The UFC heads to Lincoln, Nebraska on August 25th for a Fight Night card after a couple weeks off from the UFC. The James Vick vs Justin Gaethje main event is sure to be high paced action that could be classified as must-see TV.
The main four fights are on FS1 in the United States starting at 10m EST. The card begins at 6:30pm on Fight Pass before moving to FS2 for the prelims at 8pm. 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.
Justin Gaethje vs James Vick
James Vick has been on a tear winning his last four UFC fights including a big decision win over Trinaldo, who is a very hard out, in his last fight, and knocking out Joseph Duffy, who is a top level fighter in the fight before that. Vick has figured out how to use his huge 6 foot 3 inch frame to keep distance, but still land powerful punches.
Gaethje is a beast himself and he was definitely in those firefights with both Alvarez and Poirier. In fact, the live betting odds favored Gaethje in a big way going into the fourth round against Poirier. That said he’s taken a ton of damage and I just don’t think he should be fighting again for the third time in a calendar year after those two wars.
The big factor in this fight will be the leg kicks. If Gaethje can land those leg kicks against this tall opponent then he will have a shot to win. That said, I think Vick will be able to pick him off with strikes even if he does stay at kicking range and I think the damage will accumulate on Gaethje if he can’t put Vick away in the first few rounds. Gaethje really needs to dominate in order to win. We saw him dominate Michael Johnson, but in two fairly even fights with Alvarez and Poirier he simply took too much damage.
Gaethje gets outclassed at first and then simply decides to trade, while landing a great leg kick. If Vick can last through those second and third rounds when Gaethje starts to unload I think he will follow the same path as Alvarez and Poirier by getting a third or fourth round KO.
Play: Vick -165
Michael Johnson vs Andre Fili
Michael Johnson was once a considered a title contender at lightweight after an impressive four fight win streak from 2013-early 2015 that included wins over Lauzon, Tibau and Barboza. Barboza was the beginning of his fights in the upper echelon of the division and from there he went 1-4 with a nice knockout of Dustin Poirier sandwiched between losses to Dariush, Diaz, Khabib and Gaethje. Don’t get me wrong, those are all high level lightweights, but Johnson did not look good in the last couple of those fights.
Johnson tried to rekindle his career with a drop down to featherweight against Darren Elkins back in January, but he was dropped and finished in the second round by rear-naked choke. Johnson is now 1-5 in his last 6 UFC fights. Yes, he’s fighting top guys, but that’s still a record you cannot overlook. Add in the fact the first two of those losses were via decision and the last 3 fights have all been finishes in the third or second round. I think he’s taken too much damage losing to these top level fighters over the past few years and I don’t think he has the chin he once did.
Andre Fili is the real deal and a true 145 pounder. He is more talented than Darren Elkins and definitely has more weapons than Elkins to finish Johnson in this fight. He’s coming off a tought split decision win over Dennis Bermudez, but the fact that he actually out wrestled Bermudez with 4 takedowns to 1 in that fight shows me that his game has evolved and he should be able to get the win against Johnson.
I actually give Fili the advantage everywhere in this fight. I think he has just as good of stand up and possibly even the better grappling. Add in the chin issues and damage that Johnson has taken of late and I give the edge to Fili to continue Johnson’s downward spiral.
Play: Fili +115
Cortney Casey vs Angela Hill
Casey is coming off of two split decision losses to Felice Herrig and Michelle Waterson. Those are both tough fighters, but they were able to show that Casey doesn’t really have the movement to hang with the top level strikers who can stick and move in the women’s strawweight division.
Angela Hill bounced back with a nice win over Maryna Moroz after a tough loss to Ansaroff. I think Ansaroff is actually a really strong fighter who could be competing for the title at some point in the future, so that loss along with the Andrade, Namajunas and Torres losses are simply losses to the elite fighters of the division.
I think Hill’s movement and striking diversity should be able to get her in the win this fight. She does get hit a lot, so that’s an issue against a fighter like Casey, but I think she will be able to land the more convincing strikes and get the nod on the scorecards. Casey has a habit of doing some stupid things like giving up position to go for a strange submission. She’s the type of fighter who can find a way to lose, so out of these two I think Hill is the better bet with more paths to victory.
Play: Hill -131
Jake Ellenberger vs Bryan Barbarena
Ellenberger’s best days are long gone. He still has power, but he’s easy to hit and he has absolutely no chine left. He’s been finished in the first or second round in his last three fights and has gone 2-8 in his last 10 fights. The only way he could possibly win this fight is if he KO’s Barbarena with a clean, full power strike.
That said, Barbarena is a grinder with a great chin. He’s 4-3 in the UFC and has only ever lost via decision. He’s never lost by knockout in his entire MMA career. I think the chances of him getting caught by something that puts him out are very slim. Outside of that he could win a clear decision by pushing the pace and easily out grinding Ellenberger, or more likely one of his shots will put Ellenberger down and he’ll jump on the finish. Jake simply has absolutely 0 left in the tank and if he wasn’t getting paid 75k to show I think he should have called it a career several years ago.
Play: Barbarena -475