFC Vegas 37. Anthony Smith once fought for the light-heavyweight championship while Ryan Spann has won five of his last six UFC bouts to move up to #17 in the Fight Matrix UFC Light-Heavyweight Rankings.
Anthony Smith is a solid favorite ranging from -175 to -185 on most sites. Meanwhile, Spann comes in at an underdog right around +150 or +155 or so. That is to be expected even with how Spann has fought of late. Smith ranks 13th after winning three of his last five fights including two straight.
Basically, this is going to be one of those interesting fights that could go either way. Though Smith has fought the better fighters in his career, Spann has shown more of an ability to finish things off and gets victories lately. Smith does have the experience edge with 51 fights compared to just 25 for Spann. If the fight gets tight and chaotic, that should suit Smith more.
This will likely be the toughest match to handicap on the main card. Why is that? For one, this is a main-event fight that really is not. Both fighters are outside the top ten in most rankings. There is also a low chance that this fight goes the distance.
It is incredible to think that Anthony Smith is 33 already. Even more surprising is the fact that Ryan Spann is already 30. That explains part of the reason why the two fighters are viewing this as one of their springboards back into the top ten in the light-heavyweight division.
Again, the fact that Smith is more inclined to go for the end bodes well for him in this bout. The argument is that Spann could be a bit more vulnerable. After dropping Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute via submission and TKO, Smith feels like he is back in the mix. He may very well be right as Spann may not see what is coming until it’s too late.
As long as Smith does not start approaching -190 or worse, the fighter can be bet on without much hesitation here.
Our pick for the men’s light-heavyweight bout err main event is Anthony Smith (-180).
Another solid bout may just be the UFC Lightweight bout between Dakota Bush and Zhu Rong. This fight will be good to see as two young fighters get acquainted. Neither fighter is ranked and for Rong, this is only his second fight in the UFC. His first ended in a unanimous decision surprise loss over Rodrigo Vargas.
This Chinese fighter can be dangerous. His overall record is 17-4 with 11 wins coming by knockout and four by submission. His speed is very deceptive but Rong’s power is just decent. Dakota Bush may not have an easy time here as he lost his last fight to Austin Hubbard. Hubbard was every bit as fast as Rong. Bush’s freestyle method may be intriguing against Rong who can get more strikes in and takedowns.
However, Dakota Bush did fight Hubbard on very short notice. With more time to prepare, maybe he noticed a few things that Rodrigo Vargas executed well. Bush may even be able to get a takedown on Rong who looked bull-legged at times against Vargas.
In this case, we recommend betting on Bush (-105). He is the fighter who can fight a bit more free in this one while Rong showed that maybe he does not quite have the power most thought. Bush can get on a fighter quick as he did on Hubbard once or twice. Bush, with full notice, should have lots of stamina.
Our final battle from UFC Fight Night may not be so tough to figure out. The theory is that Tony Gravely comes in as the more polished fighter. The Bantamweight nearly took down one of the best in Brett Johns and has won his last two fights. His TKO of Anthony Birchak turned some heads and earned him a performance of the night award.
Now, Nate Maness is interesting as he has won 13 of his 14 fights with four KO’s/TKO’s and three submissions. He is sliding back a few pounds from Flyweight to Bantamweight. He did take out Luke Sanders last November by rear-naked choke.
Tony Gravely has the upside here. His striking ability was on full display in April and will be less rusty. Gravely does not have to worry about making weight, etc. Also, Gravely has a few more submissions in his arsenal and a better rear-naked choke are pluses. Our pick is Tony Gravely at -180.
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