After a rare off week in the MMA calendar, we are back with another great UFC Fight Night card this weekend when UFC Vegas 44: Font vs. Aldo goes down at the Apex in Las Vegas. The card features 14 fights in total, including five awesome fights set for the main card. Below, check out our full main card betting preview for UFC Vegas 44 here at The AllStar.
Main event bantamweight bout: Rob Font vs. Jose Aldo
Font is one of the top contenders in the UFC bantamweight division. Font has won his last four fights in a row, including an impressive win over Cody Garbrandt in his last outing. Throughout his UFC career, we have seen impressive hands and knockout power from Font. He has also been leveling up his grappling in order to turn him into a very well-rounded fighter. Font has never been able to reach the top of the sport, but if he goes out there and beats Aldo, it would be hard to deny him a title shot for what he’s been doing. Basically, this looks like it could be a No. 1 contender fight, so it’s a huge spot for both men to get a win.
Aldo is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. The former UFC featherweight champion has been fighting at 135lbs for two years now and he has gone 2-2 in his new weight class. After losing to Marlon Moraes and Petr Yan in his first two fights at 135lbs, Aldo won back-to-back fights over Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz. He has been looking much more dangerous as of late. He is simply one of the best MMA fighters who has ever lived, regardless of weight class, and it’s exciting to see him going on another title run at age 35.
Total rounds (4.5) Over -145 vs. Under +125
The total has been set at 4.5 rounds, with the OVER paying -145 and the UNDER coming in at +125 odds. Both Aldo and Font went to a decision in their last fights, so it is certainly possible they could do it again here. But both guys have big power and 25 minutes is a lot of time to spend in a small cage. So it is certainly possible that someone gets finished in this one.
Overall, this looks like a very difficult fight to call. Both Font and Aldo are two of the best bantamweights in the world and they are both fighting at a high level right now. For me, the biggest difference is the head movement and boxing skills of Font. I think he has an edge as far as hand speed and moving his head goes. So in a standup fight, I think he has a slight edge. It’s a very close fight and nothing would surprise me, but my pick is going to be Font by decision.
The co-main event is a fun lightweight tilt between top-15 ranked fighters Rafael Fiziev and Brad Riddell. Both men prefer to stand and trade on the feet, so this should be an amazing fight for as long as it lasts. Fiziev is 4-1 overall in the UFC and he is coming off of a “Fight of the Night” performance against Bobby Green. Other than a surprising TKO loss to Magomed Mustafaev in his UFC debut three years ago, Fiziev has looked excellent in the UFC. He is one of the best strikers in the lightweight division and he has been improving his grappling since moving to Sanford MMA, making him one of the division’s best fighters.
Much of the same can be said about Riddell. Since joining the UFC he is a perfect 4-0. In his last fight, he picked up his biggest victory yet when he defeated Drew Dober in a “Fight of the Night.” Like Fiziev, Riddell is also an excellent striker who has really turned himself into a more well-rounded fighter by adding grappling into his game. It makes Riddell one of the most difficult matchups at 155lbs, and it makes for a very intriguing fight against Fiziev. I’m looking for a standup war between these two, and while I expect both men to land some shots, I think Fiziev will land more volume over the course of 15 minutes and win a decision.
In the lightweight division, Leonardo Santos takes on Clay Guida in a battle of aging veterans. Santos is 41 years old and he is 7-1-1 overall in the UFC. Up until this year, Santos had been undefeated for over a decade. That was before he lost by last-second KO to Grant Dawson earlier this year. Although Santos lost the fight, he was quite competitive in it. It’s hard to say he has lost a step based on how he has performed lately. Still, at age 41, Father Time is going to come knocking at some point, and who knows, maybe the time is now.
As for Guida, he turns 40 years old next week and he has been in the UFC for 15 years. Guida has certainly had some big wins over the course of his career, he has really struggled as of late. He has a 1-3 record over his last four fights. If Guida is not able to implement his wrestling he doesn’t really have a path to victory. As such, this looks like a tough matchup against another top grappler in Santos. I just see Santos being able to stuff the takedowns from Guida. Then he will use his five-inch reach advantage on the feet to pick apart Guida and win the decision.
A light heavyweight title sees Jimmy Crute take on Jamahal Hill. Crute is 4-2 overall in the UFC with all four of his wins coming by stoppage. But he himself has been stopped in both of his losses. In his last fight earlier this year, Crute lost via TKO when he suffered a leg injury against Anthony Smith. He had quite a bit of momentum before that loss. So look for Crute to try to have another great performance and get back in the win column. Against Hill, he is fighting an opponent who is ultra dangerous but who also has flaws in his defensive game.
In Hill’s last fight, he suffered his first UFC loss when he was finished by Paul Craig in what was a really nasty knockout. Before that, Hill had won all four of his UFC fights (one was overturned to a No Contest due to marijuana use) and was looking like a serious contender. But seeing him get exposed so badly against Craig makes me have second thoughts about Hill. Although I do think he can win this fight if he keeps it standing, I do think Crute is the more well-rounded fighter. Eventually, I think he is going to get Hill to the ground and finish him.
Kicking off the main card is a middleweight bout between Brendan Allen and Chris Curtis. Allen is 5-1 overall in the UFC and he is currently riding a two-fight win streak over Punahele Soriano and Karl Roberson. Against Roberson, we saw Allen’s slick ground game on full display when he got the ankle lock submission. But against Punahele, we saw an evolution in Allen’s game. In that fight, he was able to use his striking to beat someone who many expected to best him on the feet. Training at Sanford MMA, it’s clear that Allen is improving his game.
As for Curtis, he made his UFC debut earlier this month and he shocked the world with a first-round KO over Phil Hawes. Coincidentally, Hawes trains with Allen down at Sanford MMA. Also ironically, Curtis’ teammate Sean Strickland — the only man to beat Allen in the UFC — will be in his corner for this fight, which adds another layer of intrigue. Although Curtis has the KO to blast Allen and earn the upset, I think Allen will fight smart and use his wrestling here. He won’t want to get caught as Hawes did, so I think Allen just grinds out Curtis for a decision.