Here at FightOdds.io veteran MMA journalist Adam Martin gives his complete picks and breakdowns for each and every UFC fight card. UFC Fight Night 137 takes place Saturday, September 22 at Ginasio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil, and Adam’s picks are below.
Santos (18-6) is 34 and he’s 10-5 in the UFC. The Brazilian competed his entire UFC career at middleweight but jumped to light heavyweight to take on Jimi Manuwa on short notice. Unfortunately Manuwa got hurt and now Santos is going to fight another middleweight in Anders. Santos is a bit of a glass cannon as he possesses tremendous KO power but he’s also at risk of being knocked out himself. The move to 205lbs may improve his durability and cardio but that remains to be seen. Anders (11-1) is 31 and he’s 3-1 in the UFC. The American is coming off of a brutal KO win over Tim Williams just a few weeks ago and took this opportunity against Santos on short notice. Outside of a controversial decision loss to Lyoto Machida, Anders has looked amazing in the UFC and this fight represents an opportunity for him to right the wrongs of the Machida fight back in Brazil. I was going to pick Santos over Manuwa but I actually like Anders in this fight. I just feel like Anders holds several advantages over Santos including cardio and wrestling and unless Santos lands the KO I don’t see him winning this fight. I think Anders takes this fight to deep waters and eventually gets the finish over Santos late.
Pick: Eryk Anders
Oliveira (19-5-1, 1 NC) is 30 and he’s 8-3, 1 NC in the UFC. The Brazilian has been a nice surprise since entering the UFC four years ago as he’s put on a number of entertaining fights and has achieved a lot of success. In his last fight he choked out Carlos Condit and aside from a TKO loss to Yancy Medeiros in a “Fight of the Year” candidate in 2017 he’s won five of his last six bouts overall. Pedersoli Jr. (11-1) is 25 and he’s 1-0 in the UFC. The American defeated Brad Scott in a solid UFC debut and took this fight against Oliveira on short notice filling in for Neil Magny, who was moved to another card. Pedersoli Jr. is riding an eight-fight win streak and has looked really good but this is a pretty big step up against a guy like Oliveira who is a proven finisher in the UFC. I think Pedersoli Jr. will put on a good fight but I see Oliveira getting his hand raised, likely by decision or perhaps by stoppage.
Pick: Alex Oliveira
Alvey (33-10, 1 NC) is 32 and he’s 10-5 in the UFC. The American has gone 2-0 since moving up to 205lbs including a brutal knockout win over Marcin Prachnio in his light heavyweight debut. Alvey has always had devastating knockout power but the cut to middleweight zapped him of his cardio and durability. So far at 205lbs he looks great and could be a dark horse contender if he keeps winning. Nogueira (22-8) is 42 and he’s 5-5 in the UFC. The Brazilian is a legend of the sport but his best days are long past him. He hasn’t competed in nearly two years since getting knocked out by Ryan Bader and aside from an upset win over Patrick Cummins he hasn’t won another fight in five years. Considering his age and the state of his chin I think you have to fade Nogueira here. I have Alvey winning this fight by first-round KO.
Pick: Sam Alvey
Barao (34-6, 1 NC) is 31 and he’s 9-5 in the UFC. The Brazilian is the former UFC bantamweight champion and at one point in time was a pound-for-pound great in the sport but he’s really fallen on hard times as of late, having lost four of his last five fights. He doesn’t look anything like the once-dominant champion he once was and at this point I’m not sure if he has anything left in the tank. Ewell (13-4) is 30 and he’s making his UFC debut. The American is riding a four-fight win streak into this bout and he was the CES bantamweight champion before vacating his belt there to join the UFC. Barao has more experience but I think you have to fade him here against an up-and-coming talent in Ewell. I have Ewell outworking Barao for a decision in an upset win.
Pick: Andre Ewell
Rodriguez (11-0) is 31 and she’s making her UFC debut. The Brazilian earned a UFC contract after winning on the Brazilian Contender Series and looks to improve on her undefeated mark in the UFC. Her level of competition hasn’t been great but she’s won every fight she’s had pretty easily. Markos (8-6) is 33 and she’s 4-5 in the UFC. The Canadian has been extremely inconsistent in the Octagon as she’s alternated wins and losses her entire UFC career. Occasionally she has a great performance such as when she beat Carla Esparza, but more often that not she’s coming out on the wrong end of decisions, including a disappointing loss to Nina Ansaroff her last time out. Even though Markos has more experience I think you have to fade her here and I’ll take Rodriguez to earn her first UFC win with a decision nod.
Pick: Marina Rodriguez
Oliveira (23-8) is 28 and he’s 12-8 in the UFC. The Brazilian is one of the all-time greatest submission artists in UFC history as he’s racked up 10 wins by tapout in the Octagon including a submission over Clay Guida in his last fight. His chin has always been a problem but if he gets his opponent to the ground very rarely do they survive. Giagos (15-6) is 28 and he’s 1-2 in the UFC. The American is making his return to the Octagon after going 4-2 on the regional circuit but this looks like a tough return bout for him. We’ve seen Giagos get submitted numerous times in his career and now he has to fly down to Brazil and fight Oliveira which is rough. Oliveira by sub all day here.
