The UFC returns to Germany for the fifth time in history this Saturday. Let’s take a look at the fights with GamingZion’s ultimate UFC betting guide
Nick Hein -222 vs. Tae Hyun Bang +170
German-born Nick Hein makes his fifth UFC appearance this Saturday night opposite South Korean striker Tae Hyun Bang. Hein is riding a two fight win streak and looks to break into the top 15 with another victory. Striking is the preferred method of attack for the German, but he has showed an improved ground game over each UFC fight thus far.
Tae Hyun Bang is a true veteran of the game with 27 fights in his career. He too has fought four times in the UFC, most notably knocking out Kajan Johnson in the third round of their fight. Bang also prefers to strike, but has a number of submission wins over his career as well.
This matchup seems to favor Hein. The German fighter has looked great over his past two fights, and will enjoy a hometown advantage in Hamburg. Bang is a dangerous fighter, and has the power to stop Hein with strikes, but he has a tendency to fall behind in the judges’ scorecards. Against Hein, that could spell trouble.
Ryan Bader -250 vs. Ilir Latifi +190
Ryan Bader just can’t catch a break. The Ultimate Fighter eight season winner has continuously reached the top of his division, but fell short when it came to the number-one contender fight. His most recent loss to Anthony Johnson was perhaps the most devastating of his career, as he mounted virtually no offense and was KO’d in less than 90 seconds. Bader will be looking for redemption here, but faces a dangerous striker with a similar skill set to his own.
Ilir Latifi is one of the best fighters out of Sweden. He made Swedish gambling news by taking on Gegard Mousasi on just four days notice back in 2013. Latifi lost that fight, but impressed fans and fighters with his willingness to step up and take on a top 10 fighter on short notice. He has gone 5-1 since that time, with four of those victories coming in the first round. Latifi proved he can go the distance in his last performance against Serra-Longo fighter Gian Villante.
Bader is a tough matchup for any fighter, and looked to be the number one contender before his devastating loss to Anthony Johnson. His standup has improved dramatically over the years, and that could be his key to victory here. Latifi is a monster in the first round, and will likely look to end the night early. He comes in as a slight underdog according to GTBets, but could be a solid bet to pull off the upset.
Alexander Gustafsson -714 vs. Jan Blachowicz +450
Speaking of great Swedish fighters, Alexander Gustafsson finally returns after his thrilling split-decision loss to Daniel Cormier. Gustafsson was the first fighter to put Swedish MMA on the map, and rose up the ranks to challenge Jon Jones for the light-heavyweight title. That turned out to be one of the greatest fights in UFC history, and though Gustafsson lost a close decision, he won the respect from MMA fans around the world.
Gustafsson returned with an impressive KO victory over Jimi Manuwa, but afterwards got derailed by Anthony Johnson in front of his hometown. Curiously, Gustafsson was given a title shot after that loss, and put on another fight of the year candidate against Daniel Cormier. This Saturday will be nearly a year since Alexander has last fought, and many fans are interested to see how he responds to the long layoff.
Jan Blachowicz entered the UFC with a massive amount of hype, and proved he was legitimate with a first round TKO over Ilir Latifi. His less-than-stellar ground game was exposed in his next two fights, as he lost both by lopsided decisions. Latifi bounced back with an impressive win over Igor Pokrajac in his last bout, and hopes to get one step closer to the title with an upset victory over Gustafsson.
It not much of a surprise that GTBets list Gustafsson as a massive favorite in this one. His only recent losses have been to the top 3 fighters at light-heavyweight, and two of those were razor thin decisions. Blachowicz is a dangerous striker, but may be biting off more than he can chew here. With that being said, anything can happen in MMA, and a bet on the underdog here would yield big returns.
Andrei Arlovski +120 vs. Josh Barnett -154
The fight between Arlovski and Barnett has been over fifteen years in the making. Arlovski was dominating the heavyweight division of the UFC from 2002 to 2007. He was known as one of the most dangerous strikers in the world during that time, and eventually secured a shot at the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. Arlovski was controlling most of the fight until a massive right hand from Fedor knocked him out.
3 knockout losses in four of Arlovski’s next fights had many analysts assuming his career was over. He then moved to Greg Jackson’s gym and went 6-1-1 to get another shot in the UFC. Arlovski won his first four fights back in the big leagues, but has now suffered two straight KO defeats.
While Arlovski was clobbering heads in the UFC, Josh Barnett was making a name for himself fighting in Japan for Pride FC. He beat some of the best fighters on the planet during that time, and continued to face tough competitors even after Pride FC was purchased by the UFC. Barnett’s most recent UFC run has been mixed, with brilliant wins over Frank Mir and Roy Nelson, and devastating defeats to Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell.
Barnett will need to fight a smart game plan here against Arlovski. GTBets have set the odds relatively close, and for good reason. This is an extremely tough fight to call, but Arlovski’s most recent KO losses have not done much to inspire confidence.
Who do you think walks away with the victories on Saturday night? Did our UFC betting guide help make your decision? Leave your comments below, and make sure to check out GamignZion’s list of online sportsbooks in the US to find all the best websites for betting on MMA!