Joe Lauzon is no stranger to the hurt business and has 15 UFC Bonus Awards to his name. He’s on a streak of two bonuses, with the last two being the Fight of the Night award against Jim Miller, and his devastating knockout of Diego Sanchez earned him the Performance of the Night at UFC 200. Lauzon is a proven finisher with only one of his 26 wins making it the distance.
Has Marcin Held evolved from his loss against Sanchez? Or was Diego Sanchez just a horrible matchup for him? Sanchez had never been submitted and has excellent submission defence. In hindsight, Held should never have been such a heavy favourite. Throughout the fight, Sanchez looked to overwhelm Held by landing well-timed significant strikes on the ground. Held was looking to use his grappling expertise to frame submissions, but Sanchez kept Held occupied by forcing him to worry about a variety of strikes raining down from all angles.
Interestingly, Held had the most success on the feet in this fight and was landing some powerful strikes before it went to the ground. One can also argue that Held was unlucky not to win, as he had locked in an extremely tight guillotine before Sanchez climbed the cage with his feet to somehow escape.
It’s tough to predict how this fight plays out. Held doesn’t shy down from a fistfight and loves to stand and bang. Lauzon is a very dangerous opponent to stand in front of, though, as we saw in the fight against Diego Sanchez at UFC 200. Lauzon’s accuracy and power could be enough to stun Marcin Held. Not just that, but Lauzon brings loads of experience to the table as well and will use his high-level of fight intelligence to find a way to beat out the talented Marcin Held.
Joe Lauzon to Win – -138 – Skybet
Court McGee and Ben Saunders face off in Phoenix at UFC Fight Night 103 this weekend in what should be a gruelling battle between two experienced welterweights.
Saunders rejoins the UFC after a quick hit-out at the Fight Night at the Island promotion in Minnesota. After submitting Jacob Volkmann in just 17 seconds, he’s riding a wave of momentum as he faces durable opponent, Court McGee.
Standing up, Saunders uses kicks to keep his opponent away, while he looks to set up trips and takedowns to work his ground game. Saunders trains 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu and has Eddie Bravo in his corner, enabling him to continually widen his submission toolbox and develop incredible confidence when grappling with an opponent. Saunders is very aggressive when hunting for submission opportunities, and three of his last four victories have come via submission in the first round.
Court McGee is the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 11 and has never developed consistency in the octagon through the seven years he’s been a member of the UFC. The last time McGee won back-to-back fights was in 2013 in which he managed to defeat Robert Whittaker via split decision. Since then, McGee has gone 2-2 with three of those fights making the distance and one fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio that he lost via TKO in the first round. McGee outworked the athleticism of Dominique Steele in his most recent fight before going on to win by decision.
While both of these guys are comfortable standing up, I feel as though both are hungry for a submission victory. This is business as usual for Saunders who is always looking for ways to trap an opponent, and for McGee, he’ll be looking to submit Saunders as well, as a way to prove himself. While McGee’s track record shows that he often goes the distance in fights, his last bout against Dominique Steele nearly finished in the first round when he landed a perfect right hand and then followed it up with a choke and neck crank attempt.
There’s plenty of value here on the total rounds betting with under 2.5 rounds looking like the bet to take.
Total Rounds – Under 2.5 – +140 – Bet365
Frankie Saenz jumps back into the cage for the first time since Eddie Wineland defeated him in July 2016. Saenz controlled the majority of the fight, especially the first two rounds, by chipping away at the legs of Wineland and landing overhand rights. Although the counter-punching of Wineland floored Saenz in each of the first two rounds, I thought Saenz had done enough to be up on the cards entering the third. The judges weren’t required though because Wineland made Frankie Saenz pay with a flurry of punches that ensured the referee had to jump in and stop it. That was Saenz’s second straight loss after losing to Urijah Faber in December 2015 via decision as well.
Augusto Mendes debuted in the UFC back in February 2016 against the now-champion Cody Garbrandt after John Lineker had to pull out due to an illness. Mendes is a black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and had finished four of his five wins via the way of submission. The UFC often rewards fighters who had previously chosen to step in on short notice and assist the card at the time. Mendes is fortunate to be placed in a relatively good spot at UFC Fight Night 103, with his fight now moving to the Main Card.
Frankie Saenz will have a significant advantage on the feet in this matchup against Augusto Mendes. He picked apart Eddie Wineland with relative ease for the first two rounds in their bout and Wineland is recognised for his beautiful movement inside the cage. This makes me believe that Saenz could easily outwork Augusto Mendes in this one, especially working him down with leg kicks as the fight progresses. However, I also appreciate that Saenz may not aggressively be looking for the finish considering the takedown threat of Augusto Mendes.
In contrast, Mendes should have the advantage in this one on the ground. Mendes is an accomplished grappler, while Saenz holds just a blue belt in BJJ, although he brings the experience of wrestling as well. For Mendes to work his ground game, he needs to get Saenz on his back first, and Mendes didn’t attempt a single takedown last fight against Garbrandt. Surely, Mendes learns from this mistake and has been drilling takedown attempts for the entire eleven months since his debut in the UFC. Once down, though, can Mendes keep him there? Saenz was able to scramble out of many disadvantaged positions against Urijah Faber with ease.
Frankie Saenz to Win – -150 – Ladbrokes
Joe Lauzon vs. Marcin Held
Joe Lauzon to Win
Sunday 15th January, 04:30 GMT
Odds: -138 – Skybet
Court McGee vs. Ben Saunders
Total Rounds – Under 2.5
Sunday 15th January, 03:00 GMT
Odds: +140 – Bet365
Frankie Saenz vs. Augusto Mendes
Frankie Saenz to Win
Sunday 15th January, 03:00 GMT
Odds: -150 – Ladbrokes