How will the short notice affect Melvin Guillard as he attempts to take on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in his own backyard? And which featherweight prospect will establish a spot in the rankings when Max Holloway looks to snap the 4 fight unbeaten streak of TUF 13 contestant, Justin Lawrence.
UFC 150: Featured Main Card Predictions
Cerrone vs. Melvin
In a match-up that was agreed upon on short
notice, former teammates will reunite in the co-feature of the night as Donald
Cerrone takes on Melvin Guillard in his own backyard of Denver, Colorado for UFC 150.
Since leaving Greg Jacksons and joining the
Blackzilians, Guillard has given up a former 5 fight win streak and gone 1-2 in
his last three fights. The back to back losses by rear naked choke to Jim
Miller and Joe Lauzon have see him go from the brink of a title shot, to just
outside the lightweight title picture.
One of the more underlying advantages for
Melvin going into this fight is the potential for his raw punching power to
expose Donald’s oftentimes porous and reckless defense.
Make no mistake; this will be the biggest and
fastest puncher Donald has yet to face in his career. Against Melvin, there’s a
chance that he may not be able to withstand the same bombs he was able to
consistently recover from against the likes of Ed Ratcliff,
McCullough in the WEC—as far inferior punchers to Melvin, all three
managed to either stun or completely drop Cerrone at one point in their
A successful game-plan for Melvin would consist
of him shooting for brief takedowns solely to score points while launching
short, 2 punch combinations which allow him to utilize his superior foot speed
to get in and out of the pocket as he consistently beats Cerrone to the punch.
Melvin has repeatedly demonstrated in the past
how rapidly he can close the distance from the outside with his jab and right
cross, both of which I can see flustering the slower Cerrone in the first two
After getting thoroughly outsrtuck as a -240 UFC odds favorite over Nate Diaz, Cerrone recently reminded us of exactly how
distressful his striking can be for the rest of the division. For all three
rounds, he managed to blister Jeremy
Stephens with a primary combination of sweeping outside leg kicks
and a piercing jab.
Just as he was able to accomplish against
Stephens, Donald will look to confuse Melvin by constantly diversifying the
angles in his attack. The much wider array of kicks and combinations that
Donald employs can quickly leave an opponent second guessing his next move. We
watched as Jeremey was unable to pick up on the release point of Donald’s punches,
leaving him to over telegraph his defense against even the slightest feint or
motion initiated by Cerrone.
Recent Line history: Where has the
Coming in at -250 over Fabricio Camoes, I
thought Melvin looked decent but he was leaving himself a bit over exposed
backing up, allowing himself to be repeatedly bullied into the cage. In his 4
previous fights, he’s maintained an average price of around -230 against
everyone aside from Jim Miller, who he was listed at +150 against.
Though I feel Melvin’s performances have validated
value more time than not in recent years, I think he’s proven to be one of the
more difficult fighters on the UFC roster to correctly price on a consistent
basis. With his unique build and raw power, he’s capable of dethroning just
about any champion on any given night, making his progress that much harder to
track and assign a price to.
Cerrone, despite his popularity with the casual
fan, has offered significant value in 5 of his 6 UFC fights since 2010. Getting
him at -160 over Charles
Oliveira, and -240 against Denis Siver, proved to be some of the
best value of the entire year, as Donald disposed of both fighters within 3
minutes of the first round
Simply put, 15 minutes is too much time to
expect Melvin not to slip up against someone as dangerous as Cerrone. I see
Donald slowly finding his range heading into the second round and casually
picking his shots from range. Melvin by decision prop may represent slight
value as well, but my UFC betting pick has to be on Cerrone as the clear favorite in his own
UFC Bet: Donald Cerrone
Max Holloway vs.
Max Holloway takes on the undefeated Justin
Lawrence to determine which featherweight prospect is ready for the
top of the division.
Judging from his latest performance against John Cofer
, we’re already seeing the hype from Lawrence’s stint on the Ultimate Fighter
translate into immediate inflation on the 22 year old.
As a -300 favorite going into his bout with
Cofer, the fight was arguably tied going into the third round and Justin was
eating way too many clean shots from an average offensive fighter. Ten
seconds into the third round Cofer made the mistake of circling directly into
Justin right head kick, arguably the most devastating strike in his arsenal.
Aside from Justin’s right head kick, Holloway
will need to be particularly caution of Lawrence’s lead hook and right
Though Pat Schilling remained unsuccessful in
his few attempts to exchange with Max on the feet, the one punch he did find
some minor consistency with was a well shortened cross , which is a punch
Lawrence was throwing and landing with some frequency against Cofer. I’m slightly
less worried about Justin lead hook considering Max’s right hand is usually
quick to assume a defensive position anytime he’s being pursued. So, if
Holloway can avoid the big cross and right head kick of Lawrence for all three
rounds then he certainly has a good chance at outpointing his way to a
One clear improvement that was apparent in
Justin’s debut at bantamweight was his overall conditioning. Heading into that
third round against Cofer, he looked much fresher and was pacing himself a lot
better than what we had seen a few months prior in his bout with eventual TUF
finale winner Michael Chiesa.
However, one must also take notice of the
relentless flurry of left hooks Max Holloway frequently unleashed on Pat Schilling.
Any potential leaks in Justin’s cardio will
almost certainly be exposed if he’s forced to withstand even a fraction of
Max’s output to the body in that fight. Though Lawrence’s heavier strikes make
him the more capable finisher in this match-up, Holloway not only utilizes the
more efficient jab, but defensively, his chin is a lot less traceable in
Considering the past efficiency in which Max
has dominantly enforced his reach advantage, it wouldn't surprise me to see him
once again control the majority of the action against Justin with the same
pestering jab he used to torment Pat Schilling from the outside.
Trending Value & Prediction
Despite being submitted in the first round
against Dustin Poirier, you can make strong case that there’s been
apparent UFC betting value on both of Holloway’s first two fights with the UFC.
First, as a +350 underdog to Poirier, he
managed to stuff a few takedowns and arguably outstruck a top ten featherweight
in the limited striking exchanges. Next, at -130 against Pat Shilling, he
proved to offer the best value on the entire card as he effortlessly boxed his
way to a unanimous 30-27 decision over the outmatched best-buy employee.
With Lawrence, we’ve seen him mispriced twice
now at -300 over both Michael
Chiesa and John Coffer. If that trend holds up, our best hope is to
get Holloway as a small dog or no higher than a slight favorite. I’m personally
willing to lay up to -135 on Holloway, but any higher than that would be over
restricting any value.
UFC Pick: Max Holloway