Pick: Charles Oliveira
Trinaldo (22-6) is 40 and he’s 13-4 in the UFC. The Brazilian was a late bloomer who didn’t start really winning fight until his late 30s but he turned into a top-15 lightweight and it was due to his well-rounded game that includes solid striking and grappling. At some point the freak of nature will slow down but evidently not yet. Dunham (18-7-1) is 36 and he’s 12-7-1 in the UFC. The American has always been one of the most underrated lightweights in the sport with a well-rounded skill set but he’s fallen off a cliff and was knocked out in brutal fashion by Olivier Aubin-Mercier in his last fight. That prompted him to announce he will retire after this fight. Dunham was a great soldier for many years but he looks completely done at this point. I think Trinaldo will be able to outwork Dunham and take home a decision in Brazil.
Pick: Francisco Trinaldo
Spann (14-5) is 27 and he’s making his UFC debut. The American is currently riding a four-fight win streak with all of those wins come by stoppage including a submission win on the Contender Series. He’s settled into his home at 205lbs and looks like a quality addition to one of the UFC’s weakest divisions. Henrique (10-4) is 25 and he’s 2-3 in the UFC. The Brazilian has picked up a couple of submission wins over lower-ranked opposition but has also been knocked out twice and in his last fight lost to a wrestler. This is an intriguing style matchup as it’s two fighters with really good submission skills going at it but I have to lean towards Spann as he’s looked better as of late and has more momentum going into this fight.
Pick: Ryan Spann
Sakai (11-1-1) is 27 and he’s making his UFC debut. The Brazilian had a successful run in Bellator but was cut after losing an ugly fight against Cheick Kongo. Since then he’s racked up two knockout wins including one on the Brazilian version of Contender Series. He looks like a solid heavyweight prospect and the UFC was smart to pick him up. Sherman (11-5) is 28 and he’s 2-4 in the UFC. The American is a very entertaining fighter to watch but it hasn’t exactly translated into success in the Octagon as both his striking defense and his takedown defense have been a problem for him. He has some knockout power but most of the time he’s the one on the receiving end of a knockout. I have to fade Sherman here and I think Sakai takes care of business with a knockout win or at worst a decision victory.
Pick: Augusto Sakai
Moraes (13-3-1) is 36 and he’s 7-2, 1 NC in the UFC. The Brazilian is a well-rounded fighter with a slick submission game and underrated striking and he has won a number of fights as an underdog including a decision win over Tim Means his last time out. Saunders (22-9-2) is 35 and he’s 9-6 in the UFC. The American is also a very well-rounded fighter with an incredible submission game and deadly muay Thai which he exhibited in his last fight over Jake Ellenberger when he finished him brutally. The biggest flaw in Saunders’ game is his chin but otherwise he’s a very solid fighter. Both guys have been underrated their entire careers but I think Saunders has the more dangerous striking attack and I think he has what it takes to KO Moraes.
Pick: Ben Saunders
Robertson (5-2) is 23 and she’s 2-0 in the UFC. The Canadian has been a pleasant surprise since joining the UFC with two submission wins after a failed stint on The Ultimate Fighter. Bueno (5-0) is 27 and she’s making her UFC debut. The Brazilian earned a spot in the UFC after a submission win on the Brazilian version of Contener Series. Both of these women are submission artists but I have to go with the Brazilian in what looks like a close fight on paper. I’ll take Bueno to grind out a decision or get the tapout late.
Pick: Mayra Bueno Silva
Lombard (34-9-1, 1 NC) is 40 and he’s 3-7 in the UFC. The Cuban was once a dominant champion in Bellator and had some good performances in the UFC but he’s really fallen off in the last few years. He’s currently riding a five-fight losing streak and has been knocked out in three of those losses. He still has knockout power but his chin can’t take any big shots anymore and his cardio is a huge flaw in his game as well. Leites (27-9) is 39 and he’s 12-8 in the UFC. The Brazilian was on a hot steak for a few years but has run into problems in his last few fights and has gone just 2-5 in his last seven bouts. In his last fight, he was knocked out for the first time in his career against Jack Hermansson. He has already announced this will be the last fight of his career. Even though Leites has one foot out the door I still think he has more left in the tank than Lombard at this point. I think Leites uses his size advantage to grind on Lombard and pull out an ugly decision win.
Pick: Thales Leites
Dos Santos (19-5) is 31 and he’s 5-1 in the UFC. The Brazilian has been red hot in the Octagon as he rides a five-fight winning streak into this bout including a devastating KO over Sean Strickland in his last fight. He has turned into one of the most exciting welterweights on the planet and is improving every time we see him fight. Vendramini (7-0) is 22 and he’s making his UFC debut. The Brazilian took this fight on extremely short notice filling in for the injured Belal Muhammad. All of his wins have come by stoppage but he hasn’t fought quality opposition. Vendramini may turn out to be a decent fighter but this is a very difficult debut against a quality opponent in dos Santos. I have dos Santos all the way in this one and likely by stoppage.
Pick: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
Souza (11-1) is 27 and she’s making her UFC debut. The Brazilian was the former Invicta strawweight champion and went 4-1 overall in the all-women’s promotion. The majority of her wins have come by stoppage and her lone career loss was a split decision to Angela Hill. Chambers (5-4) is 39 and she’s 1-3 in the UFC. The Australian has really struggled in the Octagon with her lone win coming over Kailin Curran and two of her losses coming by stoppage. She is one of the oldest fighters in the division and barely fights these days. Strange matchmaking here as this should be a total blowout and I have Souza winning by submission in the first round.
Pick: Livia Renata Souza
Last event: 8-4
2018 picks year-to-date: 203-121 (63%)
Final 2017 tally: 282-171, 3 No Contest (64%)