Devin Clark and Ion Cutelaba are hoping to turn around recent losses at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Current UFC betting online favorite Cutelaba hasn’t won since 2019, but enters as a bookmakers’ elect against the dangerous Clark.
Clark scored a win in June in 2020 before losing to Anthony Smith, so he’s keen to rebound after the upset loss.
Is Cutelaba Ready?
The 27-year-old Cutelaba suffered a draw against Dustin Jacoby at UFC Fight Night in May, where he didn’t look overly impressive.
His most recent win came in September 2019 when he knocked out Khalil Rountree Jr., but consecutive losses to Magomed Ankalaev have put him on the back foot.
Ankalaev is a premium fighter, so we’re not discrediting his performances, but we expect much more from Cutelaba. He was knocked out in both fights. The first fight finished after 38 seconds and the rematch was over in the first round.
— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) April 30, 2021
It takes a lot for a fighter to come back after devastating losses, which explains his lackluster performance against Jacoby. To his credit, Cutelaba executed nine of his 19 takedown attempts, but the fight was ruled a draw.
“The Hulk” might be 15-6-1, but most of his fights against top-level fighters have resulted in losses. He lost to the likes of Jared Cannonier, Glover Teixeira and Ankalaev, so the question is whether Clark is at that level.
Clark Ready to Rebound
Clark looked to have big lightweight dreams in the UFC, but a shock loss to the aging Anthony Smith at UFC Fight Night in November was a big blow.
The 31-year-old South Dakotan couldn’t follow up his decision wins over Alonzo Menifield and Dequan Townsend, but he’s an explosive fighter at his best.
His last two losses have come against Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann, who headline the card on Saturday at UFC Apex. He has been fighting in-form opponents, so we can’t pick too many holes in his record.
Our only concern is his inability to end the fight before it gets to the judges. Clark has yet to record a knockout win in the UFC, with his six wins all coming by decision. It’s a problem, but we think he has been working on his power.
The two-time All American wrestler was out-wrestled by Smith, but he has yet to lose consecutive fights in the UFC. That record can’t be overlooked, so we admire his resilience and ability to get back on the proverbial horse.
The sportsbook has Clark at +115, which is a value price for the underdog. He is more than capable of producing the upset.
We also think the emotions got to him in the Smith fight. He had lost a friend and family member, which we think had a negative impact on the fight. Clark commented on the situation before the loss.
“There’s been so many good things with my career — financially and stuff like that,” Clark told UFC.com. “The family, my wife and daughter are doing good. But, at the same time, we’ve had a lot of loss, death. I lost a good friend and also lost my mother-in-law.
“The whole COVID-19 thing and people freaking out. It’s a really weird time, and also the best year that I’ve had.”
Cutelaba vs Clark Pick
We expect the favorite to try and land a knockout blow in the opening round, but if Clark sees it out and avoids the big punches, he should come on stronger over the last two rounds.
After two years without a win, we can’t take Cutelaba at -145. It’s too short, so we’re locking in the value odds for the underdog.