The UFC is heading to Calgary, Canada this Saturday for one of the best non-PPV cards I’ve seen in a long time. The event in Calgary is headlined by a Dustin Poirier vs Eddie Alvarez rematch that is guaranteed to be a high action fight with the winner putting themselves right in the title shot discussion. On top of that killer main event this card also features Jose Aldo and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, two former champs who you would normally see headlining PPV events, but this week we get to see them on free TV. Aldo takes on Stephens and Joanna fights Tecia Torres, in a couple of fights that are sure to be competitive.
The main four fights are on big Fox in the United States at 8pm EST. All of the odds below are taken from BetOnline.ag, our top rated betting site for MMA. Here’s our full BetOnline review for you to check out if you’re interested in opening an account and placing some bets.
Dustin Poirier vs Eddie Alvarez
Poirier and Alvarez are finally having their rematch a little over a year after their first fight ended in a no contest due to illegal knees from Alvarez on a grounded Poirier. Since that fight both guys were able to win wars with Justin Gaethje, and Poirier also added a big win over Anthony Pettis to his resume in that time frame.
In the first fight it looked like Poirier was winning, but Eddie was showing his toughness in round two and coming back. He had Poirier on the ropes, but landed some obviously illegal knees, which ended the fight.
Since that fight it’s been a strange dynamic with Poirier really wanting the rematch, while Alvarez seemed to have no interest. I think Eddie realizes he is at a skill and speed disadvantage against Poirier and if he’s going to win this fight it’s going to be the ultimate grind where he has to out tough Poirier. Gaethje came close to employing this strategy to beat Poirier in their recent fight, taking a lot of damage, but landing a ton of leg kicks that absolutely damaged Poirier’s leg to the point where it looked like Gaethje had the fight going into the fourth. In that fight though, Dustin was the one who ultimately dug deeper landing a big combination to finish Gaethje in the fourth. The Alvarez vs Gaethje fight was also a war with both guys landing a lot of good shots, but in that one it looked like the longer the fight went the more in control Alvarez was, eventually finishing the fight in round 3.
I’ll be honest. This should probably be closer to a pick’em fight. I don’t love the odds on Poirier at -160. That said, I think he is the better fighter and I think he will ultimately get his hand raised, so I’m still picking him. I could see some late money come in on Eddie though, so I would prefer getting Dustin at closer to -120 if possible.
Play: Poirier -160
Jeremy Stephens vs Jose Aldo
It may surprise people that Jose Aldo is actually the younger fighter in this match-up. At 31 years old he’s already the most decorated featherweight fighter in UFC history, but he’s lost 3 title fights in the last 3 years. Two in a row to Holloway of late, and the crazy McGregor knockout back in December of 2015. He did beat Frankie Edgar by dominant decision in that span, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen peak Aldo.
At 32 years old, Stephens is seemingly putting everything together. He’s won 3 fights in a row, knocking out Doo Ho Choi and Josh Emmett in his last two outings.
All of that said, I still think Aldo is on another level when compared to Stephens. Like I said, Aldo has only lost to featherweight champions in his entire career. As much as people dismiss Aldo and say he’s on the decline he’s literally never lost to anyone outside of Holloway or McGregor. That includes wins over Edgar, Mendes, Lamas and more.
I’m not ready to give up on Aldo yet. I think he’s the more explosive fighter in this duo and I think just fighting a 3 round fight will help him in this one because it was really the gas tank and accumulation of damage that caused his losses to Holloway. Stephens is a dangerous guy, but I see him as a perennial gatekeeper in the division. Let’s not forget that the guy is 5-5 in his last 10 UFC fights. Yes, he has 3 wins in a row, but Melendez is an easy win for anyone in the division, Doo Ho Choi was a fraud, and Emmett only had one high level win in his career (Lamas) before his fight with Stephens.
Go with the legend in this one.
Play: Aldo -115
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Tecia Torres
Joanna is in a similar position to Aldo. This is the first time she’s not in a UFC title fight since her first two UFC fights, when there had yet to be a strawweight champion crowned. Let’s not forget either that Joanna has only lost to Rose Namajunas in her entire career. Some fighters can be other fighters kryptonite and I think that’s the case when looking at Rose and Joanna. People are quick to forget that Joanna had barely lost a round in her UFC career before those title fights.
Tecia Torres is an elite fighter and pretty much as far from an easy opponent as the UFC could have given Joanna to get her back in the win column. That said, I see a clear path to victory for Joanna in this fight. Joanna will have a significant reach advantage in this fight (something she didn’t have against Rose). We have seen Joanna use her reach to absolutely tune up other shorter fighters such as Carla Esparza and Jessica Andrade. Torres is actually even smaller than these two girls with a height of 5’1″ and a reach of only 61″.
Joanna should be able to use her plant, throw and move style to light Torres up from the outside. With Rose, Joanna was within striking distance herself when throwing her punches, which did not suit her. Against Torres, Joanna should be able to get back to her game plan that worked so successfully in her title defense against Jessica Andrade.
Torres has good footwork herself, so there is a danger that she will be able to close the distance against Joanna, but I think the smart money is on Joanna landing a ton of shots from the outside, and pushing the pace for 3 rounds to get the win.
Play: Joanna -280