Followers of combat sports have a hard-hitting start to February to look forward to; fights of note are taking place in both the boxing world and the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Fans’ favourite Sergey Kovalav is in action in the squared-circle; meanwhile, UFC Fight Night 114 on Feb 2nd gives us something to feast over in the octagon with Raphael Assunção v Marlon Moraes.
The latest from the hugely successful Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion takes place in Brazil .The Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste plays host to a night of thrilling action on Saturday 2 February. British fans can follow the card live on BT Sport with the main event carrying an advertised start time of 4.00am.
Worth Waking Up For
It’ll be a show well worth setting your alarm for as Raphael Assunção and Marlon Moraes settle an old score at bantamweight in a long-awaited rematch. It’s not the only fight of note on the night, however. A compelling undercard gives us Jose Aldo v Renato Moicano at featherweight; Demian Maia v Lyman Good welterweight; Charles Oliveira v David Teymur lightweight; Johnny Walker v Justin Ledet light heavyweight and the women’s strawweight pairing of Livia Renata Souza v Sarah Frota. You can catch those fights live on ESPN.
The same channel offer coverage of the Preliminary Card which gives us a catch-up on the likes of Markus Perez; Thiago Alves; Max Griffin; Mara Romero Borella; Junior Albini; Ricardo Ramos and Magomed Bibulatov. That’ll appeal to the organisation’s dedicated fans.
Lots Going On
Plenty to watch and the work of major bookmakers ensures there’s lots for punters to get involved in too. There’s a wide range of betting markets available on the night’s main talking points. Have your say on the winner of each contest and club them together in a punchy accumulator; otherwise you could shoot for value that exists in the method of victory market.
There, traders challenge you to not only call the winner, but how the result will be achieved – knockout, submission or points. It’s a big ask but the prices are worth having. You’ll find a little research goes a long way when attempting to hurt the bookies.
Let’s take a look at the headline act in a bit more detail as our team of MMA betting experts pick-out the bets worth having to help you profit from the evening.
Raphael Assunção Enjoys Support
Brazilian fighter, Raphael Assunção, will enjoy a fair share of support inside the arena on fight night; however, that’s not expected to make too much difference to the outcome of this one as bookmakers have him priced as second favourite in the fight winner market. Some firms are as bold as to write him off by offering a decent price on the upset. The 36-year-old southpaw from Recife fights out of Georgia in the United States and represents the Ascension Mixed Martial Arts team.
A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he is as experienced as they come in the MMA game and will be hoping to use that background and education to his advantage when stepping into the octagon with the weight of the betting odds dead against him. His record currently reads 27 wins against five losses from 32 starts; 13 of his victories came by way of decision, 10 by submission with only four knockouts on his record. The latter gives casual UFC backers an indication as to how he will approach this one, preferring to utilise his BJJ talents and play the long game in the hope of winning over the scoring judges.
On a Run
Despite his price, it should be noted that Raphael Assunção arrives on the back of an impressive four-fight winning run that saw him scalp Aljamain Sterling in UFC Denver; this was followed by Marlon Moraes in the first bout at UFC 212 Rio de Janeiro – bagging a split decision upset that night. There was also the wins against Matthew Lopez UFC Virginia and Rob Font UFC 226 before an appreciative Las Vegas audience at the T-Mobile Arena. Impressive stuff, and a closer look at his record shows he has lost only one of his last 12 starts.
Value in the Repeat Performance
The spare in that purple patch came back in the summer of 2016 in Las Vegas when dropping a points decision to TJ Dillashaw on UFC 200. Easy enough to forgive; however, odds makers don’t appear to be in a rush to cut him any slack and despite beating Moraes last time, backers will get a cracking 9/5 at Bet365 on Assunção repeating the feat. That’s bigger than we expected to see and there’s enough there to ensure the value hunters will be sniffing around and showing an interest, hoping to punish some sloppy play by the trading team.
As always, there will be plenty of backers keen to push their luck a little more and snatch at the bigger prices available in the method of victory market. Raphael Assunção has won three of his last four by decision, including that split vs Moraes a couple of summers ago, and that makes a bet on the decision win attractive. He did KO Matthew Lopez on his penultimate start with a well-timed punch, meaning the KO can’t be overlooked easily, although the former looks to be the smarter option and we certainly wouldn’t put anyone off an interest. The price on Raphael Assunção wining by any method is good enough to tempt us into a bet at interest stakes, however.
Revenge would be Magic
Opponent Magic Marlon Moraes was as shocked as anyone following that loss at the hands of Assuncao; however, he has the chance to right the wrongs of that night and grab a win that would catapult him back towards the big time. The 30-year-old Brazilian seeks revenge over his countryman and there’s every reason to believe he will get it as he trains for fight night with his recent record showing three wins on the bounce, including a performance of the night award in each of his last two. There’s confidence in the camp and they believe this bout comes at the right time for them.
Marlon lost that split decision to Assuncao but got his career firmly back on track with a trio of cheers from three attempts. He started the journey along the road to recovery with a split decision win over John Dodson on UFC Virginia, followed that with a KO vs Aljamain Sterling and rounded things off when smashing Jimmie Rivera in a devastating first round stoppage in New York last June.
Marlon on the Attack
That caught the attention of traders and they seem completely convinced Marlon will work his magic again to level up the scores and, maybe, force another fight between the rivals. To have any chance of the decider Moraes must win here and he must do it convincingly. Backers looking to support the jolly with their hard-earned cash will find no better on Marlon than the 5/11 sent out by the generous traders of Bet365. Yes, that’s tight and no, it won’t make you rich on its own; however, it’ll be popular in fight night multiples and looks value compared to the 4/9 at most other firms.
Picking through the form and although the last fight went the distance, Magic has won each of his last two inside the distance, KO by knee then KO by head kick and punches. The fact he feels there’s a score to settle should result in Marlon going on the attack from the first buzzer and another knockout win carries a bigger price.